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What are the Functions and Components of a Operating System

An operating system has two functions. It acts as a resource manager on the one side and a virtual machine on the other side. The resource manager of the operating system manages allocation of memory, processing time and disk space. The virtual machine should provide a nice user interface, other than the bare hardware would provide.

UNIX for instance has a resource manager, which allocates memory and processing time in a very efficient way. However the virtual machine leaves a lot to be desired on most UNIX systems. The Apple Macintosh in contrast provides a very nice virtual machine with its graphical user interface, but lacks features like protecting programs from each other and fair distribution of processor time. MS-DOS unfortunately provides neither a powerful resource manager nor a friendly virtual machine.

An operating system provides two main services: Filemanagement and Processmanagement.

Mark O. Stitson
Wed Sep 25 10:45:32 BST 1996