What Is a Multi-User Operating System

Multi user operating systems allow multiple users to use the resources on a single computer simultaneously or at different times. It allows many different users to take advantage of the computer’s resources simultaneously. Some operating systems permit hundreds or even thousands of concurrent users. Examples of multi user operating systems are Linux, UNIX, Windows 2000, VMS and mainframe operating systems etc…

Since the Operating System is responsible for managing memory and processing for other applications and programs being run. It also recognizes and uses hardware connected to the system, and properly handles user interaction and data requests. While on a system using a multi-user operating system this can be even more important, since multiple people require the system to be functioning properly simultaneously. So the operating system must make sure that the requirements of the various users are balanced, and that each of the programs they are using has sufficient and separate resources so that a problem with one user does not affect the entire community of users.

Multi user systems have traditionally been the most common type of bar code system. This system uses serial ports to connect a single PC or other computer system to multiple bar code readers, terminals, or both. Each terminal runs a single session on the multi-user operating system. Cheaper PC prices and the availability of very basic network PCs will undoubtedly sway some users away from multi-user systems. Clearly the multi-user System is on its way out.

In this type of Operating system, as multiple users are served at a same time so each user is also called a task. Hence multi user operating system also called multi-tasking operating system. When using a multi user operating system, there are a few things which the user needs to know to make maximum use of its features even without the help of a technical assistant at home or office.

This type of operating systems is very rarely used. Important facts in a multi user operating system are preserving the environment (each task is independent and needs to be protected from other tasks) and Resource sharing (should be performed in such a way that deadlock should be avoided and the resources should be managed effectively so that time should be saved).