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Operating systems

Definitions related to operating systems, including tech terms about open source and proprietary operating systems and words and phrases about system programs, boot mechanisms, kernels, command interpreters, DLL libraries and drivers.

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  • integer overflow - Integer overflow is the result of trying to place into computer memory an integer (whole number) that is too large for the integer data type in a given system.
  • interprocess communication (IPC) - Interprocess communication (IPC) is a set of programming interfaces that allow a programmer to coordinate activities among different program processes that can run concurrently in an operating system.
  • interrupt - An interrupt is a signal from a device attached to a computer or from a program within the computer that causes the main program that operates the computer (the operating system) to stop and figure out what to do next.
  • IO.SYS - IO.SYS is a hidden executable binary file that processes instructions that tell the operating system (OS) how the computer is set up when it is booted or started.
  • iOS 8 - IOS 8 is the eighth version of Apple’s mobile operating system.
  • IoT OS (Internet of Things operating system) - An IoT OS is an operating system that is designed to perform within the constraints that are particular to Internet of Things devices, including restrictions on memory, size, power and processing capacity.
  • ITAR and EAR compliance - The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) are two important United States export control laws that affect the manufacturing, sales and distribution of technology.
  • Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) - The Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) is a collection of Java APIs owned by Oracle that software developers can use to write server-side applications.
  • JeOS (just enough operating system) - JeOS (just enough operating system) is a highly customized operating system built for a specific application.
  • job - In certain computer operating systems, a job is the unit of work that a computer operator gives to the operating system.
  • job scheduler - A job scheduler is a program that enables an enterprise to schedule and, in some cases, monitor computer 'batch' jobs (units of work, such as the running of a payroll program).
  • job step - In certain computer operating systems, a job step is part of a job, a unit of work that a computer operator (or a program called a job scheduler) gives to the operating system.
  • kernel - The kernel is the essential center of a computer operating system (OS).
  • knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) - Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) is the allocation of relatively high-level tasks to an outside organization or a different group within the same organization.
  • level of support (support level) - Level of support indicates a specific extent of technical assistance in the total range of assistance that is provided by an information technology product (such as a software product) to its customers.
  • lights-out management (LOM) - Lights-out management (LOM) is a form of out-of-band management.
  • Linus Torvalds - Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, was born in Helsinki, Finland, on December 28, 1969.
  • Linux Mint - Linux Mint is a free and open source operating system (OS) distribution based on Ubuntu and Debian for use on x-86 x-64-compatible machines.
  • Linux operating system - Linux is a Unix-like, open source and community-developed operating system (OS) for computers, servers, mainframes, mobile devices and embedded devices.
  • LiteOS - LiteOS is a lightweight, open source IoT device and smartphone OS from the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei.
  • loader - In a computer operating system, a loader is a component that locates a given program (which can be an application or, in some cases, part of the operating system itself) in offline storage (such as a hard disk), loads it into main storage (in a personal computer, it's called random access memory), and gives that program control of the computer (allows it to execute its instruction s).
  • lock - A lock is a mechanism for controlling access to something.
  • logical partition (LPAR) - A logical partition (LPAR) is the division of a computer's processor s, memory, and storage into multiple sets of resources so that each set of resources can be operated independently with its own operating system instance and application s.
  • macOS - MacOS is the computer operating system for Apple desktops and laptops.
  • Master Boot Record (MBR) - The Master Boot Record (MBR) is the information in the first sector of a hard disk or a removable drive.
  • metafile - A metafile is a file containing information that describes or specifies another file.
  • Microsoft - Microsoft is the largest vendor of computer software in the world.
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Continuum - Microsoft Windows 10 Continuum is a feature that adapts the Windows operating system to the form factor that's being used.
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 - Microsoft Windows 8.
  • Microsoft Windows Hello - Microsoft Windows Hello is a biometric identity and access control feature that supports fingerprint scanners, iris scanners and facial recognition technology on compatible devices running Windows.
  • Microsoft Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) - The Microsoft Windows Recovery Environment, or Windows RE, is a simplified, scaled-back version of the Windows operating system that is used to boot the system when Windows 8.
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 - Windows Server 2012 R2 is the second iteration of Windows Server 2012.
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2016 - Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is Microsoft's server operating system (OS).
  • MinWin - MinWin is the lowest level of the Windows operating system.
  • mobile device fragmentation - Mobile device fragmentation is a phenomenon that occurs when some mobile users are running older versions of an operating system, while other users are running newer versions.
  • mobile operating system - A mobile operating system (OS) is software that allows smartphones, tablet PCs (personal computers) and other devices to run applications and programs.
  • MPP (massively parallel processing) - MPP (massively parallel processing) is the coordinated processing of a program by multiple processors that work on different parts of the program, with each processor using its own operating system and memory.
  • MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) - MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) was the Microsoft-marketed version of the first widely-installed operating system in personal computers.
  • Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) - Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) was a mainframe time-sharing operating system that was developed in the 1963-1969 period through the collaboration of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), General Electric (GE), and Bell.
  • multitasking - Multitasking, in an operating system, is allowing a user to perform more than one computer task (such as the operation of an application program) at a time.
  • MULTOS (Multiple Operating System) - MULTOS (which stands for "Multiple Operating System") is an operating system that allows multiple application programs to be installed and to reside separately and securely on a smart card.
  • MVS (Multiple Virtual Storage) - MVS (Multiple Virtual Storage) is IBM's best-known operating system for mainframe and large servers.
  • Nagios - Nagios is an open source monitoring system for computer systems.
  • Open Handset Alliance (OHA) - The Open Handset Alliance (OHA) is a coalition of more than 30 technology and mobile companies that introduced Android, an open source mobile phone operating system.
  • open system - In a computing context, an open system is an open source operating system, typically composed of coordinated modular components from a number of sources and not reliant upon any proprietary elements.
  • OpenVMS - OpenVMS is an operating system from the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) that runs in both its VAX and Alpha computers.
  • operating system (OS) - An operating system (OS) is the program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all of the other application programs in a computer.
  • operational level agreement (OLA) - An operational level agreement (OLA) is a contract that defines how various IT groups within a company plan to deliver a service or set of services.
  • OS X - OS X is version 10 of the Apple Macintosh operating system.
  • parallel processing - Parallel processing is a method in computing of running two or more processors (CPUs) to handle separate parts of an overall task.
  • Patch Tuesday - Patch Tuesday is the unofficial name of Microsoft's monthly scheduled release of security fixes for the Windows operating system (OS) and other Microsoft software.
  • PCI policy - A PCI policy is a type of security policy that covers how an organization addresses the 12 requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
  • PCI Security Standards Council - The PCI Security Standards Council is an organization created by the major credit card companies in an effort to better protect credit card holder data.
  • performance testing - Performance testing is a testing measure that evaluates the speed, responsiveness and stability of a computer, network, software program or device under a workload.
  • pipe - In computer programming, especially in UNIX operating systems, a pipe is a technique for passing information from one program process to another.
  • platform - In IT, a platform is any hardware or software used to host an application or service.
  • polled interrupt - In a computer, a polled interrupt is a specific type of I/O interrupt that notifies the part of the computer containing the I/O interface that a device is ready to be read or otherwise handled but does not indicate which device.
  • POST (Power-On Self-Test) - When power is turned on, POST (Power-On Self-Test) is the diagnostic testing sequence that a computer's basic input/output system (or "starting program") runs to determine if the computer keyboard, random access memory, disk drives, and other hardware are working correctly.
  • preemptive multitasking - Preemptive multitasking is task in which a computer operating system uses some criteria to decide how long to allocate to any one task before giving another task a turn to use the operating system.
  • principle of least privilege (POLP) - The principle of least privilege (POLP) is a concept in computer security that limits users' access rights to only what are strictly required to do their jobs.
  • process - A process is an instance of a program running in a computer.
  • QNX - QNX is a mobile operating system that was originally developed for embedded systems.
  • race condition - A race condition is an undesirable situation that occurs when a device or system attempts to perform two or more operations at the same time, but because of the nature of the device or system, the operations must be done in the proper sequence to be done correctly.
  • real-time operating system (RTOS) - A real-time operating system (RTOS) is an OS that guarantees real-time applications a certain capability within a specified deadline.
  • Red Flags Rule (RFR) - The Red Flags Rule (RFR) is a set of United States federal regulations that require certain businesses and organizations to develop and implement documented plans to protect consumers from identity theft.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) - Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is an enterprise Linux operating system (OS) developed by Red Hat for the business market.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle (R3) - Reduce, reuse and recycle (R3) are the three essential components of environmentally-responsible consumer behavior.
  • registry - In the Microsoft Windows operating systems beginning with Windows 95, the registry is a single place for keeping such information as what hardware is attached, what system options have been selected, how computer memory is set up, and what application programs are to be present when the operating system is started.
  • registry key - In the Windows 98, CE, NT, and 2000 operating systems, a registry key is an organizational unit in the Windows registry.
  • reliability - Reliability is an attribute of any computer-related component (software, or hardware, or a network, for example) that consistently performs according to its specifications.
  • restore point - A system restore point is a backup copy of important Windows operating system (OS) files and settings that can be used to recover the system to an earlier point of time in the event of system failure or instability.
  • safe mode - Safe mode is an alternate boot method for Windows operating systems that makes it easier to diagnose problems.
  • Samsung Tizen - Samsung Tizen is Samsung's implementation of Tizen, an open source mobile operating system.
  • SAP Basis - Basis is a set of middleware programs and tools from SAP, the German company whose comprehensive R/3 product is used to help manage large corporations.
  • seat management - Seat management is a method of coordinating all the workstations in an enterprise network by overseeing the installation, operation, and maintenance of hardware and software at each workstation.
  • security identifier (SID) - In the context of Windows computing and Microsoft Active Directory (AD), a security identifier (SID) is a unique value that is used to identify any security entity that the operating system (OS) can authenticate.
  • serverless backup - Serverless data backup removes backup procedures from production servers so that the time usually spent on backup functions can be used for other server tasks.
  • shell - Shell is a UNIX term for the interactive user interface with an operating system.
  • shell script - A shell script is a text file that contains a sequence of commands for a UNIX-based operating system.
  • shortcut - In general, a shortcut is a path that is shorter than the usual or formal path to something or a method of operation that saves time over the regular operation.
  • shrink wrap license - A shrink wrap license is an end user agreement (EULA) that is enclosed with software in plastic-wrapped packaging.
  • single-system image (SSI) - Single-system image (SSI) is the idea that the resources provided by cluster computing or in any system which aggregates resources should present a single interface to the user.
  • softlifting - Softlifting is a common type of software piracy in which a legally licensed software program is installed or copied in violation of its licensing agreement.
  • software - Software is a set of instructions, data or programs used to operate computers and execute specific tasks.
  • Solaris - Solaris is the computer operating system that Sun Microsystems provides for its family of Scalable Processor Architecture-based processors as well as for Intel-based processors.
  • stress testing - Stress testing is the process of determining the ability of a computer, network, program or device to maintain a certain level of effectiveness under unfavorable conditions.
  • sudo (superuser do) - Sudo (superuser do) is a utility for UNIX- and Linux-based systems that provides an efficient way to give specific users permission to use specific system commands at the root (most powerful) level of the system.
  • suffix - A suffix is something added at the end of a word that conditions its usage or meaning.
  • Superdome - Superdome is a high-end 64-bit, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) PA-8600 processor-based UNIX server designed for e-commerce customers using very large databases.
  • supervisor call (SVC) - In computers, especially IBM mainframes, a supervisor call (SVC) is a processor instruction that directs the processor to pass control of the computer to the operating system's supervisor program.
  • SUSE - SUSE (pronounced soo-sah) is a multinational company that offers enterprise-grade open source products based on Linux technologies.
  • sysplex and Parallel Sysplex - A sysplex is IBM's systems complex (the word sysplex comes from the first part of the word system and the last part of the word complex), introduced in 1990 as a platform for the MVS/ESA operating system for IBM mainframe servers.
  • Sysprep (System Preparation Tool) - Sysprep is Microsoft's System Preparation tool intended to duplicate, test and deliver new installations for the Windows operating system based on an established installation.
  • system software - System software is a type of computer program that is designed to run a computer's hardware and application programs.
  • system tray - The system tray (or "systray") is a section of the taskbars in the Microsoft Windows operating system user interface that provides easy access icons to the user's most commonly used apps and displays the clock.
  • tarball (tar archive) - Tarball is a jargon term for a tar archive - a group of files collected together as one.
  • task - In computer programming, a task is a basic unit of programming that an operating system controls.
  • terminate and stay resident (TSR) - A terminate and stay resident (TSR) program is one that is set up to be loaded and then remain in computer memory so that it is quickly accessible when a user presses a certain keyboard combination.
  • thrashing - Thrashing is computer activity that makes little or no progress, usually because memory or other resources have become exhausted or too limited to perform needed operations.
  • timestamp - A timestamp is the current time of an event that a computer records.
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    Virtual network functions (VNFs) are virtualized tasks formerly carried out by proprietary, dedicated hardware.

  • network functions virtualization (NFV)

    Network functions virtualization (NFV) is a network architecture model designed to virtualize network services that have ...

  • overlay network

    An overlay network is a virtual or logical network that is created on top of an existing physical network.

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    An X.509 certificate is a digital certificate that uses the widely accepted international X.509 public key infrastructure (PKI) ...

  • directory traversal

    Directory traversal is a type of HTTP exploit in which a hacker uses the software on a web server to access data in a directory ...

  • malware

    Malware, or malicious software, is any program or file that is intentionally harmful to a computer, network or server.

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    Chief transformation officer is an executive role, often in the C-suite, that focuses on bringing about change as well as growth ...

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    Data latency is the time it takes for data packets to be stored or retrieved. In business intelligence (BI), data latency is how ...

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    A chief data officer (CDO) in many organizations is a C-level executive whose position has evolved into a range of strategic data...

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    Implementation is the execution or practice of a plan, a method or any design, idea, model, specification, standard or policy for...

  • first call resolution (FCR)

    First call resolution (FCR) is when customer service agents properly address a customer's needs the first time they call.

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    Customer intelligence (CI) is the process of collecting and analyzing detailed customer data from internal and external sources ...

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