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Essential Guide to Computing: The Story of Information Technology, The by E. Garrison Walters

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Why Have an Operating System?

Is the OS necessary? The short answer is no. An OS is a convenience, not a necessity. There are many computer systems that don't have an OS; instead, they make the functions of the OS a part of another program. For example, many embedded processors have a single core of software that includes all functions that the computer will perform. So why have an OS if it isn't needed? The answer is to deal with complexity and to accommodate the need to revise and improve.

If you have a simple embedded system with very limited functions and just one or two connected devices, you might not want to add a big OS. When the time comes to upgrade the system, it will be relatively easy to rewrite all the software. But if the program ...

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