A Single-User Operating System And A Multi-User Operating System

A single-user operating system

We are all familiar with the concept of sitting down at a computer system and writing documents or performing some task such as writing a letter. In this instance there is one keyboard and one monitor that you interact with.

Operating systems such as Windows 95, Windows NT Workstation and Windows 2000 professional are essentially single user operating systems. They provide you the capability to perform tasks on the computer system such as writing programs and documents, printing and accessing files.

Consider a typical home computer. There is a single keyboard and mouse that accept input commands, and a single monitor to display information output. There may also be a printer for the printing of documents and images.

In essence, a single-user operating system provides access to the computer system by a single user at a time. If another user needs access to the computer system, they must wait till the current user finishes what they are doing and leaves.

Students in computer labs at colleges or University often experience this. You might also have experienced this at home, where you want to use the computer but someone else is currently using it. You have to wait for them to finish before you can use the computer system.

A multi-user operating system

A multi-user operating system lets more than one user access the computer system at one time. Access to the computer system is normally provided via a network, so that users access the computer remotely using a terminal or other computer.

In the early days of large multi-user computers, multiple terminals (keyboards and associated monitors) were provided. These terminals sent their commands to the main multi-user computer for processing, and the results were then displayed on the associated terminal monitor screen. Terminals were hard-wired directly to the multi-user computer system.

Today, these terminals are generally personal computers and use a network to send and receive information to the multi-user computer system. Examples of multi-user operating systems are UNIX, Linux (a UNIX clone) and mainframes such as the IBM AS400.

The operating system for a large multi-user computer system with many terminals is much more complex than a single-user operating system. It must manage and run all user requests, ensuring they do not interfere with each other. Devices that are serial in nature (devices which can only be used by one user at a time, like printers and disks) must be shared amongst all those requesting them (so that all the output documents are not jumbled up). If each user tried to send their document to the printer at the same time, the end result would be garbage. Instead, documents are sent to a queue, and each document is printed in its entirety before the next document to be printed is retrieved from the queue. When you wait inline at the cafeteria to be served you are in a queue. Imagine that all the people in the queue are documents waiting to be printed and the cashier at the end of the queue is the printer.

LINUX Operating System Administration – Establishing Standards

Today the world seems to be abound with LINUX operating system administration experts… Unfortunately, anyone can build a flashy website bag a few Software Development tools and away they go. There is an expansive universe of standards between the professional kind of Web Software Development and the ‘other’ kind of Systems Development. The architecture of a reliable operating system administration solution is planned and created using established Software Coding Standards. Something an amateur Software Computer Engineer will rarely do: And it ALWAYS shows.

The Open Source Project – In the Beginning was a word…

Open Source pertains to computer technology and software. In principle it was present on the Internet in 1969: When the great worldwide web was little more than a glorified message board. Today Open Source is an approved and a licensed trademark saving businesses billions in revenue each year. Originally, Open Source was a term applied as part of a ‘free software’ marketing drive by the Open Source Initiative (AKA Open Source Project) in 1998 – And it is the OSI who set the standard and criteria for ‘OSI Certified’ software licences.

Many other organisations and Companies have facilitated the free exchange of software in a similar way – The source release of IBM Operating Systems, Netscape and Firefox for example. The Linux Operating System Administration is probably one of the most renowned Open Source software platforms to date: LINUX applications have been relied upon by large Companies for some time and are now being utilised by small businesses more and more.

Cost Effective Development

Having a strong team of IT Professionals with a range of LINUX Support and development abilities working for you means you can be confident that your operating system administration is reliable and competitively priced. Rather than cutting back on quality, just cut back on the errors: Lesser experienced technicians cost time and so money which in the long run amounts to somewhat of a false economy.

Of course before your Company can develop its Website it is important to ensure that the foundations of that website are solid – This means ensuring your Web Design not only looks good but is functional and easy to navigate AND administrate.

LINUX Operating System Administration Development

A comprehensive LINUX Engineer can create custom specific software suitable for a variety of functions. This can be invaluable to an expanding business as well as new businesses: Utilizing LINUX – Open Source Solutions is a feasible option even for small businesses. From Content Management Systems to complete email solutions: Everything you Website needs to be effective and so productive.

The Vulnerabilities of Outdated Operating Systems

Keeping your computer’s operating system up-to-date is rudimentary to keeping the system secure. Why? Whether your computer is built around a Windows, Mac, Unix, or Linux-based operating system (OS), the developers of the operating system – whether maintained commercially or through open source communities – are attempting to enhance the capabilities, features, and most importantly the security of the system. When a manufacturer releases a new OS, they are not just looking to profit from a new product, they are striving to produce and distribute a better product. In fact the latest trend this past year in commercial operating systems released by top corporations in the industry (i.e., Apple and Microsoft) is to provide consumers with FREE upgrades to the latest operating system. This means that corporations are not even profiting from the distribution of their latest system. So why not upgrade your computers’ operating systems when there are no financial costs involved?

Going back to why developers change operating systems on a regular and ongoing basis; while it has everything to do with business, only a fraction is about profits. One of the greatest advantages with a free market is that businesses will compete to produce a better, more desirable product. While competing to improve products, in this case, operating systems, the developers strive to enhance virtually all aspects of a system, including but definitely not limited to its security features. This is not an article on economics, but on why users should focus on the benefits in upgrading computers’ operating systems, instead of the drawbacks, and how upgrading the OS may improve the security of the computer and the user’s data it stores.

Often users have kept computers on the same operating system (usually the OS pre-installed when the computer was purchased) for years and even decades. Non-technical users will hesitate to upgrade the OS in order to avoid making any changes that might break the computer, or worse – might rearrange the desktop, menus, and toolbars in such a manner that it is difficult for the user to navigate or utilize. We get it, change is scary. When desktops and menus change appearance, and options are relocated, it can be hard to adjust to the new layout. Yet, if a user can overcome the temporary inconveniences of navigating a new operating system, he or she will experience the comforts and assurances that come with the upgrade.

Over a period of time, the number of exploits into any (and every) type of OS will increase thanks to penetration testers, hackers, and malware developers. The truth of the matter is that the longer a system is in circulation, the longer programmers have been attempting to exploit it through hacks, cracks, malware, and other tricks. It is a never-ending game of breaching and patching a system that makes it more secure. The problem with legacy operating systems – note, the word legacy is meant to describe a product that is no longer supported by the manufacturer – is that any newly discovered vulnerabilities in the system will never be patched or secured. Security vulnerabilities can allow attackers and/or malware to bypass network protocols, execute remote codes, escalate access privileges to system programs and files, disclose or collect user profile information, corrupt system drivers or files, cause a denial of service, and perform other activities that could harm the user, the system, and/or application(s).

When an OS reaches the end-of-life date set by the manufacturer, there will be no more resources or support available to maintain the retired system. The manufacturer will invest its resources in a new(er) system or product. Thus, when a manufacturer retires a system, so should the users. Users that keep their computers’ OS upgraded and up-to-date will have access to multiple types of patches for vulnerabilities, including:

  1. Definition Updates. Definitions added to system databases are used to detect malicious code, phishing websites, and/or junk mail (spam).
  2. Security Updates. An update will include patches or fixes for a product-specific, security-related vulnerability.
  3. Service Packs (Windows-only). A service pack consists of a batch of cumulative hotfixes, security updates, critical and non-critical updates.

A computer that has a supported OS can access the latest definition/security updates and service packs that are tested and released by the developers. Users that do not upgrade their computers’ operating systems, which have reached end-of-life, are leaving their computers and data at risk of being compromised.