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Technical Perspective: 'What Is the Ideal Operating System?'

scissor cutting through lines of computer code

Credit: Getty, Pngwing

My opening question for oral exams is an icebreaker for nervous students because no answer is wrong. It always depends on the application.

Operating systems (OSs) provide no business value on their own. Their sole purpose is to ease the development, integration, and operation of applications—that is, to provide the "right" set of abstractions and policies (and map them efficiently to the underlying hardware) for a particular application use case. The application use case may be your general-purpose desktop computer, an embedded real-time system, or your business service running in the cloud. The ideal OS provides exactly what is needed for your application—but nothing more.


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