What is Operating System

This series of articles aim at helping the non technical people make sense of the commonly used Technical terms.

Antie is a character with no technical knowledge , who will be exploring the technical world.
Tiny is the techie who antie turns to for all the technical help.

Antie:  Hi Tiny, one of my friend confused me yesterday completely. 
Tiny :  What happened Antie ? What did you get confused on  ? 
Antie: When I told them that I will be buying a laptop, he asked me which Operating system was I getting with it? 
Tiny: OK, so what did you say? 
Anite:  I did not know, so I said I had no idea and he was like, don't take Vista, take windows 7 blah blah...
Tiny (Smiling) : Ok, I got what you are trying to say. Let me first tell you what an operating system or generally called as OS is. 
Anite:(Sitting with a mug of coffee) That would help. 
Tiny: In the company that you work for, who takes all the decisions? 
Anite:  What decisions ?
Tiny:  Any important ones, like how many new people to be recruited, who gets to do what work etc etc. 
Antie: Well all the big decisions come from the CEO. 
Tiny: So can we say CEO controls the your office ? 
Antie:(Nodding) Yes you can say so. 
Tiny: That is exactly what an operating system does, it controls every thing in your laptop. 
Antie: Oh ok. 
Tiny: Its the OS that decides what should be done and how. For example when you put a movie CD into the laptop, its the OS that finds out what is there in the CD and how should it be played.
Anite: Ah, now I get it. I thought it was some kind of magic that the computer knew exactly what to do every time.
Tiny: No Anite, there is no magic, its just the OS.
Antie: So what is all this about Vista, Windows 7 etc?
Tiny: You have options to choose who will be the boss in your laptop. You must have heard of the company windows and Bill gates.
Antie: Yes the rich guy, yes.
Tiny: He runs a company called Microsoft which make one of the most used OS.  Windows 7 is the latest one the company has launched, Vista was the one before it.
Anite: So we need to buy one of these OS to make our laptops work , right ?
Tiny: If you want any of the windows OS yes you need to buy.
Antie: What do you mean, is there any other company too ?
Tiny:  There is another OS called as Linux, that comes for free. Its as good as windows is and any one can use it for free.
Antie: Then why should any one pay for Windows.
Tiny: Linux was not always so easy to use as it is today, so people are still scared to try it. But sooner than later people more people will move to it.
Antie:(smiling) Cool then, I too will try out Linux it self. Thanks Tiny for saving me some money, and here are your strawberry filled chocolates. 

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