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OS Motivation

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Computer Structures and Operating Systems 2019
Dr. Jens Lechtenbörger (License Information)

DBIS Group
Prof. Dr. Gottfried Vossen
Chair for Computer Science
Dept. of Information Systems
WWU Münster, Germany

1 Introduction

1.1 Learning Objectives

  • Discuss role of OSs to control computers
    • Performance aspects
    • Ownership and control
  • Discuss role of licenses to control software

(See here for an introduction to learning objectives; note the role of verbs to specify the target level of knowledge/skill)

1.2 Performance Aspects

  • OS manages computer’s resources: CPU, memory, I/O
  • OS understanding helps to identify and reason about resource bottlenecks.
    • Improve design, analysis, and implementation of information systems.
    • E.g., why is my computer/application slow? How to improve that?
  • (Above are “traditional” topics for OS courses; this presentation takes a different direction.)

1.3 Whom do Computers Obey?

  • Recall (long-term) goal of CSOS


    Notebook” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay

    • “Play and experiment with and control any computer, at any level of interest”
  • In CS part, you learned how to build a computer.
    • How does that feel?
  • In OS part, we investigate Operating Systems (OSs) to control computers.


    Search” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay

    • OS controls what is executing when.
    • Who controls the OS?
    • Who controls the computer, then?

1.4 Computers


Server” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay


C64” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay


Notebook” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay


Router” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay


Car” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay


Doll” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay


TV” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay

Smart watch

Smart watch” under CC0 1.0; cropped from Pixabay

Fairphone 2

Fairphone 2” by Kaihsu Tai under CC BY-SA 4.0; cropped from Wikimedia Commons

1.5 Enlightenment

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.

  • Your computer does whatever it is programmed to do.
  • You can succumb to somebody else’s programming.
  • Or emerge.

2 Choices and Consequences

2.1 Impact of Choices

  • Economic and ecological/social impact

    Man with megaphone

    Man with megaphone” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay

    • What do you buy/use/create?
      • What do you advertise?
      • What do you impose on others?
  • Economic impact
    • Should be obvious
  • Ecological/social impact

    Magnet attracting people

    Image” under CC0 1.0; from Pixabay

    • If you use some social/communication service, you increase its appeal and value
    • If you choose communication under surveillance, you impose surveillance on your family, friends, colleagues …

2.2 Rationale

  • If you want to own a device containing a computer (“smart” anything, recall slide on computers), you need to control its software.
    • (Including firmware and underlying hardware)
      • (Topic in its own right, maybe for term’s final lecture)

3 Software

3.1 Free Software

3.2 Free vs Open Source

  • The distinction is mostly philosophical, sometimes religious
    • I prefer the term “free software” because it emphasizes freedom

3.3 GNU/Linux

  • Tux, the Linux mascot

    Tux, the Linux mascot” under CC0 1.0; from Wikimedia Commons

    • I encourage you to try out GNU/Linux, which is
      • free software,
      • the major OS for cloud infrastructures,
      • the server OS in lots of project seminars.
    • Upcoming assignments are based on GNU/Linux
      • Several GNU/Linux distributions can be started as live systems from CD/DVD or USB stick without changing your current installation
      • Exercise session tomorrow at 4pm (May 15) in our PC Pool for live tests and questions!

4 Conclusions

4.1 Summary

  • Do you care?

License Information

This document is part of an Open Educational Resource (OER) course on Operating Systems. Source code and source files are available on GitLab under free licenses.

Except where otherwise noted, this work, “OS Motivation”, is © 2018, 2019 by Jens Lechtenbörger, published under the Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0.

No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use.

In particular, trademark rights are not licensed under this license. Thus, rights concerning third party logos (e.g., on the title slide) and other (trade-) marks (e.g., “Creative Commons” itself) remain with their respective holders.