First off, I know I haven’t been around much, I have a lot of things going on in my life at the moment, and I’m finding it very challenging to juggle everything. I hope to get back to writing more frequently in the coming months once things start to settle down.
With computers, we can break down the functioning into 3 parts, there is the hardware and firmware, these are the actual physical components of the machine bundled with the basic software that is loaded on them to make them work. Firmware generally consists of permanent software loaded onto read-only memory, and most frequently it’s not changed for the lifetime of the system.
Then there is the operating system, the operating system is a software program loaded onto the machine that makes it easier to work with than typing instructions in machine code into a command line interface. It also manages the computer hardware and the resources available to the machine between various programs.The operating system can be altered, upgraded, changed or even swapped out for another operating system, but doing so can have big consequences in terms of both performance and usability. It also tends to take a bit of time.
Finally, we have the apps, these are smaller programs that we install and run on the operating system in order to accomplish tasks of varying specificity. They can range from simple command line interfaces to entire suites of statistics and analysis software, games, word processors or the likes. These are fairly easy to install or remove, but they have varying learning curves and influences the firmware and operating system in various ways.
Between the 3 areas, there is somewhat of a bidirectional influence, in that the lower layers (firmware and hardware) influence what you can do with the OS and apps. The firmware limits what you can do with the OS to some degree. They all influence each other, but not to the same degree. Continue reading