Chapter 1 – What is an Operating System and why is it Important?

The operating system you use on your computer is as important—or more so—than the hardware you run it on. This chapter of the DataBook for OS/2 discusses operating systems, why they are important, and why—at the time this was originally written—OS/2 was the best choice.

This chapter starts with a brief discussion of what OS/2 Warp really is, then proceeds with a brief introduction to the concepts, functions, and purposes of operating systems. It covers the basic tasks which an operating system performs.

This section also shows why the operating system of your computer is important to you. The importance of multitasking is covered and how multitasking enables you to use your computer more effectively. The different operating systems on the market today are discussed along with brief comparisons of OS/2, DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, and Windows NT. Which of today’s operating systems are appropriate for business and which ones are appropriate for small business and home use are also discussed.

Scalability is extremely important; running the same operating system from laptops to servers can make life much simpler for the network administrator or the IS manager. Warp is the only operating system on the market today which can provide that level of scalability.

A short discussion of the history and versions of OS/2 is also included in this chapter.