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whats the difference betwwen operating systems and applications

Nov 16th, 2001 16:19
Anthony Boyd, Mike Andrews,


An Operating System controls your computer and sets up an environment 
for you to work in.  The major Operating Systems you can get right now 
are Macintosh, Windows, and Linux.  Typical things an OS controls: the 
look and feel of your system, the menus, the sounds you hear (or don't) 
as you open & close things, and how you access the filesystem.  For 
example, on a Macintosh the menus are always stuck to the top of the 
screen.  You can't move them.  On Windows & Linux, the menus are 
usually stuck to the window, and can be dragged around as part of the 
window.  Windows has a "Start" menu.  Other Operating Systems don't.
Applications are the things you do with your computer.  These are 
usually the things non-geeks care about.  This is Microsoft Office or 
StarOffice.  This is PhotoShop, and Word, and Konqueror, and Netscape.  
This is usually anything you install to get some work (or play) done.
When you think about it, the concept is really just about layers.  You 
have the hardware itself, which doesn't do much alone.  You have the 
OS, which gives you access to the mouse, the hard drive, and all the 
other hardware.  And then you have the applications layered on top.