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Operating Systems and Environments

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Operating Systems and Environments


Module 1 - Case


What Operating Systems Do

We begin our discussion by looking at the operating system’s role in the overall computer system. A computer system can be divided roughly into four components: the hardware, the operating system, the application programs, and the users (Figure 1).

Four Components of a Computer System

Figure 1. Four Components of a Computer System

The hardware—the central processing unit (CPU), the memory, and the input/output (I/O) devices—provides the basic computing resources for the system. The application programs—such as word processors, spreadsheets, compilers, and Web browsers—define the ways in which these resources are used to solve users’ computing problems. The operating system controls the hardware and coordinates its use among the various application programs for the various users.

We can also view a computer system as consisting of hardware, software, and data. The operating system provides the means for proper use of these resources in the operation of the computer system. An operating system is similar to a government. Like a government, it performs no useful function by itself. It simply provides an environment within which other programs can do useful work.

To understand more fully the operating system’s role, we next explore operating systems from two viewpoints: that of the user and that of the system.

1. User View

The user’s view of the computer varies according to the interface being used. Most computer users sit in front of a PC consisting of a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and system unit. Such a system is designed for one user to monopolize its resources. The goal is to maximize the work (or play) that the user is performing. In this case, the operating system is designed mostly for ease of use, with some attention paid to performance and none paid to resource utilization—how various hardware and software resources are shared. Performance is, of course, important to the user; but such systems are optimized for the single-user experience rather than the requirements of multiple users.

In other cases, a user sits at a terminal connected to a mainframe or a minicomputer. Other users are accessing the same computer through other terminals. These users share resources and may exchange information. The operating system in such cases is designed to maximize resource utilization—to assure that all available CPU time, memory, and I/O are used efficiently and that no individual user takes more than her fair share.

Recently, many varieties of mobile computers, such as smartphones and tablets, have come into fashion. Most mobile computers are standalone units for individual users. Quite often, they are connected to networks through cellular or other wireless technologies. Increasingly, these mobile devices are replacing desktop and laptop computers for people who are primarily interested in using computers for email and Web browsing. The user interface for mobile computers generally features a touch screen, where the user interacts with the system by pressing and swiping fingers across the screen rather than using a physical keyboard and mouse.

Some computers have little or no user view. For example, embedded computers in home devices and automobiles may have numeric keypads and may turn indicator lights on or off to show status, but they and their operating systems are designed primarily to run without user intervention.

2. System View

From the computer’s point of view, the operating system is the program most intimately involved with the hardware. In this context, we can view an operating system as a resource allocator. A computer system has many resources that may be required to solve a problem: CPU time, memory space, file-storage space, I/O devices, and so on. The operating system acts as the manager of these resources. Facing numerous and possibly conflicting requests for resources, the operating system must decide how to allocate them to specific programs and users so that it can operate the computer system efficiently and fairly. As we have seen, resource allocation is especially important where many users access the same mainframe or minicomputer.

A slightly different view of an operating system emphasizes the need to control the various I/O devices and user programs. An operating system is a control program. A control program manages the execution of user programs to prevent errors and improper use of the computer. It is especially concerned with the operation and control of I/O devices.

3. Defining Operating Systems

How can we define what an operating system is? In general, we have no completely adequate definition of an operating system. Operating systems exist because they offer a reasonable way to solve the problem of creating a usable computing system. The fundamental goal of computer systems is to execute user programs and to make solving user problems easier. Computer hardware is constructed toward this goal. Since bare hardware alone is not particularly easy to use, application programs are developed. These programs require certain common operations, such as those controlling the I/O devices. The common functions of controlling and allocating resources are then brought together into one piece of software: the operating system.

In addition, we have no universally accepted definition of what is part of the operating system. A simple viewpoint is that it includes everything a vendor ships when you order “the operating system.” The features included, however, vary greatly across systems. Some systems take up less than a megabyte of space and lack even a full-screen editor, whereas others require gigabytes of space and are based entirely on graphical windowing systems. A more common definition, and the one that we usually follow, is that the operating system is the one program running at all times on the computer—usually called the kernel. (Along with the kernel, there are two other types of programs: system programs, which are associated with the operating system but are not necessarily part of the kernel, and application programs, which include all programs not associated with the operation of the system.)

Today, however, if we look at operating systems for mobile devices, we see that once again the number of features constituting the operating system is increasing. Mobile operating systems often include not only a core kernel but also middleware—a set of software frameworks that provide additional services to application developers. For example, each of the two most prominent mobile operating systems—Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android—features a core kernel along with middleware that supports databases, multimedia, and graphics (to name a only few).

Computer System Organization

Before we can explore the details of how computer systems operate, we need general knowledge of the structure of a computer system. In this section, we look at several parts of this structure.

1. Computer System Operation

A modern general-purpose computer system consists of one or more CPUs and a number of device controllers connected through a common bus that provides access to shared memory (Figure 2). Each device controller is in charge of a specific type of device (for example, disk drives, audio devices, or video displays). The CPU and the device controllers can execute in parallel, competing for memory cycles. To ensure orderly access to the shared memory, a memory controller synchronizes access to the memory.

For a computer to start running—for instance, when it is powered up or rebooted—it needs to have an initial program to run. This initial program, or bootstrap program, tends to be simple. Typically, it is stored within the computer hardware in read-only memory (ROM) or electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), known by the general term firmware. It initializes all aspects of the system, from CPU registers to device controllers to memory contents. The bootstrap program must know how to load the operating system and how to start executing that system. To accomplish this goal, the bootstrap program must locate the operating-system kernel and load it into memory.

A modern computer system

Figure 2. A modern computer system

Once the kernel is loaded and executing, it can start providing services to the system and its users. Some services are provided outside of the kernel, by system programs that are loaded into memory at boot time to become system processes, or system daemons that run the entire time the kernel is running.

2. Storage Structure

The CPU can load instructions only from memory, so any programs to run must be stored there. General-purpose computers run most of their programs from rewritable memory, called main memory (also called random-access memory, or RAM). Main memory commonly is implemented in a semiconductor technology called dynamic random-access memory (DRAM).

Computers use other forms of memory as well. We have already mentioned read-only memory, ROM) and electrically erasable programmable read-only memory, EEPROM). Because ROM cannot be changed, only static programs, such as the bootstrap program described earlier, are stored there. The immutability of ROM is of use in game cartridges. EEPROM can be changed but cannot be changed frequently and so contains mostly static programs. For example, smartphones have EEPROM to store their factory-installed programs.

All forms of memory provide an array of bytes. Each byte has its own address. Interaction is achieved through a sequence of load or store instructions to specific memory addresses. The load instruction moves a byte or word from main memory to an internal register within the CPU, whereas the store instruction moves the content of a register to main memory. Aside from explicit loads and stores, the CPU automatically loads instructions from main memory for execution.

A typical instruction–execution cycle, as executed on a system with a von Neumann architecture, first fetches an instruction from memory and stores that instruction in the instruction register. The instruction is then decoded and may cause operands to be fetched from memory and stored in some internal register. After the instruction on the operands has been executed, the result may be stored back in memory. Notice that the memory unit sees only a stream of memory addresses. It does not know how they are generated (by the instruction counter, indexing, indirection, literal addresses, or some other means) or what they are for (instructions or data). Accordingly, we can ignore how a memory address is generated by a program. We are interested only in the sequence of memory addresses generated by the running program.

Ideally, we want the programs and data to reside in main memory permanently. This arrangement usually is not possible for the following two reasons:

Main memory is usually too small to store all needed programs and data permanently.

Main memory is a volatile storage device that loses its contents when power is turned off or otherwise lost.

Thus, most computer systems provide secondary storage as an extension of main memory. The main requirement for secondary storage is that it be able to hold large quantities of data permanently.

The most common secondary-storage device is a magnetic disk, which provides storage for both programs and data. Most programs (system and application) are stored on a disk until they are loaded into memory. Many programs then use the disk as both the source and the destination of their processing. Hence, the proper management of disk storage is of central importance to a computer system.

In a larger sense, however, the storage structure that we have described— consisting of registers, main memory, and magnetic disks—is only one of many possible storage systems. Others include cache memory, CD-ROM, magnetic tapes, and so on. Each storage system provides the basic functions of storing a datum and holding that datum until it is retrieved at a later time. The main differences among the various storage systems lie in speed, cost, size, and volatility.

The wide variety of storage systems can be organized in a hierarchy (Figure 3) according to speed and cost. The higher levels are expensive, but they are fast. As we move down the hierarchy, the cost per bit generally decreases, whereas the access time generally increases. This trade-off is reasonable; if a given storage system were both faster and less expensive than another—other properties being the same—then there would be no reason to use the slower, more expensive memory. In fact, many early storage devices, including paper tape and core memories, are relegated to museums now that magnetic tape and semiconductor memory have become faster and cheaper. The top four levels of memory in Figure 3 may be constructed using semiconductor memory.

Storage Device Hierarchy

Figure 3. Storage Device Hierarchy

In addition to differing in speed and cost, the various storage systems are either volatile or nonvolatile. As mentioned earlier, volatile storage loses its contents when the power to the device is removed. In the absence of expensive battery and generator backup systems, data must be written to nonvolatile storage for safekeeping. In the hierarchy shown in Figure 3, the storage systems above the solid-state disk are volatile, whereas those including the solid-state disk and below are nonvolatile.

Solid-state disks have several variants but in general are faster than magnetic disks and are nonvolatile. One type of solid-state disk stores data in a large DRAM array during normal operation but also contains a hidden magnetic hard disk and a battery for backup power. If external power is interrupted, this solid-state disk’s controller copies the data from RAM to the magnetic disk. When external power is restored, the controller copies the data back into RAM.

Another form of solid-state disk is flash memory, which is popular in cameras and personal digital assistants (PDAs), in robots, and increasingly for storage on general-purpose computers. Flash memory is slower than DRAM but needs no power to retain its contents. Another form of nonvolatile storage is NVRAM, which is DRAM with battery backup power. This memory can be as fast as DRAM and (as long as the battery lasts) is nonvolatile.

The design of a complete memory system must balance all the factors just discussed: it must use only as much expensive memory as necessary while providing as much inexpensive, nonvolatile memory as possible. Caches can be installed to improve performance where a large disparity in access time or transfer rate exists between two components.

3. I/O Structure

Storage is only one of many types of I/O devices within a computer. A large portion of operating system code is dedicated to managing I/O, both because of its importance to the reliability and performance of a system and because of the varying nature of the devices. Next, we provide an overview of I/O.

A general-purpose computer system consists of CPUs and multiple device controllers that are connected through a common bus. Each device controller is in charge of a specific type of device. Depending on the controller, more than one device may be attached. For instance, seven or more devices can be attached to the small computer-systems interface (SCSI) controller. A device controller maintains some local buffer storage and a set of special-purpose registers. The device controller is responsible for moving the data between the peripheral devices that it controls and its local buffer storage. Typically, operating systems have a device driver for each device controller. This device driver understands the device controller and provides the rest of the operating system with a uniform interface to the device.

To start an I/O operation, the device driver loads the appropriate registers within the device controller. The device controller, in turn, examines the contents of these registers to determine what action to take (such as “read a character from the keyboard”). The controller starts the transfer of data from the device to its local buffer. Once the transfer of data is complete, the device controller informs the device driver via an interrupt that it has finished its operation. The device driver then returns control to the operating system, possibly returning the data or a pointer to the data if the operation was a read.

For other operations, the device driver returns status information. This form of interrupt-driven I/O is fine for moving small amounts of data but can produce high overhead when used for bulk data movement such as disk I/O. To solve this problem, direct memory access (DMA) is used. After setting up buffers, pointers, and counters for the I/O device, the device controller transfers an entire block of data directly to or from its own buffer storage to memory, with no intervention by the CPU. Only one interrupt is generated per block, to tell the device driver that the operation has completed, rather than the one interrupt per byte generated for low-speed devices. While the device controller is performing these operations, the CPU is available to accomplish other work.

Computing Environments

We have briefly described several aspects of computer systems and the operating systems that manage them. We turn now to a discussion of how operating systems are used in a variety of computing environments.

1. Traditional Computing

As computing has matured, the lines separating many of the traditional computing environments have blurred. Consider the “typical office environment.” Just a few years ago, this environment consisted of PCs connected to a network, with servers providing file and print services. Remote access was awkward, and portability was achieved by use of laptop computers. Terminals attached to mainframes were prevalent at many companies as well, with even fewer remote access and portability options.

The current trend is toward providing more ways to access these computing environments. Web technologies and increasing WAN bandwidth are stretching the boundaries of traditional computing. Companies establish portals, which provide Web accessibility to their internal servers. Network computers (or thin clients)—which are essentially terminals that understand Web-based computing—are used in place of traditional workstations where more security or easier maintenance is desired. Mobile computers can synchronize with PCs to allow very portable use of company information. Mobile computers can also connect to wireless networks and cellular data networks to use the company’s Web portal (as well as the myriad other Web resources).

At home, most users once had a single computer with a slow modem connection to the office, the Internet, or both. Today, network-connection speeds once available only at great cost are relatively inexpensive in many places, giving home users more access to more data. These fast data connections are allowing home computers to serve up Web pages and to run networks that include printers, client PCs, and servers. Many homes use firewalls to protect their networks from security breaches.

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.

Today, traditional time-sharing systems are uncommon. The same scheduling technique is still in use on desktop computers, laptops, servers, and even mobile computers, but frequently all the processes are owned by the same user (or a single user and the operating system). User processes, and system processes that provide services to the user, are managed so that each frequently gets a slice of computer time. Consider the windows created while a user is working on a PC, for example, and the fact that they may be performing different tasks at the same time. Even a Web browser can be composed of multiple processes, one for each website currently being visited, with time sharing applied to each Web browser process.

2. 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 email 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.

Today, mobile systems are used not only for email and Web browsing but also for playing music and video, reading digital books, taking photos, and recording high-definition video. Accordingly, tremendous growth continues in the wide range of applications that run on such devices. Many developers are now designing applications that take advantage of the unique features of mobile devices, such as global positioning system (GPS) chips, accelerometers, and gyroscopes. An embedded GPS chip allows a mobile device to use satellites to determine its precise location on earth. That functionality is especially useful in designing applications that provide navigation—for example, telling users which way to walk or drive or perhaps directing them to nearby services, such as restaurants. An accelerometer allows a mobile device to detect its orientation with respect to the ground and to detect certain other forces, such as tilting and shaking. In several computer games that employ accelerometers, players interface with the system not by using a mouse or a keyboard but rather by tilting, rotating, and shaking the mobile device! Perhaps more a practical use of these features is found in augmented-reality applications, which overlay information on a display of the current environment. It is difficult to imagine how equivalent applications could be developed on traditional laptop or desktop computer systems.

To provide access to on-line services, mobile devices typically use either IEEE standard 802.11 wireless or cellular data networks. The memory capacity and processing speed of mobile devices, however, are more limited than those of PCs. Whereas a smartphone or tablet may have 64 GB in storage, it is not uncommon to find 1 TB in storage on a desktop computer. Similarly, because power consumption is such a concern, mobile devices often use processors that are smaller, are slower, and offer fewer processing cores than processors found on traditional desktop and laptop computers.

Two operating systems currently dominate mobile computing: Apple iOS and Google Android. Apple iOS was designed to run on Apple iPhone and iPad mobile devices. Android powers smartphones and tablet computers available from many manufacturers.

3. 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.

A network, in the simplest terms, is a communication path between two or more systems. Distributed systems depend on networking for their functionality. Networks vary by the protocols used, the distances between nodes, and the transport media. TCP/IP is the most common network protocol, and it provides the fundamental architecture of the Internet. Most operating systems support TCP/IP, including all general-purpose ones. Some systems support proprietary protocols to suit their needs. To an operating system, a network protocol simply needs an interface device—a network adapter, for example—with a device driver to manage it, as well as software to handle data. These concepts are discussed throughout this book.

Networks are characterized based on the distances between their nodes. A local-area network (LAN) connects computers within a room, a building, or a campus. A wide-area network (WAN) usually links buildings, cities, or countries. A global company may have a WAN to connect its offices worldwide, for example. These networks may run one protocol or several protocols. The continuing advent of new technologies brings about new forms of networks. For example, a metropolitan-area network (MAN) could link buildings within a city. BlueTooth and 802.11 devices use wireless technology to communicate over a distance of several feet, in essence creating a personal-area network (PAN) between a phone and a headset or a smartphone and a desktop computer. The media to carry networks are equally varied. They include copper wires, fiber strands, and wireless transmissions between satellites, microwave dishes, and radios. When computing devices are connected to cellular phones, they create a network. Even very short-range infrared communication can be used for networking. At a rudimentary level, whenever computers communicate, they use or create a network. These networks also vary in their performance and reliability.

Some operating systems have taken the concept of networks and distributed systems further than the notion of providing network connectivity. A network operating system is an operating system that provides features such as file sharing across the network, along with a communication scheme that allows different processes on different computers to exchange messages. A computer running a network operating system acts autonomously from all other computers on the network, although it is aware of the network and is able to communicate with other networked computers. A distributed operating system provides a less autonomous environment. The different computers communicate closely enough to provide the illusion that only a single operating system controls the network.

4. 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, has the general structure depicted in Figure 4.

General structure of a client-server system

Figure 4. General structure of a client–server system

Server systems can be broadly categorized as compute servers and file servers:

The compute-server system provides an interface to which a client can send a request to perform an action (for example, read data). In response, the server executes the action and sends the results to the client. A server running a database that responds to client requests for data is an example of such a system.

The file-server system provides a file-system interface where clients can create, update, read, and delete files. An example of such a system is a Web server that delivers files to clients running Web browsers.

5. 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.

To participate in a peer-to-peer system, a node must first join the network of peers. Once a node has joined the network, it can begin providing services to—and requesting services from—other nodes in the network. Determining what services are available is accomplished in one of two general ways:

When a node joins a network, it registers its service with a centralized lookup service on the network. Any node desiring a specific service first contacts this centralized lookup service to determine which node provides the service. The remainder of the communication takes place between the client and the service provider.

An alternative scheme uses no centralized lookup service. Instead, a peer acting as a client must discover what node provides a desired service by broadcasting are quest for the service to all other nodes in the network. The node (or nodes) providing that service responds to the peer making the request. To support this approach, a discovery protocol must be provided that allows peers to discover services provided by other peers in the network. Figure 5 illustrates such a scenario.

Peer-to-peer system with no centralized service

Figure 5. Peer-to-peer system with no centralized service.

Peer-to-peer networks gained widespread popularity in the late 1990s with several file-sharing services, such as Napster and Gnutella, which enabled peers to exchange files with one another. The Napster system used an approach similar to the first type described above: a centralized server maintained an index of all files stored on peer nodes in the Napster network, and the actual exchange of files took place between the peer nodes. The Gnutella system used a technique similar to the second type: a client broadcasted file requests to other nodes in the system, and nodes that could service the request responded directly to the client. The future of exchanging files remains uncertain because peer-to-peer networks can be used to exchange copyrighted materials (music, for example) anonymously, and there are laws governing the distribution of copyrighted material. Notably, Napster ran into legal trouble for copyright infringement and its services were shut down in 2001.

Skype is another example of peer-to-peer computing. It allows clients to make voice calls and video calls and to send text messages over the Internet using a technology known as voice over IP (VoIP). Skype uses a hybrid peer-to-peer approach. It includes a centralized login server, but it also incorporates decentralized peers and allows two peers to communicate.

6. 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.

These embedded systems vary considerably. Some are general-purpose computers, running standard operating systems—such as Linux—with special-purpose applications to implement the functionality. Others are hardware devices with a special-purpose embedded operating system providing just the functionality desired. Yet others are hardware devices with application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that perform their tasks without an operating system.

The use of embedded systems continues to expand. The power of these devices, both as standalone units and as elements of networks and the Web, is sure to increase as well. Even now, entire houses can be computerized, so that a central computer—either a general-purpose computer or an embedded system—can control heating and lighting, alarm systems, and even coffee makers. Web access can enable a home owner to tell the house to heat up before she arrives home. Someday, the refrigerator can notify the grocery store when it notices the milk is gone.

Embedded systems almost always run real-time operating systems. A real-time system is used when rigid time requirements have been placed on the operation of a processor or the flow of data; thus, it is often used as a control device in a dedicated application. Sensors bring data to the computer. The computer must analyze the data and possibly adjust controls to modify the sensor inputs. Systems that control scientific experiments, medical imaging systems, industrial control systems, and certain display systems are real-time systems. Some automobile-engine fuel-injection systems, home-appliance controllers, and weapon systems are also real-time systems.

A real-time system has well-defined, fixed time constraints. Processing must be done within the defined constraints, or the system will fail. For instance, it would not do for a robot arm to be instructed to halt after it had smashed into the car it was building. A real-time system functions correctly only if it returns the correct result within its time constraints. Contrast this system with a time-sharing system, where it is desirable (but not mandatory) to respond quickly, or a batch system, which may have no time constraints at all.

To learn more about operating systems, check the following sites:

Think OS: A Brief Introduction to Operating Systems at http://www.greenteapress.com/thinkos/thinkos.pdf

Introduction to Operating Systems at http://www.cs.odu.edu/~ayaseen/CSU/Fall2013/CPS2236/lecture/Chapter01_final.pdf

Introduction to Operating Systems at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EShch7iDIWE

Introduction to Operating Systems at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXBOlZr9qNM&list=PLNC6lmsIySCOAP_dlmSveNgzFk6IVL-My

An Introduction to Operating Systems at http://www.informatics.indiana.edu/rocha/i101/pdfs/os_intro.pdf

History of Mobile Operating System at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp2J-oeDJDM

Operating system at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_system

Distributed Systems: Computation with a Million Friends at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zafB2GkMBk&list=PL72C36006AD9CED5C

Case Assignment

What are the main differences between operating systems for mainframe computers and personal computers?

Describe in detail the difference between the client-server and peer-to-peer models of distributed systems.

How are network computers different from traditional personal computers? Describe some usage scenarios in which it is advantageous to use network computers.

Assignment Expectations

Use information from the modular background readings as well as the given resources. Also, you could use any good quality resource you can find. Please cite all sources and provide a reference list at the end of your paper.

Length: 2–3 pages (excluding the title page and reference pages) and single-spaced.

The following items will be assessed in particular:

Your ability to consolidate ideas from reading materials and your understanding of the materials.

Your ability to write a report with strong argument.

Some in-text references to modular background readings.


Operating Systems and Environments Name Institution Operating Systems and Environments Difference between operating system for mainframe computers and personal computers No computer can run without an operating system. Operating systems are structured differently depending on the type of the computer as well as the work that the computer does. This means that the operating system for a mainframe computer differs greatly from that of a personal computer. Ideally, the operating system for mainframe computers has less intricate requirements than that for personal computers. In most cases, mainframe computers are designed to complete specific tasks thus limiting their interaction with the user. On the contrary, personal computers are designed to undertake numerous activities and for that reason they require an intricate operating system. For this reason, an operating system for a personal computer must be


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