Types of Operating Systems - Batch operating system, Time-sharing systems, Distributed OS, Network OS, Real Time OS

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As and when computer architecture evolves, operating systems also need to be evolved and vice-versa. We know well that customer’s requirements are always dynamic in nature and prevalent technologies are also never the same. So, various kinds of operating systems have evolved and are evolving too

Broadly there are 5 types of operating systems

  1. Batch Operating Systems
  2. Time Sharing Systems
  3. Distributed Operating Systems
  4. Network Operating Systems
  5. Real Time Operating Systems

Batch Operating Systems

These operating systems are not very common today but were popular mainly in the second computer generation. In those days, the user had to do to a lot of manual work. Firstly, he prepared his job using punch cards and then submitted the same to the computer operator. But after this, the user could no longer interact with the job. But the computer needed to be used by many users and the jobs were quite variable in nature.

For example, if a user submits 5 jobs in the following order

  • C program
  • Visual Basics Program
  • C program
  • Visual Basics Program
  • Java code

Now each time whenever a different language program is submitted, the computer operator needs to change the processing environment accordingly. And hence arises the need of Batch Operating System where jobs requiring similar work conditions are put together in a batch and are executed together. This saves the time which used to be wasted in switching from one environment to another.

The major disadvantages of batch systems are:

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  • Lack of interaction among the job and the user. Whether the job has executed properly or not or if some error has occurred or if some other issue has arisen, user will come to know only when all the jobs within the batch have run. User can never interact with any one job of the batch.
  • CPU sits idle most of the time since I/O devices are very slow.

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Time-sharing operating systems

These operating systems are quite popular these days and are also known as multitasking systems. Here the operating system enables the processing of various tasks on a single computer and that too concurrently. The tasks may be all from a single user or from different users also. Operating system does this by a time-sharing mechanism wherein various tasks are scheduled to access the CPU for a fixed time limit known as a time quantum. After the quantum is over, OS makes a switch so that another task can access the CPU.  In this way, the operating system uses CPU scheduling and multiprogramming to provide each user with a small portion of a time.

Some advantages of Time sharing operating systems are:

  • Reduced response time.
  • Reduced CPU idle time.

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Distributed operating System

This is a special kind of operating system which is one but is distributed among various independent computers in such a way that they can easily communicate with each other and with the host computer too. For example, various team members in an organization are connected using distributed opearting systems and one user can use a program which is on someone else's computer.

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The advantages of distributed OS are as follows:

  • A user at one site can use the resources available at another.
  • If one system fails in a distributed OS, rest of the systems can continue operating.
  • Reduction of the load on the host computer.

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Network operating System

A Network Operating System is one in which the operating system runs on a server using which the server can manage the data transfer among all the connected devices in the network. Its primary purpose is to allow shared access among multiple computers in a network, typically a local area network (LAN) where all the users are aware of the multiplicity within the network.

The disadvantages of network operating systems are:

  • It is quite expensive.
  • If the central server stops functioning entire network will be affected.

NOTE: The major difference between Distributed OS and Network OS is that in the former environment users are not aware of the multiplicity of the machines, the underlying configuration and other details while all the users are aware of all such details within the later.

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Real Time operating System

In a real – time system, time is the most important factor and it is ensured that the processing must be completed within the defined time constraints. Real – time systems are used when there are rigid time requirements like air traffic control systems, thermal power plants etc.

Based on the strictness of the time constraints, real – time operating systems are classified as:

  • Hard real-time systems

    : Here time constraints are very strict and no delay is acceptable.

For example, submarine signaling, RADAR, air traffic control system etc. If the signaling of these kind of system is delayed, it may lead to a hazardous accident.

  • Soft real-time systems

    : Here time constraints are somewhat less strict and some delay is acceptable.

For example, multimedia, virtual reality, Video Conferencing etc. Even if some delay is there, nothing malicious is going to happen.

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Rating - 3/5

Rating - 3/5