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Define Operating System & User Interface - Types of Operating Systems

An operating system is a collection of system programs that controls and co-ordinates the overall operations of a computer system. It provides an interface for the user to interact with the computer. A computer needs a operating system to do work. Without operating system, a computer is like a car with no fuel.

User interface is used to interact with the computer to performs various tasks. User gives commands to computer and enters the data into computer. These are examples of user interfacing. The operating system plays the main role for interfacing between user and computer. The input devices like keyboard and mouse are commonly used for giving commands to computer.

Types of Operating Systems
Based on the user interface, there are two types of operating systems.
  1. Graphical User Interface Operating System
  2. Command Line Operating System
1- Graphical User Interface Operating System
    Graphical User Interface (GUI) operating system presents commands in graphical form. For example, application programs, commands, disk drives, files etc. are presented in the form of icons. Usually a command is given to the computer by clicking with mouse on the icon. GUI also provides menus, buttons and other graphical objects to the user to perform different tasks. GUI is very easy to interact with the computer.

Example
Examples of GUI operating systems are Windows, Linux, and Solaris. Today Windows is commonly used in PCs. In Windows, mouse is used as input device.


Features of Graphical user interface OS:
Interfacing
It provides commands in graphical form on the computer screen. The user gives commands to computer by checking with mouse on the icon. The users have not to memorize commands. Usually mouse is used for interfacing with computer.

Control
Although a GUI offers a better control of a file system and computer resources but often users have to use command line to complete a specific tasks.

Ease
It is easy to learn and use.

Multitasking
GUI provides facility to open multiple programs each in a separate window. So it enables a user to view, and to manipulate multiple things at a time on computer screen.

Speed
A GUI is easier to use. However, it is slower to perform different tasks.

Scripting
Although a GUI enables a user to create shortcuts, or other similar actions to complete a task. However, GUI does not provide the facility of scripting a sequence of commands to perform a task.

1- Command Line Operating System
    A command line operating system provides a command prompt on the computer screen. The commands are given to the computer by typing on the keyboard. The commands are typed according to the predefined format. The users have to memorize commands and rules of writing these commands. It is not an easy way to interface with the computer.

Example
Examples of Command line operating systems are DOS (Disk Operating System), and Unix etc.


Features of Command Line OS:
Interfacing
It provides a commands prompt on the computer screen. The user gives commands to computer by typing on the keyboard. The users have to memorize commands and rules of writing these commands. Usually keyboard is used for interfacing with computer.

Control
It provides full access to computer resources.

Ease
It is difficult to learn and use.

Multitasking
Although many command line operating systems allow multitasking, but it is difficult in these operating systems to view multiple things at a time on computer screen.

Speed
The command line interface is faster than GUI to perform different tasks.

Scripting
A command line interface enables a user to easily script a sequence of commands to perform a tasks.

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