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There aren’t really any development fields more challenging than operating system (OS) development. It is the “great pinnacle of programming.” Few programmers ever attempt to build an OS and many of those who do make the attempt never produce a functioning system.
However, if you do make it all the way to the finish line and produce a functional operating system, you will have joined an elite group of top-flight programmers.
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How To Make An Operating System In Python
The earliest computers did not have operating systems.
Every program that ran on these early systems had to include all of the code necessary to run the computer, communicate with connected hardware, and perform the computation the program was actually intended to perform. This situation meant that even simple programs were complex.
As computer systems diversified and became more complex and powerful, it became increasingly impractical to write programs that functioned as both an operating system and a useful application.
In response, individual mainframe computer owners began to develop system software that made it easier to write and run programs and operating systems were born.
An operating system (OS) is software that manages computer hardware and system resources and provides the tools that applications need to operate. The birth of operating systems meant that programs no longer had to be written to control the entire scope of computer operation.
Instead, computer applications could be written to be run by the operating system while the operating system worried about computer resources and connected peripheral equipment such as printers and punched paper card readers.
A Brief History of Operating Systems
The first operating system was created by General Motors in 1956 to run a single IBM mainframe computer. Other IBM mainframe owners followed suit and created their own operating systems.
As you can imagine, the earliest operating systems varied wildly from one computer to the next, and while they did make it easier to write programs, they did not allow programs to be used on more than one mainframe without a complete rewrite.
In the 1960s, IBM was the first computer manufacturer to take on the task of operating system development and began distributing operating systems with their computers.
However, IBM wasn’t the only vendor creating operating systems during this time. Control Data Corporation, Computer Sciences Corporation, Burroughs Corporation, GE, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Xerox all released mainframe operating systems in the 1960s as well.
In the late 1960s, the first version of the Unix operating system was developed. Written in C, and freely available during it’s earliest years, Unix was easily ported to new systems and rapidly achieved broad acceptance.
Many modern operating systems, including Apple OS X and all Linux flavors, trace their roots back to Unix.
Microsoft Windows was developed in response to a request from IBM for an operating system to run its range of personal computers.
The first OS built by Microsoft wasn’t called Windows, it was called MS-DOS and was built in 1981 by purchasing the 86-DOS operating system from Seattle Computer Products and modifying it to meet IBM’s requirements.
The name Windows was first used in 1985 when a graphical user interface was created and paired with MS-DOS.
Apple OS X, Microsoft Windows, and the various forms of Linux (including Android) now command the vast majority of the modern operating system market.
The Parts of an Operating System
Operating systems are built out of two main parts:
- The kernel;
- System programs.
The kernel is the heart of the operating system. It is the first program loaded when the computer starts up, it manages computer resources, and it handles requests from system programs and applications.
System programs run on top of the kernel. They aren’t used to perform useful work, instead, they are the programs necessary to connect the kernel to user applications and peripheral devices. Device drivers, file systems, networking programs, and system utilities like disk defragmeters are all examples of system programs.
Application programs aren’t part of the operating system and are the programs used to perform useful work. Word processing applications, browsers, and media player are common types of application programs. Application programs are managed and enabled by the kernel, and use system programs to access computer periphery devices and hardware.
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The list of things you need to know before you attempt to undertake operating system development is very long. The three most important things you need to master prior to jumping into OS development are:
- Basic computer science knowledge;
- Computer programming theory and best-practices;
- Low-level and a high-level programming languages.
Learn Computer Science
OS development isn’t like web development. It isn’t something you can jump into and learn as you go. You need to develop a solid foundation in computer science before moving on to other topics.
Here are some resources to get you started:
Coursera: Computer Science 101 is the course you should take first if you are brand new to the field of computer programming and computer science.
If you have a little knowledge and experience under your belt, skip this course in favor of the Udacity of edX options. However, if you are brand new to the field, this course takes a no-prior-experience approach to introducing computer science and programming topics.
Udacity: Intro to Computer Science takes a web-development approach to teaching computer science. While not directly applicable to the prospect of building an operating system, this is a solid course that delivers useful information and provides a good overview of the basics of computer programming.
edX: Introduction to Computer Science is the most complete and in-depth computer science course in this list. This free, self-paced course was designed by Harvard University and mirrors the content presented in the course by the same name offered on the campus of Harvard University.
Learn Computer Programming
With a solid grasp of computer science under your belt and some limited experience with programming languages, the next step is to learn how to tackle a large-scale programming project.
Udacity: Software Development Process is an excellent course everyone should take if they’ve never undertaken a large-scale, challenging programming project before. In this course you’ll learn workflow and management tools and techniques such as Git and how to set up an integrated development environment.
Learn Programming Languages
In order to develop an operating system, you will need to master at least two programming languages:
- Low-level assembly language;
- A high-level programming language.
Assembly languages are used to communicate directly with a CPU. Each type of CPU speaks a machine language and there is just one corresponding assembly language for each type of CPU. The most common computer architecture is x86, it was originally developed by Intel and is now used by a wide range of computer chip manufacturers including AMD, VIA, and many others. In this guide we will point you in the direction of learning x86 assembly language.
High-level programming languages work with multiple computer architectures. C is the programming language most commonly used and recommended for writing operating systems. For this reason, we are going to recommend learning and using C for OS development. However, other languages such as C++ and Python can also be used.
x86 Assembly Language
The x86 Assembly Guide is a great place to start learning assembly language. This short document provides a brief overview of x86 assembly language and will set the stage for the more advanced resources you’ll be moving on to next.
Programming from the Ground Up by Jonathan Bartlett is one of the defining books of the assembly language landscape. This book uses assembly language as the basis for learning computer science and programming. This resource is also available from the Internet Archive.
The Art of Assembly Language by Randy Hyde is another iconic text in the world of assembly language education. Originally written specifically for Hyde’s programming courses at Cal Poly and UC Riverside, the text was released as an HTML ebook in the mid-1990s and is recognized as a defining work within the field. The text is also hosted as a series of PDF files by the Yale FLINT Group.
If you want to use a traditional textbook to learn about x86 assembly language two of the most commonly used and highly recommended texts are:
- Assembly Language Step-by-Step: Programming with Linux by Jeff Duntemann;
- Modern X86 Assembly Language Programming by Daniel Kusswurm.
There are many high-level programming languages you could learn and many different resources you could use to learn them. Our recommendation, and the recommendation most commonly echoed by the OS development community, is to learn C, and we’ve found several excellent resources that will turn you into a competent C programmer.
Get a quick overview of the C programming language by completing this C Tutorial. This resource won’t turn you into an expert, but it will give you a good basic understanding of the language and prepare you to tackle more challenging topics and resources.
Learn C the Hard Way is a free HTML ebook that includes many practice exercises. This text walks you all the way through the C programming language, and if you put in the work, take your time, and complete all of the exercises, you’ll be well on your way to being a competent C programmer by the time you complete this tutorial.
If a traditional textbook is something you’re more likely to work your way through, these two texts are some of the most popular for mastering the C programming language.
- The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Ritchie;
- C Programming Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Perry and Miller.
OS Development Tutorials
Once you have a strong grasp of the fundamental concepts of computer science and programming, and have mastered assembly language and C, the next step is to complete one or two OS development tutorials that walk through the entire process of developing a simple OS from scratch. We found three excellent resources that do just that.
Linux From Scratch will walk you through the process of building a complete Linux operating system. Completely this tutorial won’t produce a full-fledged operating system, but it will give you a solid code base on which to build out a complete operating system. Tackle advanced tutorials such as Beyond Linux from Scratch, Automated Linux from Scratch, Cross Linux from Scratch, or Hardened Linux from Scratch to build your basic OS into a useful piece of software.
The little book about OS development by Erik Helin and Adam Renberg was developed as part of an advanced computer science course the authors completed while students as the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. This course walks through the complete process of developing an x86 operating system by beginning with setting up a programming environment, culminating in programming for multitasking, and hitting topics such as managing system memory and developing file systems along the way.
Operating System Development Series from Broken Thorn Entertainment is a series of 25 tutorials that walk you through the process of creating an OS from the ground up. Beginners beware: this series assumes you already know your way around an IDE and are a competent C and assembly language programmer.
There are many texts you could use to learn about the discipline of OS development. Three of the most commonly recommended are:
- Modern Operating Systems by Tanenbaum and Bos;
- The Design of the UNIX Operating System by Maurice Bach;
- Operating System Concepts by Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne.
OS Development Communities
As you embark on the journey of becoming an OS developer, there are a few places where you can find other OS developers to learn from and commiserate with:
- OSDev.org is a wiki with a great deal of information about OS development as well as a forum where you can meet and get feedback from other like-minded programmers.
- OS Development Channel on reddit is a great community where you can learn about OS development and enjoy a moment of levity when the task of OS development becomes a bit to arduous.
- Computer Science, Programmers, and StackOverflow from StackExchange are places you can pose technical questions to other programmers when you come up against a problem you can’t seem to figure out on your own.
What Is The Difference Between Server OS And Everyday OS?
Understanding how to differentiate a server OS from an everyday one is vital to our discussion. The differences are very specific.
An everyday OS will be able to run programs like MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. including running one of your favorite video games. It enables applications that make browsing the web and checking emails easy. It uses LAN and Bluetooth connections and is cheaper than a server OS.
Server OS, on the other hand, are expensive and rightfully so. These platforms enable unlimited user connections, a greater memory capacity, and act as universal servers for web, emails, and databases.
A server OS can handle multiple desktops as it is optimized for a network instead of catering to a single user.
What Is An Operating System?
An operating system in its most general definition is the software that allows a user to run crucial applications on his/her computing device. It helps to manage a computer’s hardware resources. It helps to support basic functions like scheduling tasks, and controlling peripherals.
Which OS Is Best For Personal Use?
When it comes to home use, traditional Windows and MAC OS are great options. At home, you don’t need powerful OS especially for simple tasks like writing or browsing the web. For gaming, the Windows operating system is well optimized than that of MAC.
Which Is The Fastest OS?
While discussing the fastest OS, there is no argument that Linux based OS is the lightest and fastest OS in the market right now. It doesn’t need a powerful processor unlike Windows to operate at an optimal level.
Linux based OS like Ubuntu Server, CentOS server, Fedora is great options especially for running business enterprises where substantial computing power is mandatory.
Free Operating System Alternatives
We understand that not everyone has enough dollars to afford a high-grade operating system for their computers. However, that’s not all the bad news as there are free OS alternatives which ensure that your computer keeps running. All the below options are available for download, hence you can simply install it today.
- Linux: Linux is absolutely free and will literally run on anything.
- Chrome OS: Chrome OS is available on a number of Low cost and some high-end laptops, like chrome books.
- Free BSD: With its roots connected to Linux, it is the modern-day version of the Berkeley Software Distribution.
- Syllable: Syllable is yet another free alternative for home and small business users only.
- ReactOS: Initially launched as a Windows 95 clone, this OS has come a long way since then.
Notable mentions go to OS like Haiku, MorphOS, Android.
OS Market Share
Also read =>> 10 Best Laptops For Coders
Android: 39.19%, Windows: 35.12, iOS: 13.85%, MAC OS: 5 %, Linux: 0.77% are some numbers for the market share of these companies.
As of July 2019, Android’s pervasiveness through portable smartphones has made it an undisputed leader in the Operating Systems domain.
It is followed closely by Windows whose familiarity crosses boundaries beyond the United States. Apple iOS and Mac OS are understandably behind because of their exclusiveness to the Apple brand.Pro Tip: Before deciding on your operating system, try to identify what your requirements are. If you have a budget and want the best gaming and application experience then maybe you won’t mind spending a few bucks on the Windows Pro Version. For entrepreneurs, who might be looking for more than just an application running system, opt for a Linux based system for optimal results.
The below list aims at making your decision-making process simpler, hence you don’t need to waste time on pondering over what is best.=>> Contact us to suggest a listing here.
10 Best Operating Systems In Market
Get ready to explore the top operating systems that are used worldwide.
- Mac OS
- Free BSD
- Chrome OS
Comparison Of The Top Operating Systems
|OS Name||Computer Architecture Supported||Target System Default||Security Threat||Best For||Price||Website|
|Workstation, Personal Computer||Huge||Apps, Gaming, Browsing||$119 – $199||Windows|
|Workstation, Personal Computer||Negligible||Apple Exclusive Apps||Free||Mac OS|
|Desktop/server||Negligible||Open Source Downloading, APPS||Free||Ubuntu|
|Desktop/server||Negligible||Coding, Corporate Use||Free||Fedora|
|Server, Workstation, NAS, embedded||Negligible||Networking||Free||FreeBSD|
Best For Apps, Browsing, Personal Use, Gaming, etc.
Price: $119 – $199$ (Pro)
Windows is the most popular and familiar operating system on this list. From Windows 95, all the way to the Windows 10, it has been the go-to operating software that is fueling the computing systems worldwide.
It is user-friendly, and starts up & resumes operations fast. The latest versions have more built-in security to keep you and your data safe.
- A robust User Interface which helps in easier navigation, with a start menu on the left side by listing out options and representing applications.
- The Task View feature lets the users switch between multiple workspaces at once, by displaying all the open Windows.
- Two separate user interfaces, one for mouse and keyboard, and the ‘Tablet Mode’ designed for touchscreens.
- Multifactor authentication technology for higher security like BIN, PIN, Fingerprint recognition, etc.
- Automatically compress system files to reduce the storage footprint.
Verdict: The Windows software is simply best because of how it has evolved with time. Its security system is state-of-the-art, its user interface allows convenient usage irrespective of the device that you are using it on. The only thing that will pinch some is its price.
Best for Open Source Downloading, Running Apps, Browsers, and Gaming.
Ubuntu is a Linux based OS that comes with everything that you are looking for in an operating system. It is perfect for organizations, schools, and home use. It is free to download, use, and share and that alone should be worth checking this app out.
Suggested reading =>> Windows Vs Ubuntu- Which is a better OS?
It is backed by Canonical which is a global software company, and now by the leading Ubuntu service providers.
- Ubuntu is an Open Source software, which allows it to be freely downloaded, used and shared by its users.
- It comes with a built-in firewall and virus protection software, by making it the most secure OS around.
- You get five years of security patches and updates.
- Ubuntu is fully translated into 50 different languages.
- It works and is compatible with all the latest laptops, desktops and touch screen devices.
Verdict: Ubuntu is a great option for those with holes for pockets. Its open-source feature is enticing enough to attract many users. But, it also makes up in quality by providing a robust interface, and security features that are too hard to pass on.
#3) Mac OS
Best For Apple-exclusive Apps, Dynamic Desktop, etc.
Price: Free with Apple Devices.
The Mac OS has been the staple of almost all Apple devices as we can remember. It has evolved with time to include the features that first and foremost define innovation.
In recent years, the MAC operating systems have been completely free with the occasional free upgrade by its developers. For Apple users, there is no other option except the MAC OS.
- The new dark mode gives your desktop interface a more dramatic look which is easier on the eyes.
- A dynamic desktop which helps to automatically organize your desktop files by kind, date or tag.
- Continuity camera that scans or photographs a document nearby your iPhone and automatically appears on your mac.
- Discover handpicked apps with the MAC app store.
- New iTunes that allows users to search for songs with few lyrics.
- Prevent websites from tracking your Mac by making your profile more anonymous online.
Verdict: Mac’s biggest accomplishment is how dynamic the look and design of its interface appears. It is probably one of the best looking OS today. Now, Apple is allowing its users to get their hands on this OS and all its upgrades for free, and this has alleviated a lot of burden from Apple users who are already paying heftily for the Apple devices.
Best For Open Source Development, Corporate Use, etc.
Fedora is another Linux based system which gives Ubuntu’s open-source features a run for the money. Fedora is reliable, user-friendly and makes for a powerful operating system for any laptop and desktop computer.
Fedora is the Operating system that is for casual users and caters to students, hobbyists, and professionals working in corporate environments.
- A sleek new user interface that allows the developers to focus on their code on Gnome 3 environment.
- It offers a complete open-source toolbox with languages, tools, and utilities in all just a click or commands away.
- Allows digging into powerful virtualization tools to get virtual machines up and running.
- Containerize the own applications or deploy applications out of the box with OCI (Open Container Initiative) image support.
Verdict: Although also good for personal use, fedora works best for developers in the corporate environment. It has all the tools and utilities that a developer needs to work on in their projects and is free of cost!
Best for Large workload processing, managing multiple databases, etc.
Solaris is a UNIX based operating system which was originally developed by Sun Microsystems in the mid-’90s. In 2010 it was renamed as Oracle Solaris after Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems. It is known for its scalability and several other features that made it possible such as Dtrace, ZFS and Time Slider.
- Provides the most advanced security features in the world such as process and user rights management, thereby allowing you to secure mission-critical data.
- It offers indisputable performance advantages for web, database, and java-based services.
- Delivers high-performance networking without any modification.
- Unlimited capacity for helping in managing file system and databases.
- Allows seamless inter-operability for solving hundreds of hardware and software problems.
Verdict: Oracle Solaris is considered as one of the best free open source OS in the industry by most of them. It allows for scalability, interoperability, data management and security that are all critical for businesses with the need for high-end operating software.
#6) Free BSD
Best For Networking, Internet and Intranet server compatibility.
FreeBSD, as the name suggests is a free UNIX based open-source software. It is compatible with a variety of platforms and mainly focuses on features such as speed, and stability. The most fascinating part about this software is its origin. It was built in the University of California by a large community.
- Advanced networking, compatibility, and security features which are still missing in many OS today.
- Ideal for internet and intranet services and can handle large loads and manages memory efficiently to maintain good responses for multiple simultaneous users.
- Advanced embedded platform catering to higher-end Intel-based appliances.
- Easy to install using CD-ROM, DVD or directly over the network using FTP and NPS.
Verdict: Free BSD’s biggest appeal is its ability to deliver a robust operating system, given the fact that it was built by a large community of students. It is best for networking, and is compatible across multiple devices and is very simple to install. Hence, give it a try.
Website: Free BSD
#7) Chrome OS
Best For a Web application.
Chrome OS is another Linux-kernel based operating software that is designed by Google. As it is derived from the free chromium OS, it uses the Google Chrome web browser as its principal user interface. This OS primarily supports web applications.
- An integrated media player that enables the users to play MP3’s, view JPEG’S and handle other multimedia files while offline.
- Remote application access and virtual desktop access.
- Chrome OS is designed to be compatible with all the Android applications.
- With Chrome OS it is possible to run Linux applications.
Verdict: Chrome OS is an operating software that works fine, but there is still a lot of promise to what it might eventually become. For now, it is good for multi-media, Linux and Android applications. For the other features, we will have to just wait and watch.
Website: Chrome OS
Best for Coding, Personal, and Business Use.
The CentOS is another community-driven open source free software that allows robust platform management. It is best for developers who are looking for an operating system that simply helps them to perform their coding tasks. That’s not to say that it has nothing to offer those who simply want to use it for mundane purposes.
- Extensive resources for coders looking to build, test and release their codes.
- Advanced networking, compatibility, and security features that are still missing in many OS today.
- It allows for seamless interoperability by solving hundreds of hardware and software problems.
- It provides the most advanced security features in the world such as process and user rights management, thereby allowing you to secure mission-critical data.
Verdict: We recommend CentOS to coders than for personal and home use. CentOS makes their coding work simpler and faster. Moreover, it is free.
Best For Running Apps.
Debian is again a Linux kernel-based free open-source OS. It comes with over 59000 packages and is a pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format. It is easy to install and offers a user-friendly interface.
- Faster and lighter than the other OS, irrespective of the processor speed.
- It comes with in-built security firewalls to protect valuable data.
- Easy to install through any medium.
- Advanced networking, compatibility, and security features which are still missing in many OS today.
Verdict: Debian might not be the most versatile of the Operating systems mentioned above, but its free open source feature makes it something that you should try if you are short on cash.
Best For Running Application.
Deepin is an open-source operating system based on Debian’s stable branch. It features DDE, (Deepin Desktop Environment built on QT. It has been praised for its beautiful aesthetics and very appealing interface.
- User-Friendly and Robust Aesthetics.
- Advanced security features.
- Simple Installation Procedure.
- Home to custom-tailored Deepin apps like font installer, file manager, screenshot, Deepin screen recorder, voice recorder, image and movie viewer, etc.
Verdict: Deepin can very well qualify as its own little niche OS. It is free and improves upon many shortcomings of Debian. With more modifications, it will compete with the top operating systems like Windows and Mac in no time.
An operating system is a fuel that is required to run your computer at your convenience. There are many OS out there that make it possible. Choose the best operating system that suits your needs and comfort.
If you are looking for personal use like gaming and browsing, then Windows is perfect for you. If you have an Apple device then you have no other option than using the MAC OS.
For businesses, there is the option of Linux and UNIX based OS. Whatever you choose the above list will help you clarify any confusion and make the right decision.
The Best OS must be capable of:
- Running critical computing applications.
- Manage a device’s software and hardware.
- Connect with the CPU for memory and storage allocation.
Learning OS development is one of the most challenging programming tasks you can undertake. However, succeeding in your effort to build a working OS will mark you as a competent programmer and one who deeply understands how processors, hardware, and computer programs work together to create what the rest of the world takes for granted as a functioning computer.