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What is an Operating System?

Published on January 20, 2021 · Updated on January 20, 2021
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By Lyn Muldrow

Senior Developer Educator

What is an Operating System?

An operating system is system software that handles computer memory, software and hardware resources, and processes, while providing common services and programming interfaces for computer programs. Examples of popular operating systems include WindowsOS, MacOS, and Linux.

Aside from firmware, all computer programs require an operating system to function, and they are typically preloaded on new computers. Each operating system has a different user interface, or UI, that allows users to interact with their computer.

To learn more, here’s some operating system specific resources, including a comprehensive list of resources for Windows, FreeBSD, and Linux.

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About the authors
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Senior Developer Educator

Software engineer, writer, and speaker who loves solving problems and educating the next generation.

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