What is an operating system to the regular Joe or Jane? Perhaps it is a program that is the glue to hold other programs together. Since a computer also comprises pieces of hardware, that too is thrown into the equation. As a cherry on top, we must also factor in user behavior towards the computer. After having said all this, the question still remains what the fuss is all about.
This system that everyone speaks so highly about exists in most computerized devices. Thus, its most common existence is in the standard computer whether it is a desktop relic deserving a place in a museum or the latest gizmo pad out in the market. Other than these, its usage expands to robotic devices, automobiles, airplanes, spacecrafts, just to name a few. As such, the assumption that an operating system is solely to be used in a computer is far from the truth.
Despite the many types of computer systems in the market, a few flavors are obviously more dominant in presence than others. Largely due to extensive marketing efforts to convince the general crowd of users that one is better than the other, this is slowly changing as others creep into the once dominated space. Due to the generosity of certain aspiring individuals, there are specific systems which were written and then openly shared to the whole IT world without expecting any commercial return.
In the dark computer ages, these systems were mainly designed and created for large versions of computers such as the formidable mainframes. Due to their great capacity in resources such as storage and memory, it is essential that these resources be effectively utilized to process millions of instructions per second. However, no matter how efficient a device can be, it is not possible to perform two things at the same time. In order to achieve some semblance of this principle, resource usage was therefore shared between the many processes required by all its applications. To realize this sharing principle, the system sliced the computer's time into minute quantum to be allocated to each user accordingly. What is an operating system if it does not serve the needs of its many users? The term of multi something was therefore birthed and coined as processes, users, tasks and threads became the norm in all forms of computing.
The fact is established that this component is essential to a computer's well-being. To administer proper care, creators of the various types of computer systems always recommend periodic application of patches and fixes. This is to address glitches and gaping backdoors due to faulty programming as well as unintentionally letting the occasional few slip past quality control. Similarly to a human body, if upkeep is not done to maintain your computer's health, be prepared to face the consequences. As man turns blue when he's in trouble, so do some computer screens.