An operating system provides the environment within which programs are executed. To construct such an environment, the system is partitioned into small modules with a well-defined interface. The design of a new operating system is a major task. It is very important that the goals of the system be will defined before the design begins. The type of system desired is the foundation for choices between various algorithms and strategies that will be necessary.

A system as large and complex as an operating system can only be created by partitioning it into smaller pieces. Each of these pieces should be a well-defined portion of the system with carefully defined inputs, outputs, and function. Obviously, not all systems have the same structure. However, many modern operating systems share the system components outlined below:

  1. Process management system
  2. I/O management system
  3. Main Memory management system
  4. File & Storage Management system
  5. Protection system
  6. Networking system
  7. Protection system
  8. Command Interpreter system

1. Process Management System

The CPU executes a large number of programs. While its main concern is the execution of user programs, the CPU is also needed for other system activities. These activities are called processes. A process is a program in execution. Typically, a batch job is a process. A time-shared user program is a process. A system task, such as spooling, is also a process. For now, a process may be considered as a job or a time-shared program, but the concept is actually more general.

In general, a process will need certain resources such as CPU time, memory, files, I/O devices, etc., to accomplish its task. These resources are given to the process when it is created. In addition to the various physical and logical resources that a process obtains when it is created, some initialization data (input) may be passed along. For example, a process whose function is to display on the screen of a terminal the status of a file, say F1, will get as an input the name of the file F1 and execute the appropriate program to obtain the desired information.

We emphasize that a program by itself is not a process; a program is a passive entity, while a process is an active entity. It is known that two processes may be associated with the same program, they are nevertheless considered two separate execution sequences.

A process is the unit of work in a system. Such a system consists of a collection of processes, some of which are operating system processes, those that execute system code, and the rest being user processes, those that execute user code. All of those processes can potentially execute concurrently.

The operating system is responsible for the following activities in connection with processes managed.

  • The creation and deletion of both user and system processes
  • The suspension is resumption of processes
  • The provision of mechanisms for process synchronization
  • The provision of mechanisms for deadlock handling

2. Memory Management System

Memory is central to the operation of a modern computer system. Memory is a large array of words or bytes, each with its own address. Interaction is achieved through a sequence of reads or writes of specific memory address. The CPU fetches from and stores in memory.

In order for a program to be executed it must be mapped to absolute addresses and loaded in to memory. As the program executes, it accesses program instructions and data from memory by generating these absolute is declared available, and the next program may be loaded and executed.

In order to improve both the utilization of CPU and the speed of the computer's response to its users, several processes must be kept in memory. There are many different algorithms depends on the particular situation. Selection of a memory management scheme for a specific system depends upon many factor, but especially upon the hardware design of the system. Each algorithm requires its own hardware support.

The operating system is responsible for the following activities in connection with memory management.

  • Keep track of which parts of memory are currently being used and by whom.
  • Decide which processes are to be loaded into memory when memory space becomes available.
  • Allocate and deallocate memory space as needed.

3. Secondary Storage Management System

The main purpose of a computer system is to execute programs. These programs, together with the data they access, must be in main memory during execution. Since the main memory is too small to permanently accommodate all data and program, the computer system must provide secondary storage to backup main memory. Most modem computer systems use disks as the primary on-line storage of information, of both programs and data. Most programs, like compilers, assemblers, sort routines, editors, formatters, and so on, are stored on the disk until loaded into memory, and then use the disk as both the source and destination of their processing. Hence the proper management of disk storage is of central importance to a computer system.

There are few alternatives. Magnetic tape systems are generally too slow. In addition, they are limited to sequential access. Thus, tapes are more suited for storing infrequently used files, where speed is not a primary concern.

The operating system is responsible for the following activities in connection with disk management.

  • Free space management
  • Storage allocation
  • Disk scheduling

4. I/O System

One of the important jobs of OS is to manage various I/O devices including mouse, keyboard, touch pad etc. I/O system required to take an application I/O request and send it to physical device, then take whatever response come back from device and send it to application. The I/O system consists of:

  • A buffer caching system
  • A general device driver code
  • Drivers for specific hardware devices

5. File Management System

File management is one of the most visible services of an operating system. Computers can store information in several different physical forms; magnetic tape, disk, and drum are the most common forms. Each of these devices has its own characteristics and physical organization.

For convenient use of the computer system, the operating system provides a uniform logical view of information storage. The operating system abstracts from the physical properties of its storage devices to define a logical storage unit, the file. Files are mapped, by the operating system, onto physical devices.

A file is a collection of related information defined by its creator. Commonly, files represent programs (both source and object forms) and data. Data files may be numeric, alphabetic or alphanumeric. Files may be free-form, such as text files, or may be rigidly formatted. In general, a file is a sequence of bits, bytes, lines or records whose meaning is defined by its creator and user. It is a very general concept.

The operating system implements the abstract concept of the file by managing mass storage device, such as types and disks. Also, files are normally organized into directories to ease their use. Finally, when multiple users have access to files, it may be desirable to control by whom and in what ways files may be accessed.

The operating system is responsible for the following activities in connection with file management:

  • The creation and deletion of files
  • The creation and deletion of directory
  • The support of primitives for manipulating files and directories
  • The mapping of files onto disk storage
  • Backup of files on stable (nonvolatile) storage

6. Protection System

The various processes in an operating system must be protected from each other’s activities. For that purpose, various mechanisms which can be used to ensure that the files, memory segment, CPU and other resources can be operated on only by those processes that have gained proper authorization from the operating system.

For example, memory addressing hardware ensure that a process can only execute within its own address space. The timer ensure that no process can gain control of the CPU without relinquishing it. Finally, no process is allowed to do its own I/O, to protect the integrity of the various peripheral devices.

Protection refers to a mechanism for controlling the access of programs, processes, or users to the resources defined by a computer controls to be imposed, together with some means of enforcement.

Protection can improve reliability by detecting latent errors at the interfaces between component subsystems. Early detection of interface errors can often prevent contamination of a healthy subsystem by a subsystem that is malfunctioning. An unprotected resource cannot defend against use (or misuse) by an unauthorized or incompetent user.

7. Networking System

A networking system of a computer OS that is designed of networking use. Networking system is an OS with file, task and job management. However in some earlier OS, it was a separate component that enhance a basic, non- networking OS by adding networking capabilities. NOS is designed primarily to support workstation, PC and in some instances, older terminal that are connected to LAN. Networking system allows to share file and printer access among multiple computers in a Network, to enable the sharing of data.

8. Command Interpreter System

One of the most important component of an operating system is its command interpreter. The command interpreter is the primary interface between the user and the rest of the system.

Many commands are given to the operating system by control statements. When a new job is started in a batch system or when a user logs-in to a time-shared system, a program which reads and interprets control statements is automatically executed.

This program is variously called (1) the control card interpreter, (2) the command line interpreter, (3) the shell (in Unix), and so on. Its function is quite simple: get the next command statement and execute it.

The command statement themselves deal with process management, I/O handling, secondary storage management, main memory management, file system access, protection, and networking.

In the following sections of this Chapter we show four important components of the operating system. There are process management, file organization, input/output, and memory management.