Operating System (OS for short) is the most basic software of a computer that manages all computer hardware and software operations. The operating system is like a mediator and translator between the user and the computer. This fundamental mediator makes users use all its features without needing technical knowledge and knowing the complex details of computer hardware and software.

Interactive Operating System is a more advanced version of the operating system. An interactive operating system allows the user to have a more friendly relationship with the computer. In other words, the user in the interactive operating system can simply work with the system using the keyboard, mouse, or touch.

Since the introduction of interactive operating systems, working with computers has become easier and more enjoyable. These changes freed many of us from the complex languages and commands that we used to need for computers and allowed us to enjoy all the capabilities of computers easily and with pleasure. In this article, we will learn more about the interactive operating system, its features, advantages, and disadvantages.

What is Interactive OS?

An interactive operating system is a type of operating system that allows the user to interact directly with a computer or device. In this type of operating system, the user can enter his commands and information and interact with the system. In general, an interactive operating system allows users to easily interact with the computer using text or graphical user interfaces.

We all use interactive systems daily. At first glance, laptops or PCs may be the only devices that have an interactive operating system. However, the term “interactive system” is applied to a wider range of devices, for example:

  • mobile phones,
  • ATMs,
  • World Wide Web
  • car navigation system
  • video recorder,
  • Automatic call systems (such as banks’ phones),
  • Workflow system to coordinate teamwork.

On the other hand, non-interactive systems are systems that continue to work without the need for user interaction after starting to run. In other words, the user does not need to actively interact with these types of programs. For example, a compiler that translates computer programs is usually non-interactive.

History of interactive operating system

Until the 1980s, almost all computer systems were non-interactive. In these types of systems, computer operators entered large amounts of data. Then the computer would process each input and produce the appropriate output.

In fact, in these types of systems, the interaction with the computer was only limited to entering data and default commands for processing, and users not only could not directly interact with the computer but everything was done automatically.

With the advancement of technology and the development of interactive operating systems in the 80s, the possibility of direct communication with computers was provided for users and they were able to actively interact with the systems.

Features of the interactive operating system

1) Batch Processing

Batch processing means gathering programs and data into a batch before executing or processing them. The operating system defines the tasks related to each category. These tasks are stored in the system memory before execution and are executed based on their priority. Tasks are prioritized in such a way that the task that has the first request is executed first. When the task is finished, the operating system frees the memory and places the result in the output slot for display. This feature helps to improve the efficiency of the system because the new task starts quickly after the completion of the previous task without the manual intervention of the user.

2) Multitasking

The central processing unit (CPU) in the computer is responsible for executing various programs and tasks. In some systems, the CPU is capable of multitasking. This means that the CPU can run multiple programs or tasks in parallel.

In this type of operating system, there is another system called the “Time-sharing System”. In this system, the CPU switches quickly between different tasks and allocates a small amount of time to each task in turn. This quick transition between tasks allows users to easily interact with whatever application is running. In other words, the user can work with several computer programs at the same time, without the tasks interfering with each other.

3) Multiprogramming

Multiprogramming means the presence of several programs in the computer memory that are in the execution queue, in other words, it is not possible to run these programs at the same time.

The difference between multitasking and multiprogramming is that in multitasking, several programs are running simultaneously, but in multiprogramming, the computer has access to a large number of running programs, but only one of them is running at a time.

The main goal of multiprogramming is to improve the processing time and reduce the waiting time for programs to run.

4) Distributed environment

A distributed environment means having several independent computers. The operating system is responsible for dividing the computing tasks between these computers and also managing the communication between them.

5) Interactivity

Interactivity means that a person can interact with a computer system or software. The operating system provides the user interface so that users can interact with the computer or software, for example by clicking or typing. Also, the operating system manages the input and output devices such as the keyboard and screen, and responds quickly to the information received from the users, meaning that when the user does something, the system reacts to it quickly.

6) Real-time system

The real-time or instantaneous system is a special system that reacts quickly to input information and responds in a specific time interval. This response is to ensure proper efficiency and ability to perform specified tasks at specified times.

7) Spooling

Spooling is a process in the operating system that helps I/O tasks run better and more efficiently. Spooling means creating a temporary location (called a buffer) for data and information to be sent to different devices.

When a job or task is submitted, spooling buffers its data. Then, when the device is ready to execute the task, it reads the required data from the buffer and performs the task. This process ensures improved system performance and efficiency, as devices may process data at different speeds.

A practical example of spooling is in displays. When multiple tasks are queued for display, each task’s data is transferred to the buffer. Then the display reads the data from the buffer and prints it. This allows the display to run continuously while other data waits in the queue for their turn. This means improved printer capability and productivity.

Advantages of interactive operating system

Interactive Operating System has several advantages that help improve the user experience of working with computers. The main advantages of the interactive operating system are:

1. user friendly

Interactive operating systems allow users to easily interact with computers and software. A variety of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that use everything from buttons, menus, and touchpads to gestures and voice input all enhance the user experience.

2. Speed and quick response

An interactive operating system allows tasks and commands to be executed quickly and without delay. This improves the computer experience.

3. Ability to perform multiple tasks at the same time

Interactive operating systems provide the possibility of running several programs or tasks simultaneously. Users can work with multiple programs at the same time.

4. flexibility

The interactive operating system allows users to customize the working environment and its settings. This allows users to personalize their computer experience.

5. Support for interactive software

Many commonly used software, including web-related software, support an interactive operating system.

6. Using modern technologies

The interactive operating system also uses modern technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence. This improves the user experience.

Disadvantages of interactive operating system

Interactive operating systems have many advantages as well as disadvantages. The main disadvantages of the interactive operating system are:

1. Design Complexity

Designing and developing an interactive operating system is usually more complex. These systems must have the ability to manage complex graphical user interfaces and a diversity of inputs and outputs.

2. Requires powerful hardware

To run interactive operating systems with good performance, there is a need for more powerful hardware than non-interactive systems.

3. Consuming more resources

Interactive operating systems usually require more resources and consume more power and memory.

4. High cost

Developing and supporting an interactive operating system is more expensive, especially for organizations and software developers.

5. Security challenges

The interactive operating system may face more security challenges due to its greater complexity and greater interaction with users.

6. Consequences of user error

User mistakes in the interactive operating system cause a high number of error messages to be displayed to the user and sometimes cause problems.

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