|"A manager's guide to the business and organisational applications of open source technologies"|
This chapter covers the basic operating system for "conventional" computers such as desktop PCs, minicomputers and mainframes. These operating systems are also used on embedded devices such as routers and machine controllers.
It is divided into four main sections:
The term "operating system" is traditionally defined as the software which acts as the intermediary between the hardware of the computer and its software applications. However, most so-called operating systems nowadays include a great deal more than just the core, and are considerably extended with applications, utilities and visual environments.
These combinations of the core operating system and additional software packages and utilities are known as "distributions". There are too many distributions to list here.
Whatever sort of hardware you have there is sure to be an open source operating system available for it. Indeed, there are many enthusiasts out there who maintain operating systems for very old hardware and exotic embedded devices.