Computing Environments in operating System

List of all operating systems are used in a variety of computing environments

Traditional Computing

In the latter half of the 20th century, computing resources were relatively scarce. (Before that, they were nonexistent!) For a period of time, systems were either batch or interactive. Batch systems processed jobs in bulk, with predetermined input from files or other data sources. Interactive systems waited for input from users.

To optimize the use of the computing resources, multiple users shared time on these systems. Time-sharing systems used a timer and scheduling algorithms to cycle processes rapidly through the CPU, giving each user a share of the resources

Mobile Computing

Mobile computing refers to computing on handheld smartphones and tablet computers. These devices share the distinguishing physical features of being portable and lightweight. Historically, compared with desktop and laptop computers, mobile systems gave up screen size, memory capacity, and overall functionality in return for handheld mobile access to services such as e-mail and web browsing.

Over the past few years, however, features on mobile devices have become so rich that the distinction in functionality between, say, a consumer laptop and a tablet computer may be difficult to discern. In fact, we might argue that the features of a contemporary mobile device allow it to provide functionality that is either unavailable or impractical on a desktop or laptop computer

Distributed Systems

A distributed system is a collection of physically separate, possibly heterogeneous, computer systems that are networked to provide users with access to the various resources that the system maintains. Access to a shared resource increases computation speed, functionality, data availability, and reliability.

Some operating systems generalize network access as a form of file access, with the details of networking contained in the network interface’s device driver. Others make users specifically invoke network functions.

Generally, systems contain a mix of the two modes—for example FTP and NFS. The protocols that create a distributed system can greatly affect that system’s utility and popularity

Client –Server Computing

As PCs have become faster, more powerful, and cheaper, designers have shifted away from centralized system architecture. Terminals connected to centralized systems are now being supplanted by PCs and mobile devices. Correspondingly, user-interface functionality once handled directly by centralized systems is increasingly being handled by PCs, quite often through a web interface. As a result, many of today’s systems act as server systems to satisfy requests generated by client systems. This form of specialized distributed system, called a client–server system

Peer-to-Peer Computing

Another structure for a distributed system is the peer-to-peer (P2P) system model. In this model, clients and servers are not distinguished from one another. Instead, all nodes within the system are considered peers, and each may act as either a client or a server, depending on whether it is requesting or providing a service. Peer-to-peer systems offer an advantage over traditional client-server systems. In a client-server system, the server is a bottleneck; but in a peer-to-peer system, services can be provided by several nodes distributed throughout the network


Virtualization is a technology that allows operating systems to run as applications within other operating systems. At first blush, there seems to be little reason for such functionality. But the virtualization industry is vast and growing, which is a testament to its utility and importance.

Real-Time Embedded Systems

Embedded computers are the most prevalent form of computers in existence. These devices are found everywhere, from car engines and manufacturing robots to DVDs and microwave ovens. They tend to have very specific tasks. The systems they run on are usually primitive, and so the operating systems provide limited features. Usually, they have little or no user interface, preferring to spend their time monitoring and managing hardware devices, such as automobile engines and robotic arms

Leave a Comment