CS35 : Operating Systems

Arguably the most important piece of software is the operating system. In fact, without this, there can be no computer at all. Very important then!

We are learning ...
  • About the function of operating systems
So that we can ...
  • Describe the functions of operating systems
    - Provision of a user interface
    - Memory management / multitasking
    - Peripheral management and drivers
    - User management
    - File management
    - Security
    - Provision of a virtual machine

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Activity 1
What is an operating system? 

An operating system provides the interface between the computer hardware and the software applications that we use as end users. Before operating systems were invented, computer programmers had to physically interact with the hardware ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNIVAC_1101  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_Baby
Click the images to find out more about computers before operating systems!

Task 1.1 Researching operating systems
Where we learn about different operating systems

10 minutes research

There are lots of different websites which list out the history of operating systems. Start with this Timeline of Operating Systems and then use Google Image Search to find some suitable visual timelines.

Your own gallery of operating systems

Now use your research to create your own timeline of just 10 different influential operating systems.

Activity 2
Functions of an operating system 

The functions of an operating system are many fold ...
  • Enables communication between hardware using device drivers;
  • Provide a user interface;
  • Virtual machine - provide a platform for software to run;
  • Provide memory management for access to RAM;
  • Disk and file management;
  • User account management;

Task 2.1 Graphical User Interfaces
Where we learn the functions of a graphical user interface and research some old ones

Window, Icon, Menu, Pointer Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Command Line Interface (CLI)

Make some notes, WIMP!

Make some notes on the 4 different functions that a Graphical User Interface (GUI) provides, WIMP! Make sure that you explain how each of the four functions helps the end user to use the computer, WIMP!

Research some old GUIs

Spend a little time poking around in the GUIdebook website looking at old operating system interfaces and the components which make them up. You'll notice that right from the start, they were all really wimpy!

Benefits and drawbacks

Finally, write about the benefits and drawbacks of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) over Command Line Interfaces (CLIs). You will have to perform some research to help you to answer this question, so make sure that you provide references for the websites you visit.

Assessment Task (Homework)

Really, you need to try some other operating systems out, either by following the instructions in the 'Hungry for More' section below or asking your teacher to try some out if your school has a demonstration Virtual Machine server. Merely taking an interest will gain you credit on this assessment.

Grading rubric
MASTER : You have installed your own operating systems using a virtual machine platform like Virtualbox and provided screenshot or video evidence of what you have achieved. Noice!
APPRENTICE : You have visited your teacher to spend some time looking at some operating systems that he / she has installed on a demonstration Virtual Machine server. You've chatted about them and made your teacher smile.
NOVICE : You haven't really done anything useful - you might have offered to come to see some alternative OSes or looked interested in installing your own virtual machine server but that's about it. At least you tried.

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Click to load key word list to help you make your own flash cards

Hungry for more?

If you fancy having a go at installing some operating systems yourself, the safest way to do this is using a Virtual Machine platform like Oracle VirtualBox. Most of the antique operating systems have come from WinWorld.

MS-DOS 6.22
The last distributed version of Microsoft DOS.
  1. Create a new Virtual Machine using the standard DOS settings. I created a fixed length 64MB hard disk drive though you may want to create a bigger one if you intend installing DOS games like Doom.
  2. Download the disk image files for MS-DOS 6.22 from my OneDrive folder and save them to your computer, unzipping them as necessary.
  3. Attach 'Disk1.img' to your VMs virtual floppy drive and start the machine up.
  4. Read through the message (if you want) and then press the 'ENTER' key to carry on.
  5. Again, click 'ENTER' to let the installer use all the available disk space.
  6. Finally, press 'ENTER' again to start the installation.
  7. When the machine restarts, you may need to change the Country and Keyboard settings to UK.
  8. Next, accept the default location for DOS to be installed.
  9. The installer will start copying the operating system onto the virtual hard disk.
  10. When the prompt appears for 'Setup Disk #2', press 'right CTRL' to release the mouse pointer from the VM, right click the floppy disk icon in the status bar, select 'Choose disk image ...' and choose 'Disk2.img' from the folder.
  11. Click back in the VM and press 'ENTER'.
  12. Repeat the process for 'Disk3.img'.
  13. Finally, choose 'Remove disk from virtual drive' from the floppy icon, click back in the VM and press 'ENTER'.
  14. Your VM should ask you to press 'ENTER' one more time to restart and ENJOY DOS 6.22!
  15. To close your machine down, simply close the window and choose 'Power Off'
Windows 1.0
The first ever commercially released version of the now ubiquitous operating system!
  1. Create a new virtual machine and call it 'Windows 1.0', choose type 'Microsoft Windows' and change the Version to 'Other Windows (32-bit)'.
  2. Download DOS 3.31 and Windows 1.0 (with mouse support), unzip both to a suitable and safe place.
  3. Set the recommended memory to 16MB - early versions of Windows didn't support a lot of memory!
  4. Create a virtual hard disk file and set it to fixed size of 32MB (yeah, that was enough in those days!)
  5. VirtualBox should create your machine.
  6. Now in 'Settings' ...
    - Remove the 'optical drive' from the boot order in 'System'
    - Remove the 'optical drive' from the IDE storage controller
    - Add a 'Floppy controller' and add the Disk1.img file from the DOS 3.31 folder
    - Click 'OK'
  7. Now boot up the machine. You'll very quickly get a message asking you to set the date and time. Go ahead and press the 'ENTER' key - it doesn't really matter! You'll be asked to set a time - again, press 'ENTER'.
  8. You'll get a message to say that DOS 3.31 has loaded and then an A> prompt.
  9. Next, we'll prepare the tiny hard disk drive to take Windows 1.0.
  10. Type 'fdisk' and press the 'ENTER' key.
  11. Make sure that [1] is selected and press 'ENTER' to create a DOS partition.
  12. Again, make sure that [1] is selected and press 'ENTER' to create a primary DOS partition.
  13. Accept the default option of using the maximum size and then making it active.
  14. Restart the system by pressing any key.
  15. The system will restart and you'll be asked for the date and time again. Press 'ENTER' twice and you'll get back to the A> prompt.
  16. Now format the hard drive by issuing the command 'format c:' and pressing the 'ENTER' key.
  17. Accept the warning by entering 'Y' and press 'ENTER' and then press 'ENTER' one more time to start the process.
  18. The format will proceed and you'll be presented with the A> prompt again.
  19. Now type 'sys c:' and press 'ENTER'. This will make the C drive bootable.
  20. Finally, copy DOS onto the C drive from the floppy. Type 'copy *.* c:' and press the 'ENTER' key.
  21. All 58 DOS files should now copy onto the C drive.
  22. Now remove the 'Disk1.img' file from the floppy drive and reset the machine.
  23. You'll be asked for the date and time again - just press 'ENTER' and you'll now be presented with the C> prompt.
  24. DOS 3.31 is now installed - ready for Windows 1.0?
  25. Attach the first disk image from the Windows 1.0 folder to the machine.
  26. Switch the the A drive by typing A: and pressing 'ENTER'
  27. Now type 'SETUP.EXE' and press 'ENTER'.
  28. Press 'C' to continue
  29. Press the 'ENTER' key to choose the default installation
  30. Press 'C' to continue
  31. Choose '2' for the pointing device and press 'ENTER'.
  32. Choose '5' for the graphics adapter and press 'ENTER'.
  33. Swap the disk for the 'build' disk when prompted.
  34. Swap the disk for the 'utility' disk when prompted.
  35. Do not set up a printer (N).
  36. Swap the disk for the 'apps' disk when prompted.
  37. Finally swap the disk for the 'write' disk and when this is finished, you should get a message telling you to type 'WIN' and press the 'ENTER' key ... voila!!!