OS Types


Next >>

What are the types of operating system based on device usage?

1. Desktop Operating System

Operating systems that are used on Desktops and Laptops are classified under desktop operating system. Microsoft windows has 82% market share in the desktop operating system followed by Apple's MacOS having 13% market share followed by Linux having 1.5% market share.

  Windows has its dominance mainly because of

  • GUI user friendliness at lesser price and
  • ability to run on most of the processor brands such as Intel or AMD compared to MacOS tied to Apple's Mac machines.
  • Applications like Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint and
  • Huge number of third party applications written for Windows made it increasingly popular


  • is more preferred by users who find it more graphical, appealing and aesthetic.
  • has preloaded tools to work with photos and videos which increased its popularity.

2. Server Operating System

Based on monthly data collected by W3Cook, Linux, UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems have more than 98% market share followed by Windows which has around 1.5% market share.

Linux or UNIX is more preferred for servers because of the following reasons

  • UNIX is designed to be very secure compared to Windows
  • Very low cost of OS compared to windows or Mac
  • it is not necessary to have a great UI for server software

3. Mobile Operating System

Mobile operating system include operating systems running on smartphones and tablets.

  • Android - More than 81% market share
  • iOS - Less than 17% market share
Examples: Android, iOS, Sailfish, Firefox OS, ColorOS, Blackberry Secure, Cyanogen OS, Ubuntu Touch, webOS, Tizen, Windows 10 Mobile, Blackberry 10, Fuchsia

4. Supercomputer Operating Systems

Supercomputers are used in weather forecasting, space research and wherever ahuge amount of data needs to be parallel processed in a short amount of time. IBM Blue Gene and Cray XK6 are some of supercomputers

Examples of supercomputer operating systems
  • CNK - Computer Node Kernel
  • INK - Input Node Kernel based on modified Linux operating system

5. Embedded, Industrial Robots and Controllers Operating Systems

Other than personal computers, super computers and mobile phones, Operating Systems are used in a number of use cases in

  • Devices
  • Equipments
  • Controllers
  • Industrial Robots
Some of these require operating systems that work in real time. Operating Systems used for real time computing are supposed to work within time constraints. It cannot miss timelines. These Operating systems are used as
  • Embededed OS
  • General purpose OS
  • Industrial OS
  • Research OS
  • Process control OS
  • Safety critical OS
  • IoT OS
  • virtual OS
Examples:VxWorks, PSOS, VRTX, RTLinux, Lynx, QNX, eCos
VxWorks has been used in
  • Cars and other automative systems
  • industrial robots, aircraft systems
  • data storage controllers,
  • medical systems,
  • network and communication systems - switches, routers, satellite modems, cable modem
  • firewalls, processor boards

6. Cloud based Operating System

These are lightweight operating systems used for cloud based use cases. Examples: Chrome OS(linux based and uses google chrome as interface), EasyPeasy (debian and unbuntu) linux based OS for netbooks), Joli OS (Ubuntu Linux based), EyeOS(gives desktop interface within web page), OSW3, DOKY(linux based)

What are the types of operating system based on their capability?

Single user vs multi-user operating system

If multiple users can send instructions to the same OS at the same time and if the OS can handle such instructions, it is called multi-user OS

Multi-tasking operating system

If multiple tasks can be executed by operating system at the same time, it is called multi-tasking system.

Distibuted operating system

Distibuted OS is an operating system model in which multiple machines can work and communicate together. In this type of OS, OS is installed in multiple machines facilitating the interaction.

Network operating system

A specialized operating system for a network device such as router, switch and firewall. This type of OS is used in file sharing, printer sharing, data, users, user groups, applications across local or enterprise network. Network functions are now part of almost every desktop operating systems and mobile operating systems. Separate Network Operating Systems are much less relevant and less used


Next >>