State several devices other than desktop PCs and servers that require an operating system and list one possible operating system for each type of device.

An operating system (OS) is the software that manages the sharing of the resources of a computer and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources. An operating system processes system data and user input, and responds by allocating and managing tasks and internal system resources as a service to users and programs of the system. At the foundation of all system software, an operating system performs basic tasks such as controlling and allocating memory, prioritizing system requests, controlling input and output devices, facilitating networking and managing file systems. Most operating systems come with an application that provides a user interface for managing the operating system, such as a command line interpreter or graphical user interface. The operating system forms a platform for other system software and for application software.

The most commonly-used contemporary desktop OS is Microsoft Windows, with Mac OS X also being well-known. Linux and the BSD derivatives are popular Unix-like systems.

Process management

Every program running on a computer, be it a service or an application, is a process. As long as a von Neumann architecture is used to build computers, only one process per CPU can be run at a time. Older microcomputer OSes such as MS-DOS did not attempt to bypass this limit, with the exception of interrupt processing, and only one process could be run under them (although DOS itself featured TSR as a very partial and not too easy to use solution). Mainframe operating systems have had multitasking capabilities since the early 1960s. Modern operating systems enable concurrent execution of many processes at once via multitasking even with one CPU. Process management is an operating system's way of dealing with running multiple processes. Since most computers contain one processor with one core, multitasking is done by simply switching processes quickly. Depending on the operating system, as more processes run, either each time slice will become smaller or there will be a longer delay before each process is given a chance to run.

Memory management

Current computer architectures arrange the computer's memory in a hierarchical manner, starting from the fastest registers, CPU cache, random access memory and disk storage. An operating system's memory manager coordinates the use of these various types of memory by tracking which one is available, which is to be allocated or deallocated and how to move data between them. This activity, usually referred to as virtual memory management, increases the amount of memory available for each process by making the disk storage seem like main memory.

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