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A computing platform or digital platformis the environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the hardware or the operating system (OS), even a web browser and associated application programming interfaces, or other underlying software, as long as the program code is executed with it. Computing platforms have different abstraction levels, including a computer architecture, an OS, or runtime libraries. A computing platform is the stage on which computer programs can run.
Computer software, or simply software, is a collection of data or computer instructions that tell the computer how to work. This is in contrast to physical hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, programs and data. Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.
Computer hardware includes the physical, tangible parts or components of a computer, such as the cabinet, central processing unit, monitor, keyboard, computer data storage, graphics card, sound card, speakers and motherboard. By contrast, software is instructions that can be stored and run by hardware. Hardware is so-termed because it is "hard" or rigid with respect to changes or modifications; whereas software is "soft" because it is easy to update or change. Intermediate between software and hardware is "firmware", which is software that is strongly coupled to the particular hardware of a computer system and thus the most difficult to change but also among the most stable with respect to consistency of interface. The progression from levels of "hardness" to "softness" in computer systems parallels a progression of layers of abstraction in computing.
An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common services for computer programs.
A platform can be seen both as a constraint on the software development process, in that different platforms provide different functionality and restrictions; and as an assistance to the development process, in that they provide low-level functionality ready-made. For example, an OS may be a platform that abstracts the underlying differences in hardware and provides a generic command for saving files or accessing the network.
In software engineering, a software development process is the process of dividing software development work into distinct phases to improve design, product management, and project management. It is also known as a software development life cycle (SDLC). The methodology may include the pre-definition of specific deliverables and artifacts that are created and completed by a project team to develop or maintain an application.
A computer network is a digital telecommunications network which allows nodes to share resources. In computer networks, computing devices exchange data with each other using connections between nodes. These data links are established over cable media such as wires or optic cables, or wireless media such as Wi-Fi.
Platforms may also include:
An embedded system is a controller with a dedicated function within a larger mechanical or electrical system, often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts. Embedded systems control many devices in common use today. Ninety-eight percent of all microprocessors manufactured are used in embedded systems.
A web browser is a software application for accessing information on the World Wide Web. Each individual web page, image, and video is identified by a distinct Uniform Resource Locator (URL), enabling browsers to retrieve these resources from a web server and display them on a user's device.
A scripting or script language is a programming language for a special run-time environment that automates the execution of tasks; the tasks could alternatively be executed one-by-one by a human operator. Scripting languages are often interpreted.
Some architectures have multiple layers, with each layer acting as a platform to the one above it. In general, a component only has to be adapted to the layer immediately beneath it. For instance, a Java program has to be written to use the Java virtual machine (JVM) and associated libraries as a platform but does not have to be adapted to run for the Windows, Linux or Macintosh OS platforms. However, the JVM, the layer beneath the application, does have to be built separately for each OS.
AmigaOS is a family of proprietary native operating systems of the Amiga and AmigaOne personal computers. It was developed first by Commodore International and introduced with the launch of the first Amiga, the Amiga 1000, in 1985. Early versions of AmigaOS required the Motorola 68000 series of 16-bit and 32-bit microprocessors. Later versions were developed by Haage & Partner and then Hyperion Entertainment. A PowerPC microprocessor is required for the most recent release, AmigaOS 4.
AmigaOS 4 is a line of Amiga operating systems which runs on PowerPC microprocessors. It is mainly based on AmigaOS 3.1 source code developed by Commodore, and partially on version 3.9 developed by Haage & Partner. "The Final Update" was released on 24 December 2006 after five years of development by the Belgian company Hyperion Entertainment under license from Amiga, Inc. for AmigaOne registered users.
FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like operating system descended from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), which was based on Research Unix. The first version of FreeBSD was released in 1993. In 2005, FreeBSD was the most popular open-source BSD operating system, accounting for more than three-quarters of all installed BSD systems.
Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google. It is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software, and is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In addition, Google has developed Android TV for televisions, Android Auto for cars, and Wear OS for wearables, each with a specialized user interface. Variants of Android are also used on game consoles, digital cameras, PCs and other electronics.
Bada is a discontinued operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. It was developed by Samsung Electronics. Its name is derived from "바다 (bada)", meaning "ocean" or "sea" in Korean. It ranges from mid- to high-end smartphones.
BlackBerry OS is a proprietary mobile operating system developed by Canadian company BlackBerry Limited for its BlackBerry line of smartphone handheld devices. The operating system provides multitasking and supports specialized input devices that have been adopted by BlackBerry for use in its handhelds, particularly the trackwheel, trackball, and most recently, the trackpad and touchscreen.
Ordered roughly, from more common types to less common types:
In computing, a virtual machine (VM) is an emulation of a computer system. Virtual machines are based on computer architectures and provide functionality of a physical computer. Their implementations may involve specialized hardware, software, or a combination.
Computer operating systems (OSes) provide a set of functions needed and used by most application programs on a computer, and the links needed to control and synchronize computer hardware. On the first computers, with no operating system, every program needed the full hardware specification to run correctly and perform standard tasks, and its own drivers for peripheral devices like printers and punched paper card readers. The growing complexity of hardware and application programs eventually made operating systems a necessity for everyday use.
In computing, cross-platform software is computer software that is implemented on multiple computing platforms. Cross-platform software may be divided into two types; one requires individual building or compilation for each platform that it supports, and the other one can be directly run on any platform without special preparation, e.g., software written in an interpreted language or pre-compiled portable bytecode for which the interpreters or run-time packages are common or standard components of all platforms.
Originally, the word computing was synonymous with counting and calculating, and the science and technology of mathematical calculations. Today, "computing" means using computers and other computing machines. It includes their operation and usage, the electrical processes carried out within the computing hardware itself, and the theoretical concepts governing them.
This article presents a timeline of events in the history of computer operating systems from 1951 to the current day. For a narrative explaining the overall developments, see the History of operating systems.
A cross compiler is a compiler capable of creating executable code for a platform other than the one on which the compiler is running. For example, a compiler that runs on a Windows 7 PC but generates code that runs on Android smartphone is a cross compiler.
Hardware abstractions are sets of routines in software that emulate some platform-specific details, giving programs direct access to the hardware resources.
In software engineering, a compatibility layer is an interface that allows binaries for a legacy or foreign system to run on a host system. This translates system calls for the foreign system into native system calls for the host system. With some libraries for the foreign system, this will often be sufficient to run foreign binaries on the host system. A hardware compatibility layer consists of tools that allow hardware emulation.
Memory footprint refers to the amount of main memory that a program uses or references while running.
Binary-code compatibility is a property of computer systems meaning that they can run the same executable code, typically machine code for a general-purpose computer CPU. Source-code compatibility, on the other hand, means that recompilation or interpretation is necessary before the program can be run.
Parallels Server for Mac is a server-side desktop virtualization product built for the Mac OS X Server platform and is developed by Parallels, Inc., a developer of desktop virtualization and virtual private server software. This software allows users to run multiple distributions of Linux, Windows and FreeBSD server applications alongside Mac OS X Server on Intel-based Apple hardware.
The kernel is a computer program that is the core of a computer's operating system, with complete control over everything in the system. On most systems, it is one of the first programs loaded on start-up. It handles the rest of start-up as well as input/output requests from software, translating them into data-processing instructions for the central processing unit. It handles memory and peripherals like keyboards, monitors, printers, and speakers.
The Java Development Kit (JDK) is an implementation of either one of the Java Platform, Standard Edition, Java Platform, Enterprise Edition, or Java Platform, Micro Edition platforms released by Oracle Corporation in the form of a binary product aimed at Java developers on Solaris, Linux, macOS or Windows. The JDK includes a private JVM and a few other resources to finish the development of a Java Application. Since the introduction of the Java platform, it has been by far the most widely used Software Development Kit (SDK). On 17 November 2006, Sun announced that they would release it under the GNU General Public License (GPL), thus making it free software. This happened in large part on 8 May 2007, when Sun contributed the source code to the OpenJDK.
A unikernel is a specialised, single address space machine image constructed by using library operating systems. A developer selects, from a modular stack, the minimal set of libraries which correspond to the OS constructs required for their application to run. These libraries are then compiled with the application and configuration code to build sealed, fixed-purpose images (unikernels) which run directly on a hypervisor or hardware without an intervening OS such as Linux or Windows.
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