Operating system types and their interfaces in workstations

There are huge numbers of Operating systems developed in the past 2 to 3 decades. Every computing device has some sort of operating system that runs within it, similarly the workstations also supports many operating systems but there are four main operating systems that are currently used every where. These four main operating systems for the workstations are

  • Windows OS
  • Linux OS
  • Mac OS
  • Chrome OS
Figure: windows, Mac and Linux Operating systems

Windows Operating system

The Microsoft Windows family of operating systems has been the largest installation operating systems in the desktop and laptop PC market. Windows family is developed by the American company i.e. Microsoft and these are commercial operating systems which means that we can only use these when we purchase its license from the company.

Microsoft windows family has many versions of operating systems but the most popular was the windows7 because it is friendly user OS as compared to others. Its latest version is windows 10. Some of the major versions of the windows operating systems are shown in the table below.

Table: Major windows Operating systems

These all versions of windows operating systems have different interfaces. The following figures shows windows 7, windows 8.1 and windows10 interfaces.

Figure: windows 7 interface
Figure: Windows 8.1 interface
Figure: Windows 10 interface

Linux Operating systems

Linux was developed in 1991 by Linus Torvalds and it is one of the derivative of UNIX. Linux is also the least popular operating system for workstation installation.

Linux is open source operating system which means that anyone can download it, use it and can modify it according to their will. Linux is basically a command-line operating system. However, many distributions (distros) come with a desktop environment (DE) that provides a GUI for Linux users. One of the most popular distros for casual users is Ubuntu. There are also other distros in Linux like Linux Mint, Debian, KDE, and Red Hat.

In the Ubuntu interface, the topmost Launcher button is the Dash button, which is almost equivalent to Windows’ Start button. We install applications in Ubuntu mostly through CLI. The following figure shows the Ubuntu interface.

Figure: Linux distribution: Ubuntu Interface

Mac Operating system

Apple introduced the Macintosh computer in 1984 and it had a very easy-to-use interface — the first popular WIMP(Window, Icon, Menu and Pointer) interface. The OS on the first Mac was simply called System. Many previous versions using the word ‘system’ are system 1–7 in which System 7 was the last version to use the “System” name.

With update 7.6, Apple dropped the title and renamed it Mac OS. Mac OS X was the tenth version of the Mac series of operating systems which has many updated features as compared to its previous ones. Similarly, Max OS X has many updated versions and Apple has named each version after large cats. These all versions of Mac OS X are shown in the figure bellow.

Figure: Various updated versions of Mac OS X

Mac OS X has also user friendly interfaces like windows and these are also a commercial operating systems which require proper license before use it. These are used in high visual projects because they have high definition graphics as compared to all other types of operating systems.

The latest version of Mac OS X is macOS Sierra 10.12 and its User Interface is shown in the figure below.

Figure: macOS Sierra 10.12 Interface

Chrome OS

Chrome OS was developed by Google and launched in 2011. Chrome OS is supposed to be lightweight and perform the most common tasks users need today. Chrome desktop looks like most other modern OS desktops, with a launcher in the lower-left corner, a taskbar, and status tray with a clock in the lower-right corner.

One interesting thing about Chrome OS is that it stores very little on the local computer. Everything is stored on the cloud. Chrome operating systems are mostly found on the small mini Netbooks which are also called Chromebooks. These don’t have proper versions like the windows or mac OS, but instead these are automatically updated through the Internet. The Chrome OS interface is shown in the figure below.

Figure: Chrome OS interface
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