|the set of software that controls the overall operation of a computer system, typically by performing such tasks as memory allocation, job scheduling, and input/output control|
|a gadget; dingus; thingumbob.|
|a fool or simpleton; ninny.|
|operating system (ŏp'ə-rā'tĭng) Pronunciation Key
Software designed to handle basic elements of computer operation, such as sending instructions to hardware devices like disk drives and computer screens, and allocating system resources such as memory to different software applications being run. Given uniformly designed operating systems that run on many different computers, developers of software do not need to concern themselves with these problems, and are provided with a standard platform for new programs.
operating systemn. [techspeak] (Often abbreviated `OS') The foundation software of a machine; that which schedules tasks, allocates storage, and presents a default interface to the user between applications. The facilities an operating system provides and its general design philosophy exert an extremely strong influence on programming style and on the technical cultures that grow up around its host machines. Hacker folklore has been shaped primarily by the Unix, ITS, TOPS-10, TOPS-20/TWENEX, WAITS, CP/M, MS-DOS, and Multics operating systems (most importantly by ITS and Unix).