Friday, December 10, 2010


The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support electronic mail.
Most traditional communications media including telephone, music, film, and television are being reshaped or redefined by the Internet. Newspaper, book and other print publishing are having to adapt to Web sites and blogging. The Internet has enabled or accelerated new forms of human interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking. Online shopping has boomed both for major retail outlets and small artisans and traders. Business-to-business and financial services on the Internet affect supply chains across entire industries.
The origins of the Internet reach back to the 1960s with both private and United States military research into robust, fault-tolerant, and distributed computer networks. The funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation, as well as private funding for other commercial backbones, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The commercialization of what was by then an international network in the mid 1990s resulted in its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life. As of 2009, an estimated quarter of Earth's population used the services of the Internet.
The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own standards. Only the overreaching definitions of the two principal name spaces in the Internet, the Internet Protocol address space and the Domain Name System, are directed by a maintainer organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols (IPv4 and IPv6) is an activity of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise.


Internet is a short form of the technical term "internetwork" the result of interconnecting computer networks with special gateways (routers). The Internet is also often referred to as the Net.
The term the Internet, when referring to the entire global system of IP networks, has traditionally been treated as a proper noun and written with an initial capital letter. In the media and popular culture a trend has developed to regard it as a generic term or common noun and thus write it as "the internet", without capitalization.
The terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used in everyday speech without much distinction. However, the Internet and the World Wide Web are not one and the same. The Internet is a global data communications system. It is a hardware and software infrastructure that provides connectivity between computers. In contrast, the Web is one of the services communicated via the Internet. It is a collection of interconnected documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs.
In many technical illustrations when the precise location or interrelation of Internet resources is not important, extended networks such as the Internet are often depicted as a cloud. The verbal image has been formalized in the newer concept of cloud computing.


The complex communications infrastructure of the Internet consists of its hardware components and a system of software layers that control various aspects of the architecture. While the hardware can often be used to support other software systems, it is the design and the rigorous standardization process of the software architecture that characterizes the Internet and provides the foundation for its scalability and success. The responsibility for the architectural design of the Internet software systems has been delegated to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The IETF conducts standard-setting work groups, open to any individual, about the various aspects of Internet architecture. Resulting discussions and final standards are published in a series of publications, each called a Request for Comments (RFC), freely available on the IETF web site. The principal methods of networking that enable the Internet are contained in specially designated RFCs that constitute the Internet Standards. Other less rigorous documents are simply informative, experimental, or historical, or document the best current practices (BCP) when implementing Internet technologies.
The Internet Standards describe a framework known as the Internet Protocol Suite. This is a model architecture that divides methods into a layered system of protocols (RFC 1122, RFC 1123). The layers correspond to the environment or scope in which their services operate. At the top is the Application Layer, the space for the application-specific networking methods used in software applications, e.g., a web browser program. Below this top layer, the Transport Layer connects applications on different hosts via the network (e.g., client–server model) with appropriate data exchange methods. Underlying these layers are the core networking technologies, consisting of two layers. The Internet Layer enables computers to identify and locate each other via Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and allows them to connect to one-another via intermediate (transit) networks. Lastly, at the bottom of the architecture, is a software layer, the Link Layer, that provides connectivity between hosts on the same local network link, such as a local area network (LAN) or a dial-up connection. The model, also known as TCP/IP, is designed to be independent of the underlying hardware which the model therefore does not concern itself with in any detail. Other models have been developed, such as the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, but they are not compatible in the details of description, nor implementation, but many similarities exist and the TCP/IP protocols are usually included in the discussion of OSI networking.
The most prominent component of the Internet model is the Internet Protocol (IP) which provides addressing systems (IP addresses) for computers on the Internet. IP enables internetworking and essentially establishes the Internet itself. IP Version 4 (IPv4) is the initial version used on the first generation of the today's Internet and is still in dominant use. It was designed to address up to ~4.3 billion (109) Internet hosts. However, the explosive growth of the Internet has led to IPv4 address exhaustion which is estimated to enter its final stage in approximately 2011. A new protocol version, IPv6, was developed in the mid 1990s which provides vastly larger addressing capabilities and more efficient routing of Internet traffic. IPv6 is currently in commercial deployment phase around the world and Internet address registries (RIRs) have begun to urge all resource managers to plan rapid adoption and conversion.
IPv6 is not interoperable with IPv4. It essentially establishes a "parallel" version of the Internet not directly accessible with IPv4 software. This means software upgrades or translator facilities are necessary for every networking device that needs to communicate on the IPv6 Internet. Most modern computer operating systems are already converted to operate with both versions of the Internet Protocol. Network infrastructures, however, are still lagging in this development. Aside from the complex physical connections that make up its infrastructure, the Internet is facilitated by bi- or multi-lateral commercial contracts (e.g., peering agreements), and by technical specifications or protocols that describe how to exchange data over the network. Indeed, the Internet is defined by its interconnections and routing policies.


The Internet structure and its usage characteristics have been studied extensively. It has been determined that both the Internet IP routing structure and hypertext links of the World Wide Web are examples of scale-free networks. Similar to the way the commercial Internet providers connect via Internet exchange points, research networks tend to interconnect into large subnetworks such as GEANT, GLORIAD, Internet2 (successor of the Abilene Network), and the UK's national research and education network JANET. These in turn are built around smaller networks (see also the list of academic computer network organizations).
Many computer scientists describe the Internet as a "prime example of a large-scale, highly engineered, yet highly complex system". The Internet is extremely heterogeneous; for instance, data transfer rates and physical characteristics of connections vary widely. The Internet exhibits "emergent phenomena" that depend on its large-scale organization. For example, data transfer rates exhibit temporal self-similarity. The principles of the routing and addressing methods for traffic in the Internet reach back to their origins the 1960s when the eventual scale and popularity of the network could not be anticipated. Thus, the possibility of developing alternative structures is investigated.


The Internet is a globally distributed network comprising many voluntarily interconnected autonomous networks. It operates without a central governing body. However, to maintain interoperability, all technical and policy aspects of the underlying core infrastructure and the principal name spaces are administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), headquartered in Marina del Rey, California. ICANN is the authority that coordinates the assignment of unique identifiers for use on the Internet, including domain names, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, application port numbers in the transport protocols, and many other parameters. Globally unified name spaces, in which names and numbers are uniquely assigned, are essential for the global reach of the Internet. ICANN is governed by an international board of directors drawn from across the Internet technical, business, academic, and other non-commercial communities. The US government continues to have the primary role in approving changes to the DNS root zone that lies at the heart of the domain name system. ICANN's role in coordinating the assignment of unique identifiers distinguishes it as perhaps the only central coordinating body on the global Internet. On 16 November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis, established the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to discuss Internet-related issues.

Modern uses

The Internet is allowing greater flexibility in working hours and location, especially with the spread of unmetered high-speed connections and web applications.
The Internet can now be accessed almost anywhere by numerous means, especially through mobile Internet devices. Mobile phones, datacards, handheld game consoles and cellular routers allow users to connect to the Internet from anywhere there is a wireless network supporting that device's technology. Within the limitations imposed by small screens and other limited facilities of such pocket-sized devices, services of the Internet, including email and the web, may be available. Service providers may restrict the services offered and wireless data transmission charges may be significantly higher than other access methods.
Educational material at all levels from pre-school to post-doctoral is available from websites. Examples range from CBeebies, through school and high-school revision guides, virtual universities, to access to top-end scholarly literature through the likes of Google Scholar. In distance education, help with homework and other assignments, self-guided learning, whiling away spare time, or just looking up more detail on an interesting fact, it has never been easier for people to access educational information at any level from anywhere. The Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular are important enablers of both formal and informal education.
The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills has made collaborative work dramatically easier, with the help of collaborative software. Not only can a group cheaply communicate and share ideas, but the wide reach of the Internet allows such groups to easily form in the first place. An example of this is the free software movement, which has produced, among other programs, Linux, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet "chat", whether in the form of IRC chat rooms or channels, or via instant messaging systems, allow colleagues to stay in touch in a very convenient way when working at their computers during the day. Messages can be exchanged even more quickly and conveniently than via e-mail. Extensions to these systems may allow files to be exchanged, "whiteboard" drawings to be shared or voice and video contact between team members.
Version control systems allow collaborating teams to work on shared sets of documents without either accidentally overwriting each other's work or having members wait until they get "sent" documents to be able to make their contributions. Business and project teams can share calendars as well as documents and other information. Such collaboration occurs in a wide variety of areas including scientific research, software development, conference planning, political activism and creative writing. Social and political collaboration is also becoming more widespread as both Internet access and computer literacy grow. From the flash mob 'events' of the early 2000s to the use of social networking in the 2009 Iranian election protests, the Internet allows people to work together more effectively and in many more ways than was possible without it.
The Internet allows computer users to remotely access other computers and information stores easily, wherever they may be across the world. They may do this with or without the use of security, authentication and encryption technologies, depending on the requirements. This is encouraging new ways of working from home, collaboration and information sharing in many industries. An accountant sitting at home can audit the books of a company based in another country, on a server situated in a third country that is remotely maintained by IT specialists in a fourth. These accounts could have been created by home-working bookkeepers, in other remote locations, based on information e-mailed to them from offices all over the world. Some of these things were possible before the widespread use of the Internet, but the cost of private leased lines would have made many of them infeasible in practice. An office worker away from their desk, perhaps on the other side of the world on a business trip or a holiday, can open a remote desktop session into his normal office PC using a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection via the Internet. This gives the worker complete access to all of his or her normal files and data, including e-mail and other applications, while away from the office. This concept has been referred to among system administrators as the Virtual Private Nightmare, because it extends the secure perimeter of a corporate network into its employees' homes.



Many people use the terms Internet and World Wide Web, or just the Web, interchangeably, but the two terms are not synonymous. The World Wide Web is a global set of documents, images and other resources, logically interrelated by hyperlinks and referenced with Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs). URIs allow providers to symbolically identify services and clients to locate and address web servers, file servers, and other databases that store documents and provide resources and access them using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the primary carrier protocol of the Web. HTTP is only one of the hundreds of communication protocols used on the Internet. Web services may also use HTTP to allow software systems to communicate in order to share and exchange business logic and data.
World Wide Web browser software, such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Apple's Safari, and Google Chrome, let users navigate from one web page to another via hyperlinks embedded in the documents. These documents may also contain any combination of computer data, including graphics, sounds, text, video, multimedia and interactive content including games, office applications and scientific demonstrations. Through keyword-driven Internet research using search engines like Yahoo! and Google, users worldwide have easy, instant access to a vast and diverse amount of online information. Compared to printed encyclopedias and traditional libraries, the World Wide Web has enabled the decentralization of information.
The Web has also enabled individuals and organizations to publish ideas and information to a potentially large audience online at greatly reduced expense and time delay. Publishing a web page, a blog, or building a website involves little initial cost and many cost-free services are available. Publishing and maintaining large, professional web sites with attractive, diverse and up-to-date information is still a difficult and expensive proposition, however. Many individuals and some companies and groups use web logs or blogs, which are largely used as easily updatable online diaries. Some commercial organizations encourage staff to communicate advice in their areas of specialization in the hope that visitors will be impressed by the expert knowledge and free information, and be attracted to the corporation as a result. One example of this practice is Microsoft, whose product developers publish their personal blogs in order to pique the public's interest in their work. Collections of personal web pages published by large service providers remain popular, and have become increasingly sophisticated. Whereas operations such as Angelfire and GeoCities have existed since the early days of the Web, newer offerings from, for example, Facebook and MySpace currently have large followings. These operations often brand themselves as social network services rather than simply as web page hosts.
Advertising on popular web pages can be lucrative, and e-commerce or the sale of products and services directly via the Web continues to grow.
When the Web began in the 1990s, a typical web page was stored in completed form on a web server, formatted with HTML, ready to be sent to a user's browser in response to a request. Over time, the process of creating and serving web pages has become more automated and more dynamic. Websites are often created using content management or wiki software with, initially, very little content. Contributors to these systems, who may be paid staff, members of a club or other organization or members of the public, fill underlying databases with content using editing pages designed for that purpose, while casual visitors view and read this content in its final HTML form. There may or may not be editorial, approval and security systems built into the process of taking newly entered content and making it available to the target visitors.


E-mail is an important communications service available on the Internet. The concept of sending electronic text messages between parties in a way analogous to mailing letters or memos predates the creation of the Internet. Today it can be important to distinguish between internet and internal e-mail systems. Internet e-mail may travel and be stored unencrypted on many other networks and machines out of both the sender's and the recipient's control. During this time it is quite possible for the content to be read and even tampered with by third parties, if anyone considers it important enough. Purely internal or intranet mail systems, where the information never leaves the corporate or organization's network, are much more secure, although in any organization there will be IT and other personnel whose job may involve monitoring, and occasionally accessing, the e-mail of other employees not addressed to them. Pictures, documents and other files can be sent as e-mail attachments. E-mails can be cc-ed to multiple e-mail addresses.
Internet telephony is another common communications service made possible by the creation of the Internet. VoIP stands for Voice-over-Internet Protocol, referring to the protocol that underlies all Internet communication. The idea began in the early 1990s with walkie-talkie-like voice applications for personal computers. In recent years many VoIP systems have become as easy to use and as convenient as a normal telephone. The benefit is that, as the Internet carries the voice traffic, VoIP can be free or cost much less than a traditional telephone call, especially over long distances and especially for those with always-on Internet connections such as cable or ADSL. VoIP is maturing into a competitive alternative to traditional telephone service. Interoperability between different providers has improved and the ability to call or receive a call from a traditional telephone is available. Simple, inexpensive VoIP network adapters are available that eliminate the need for a personal computer.
Voice quality can still vary from call to call but is often equal to and can even exceed that of traditional calls. Remaining problems for VoIP include emergency telephone number dialing and reliability. Currently, a few VoIP providers provide an emergency service, but it is not universally available. Traditional phones are line-powered and operate during a power failure; VoIP does not do so without a backup power source for the phone equipment and the Internet access devices. VoIP has also become increasingly popular for gaming applications, as a form of communication between players. Popular VoIP clients for gaming include Ventrilo and Teamspeak. Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 also offer VoIP chat features.

Data transfer

File sharing is an example of transferring large amounts of data across the Internet. A computer file can be e-mailed to customers, colleagues and friends as an attachment. It can be uploaded to a website or FTP server for easy download by others. It can be put into a "shared location" or onto a file server for instant use by colleagues. The load of bulk downloads to many users can be eased by the use of "mirror" servers or peer-to-peer networks. In any of these cases, access to the file may be controlled by user authentication, the transit of the file over the Internet may be obscured by encryption, and money may change hands for access to the file. The price can be paid by the remote charging of funds from, for example, a credit card whose details are also passed—usually fully encrypted—across the Internet. The origin and authenticity of the file received may be checked by digital signatures or by MD5 or other message digests. These simple features of the Internet, over a worldwide basis, are changing the production, sale, and distribution of anything that can be reduced to a computer file for transmission. This includes all manner of print publications, software products, news, music, film, video, photography, graphics and the other arts. This in turn has caused seismic shifts in each of the existing industries that previously controlled the production and distribution of these products.
Streaming media refers to the act that many existing radio and television broadcasters promote Internet "feeds" of their live audio and video streams (for example, the BBC). They may also allow time-shift viewing or listening such as Preview, Classic Clips and Listen Again features. These providers have been joined by a range of pure Internet "broadcasters" who never had on-air licenses. This means that an Internet-connected device, such as a computer or something more specific, can be used to access on-line media in much the same way as was previously possible only with a television or radio receiver. The range of available types of content is much wider, from specialized technical webcasts to on-demand popular multimedia services. Podcasting is a variation on this theme, where—usually audio—material is downloaded and played back on a computer or shifted to a portable media player to be listened to on the move. These techniques using simple equipment allow anybody, with little censorship or licensing control, to broadcast audio-visual material worldwide.
'Connected' TV needs good internet connection. The image quality is depends on internet speed. As example for standard image quality needs 1 Mbps internet speed for SD 480p, requires 2.5 Mbps for HD 720p quality and the top-of-the-line HDX quality needs 4.5 Mbps for 1080p.
Webcams can be seen as an even lower-budget extension of this phenomenon. While some webcams can give full-frame-rate video, the picture is usually either small or updates slowly. Internet users can watch animals around an African waterhole, ships in the Panama Canal, traffic at a local roundabout or monitor their own premises, live and in real time. Video chat rooms and video conferencing are also popular with many uses being found for personal webcams, with and without two-way sound. YouTube was founded on 15 February 2005 and is now the leading website for free streaming video with a vast number of users. It uses a flash-based web player to stream and show video files. Registered users may upload an unlimited amount of video and build their own personal profile. YouTube claims that its users watch hundreds of millions, and upload hundreds of thousands of videos daily.

Multimedia Computer

A multimedia computer is a computer that is optimized for high multimedia performance, enabling rich multimedia experience.
Early home computers simply lacked the power and storage necessary for true multimedia. The games for these systems, along with the demo scene were able to achieve high sophistication and technical polish using only simple, blocky graphics and digitally-generated sound. The Amiga 1000 from Commodore International has been called the first multimedia computer. Its groundbreaking animation, graphics and sound technologies enabled multimedia content to flourish. Famous demos such as the Boing Ball and Juggler showed off the Amiga's abilities. Later the Atari ST series and Apple Macintosh II extended the concept; the Atari integrated a MIDI port and was the first computer under $1000USD to have 1 megabyte of RAM which is a realistic minimum for multimedia content and the Macintosh was the first computer able to display true photorealistic graphics as well as integrating a CD-ROM drive, whose high capacity was essential for delivering multimedia content in the pre-Internet era.
Multimedia capabilities were not common on IBM PC compatibles until the advent of Windows 3.0 and the MPC standards in the early 1990s. The original PCs were devised as "serious" business machines and colorful graphics and powerful sound abilities weren't a priority. The few games available suffered from slow video hardware, PC speaker sound and limited color palette when compared to its contemporaries. But as PCs penetrated the home market in the late 1980s, a thriving industry arose to equip PCs to take advantage of the latest sound, graphics and animation technologies. Creative's SoundBlaster series of sound cards, as well as video cards from ATi, nVidia and Matrox soon became standard equipment for most PCs sold.
Most PCs today have good multimedia features. They have dual- or single-core CPUs clocked at 3.0 GHz or faster, at least 1GB of RAM, a 128 MB or higher video card and TV Tuner card. Popular graphics cards include Nvidia Gforce or ATI Radeon. The Intel Viiv platform, and Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition are some of today's products aimed at multimedia computing.
More recently, high-performance devices have become more compact, and multimedia computer capabilities are found in mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone and Nokia Nseries, featuring DVD-like video quality, megapixel class cameras, fully capable browser, music and video players, podcasting, blogging, as well as e-mail, instant messaging, presence and internet call (VoIP) functionality. Multiradios help to offer broadband wireless connectivity, including for instance WCDMA/HSDPA and WLAN/Wifi. Devices are also increasingly equipped with GPS receivers and maps applications, providing new capabilities for location-aware services. The Nseries devices are also expandable, allowing for the addition of multiple applications and multimedia content.

Computer Networking

Computer networking or Data communications (Datacom) is the engineering discipline concerned with the communication between computer systems or devices. A computer network is any set of computers or devices connected to each other with the ability to exchange data. Computer networking is sometimes considered a sub-discipline of telecommunications, computer science, information technology and/or computer engineering since it relies heavily upon the theoretical and practical application of these scientific and engineering disciplines. The three types of networks are: the Internet, the intranet, and the extranet. Examples of different network methods are:
  • Local area network (LAN), which is usually a small network constrained to a small geographic area. An example of a LAN would be a computer network within a building.
  • Metropolitan area network (MAN), which is used for medium size area. examples for a city or a state.
  • Wide area network (WAN) that is usually a larger network that covers a large geographic area.
  • Wireless LANs and WANs (WLAN & WWAN) are the wireless equivalent of the LAN and WAN.
All networks are interconnected to allow communication with a variety of different kinds of media, including twisted-pair copper wire cable, coaxial cable, optical fiber, power lines and various wireless technologies. The devices can be separated by a few meters (e.g. via Bluetooth) or nearly unlimited distances (e.g. via the interconnections of the Internet). Networking, routers, routing protocols, and networking over the public Internet have their specifications defined in documents called RFCs.

 Views of networks
Users and network administrators typically have different views of their networks. Users can share printers and some servers from a workgroup, which usually means they are in the same geographic location and are on the same LAN whereas a Network Administrator is responsible to keep that network, up and running. A community of interest has less of a connection of being in a local area, and should be thought of as a set of arbitrarily located users who share a set of servers , and possibly also communicate via peer-to-peer technologies.
Network administrators can see networks from both physical and logical perspectives. The physical perspective involves geographic locations, physical cabling, and the network elements (e.g., routers, bridges and application layer gateways that interconnect the physical media. Logical networks, called, in the TCP/IP architecture, subnets, map onto one or more physical media. For example, a common practice in a campus of buildings is to make a set of LAN cables in each building appear to be a common subnet, using virtual LAN (VLAN) technology.
Both users and administrators will be aware, to varying extents, of the trust and scope characteristics of a network. Again using TCP/IP architectural terminology, an intranet is a community of interest under private administration usually by an enterprise, and is only accessible by authorized users (e.g. employees). Intranets do not have to be connected to the Internet, but generally have a limited connection. An extranet is an extension of an intranet that allows secure communications to users outside of the intranet (e.g. business partners, customers).
Unofficially, the Internet is the set of users, enterprises, and content providers that are interconnected by Internet Service Providers (ISP). From an engineering viewpoint, the Internet is the set of subnets, and aggregates of subnets, which share the registered IP address space and exchange information about the reachability of those IP addresses using the Border Gateway Protocol. Typically, the human-readable names of servers are translated to IP addresses, transparently to users, via the directory function of the Domain Name System (DNS).
Over the Internet, there can be business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) communications. Especially when money or sensitive information is exchanged, the communications are apt to be secured by some form of communications security mechanism. Intranets and extranets can be securely superimposed onto the Internet, without any access by general Internet users, using secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology.
When used for gaming one computer will need to be the server while the others play through it.

History of computer networks

Before the advent of computer networks that were based upon some type of telecommunications system, communication between calculation machines and early computers was performed by human users by carrying instructions between them. Many of the social behaviors seen in today's Internet were demonstrably present in the nineteenth century and arguably in even earlier networks using visual signals.
In September 1940 George Stibitz used a teletype machine to send instructions for a problem set from his Model at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to his Complex Number Calculator in New York and received results back by the same means. Linking output systems like teletypes to computers was an interest at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) when, in 1962, J.C.R. Licklider was hired and developed a working group he called the "Intergalactic Network", a precursor to the ARPANet.
In 1964, researchers at Dartmouth developed the Dartmouth Time Sharing System for distributed users of large computer systems. The same year, at MIT, a research group supported by General Electric and Bell Labs used a computer DEC's to route and manage telephone connections.
Throughout the 1960s Leonard Kleinrock, Paul Baran and Donald Davies independently conceptualized and developed network systems which used datagrams or packets that could be used in a network between computer systems.
1965 Thomas Merrill and Lawrence G. Roberts created the first wide area network (WAN).
The first widely used PSTN switch that used true computer control was the Western Electric introduced in 1965.
In 1969 the University of California at Los Angeles, SRI (in Stanford), University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah were connected as the beginning of the ARPANET network using 50 kbit/s circuits. Commercial services using X.25 were deployed in 1972, and later used as an underlying infrastructure for expanding TCP/IP networks.
Computer networks, and the technologies needed to connect and communicate through and between them, continue to drive computer hardware, software, and peripherals industries. This expansion is mirrored by growth in the numbers and types of users of networks from the researcher to the home user.
Today, computer networks are the core of modern communication. All modern aspects of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) are computer-controlled, and telephony increasingly runs over the Internet Protocol, although not necessarily the public Internet. The scope of communication has increased significantly in the past decade, and this boom in communications would not have been possible without the progressively advancing computer network.

Networking methods

One way to categorize computer networks is by their geographic scope, although many real-world networks interconnect Local Area Networks (LAN) via Wide Area Networks (WAN) and wireless wide area networks (WWAN). These three (broad) types are:

Local area network (LAN)

A local area network is a network that spans a relatively small space and provides services to a small number of people.
A peer-to-peer or client-server method of networking may be used. A peer-to-peer network is where each client shares their resources with other workstations in the network. Examples of peer-to-peer networks are: Small office networks where resource use is minimal and a home network. A client-server network is where every client is connected to the server and each other. Client-server networks use servers in different capacities. These can be classified into two types:
1. Single-service servers
2. Print servers
The server performs one task such as file server, while other servers can not only perform in the capacity of file servers and print servers, but also can conduct calculations and use them to provide information to clients (Web/Intranet Server). Computers may be connected in many different ways, including Ethernet cables, Wireless networks, or other types of wires such as power lines or phone lines.
The ITU-T standard is an example of a technology that provides high-speed (up to 1 Gbit/s) local area networking over existing home wiring (power lines, phone lines and coaxial cables).

 Wide area network (WAN)

A wide area network is a network where a wide variety of resources are deployed across a large domestic area or internationally. An example of this is a multinational business that uses a WAN to interconnect their offices in different countries. The largest and best example of a WAN is the Internet, which is a network composed of many smaller networks. The Internet is considered the largest network in the world. The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) also is an extremely large network that is converging to use Internet technologies, although not necessarily through the public Internet.
A Wide Area Network involves communication through the use of a wide range of different technologies. These technologies include Point-to-Point WANs such as Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) and High-Level Data Link Control (HDLC), Frame Relay, ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and Sonet (Synchronous Optical Network). The difference between the WAN technologies is based on the switching capabilities they perform and the speed at which sending and receiving bits of information (data) occur.

Wireless networks (WLAN, WWAN)

A wireless network is basically the same as a LAN or a WAN but there are no wires between hosts and servers. The data is transferred over sets of radio transceivers. These types of networks are beneficial when it is too costly or inconvenient to run the necessary cables. For more information, see Wireless LAN and Wireless wide area network. The media access protocols for LANs come from the IEEE.
The most common IEEE 802.11 WLANs cover, depending on antennas, ranges from hundreds of meters to a few kilometers. For larger areas, either communications satellites of various types, cellular radio, or wireless local loop (IEEE 802.16) all have advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the type of mobility needed, the relevant standards may come from the IETF or the ITU.

Network topology

The network topology defines the way in which computers, printers, and other devices are connected, physically and logically. A network topology describes the layout of the wire and devices as well as the paths used by data transmissions.
Network topology has two types:
  • Physical
  • Logical
Commonly used topologies include:
  • Bus
  • Star
  • Tree (hierarchical)
  • Linear
  • Ring
  • Mesh
    • partially connected
    • fully connected (sometimes known as fully redundant)
The network topologies mentioned above are only a general representation of the kinds of topologies used in computer network and are considered basic topologies.

Computer data processing

Computer data processing is any process that uses a computer program to enter data and summarise, analyse or otherwise convert data into usable information. The process may be automated and run on a computer. It involves recording, analysing, sorting, summarising, calculating, disseminating and storing data. Because data is most useful when well-presented and actually informative, data-processing systems are often referred to as information systems. Nevertheless, the terms are roughly synonymous, performing similar conversions; data-processing systems typically manipulate raw data into information, and likewise information systems typically take raw data as input to produce information as output.
Data processing may or may not be distinguished from data conversion, when the process is merely to convert data to another format, and does not involve any data manipulation.

Data analysis
When the domain from which the data are harvested is a science or an engineering field, data processing and information systems are considered terms that are too broad and the more specialized term data analysis is typically used. This is a focus on the highly-specialized and highly-accurate algorithmic derivations and statistical calculations that are less often observed in the typical general business environment. In these contexts data analysis packages like DAP, gretl or PSPP are often used. This divergence of culture is exhibited in the typical numerical representations used in data processing versus numerical; data processing's measurements are typically represented by integers or by fixed-point or binary-coded decimal representations of numbers whereas the majority of data analysis's measurements are often represented by floating-point representation of rational numbers.


Basically,data is nothing but unorganised facts and which can be converted into useful information.This process of converting facts to information is Processing. Practically all naturally occurring processes can be viewed as examples of data processing systems where "observable" information in the form of pressure, light, etc. are converted by human observers into electrical signals in the nervous system as the senses we recognize as touch, sound, and vision. Even the interaction of non-living systems may be viewed in this way as rudimentary information processing systems. Conventional usage of the terms data processing and information systems restricts their use to refer to the algorithmic derivations, logical deductions, and statistical calculations that recur perennially in general business environments, rather than in the more expansive sense of all conversions of real-world measurements into real-world information in, say, an organic biological system or even a scientific or engineering system.

Elements of data processing

In order to be processed by a computer, data needs first be converted into a machine readable format. Once data is in digital format, various procedures can be applied on the data to get useful information. Data processing may involve various processes, including:
  • Data summarization
  • Data aggregation
  • Data validation
  • Data tabulation
  • Statistical analysis

Application Software Packages

Application software, also known as an application or an "app", is computer software designed to help the user to perform singular or multiple related specific tasks. It helps to solve problems in the real world. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software, and media players.
Application software is contrasted with system software and middleware, which manage and integrate a computer's capabilities, but typically do not directly apply them in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. A simple, if imperfect, analogy in the world of hardware would be the relationship of an electric light bulb (an application) to an electric power generation plant (a system). The power plant merely generates electricity, not itself of any real use until harnessed to an application like the electric light that performs a service that benefits the user.

In information technology, an application is a computer program designed to help people perform an activity. An application thus differs from an operating system (which runs a computer), a utility (which performs maintenance or general-purpose chores), and a programming language (with which computer programs are created). Depending on the activity for which it was designed, an application can manipulate text, numbers, graphics, or a combination of these elements. Some application packages offer considerable computing power by focusing on a single task, such as word processing; others, called integrated software, offer somewhat less power but include several applications. User-written software tailors systems to meet the user's specific needs. User-written software include spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, graphics and animation scripts. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is. The delineation between system software such as operating systems and application software is not exact, however, and is occasionally the object of controversy. For example, one of the key questions in the United States v. Microsoft antitrust trial was whether Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser was part of its Windows operating system or a separable piece of application software. As another example, the GNU/Linux naming controversy is, in part, due to disagreement about the relationship between the Linux kernel and the operating systems built over this kernel. In some types of embedded systems, the application software and the operating system software may be indistinguishable to the user, as in the case of software used to control a VCR, DVD player or microwave oven. The above definitions may exclude some applications that may exist on some computers in large organizations.

Application software classification

There are many types of application software:
  • An application suite consists of multiple applications bundled together. They usually have related functions, features and user interfaces, and may be able to interact with each other, e.g. open each other's files. Business applications often come in suites, e.g. Microsoft Office,, and iWork, which bundle together a word processor, a spreadsheet, etc.; but suites exist for other purposes, e.g. graphics or music.
  • Enterprise software addresses the needs of organization processes and data flow, often in a large distributed environment. (Examples include financial systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and supply-chain management software). Note that Departmental Software is a sub-type of Enterprise Software with a focus on smaller organizations or groups within a large organization. (Examples include Travel Expense Management, and IT Helpdesk)
  • Enterprise infrastructure software provides common capabilities needed to support enterprise software systems. (Examples include databases, email servers, and systems for managing networks and security.)
  • Information worker software addresses the needs of individuals to create and manage information, often for individual projects within a department, in contrast to enterprise management. Examples include time management, resource management, documentation tools, analytical, and collaborative. Word processors, spreadsheets, email and blog clients, personal information system, and individual media editors may aid in multiple information worker tasks.
  • Content access software is software used primarily to access content without editing, but may include software that allows for content editing. Such software addresses the needs of individuals and groups to consume digital entertainment and published digital content. (Examples include Media Players, Web Browsers, Help browsers, and Games)
  • Educational software is related to content access software, but has the content and/or features adapted for use in by educators or students. For example, it may deliver evaluations (tests), track progress through material, or include collaborative capabilities.
  • Simulation software are computer software for simulation of physical or abstract systems for either research, training or entertainment purposes.
  • Media development software addresses the needs of individuals who generate print and electronic media for others to consume, most often in a commercial or educational setting. This includes Graphic Art software, Desktop Publishing software, Multimedia Development software, HTML editors, Digital Animation editors, Digital Audio and Video composition, and many others.
  • Mobile applications run on hand-held devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and enterprise digital assistants : see mobile application development.
  • Product engineering software is used in developing hardware and software products. This includes computer aided design (CAD), computer aided engineering (CAE), computer language editing and compiling tools, Integrated Development Environments, and Application Programmer Interfaces. YUH ZEIT * A command-driven interface is one in which you type in commands to make the computer do something. You have to know the commands and what they do and they have to be typed correctly. DOS and Unix are examples of command-driven interfaces.
  • A graphical user interface (GUI) is one in which you select command choices from various menus, buttons and icons using a mouse. It is a user-friendly interface. The Windows and Mac OS are both graphical user interfaces.

Operating Systems

An operating system (OS) is software, consisting of programs and data, that runs on computers and manages the computer hardware and provides common services for efficient execution of various application software.
For hardware functions such as input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between application programs and the computer hardware, although the application code is usually executed directly by the hardware, but will frequently call the OS or be interrupted by it. Operating systems are found on almost any device that contains a computer—from cellular phones and video game consoles to supercomputers and web servers.
Examples of popular modern operating systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux.

Early computers were built to perform a series of single tasks, like a calculator. Operating systems did not exist in their modern and more complex forms until the early 1960s. Some operating system features were developed in the 1950s, such as monitor programs that could automatically run different application programs in succession to speed up processing. Hardware features were added that enabled use of runtime libraries, interrupts, and parallel processing. When personal computers by companies such as Apple Inc., Atari, IBM and Amiga became popular in the 1980s, vendors added operating system features that had previously become widely used on mainframe and mini computers. Later, many features such as graphical user interface were developed specifically for personal computer operating systems.
An operating system consists of many parts. One of the most important components is the kernel, which controls low-level processes that the average user usually cannot see: it controls how memory is read and written, the order in which processes are executed, how information is received and sent by devices like the monitor, keyboard and mouse, and decides how to interpret information received from networks. The user interface is a component that interacts with the computer user directly, allowing them to control and use programs. The user interface may be graphical with icons and a desktop, or textual, with a command line. Application programming interfaces provide services and code libraries that let applications developers write modular code reusing well defined programming sequences in user space libraries or in the operating system itself. Which features are considered part of the operating system is defined differently in various operating systems. For example, Microsoft Windows considers its user interface to be part of the operating system, while many versions of Linux do not.

In the early 1950s, a computer could execute only one program at a time. Each user had sole use of the computer and would arrive at a scheduled time with program and data on punched paper cards and tape. The program would be loaded into the machine, and the machine would be set to work until the program completed or crashed. Programs could generally be debugged via a front panel using toggle switches and panel lights. It is said that Alan Turing was a master of this on the early Manchester Mark 1 machine, and he was already deriving the primitive conception of an operating system from the principles of the Universal Turing machine.Later machines came with libraries of software, which would be linked to a user's program to assist in operations such as input and output and generating computer code from human-readable symbolic code. This was the genesis of the modern-day operating system. However, machines still ran a single job at a time. At Cambridge University in England the job queue was at one time a washing line from which tapes were hung with different colored clothes-pegs to indicate job-priority. 
Through the 1950s, many major features were pioneered in the field of operating systems, including batch processing, input/output interrupt, buffering, multitasking, spooling, runtime libraries, link-loading, and programs for sorting records in files. These features were included or not included in application software at the option of application programmers, rather than in a separate operating system used by all applications. In 1959 the SHARE Operating System was released as an integrated utility for the IBM 704, and later in the 709 and 7090 mainframes.
During the 1960s, IBM's OS/360 introduced the concept of a single OS spanning an entire product line, which was crucial for the success of the System/360 machines. IBM's current mainframe operating systems are distant descendants of this original system and applications written for OS/360 can still be run on modern machines. In the mid-'70s, MVS, a descendant of OS/360, offered the first implementation of using RAM as a transparent cache for data.
OS/360 also pioneered the concept that the operating system keeps track of all of the system resources that are used, including program and data space allocation in main memory and file space in secondary storage, and file locking during update. When the process is terminated for any reason, all of these resources are re-claimed by the operating system.
The alternative CP-67 system for the S/360-67 started a whole line of IBM operating systems focused on the concept of virtual machines. Other operating systems used on IBM S/360 series mainframes included systems developed by IBM: DOS/360 (Disk Operating System), TSS/360 (Time Sharing System), TOS/360 (Tape Operating System), BOS/360 (Basic Operating System), and ACP (Airline Control Program), as well as a few non-IBM systems: MTS (Michigan Terminal System) and MUSIC (Multi-User System for Interactive Computing).
Control Data Corporation developed the SCOPE operating system in the 1960s, for batch processing. In cooperation with the University of Minnesota, the KRONOS and later the NOS operating systems were developed during the 1970s, which supported simultaneous batch and timesharing use. Like many commercial timesharing systems, its interface was an extension of the Dartmouth BASIC operating systems, one of the pioneering efforts in timesharing and programming languages. In the late 1970s, Control Data and the University of Illinois developed the PLATO operating system, which used plasma panel displays and long-distance time sharing networks. Plato was remarkably innovative for its time, featuring real-time chat, and multi-user graphical games. Burroughs Corporation introduced the B5000 in 1961 with the MCP, (Master Control Program) operating system. The B5000 was a stack machine designed to exclusively support high-level languages with no machine language or assembler, and indeed the MCP was the first OS to be written exclusively in a high-level language – ESPOL, a dialect of ALGOL. MCP also introduced many other ground-breaking innovations, such as being the first commercial implementation of virtual memory. During development of the AS400, IBM made an approach to Burroughs to licence MCP to run on the AS400 hardware. This proposal was declined by Burroughs management to protect its existing hardware production. MCP is still in use today in the Unisys ClearPath/MCP line of computers.
UNIVAC, the first commercial computer manufacturer, produced a series of EXEC operating systems. Like all early main-frame systems, this was a batch-oriented system that managed magnetic drums, disks, card readers and line printers. In the 1970s, UNIVAC produced the Real-Time Basic (RTB) system to support large-scale time sharing, also patterned after the Dartmouth BC system.
General Electric and MIT developed General Electric Comprehensive Operating Supervisor (GECOS), which introduced the concept of ringed security privilege levels. After acquisition by Honeywell it was renamed to General Comprehensive Operating System (GCOS).
Digital Equipment Corporation developed many operating systems for its various computer lines, including TOPS-10 and TOPS-20 time sharing systems for the 36-bit PDP-10 class systems. Prior to the widespread use of UNIX, TOPS-10 was a particularly popular system in universities, and in the early ARPANET community.
In the late 1960s through the late 1970s, several hardware capabilities evolved that allowed similar or ported software to run on more than one system. Early systems had utilized microprogramming to implement features on their systems in order to permit different underlying architecture to appear to be the same as others in a series. In fact most 360's after the 360/40 (except the 360/165 and 360/168) were microprogrammed implementations. But soon other means of achieving application compatibility were proven to be more significant.
The enormous investment in software for these systems made since 1960s caused most of the original computer manufacturers to continue to develop compatible operating systems along with the hardware. The notable supported mainframe operating systems include:
  • Burroughs MCP – B5000, 1961 to Unisys Clearpath/MCP, present.
  • IBM OS/360 – IBM System/360, 1966 to IBM z/OS, present.
  • IBM CP-67 – IBM System/360, 1967 to IBM z/VM, present.
  • UNIVAC EXEC 8 – UNIVAC 1108, 1967, to OS 2200 Unisys Clearpath Dorado, present.
The first microcomputers did not have the capacity or need for the elaborate operating systems that had been developed for mainframes and minis; minimalistic operating systems were developed, often loaded from ROM and known as Monitors. One notable early disk-based operating system was CP/M, which was supported on many early microcomputers and was closely imitated in MS-DOS, which became wildly popular as the operating system chosen for the IBM PC (IBM's version of it was called IBM DOS or PC DOS), its successors making Microsoft. In the '80s Apple Computer Inc. (now Apple Inc.) abandoned its popular Apple II series of microcomputers to introduce the Apple Macintosh computer with an innovative Graphical User Interface (GUI) to the Mac OS.
The introduction of the Intel 80386 CPU chip with 32-bit architecture and paging capabilities, provided personal computers with the ability to run multitasking operating systems like those of earlier minicomputers and mainframes. Microsoft responded to this progress by hiring Dave Cutler, who had developed the VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation. He would lead the development of the Windows NT operating system, which continues to serve as the basis for Microsoft's operating systems line. Steve Jobs, a co-founder of Apple Inc., started NeXT Computer Inc., which developed the Unix-like NEXTSTEP operating system. NEXTSTEP would later be acquired by Apple Inc. and used, along with code from FreeBSD as the core of Mac OS X.
The GNU project was started by activist and programmer Richard Stallman with the goal of a complete free software replacement to the proprietary UNIX operating system. While the project was highly successful in duplicating the functionality of various parts of UNIX, development of the GNU Hurd kernel proved to be unproductive. In 1991, Finnish computer science student Linus Torvalds, with cooperation from volunteers collaborating over the Internet, released the first version of the Linux kernel. It was soon merged with the GNU user space components and system software to form a complete operating system. Since then, the combination of the two major components has usually been referred to as simply "Linux" by the software industry, a naming convention that Stallman and the Free Software Foundation remain opposed to, preferring the name GNU/Linux. The Berkeley Software Distribution, known as BSD, is the UNIX derivative distributed by the University of California, Berkeley, starting in the 1970s. Freely distributed and ported to many minicomputers, it eventually also gained a following for use on PCs, mainly as FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD.

Examples of operating systems

Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a family of proprietary operating systems most commonly used on personal computers. It is the most common family of operating systems for the personal computer, with about 90% of the market share.Currently, the most widely used version of the Windows family is Windows XP, released on October 25, 2001. The newest version is Windows 7 for personal computers and Windows Server 2008 R2 for servers.
Microsoft Windows originated in 1981 as an add-on to the older MS-DOS operating system for the IBM PC. First publicly released in 1985, Windows came to dominate the business world of personal computers, and went on to set a number of industry standards and commonplace applications. Beginning with Windows XP, all modern versions are based on the Windows NT kernel. Current versions of Windows run on IA-32 and x86-64 processors, although older versions sometimes supported other architectures.
Windows is also used on servers, supporting applications such as web servers and database servers. In recent years, Microsoft has spent significant marketing and research & development money to demonstrate that Windows is capable of running any enterprise application, which has resulted in consistent price/performance records (see the TPC) and significant acceptance in the enterprise market. However, its usage in servers is not as widespread as personal computers, and here Windows actively competes against Linux and BSD for market share, while still capturing a steady majority by some accounts.Unix and Unix-like operating systems.
Ken Thompson wrote B, mainly based on BCPL, which he used to write Unix, based on his experience in the MULTICS project. B was replaced by C, and Unix developed into a large, complex family of inter-related operating systems which have been influential in every modern operating system .The Unix-like family is a diverse group of operating systems, with several major sub-categories including System V, BSD, and GNU/Linux. The name "UNIX" is a trademark of The Open Group which licenses it for use with any operating system that has been shown to conform to their definitions. "Unix-like" is commonly used to refer to the large set of operating systems which resemble the original Unix.
Unix-like systems run on a wide variety of machine architectures. They are used heavily for servers in business, as well as workstations in academic and engineering environments. Free Unix variants, such as GNU/Linux and BSD, are popular in these areas.
Some Unix variants like HP's HP-UX and IBM's AIX are designed to run only on that vendor's hardware. Others, such as Solaris, can run on multiple types of hardware, including x86 servers and PCs. Apple's Mac OS X, a hybrid kernel-based BSD variant derived from NeXTSTEP, Mach, and FreeBSD, has replaced Apple's earlier (non-Unix) Mac OS.
Unix interoperability was sought by establishing the POSIX standard. The POSIX standard can be applied to any operating system, although it was originally created for various Unix variants.
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a line of partially proprietary graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc., the latest of which is pre-loaded on all currently shipping Macintosh computers. Mac OS X is the successor to the original Mac OS, which had been Apple's primary operating system since 1984. Unlike its predecessor, Mac OS X is a UNIX operating system built on technology that had been developed at NeXT through the second half of the 1980s and up until Apple purchased the company in early 1997.
The operating system was first released in 1999 as Mac OS X Server 1.0, with a desktop-oriented version (Mac OS X v10.0) following in March 2001. Since then, six more distinct "client" and "server" editions of Mac OS X have been released, the most recent being Mac OS X v10.6, which was first made available on August 28, 2009. Releases of Mac OS X are named after big cats; the current version of Mac OS X is "Snow Leopard".
The server edition, Mac OS X Server, is architecturally identical to its desktop counterpart but usually runs on Apple's line of Macintosh server hardware. Mac OS X Server includes work group management and administration software tools that provide simplified access to key network services, including a mail transfer agent, a Samba server, an LDAP server, a domain name server, and others.
Plan 9
Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy at Bell Labs designed and developed the C programming language to build the operating system Unix. Programmers at Bell Labs went on to develop Plan 9 and Inferno, which were engineered for modern distributed environments. Plan 9 was designed from the start to be a networked operating system, and had graphics built-in, unlike Unix, which added these features to the design later. It is currently released under the Lucent Public License. Inferno was sold to Vita Nuova Holdings and has been released under a GPL/MIT license.
Linux and GNU
Linux is the generic name for a UNIX-like operating system that can be used on a wide range of devices from supercomputers to wristwatches. The Linux kernel is released under an open source license, so anyone can read and modify its code. It has been modified to run on a large variety of electronics. Although estimates suggest it is used on only 0.5-2% of all personal computers, it has been widely adopted for use in servers and embedded systems (such as cell phones). Linux has superseded Unix in most places and is used on the 10 most powerful supercomputers in the world.
The GNU project is a mass collaboration of programmers who seek to create a completely free and open operating system that was similar to Unix but with completely original code. It was started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, and is responsible for many of the parts of most Linux variants. For this reason, Linux is often called GNU/Linux. Thousands of pieces of software for virtually every operating system are licensed under the GNU General Public License. Meanwhile, the Linux kernel began as a side project of Linus Torvalds, a university student from Finland. In 1991, Torvalds began work on it, and posted information about his project on a newsgroup for computer students and programmers. He received a wave of support and volunteers who ended up creating a full-fledged kernel. Programmers from GNU took notice, and members of both projects worked to integrate the finished GNU parts into the linux kernel in order to create a full-fledged operating system.
Google Chrome OS
Chrome is an operating system based on the Linux kernel and designed by Google. Chrome targets computer users who spend most of their time on the Internet—it is technically only a web browser with no other applications, and relies on Internet applications used in the web browser to accomplish tasks such as word processing and media viewing.


Older operating systems which are still used in niche markets include OS/2 from IBM and Microsoft; Mac OS, the non-Unix precursor to Apple's Mac OS X; BeOS; XTS-300. Some, most notably Haiku, RISC OS, MorphOS, AmigaOS 4 and FreeMint continue to be developed as minority platforms for enthusiast communities and specialist applications. OpenVMS formerly from DEC, is still under active development by Hewlett-Packard. Yet other operating systems are used almost exclusively in academia, for operating systems education or to do research on operating system concepts. A typical example of a system that fulfills both roles is MINIX, while for example Singularity is used purely for research.
The components of an operating system all exist in order to make the different parts of a computer work together. All software—from financial databases to film editors—needs to go through the operating system in order to use any of the hardware, whether it be as simple as a mouse or keyboard or complex as an Internet connection.

 The user interface

Every computer that receives some sort of human input needs a user interface, which allows a person to interact with the computer. While devices like keyboards, mice and touchscreens make up the hardware end of this task, the user interface makes up the software for it. The two most common forms of a user interface have historically been the Command-line interface, where computer commands are typed out line-by-line, and the Graphical user interface, where a visual environment (most commonly with windows, buttons, and icons) is present.

Graphical user interfaces

Most of the modern computer systems support graphical user interfaces (GUI), and often include them. In some computer systems, such as the original implementations of Microsoft Windows and the Mac OS, the GUI is integrated into the kernel.
While technically a graphical user interface is not an operating system service, incorporating support for one into the operating system kernel can allow the GUI to be more responsive by reducing the number of context switches required for the GUI to perform its output functions. Other operating systems are modular, separating the graphics subsystem from the kernel and the Operating System. In the 1980s UNIX, VMS and many others had operating systems that were built this way. GNU/Linux and Mac OS X are also built this way. Modern releases of Microsoft Windows such as Windows Vista implement a graphics subsystem that is mostly in user-space; however the graphics drawing routines of versions between Windows NT 4.0 and Windows Server 2003 exist mostly in kernel space. Windows 9x had very little distinction between the interface and the kernel.
Many computer operating systems allow the user to install or create any user interface they desire. The X Window System in conjunction with GNOME or KDE is a commonly found setup on most Unix and Unix-like (BSD, GNU/Linux, Solaris) systems. A number of Windows shell replacements have been released for Microsoft Windows, which offer alternatives to the included Windows shell, but the shell itself cannot be separated from Windows.
Numerous Unix-based GUIs have existed over time, most derived from X11. Competition among the various vendors of Unix (HP, IBM, Sun) led to much fragmentation, though an effort to standardize in the 1990s to COSE and CDE failed for various reasons, and were eventually eclipsed by the widespread adoption of GNOME and KDE. Prior to free software-based toolkits and desktop environments, Motif was the prevalent toolkit/desktop combination (and was the basis upon which CDE was developed).
Graphical user interfaces evolve over time. For example, Windows has modified its user interface almost every time a new major version of Windows is released, and the Mac OS GUI changed dramatically with the introduction of Mac OS X in 1999.
 Device drivers
A device driver is a specific type of computer software developed to allow interaction with hardware devices. Typically this constitutes an interface for communicating with the device, through the specific computer bus or communications subsystem that the hardware is connected to, providing commands to and/or receiving data from the device, and on the other end, the requisite interfaces to the operating system and software applications. It is a specialized hardware-dependent computer program which is also operating system specific that enables another program, typically an operating system or applications software package or computer program running under the operating system kernel, to interact transparently with a hardware device, and usually provides the requisite interrupt handling necessary for any necessary asynchronous time-dependent hardware interfacing needs.
The key design goal of device drivers is abstraction. Every model of hardware (even within the same class of device) is different. Newer models also are released by manufacturers that provide more reliable or better performance and these newer models are often controlled differently. Computers and their operating systems cannot be expected to know how to control every device, both now and in the future. To solve this problem, operative systems essentially dictate how every type of device should be controlled. The function of the device driver is then to translate these operative system mandated function calls into device specific calls. In theory a new device, which is controlled in a new manner, should function correctly if a suitable driver is available. This new driver will ensure that the device appears to operate as usual from the operating system's point of view.
Under versions of Windows before Vista and versions of Linux before 2.6, all driver execution was co-operative, meaning that if a driver entered an infinite loop it would freeze the system. More recent revisions of these operating systems incorporate kernel preemption, where the kernel interrupts the driver to give it tasks, and then separates itself from the process until it receives a response from the device driver, or gives it more tasks to do.


Currently most operating systems support a variety of networking protocols, hardware, and applications for using them. This means that computers running dissimilar operating systems can participate in a common network for sharing resources such as computing, files, printers, and scanners using either wired or wireless connections. Networks can essentially allow a computer's operating system to access the resources of a remote computer to support the same functions as it could if those resources were connected directly to the local computer. This includes everything from simple communication, to using networked file systems or even sharing another computer's graphics or sound hardware. Some network services allow the resources of a computer to be accessed transparently, such as SSH which allows networked users direct access to a computer's command line interface.
Client/server networking involves a program on a computer somewhere which connects via a network to another computer, called a server. Servers offer (or host) various services to other network computers and users. These services are usually provided through ports or numbered access points beyond the server's network address. Each port number is usually associated with a maximum of one running program, which is responsible for handling requests to that port. A daemon, being a user program, can in turn access the local hardware resources of that computer by passing requests to the operating system kernel.
Many operating systems support one or more vendor-specific or open networking protocols as well, for example, SNA on IBM systems, DECnet on systems from Digital Equipment Corporation, and Microsoft-specific protocols (SMB) on Windows. Specific protocols for specific tasks may also be supported such as NFS for file access. Protocols like ESound, or esd can be easily extended over the network to provide sound from local applications, on a remote system's sound hardware.


A computer being secure depends on a number of technologies working properly. A modern operating system provides access to a number of resources, which are available to software running on the system, and to external devices like networks via the kernel.
The operating system must be capable of distinguishing between requests which should be allowed to be processed, and others which should not be processed. While some systems may simply distinguish between "privileged" and "non-privileged", systems commonly have a form of requester identity, such as a user name. To establish identity there may be a process of authentication. Often a username must be quoted, and each username may have a password. Other methods of authentication, such as magnetic cards or biometric data, might be used instead. In some cases, especially connections from the network, resources may be accessed with no authentication at all (such as reading files over a network share). Also covered by the concept of requester identity is authorization; the particular services and resources accessible by the requester once logged into a system are tied to either the requester's user account or to the variously configured groups of users to which the requester belongs.
In addition to the allow/disallow model of security, a system with a high level of security will also offer auditing options. These would allow tracking of requests for access to resources (such as, "who has been reading this file?"). Internal security, or security from an already running program is only possible if all possibly harmful requests must be carried out through interrupts to the operating system kernel. If programs can directly access hardware and resources, they cannot be secured.
External security involves a request from outside the computer, such as a login at a connected console or some kind of network connection. External requests are often passed through device drivers to the operating system's kernel, where they can be passed onto applications, or carried out directly. Security of operating systems has long been a concern because of highly sensitive data held on computers, both of a commercial and military nature. The United States Government Department of Defense (DoD) created the Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC) which is a standard that sets basic requirements for assessing the effectiveness of security. This became of vital importance to operating system makers, because the TCSEC was used to evaluate, classify and select computer systems being considered for the processing, storage and retrieval of sensitive or classified information.
Network services include offerings such as file sharing, print services, email, web sites, and file transfer protocols (FTP), most of which can have compromised security. At the front line of security are hardware devices known as firewalls or intrusion detection/prevention systems. At the operating system level, there are a number of software firewalls available, as well as intrusion detection/prevention systems. Most modern operating systems include a software firewall, which is enabled by default. A software firewall can be configured to allow or deny network traffic to or from a service or application running on the operating system. Therefore, one can install and be running an insecure service, such as Telnet or FTP, and not have to be threatened by a security breach because the firewall would deny all traffic trying to connect to the service on that port.
An alternative strategy, and the only sandbox strategy available in systems that do not meet the Popek and Goldberg virtualization requirements, is the operating system not running user programs as native code, but instead either emulates a processor or provides a host for a p-code based system such as Java.
Internal security is especially relevant for multi-user systems; it allows each user of the system to have private files that the other users cannot tamper with or read. Internal security is also vital if auditing is to be of any use, since a program can potentially bypass the operating system, inclusive of bypassing auditing.
In modern operating systems, there're many in-built security modules to prevent these malicious threats. As an example, with Microsoft Windows 7 OS, there is a program called Microsoft security essentials to prevent all these security holes.

Real-time operating systems

An early example of a large-scale real-time operating system was Transaction Processing Facility developed by American Airlines and IBM for the Sabre Airline Reservations System.
Embedded systems that have fixed deadlines use a real-time operating system such as VxWorks, PikeOS, eCos, QNX, MontaVista Linux and RTLinux. Windows CE is a real-time operating system that shares similar APIs to desktop Windows but shares none of desktop Windows' codebase. Symbian OS also has an RTOS kernel (EKA2) starting with version 8.0b.
Some embedded systems use operating systems such as Palm OS, BSD, and GNU/Linux, although such operating systems do not support real-time computing.

Hobby development

Operating system development is one of the more involved and technical options for the computing hobbyist. A hobby operating system is classified as one that has been written from scratch (not based on another system) and has few developers who work in their spare time. Development usually begins with an existing operating system. The hobbyist is their own developer, or they interact in a relatively small and unstructured group of individuals who are all similarly situated with the same code base. Examples of a hobby operating system include Syllable and ReactOS.

Diversity of operating systems and portability

Application software is generally written for use on a specific operating system, and sometimes even for specific hardware. When porting the application to run on another OS, the functionality required by that application may be implemented differently by that OS (the names of functions, meaning of arguments, etc.) requiring the application to be adapted, changed, or otherwise maintained.
This cost in supporting operating systems diversity can be avoided by instead writing applications against software platforms like Java, or Qt for web browsers. These abstractions have already borne the cost of adaptation to specific operating systems and their system libraries.
Another approach is for operating system vendors to adopt standards. For example, POSIX and OS abstraction layers provide commonalities that reduce porting costs.

System Implementation and Operation

Implementation is the realization of an application, or execution of a plan, idea, model, design, specification, standard, algorithm, or policy.
Computer Science
In computer science, an implementation is a realization of a technical specification or algorithm as a program, software component, or other computer system through programming and deployment. Many implementations may exist for a given specification or standard. For example, web browsers contain implementations of World Wide Web Consortium-recommended specifications, and software development tools contain implementations of programming languages.

 IT Industry

In the IT Industry, implementation refers to post-sales process of guiding a client from purchase to use of the software or hardware that was purchased. This includes Requirements Analysis, Scope Analysis, Customizations, Systems Integrations, User Policies, User Training and Delivery. These steps are often overseen by a Project Manager using Project Management Methodologies set forth in the Project Management Body of Knowledge. Software Implementations involve several professionals that are relatively new to the knowledge based economy such as Business Analysts, Technical Analysts, Solutions Architect, and Project Managers.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Programming Languages

A programming language is an artificial language designed to express computations that can be performed by a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs that control the behavior of a machine, to express algorithms precisely, or as a mode of human communication.
Many programming languages have some form of written specification of their syntax (form) and semantics (meaning). Some languages are defined by a specification document. For example, the C programming language is specified by an ISO Standard. Other languages, such as Perl, have a dominant implementation that is used as a reference.
The earliest programming languages predate the invention of the computer, and were used to direct the behavior of machines such as Jacquard looms and player pianos. Thousands of different programming languages have been created, mainly in the computer field, with many more being created every year. Most programming languages describe computation in an imperative style, i.e., as a sequence of commands, although some languages, such as those that support functional programming or logic programming, use alternative forms of description.

A programming language is a notation for writing programs, which are specifications of a computation or algorithm. Some, but not all, authors restrict the term "programming language" to those languages that can express all possible algorithms. Traits often considered important for what constitutes a programming language include:
  • Function and target: A computer programming language is a language used to write computer programs, which involve a computer performing some kind of computation or algorithm and possibly control external devices such as printers, disk drives, robots, and so on. For example PostScript programs are frequently created by another program to control a computer printer or display. More generally, a programming language may describe computation on some, possibly abstract, machine. It is generally accepted that a complete specification for a programming language includes a description, possibly idealized, of a machine or processor for that language. In most practical contexts, a programming language involves a computer; consequently programming languages are usually defined and studied this way. Programming languages differ from natural languages in that natural languages are only used for interaction between people, while programming languages also allow humans to communicate instructions to machines.
  • Abstractions: Programming languages usually contain abstractions for defining and manipulating data structures or controlling the flow of execution. The practical necessity that a programming language support adequate abstractions is expressed by the abstraction principle; this principle is sometimes formulated as recommendation to the programmer to make proper use of such abstractions.
  • Expressive power: The theory of computation classifies languages by the computations they are capable of expressing. All Turing complete languages can implement the same set of algorithms. ANSI/ISO SQL and Charity are examples of languages that are not Turing complete, yet often called programming languages.Markup languages like XML, HTML or troff, which define structured data, are not generally considered programming languages. Programming languages may, however, share the syntax with markup languages if a computational semantics is defined. XSLT, for example, is a Turing complete XML dialect.Moreover, LaTeX, which is mostly used for structuring documents, also contains a Turing complete subset.
All programming languages have some primitive building blocks for the description of data and the processes or transformations applied to them (like the addition of two numbers or the selection of an item from a collection). These primitives are defined by syntactic and semantic rules which describe their structure and meaning respectively.
The term computer language is sometimes used interchangeably with programming language. However, the usage of both terms varies among authors, including the exact scope of each. One usage describes programming languages as a subset of computer languages. In this vein, languages used in computing that have a different goal than expressing computer programs are generically designated computer languages. For instance, markup languages are sometimes referred to as computer languages to emphasize that they are not meant to be used for programming. Another usage regards programming languages as theoretical constructs for programming abstract machines, and computer languages as the subset thereof that runs on physical computers, which have finite hardware resources. John C. Reynolds emphasizes that formal specification languages are just as much programming languages as are the languages intended for execution. He also argues that textual and even graphical input formats that affect the behavior of a computer are programming languages, despite the fact they are commonly not Turing-complete, and remarks that ignorance of programming language concepts is the reason for many flaws in input formats.

A programming language's surface form is known as its syntax. Most programming languages are purely textual; they use sequences of text including words, numbers, and punctuation, much like written natural languages. On the other hand, there are some programming languages which are more graphical in nature, using visual relationships between symbols to specify a program.
The syntax of a language describes the possible combinations of symbols that form a syntactically correct program. The meaning given to a combination of symbols is handled by semantics (either formal or hard-coded in a reference implementation). Since most languages are textual, this article discusses textual syntax.
Programming language syntax is usually defined using a combination of regular expressions (for lexical structure) and Backus–Naur Form (for grammatical structure).
Static semantics
.For compiled languages, static semantics essentially include those semantic rules that can be checked at compile time. Examples include checking that every identifier is declared before it is used (in languages that require such declarations) or that the labels on the arms of a case statement are distinct. Many important restrictions of this type, like checking that identifiers are used in the appropriate context (e.g. not adding a integer to a function name), or that subroutine calls have the appropriate number and type of arguments can be enforced by defining them as rules in a logic called a type system. Other forms of static analyses like data flow analysis may also be part of static semantics. Newer programming languages like Java and C# have definite assignment analysis, a form of data flow analysis, as part of their static semantics.

Type system
A type system defines how a programming language classifies values and expressions into types, how it can manipulate those types and how they interact. The goal of a type system is to verify and usually enforce a certain level of correctness in programs written in that language by detecting certain incorrect operations. Any decidable type system involves a trade-off: while it rejects many incorrect programs, it can also prohibit some correct, albeit unusual programs. In order to bypass this downside, a number of languages have type loopholes, usually unchecked casts that may be used by the programmer to explicitly allow a normally disallowed operation between different types. In most typed languages, the type system is used only to type check programs, but a number of languages, usually functional ones, perform type inference, which relieves the programmer from writing type annotations. The formal design and study of type systems is known as type theory
.Typed versus untyped languages
A language is typed if the specification of every operation defines types of data to which the operation is applicable, with the implication that it is not applicable to other types. For example, "this text between the quotes" is a string. In most programming languages, dividing a number by a string has no meaning. Most modern programming languages will therefore reject any program attempting to perform such an operation. In some languages, the meaningless operation will be detected when the program is compiled ("static" type checking), and rejected by the compiler, while in others, it will be detected when the program is run ("dynamic" type checking), resulting in a runtime exception.
A special case of typed languages are the single-type languages. These are often scripting or markup languages, such as REXX or SGML, and have only one data type—most commonly character strings which are used for both symbolic and numeric data.
In contrast, an untyped language, such as most assembly languages, allows any operation to be performed on any data, which are generally considered to be sequences of bits of various lengths. High-level languages which are untyped include BCPL and some varieties of Forth.
In practice, while few languages are considered typed from the point of view of type theory (verifying or rejecting all operations), most modern languages offer a degree of typing. Many production languages provide means to bypass or subvert the type system.

Static versus dynamic typing
In static typing all expressions have their types determined prior to the program being run (typically at compile-time). For example, 1 and (2+2) are integer expressions; they cannot be passed to a function that expects a string, or stored in a variable that is defined to hold dates.
Statically typed languages can be either manifestly typed or type-inferred. In the first case, the programmer must explicitly write types at certain textual positions (for example, at variable declarations). In the second case, the compiler infers the types of expressions and declarations based on context. Most mainstream statically typed languages, such as C++, C# and Java, are manifestly typed. Complete type inference has traditionally been associated with less mainstream languages, such as Haskell and ML. However, many manifestly typed languages support partial type inference; for example, Java and C# both infer types in certain limited cases.
Dynamic typing, also called latent typing, determines the type-safety of operations at runtime; in other words, types are associated with runtime values rather than textual expressions. As with type-inferred languages, dynamically typed languages do not require the programmer to write explicit type annotations on expressions. Among other things, this may permit a single variable to refer to values of different types at different points in the program execution. However, type errors cannot be automatically detected until a piece of code is actually executed, making debugging more difficult. Ruby, Lisp, JavaScript, and Python are dynamically typed.

Weak and strong typing
Weak typing allows a value of one type to be treated as another, for example treating a string as a number. This can occasionally be useful, but it can also allow some kinds of program faults to go undetected at compile time and even at runtime.
Strong typing prevents the above. An attempt to perform an operation on the wrong type of value raises an error. Strongly typed languages are often termed type-safe or safe.
An alternative definition for "weakly typed" refers to languages, such as Perl and JavaScript, which permit a large number of implicit type conversions. In JavaScript, for example, the expression 2 * x implicitly converts x to a number, and this conversion succeeds even if x is null, undefined, an Array, or a string of letters. Such implicit conversions are often useful, but they can mask programming errors.
Strong and static are now generally considered orthogonal concepts, but usage in the literature differs. Some use the term strongly typed to mean strongly, statically typed, or, even more confusingly, to mean simply statically typed. Thus C has been called both strongly typed and weakly, statically typed.

Execution semantics
Once data has been specified, the machine must be instructed to perform operations on the data. For example, the semantics may define the strategy by which expressions are evaluated to values, or the manner in which control structures conditionally execute statements. The execution semantics (also known as dynamic semantics) of a language defines how and when the various constructs of a language should produce a program behavior. There are many ways of defining execution semantics. Natural language is often used to specify the execution semantics of languages commonly used in practice. A significant amount of academic research went into formal semantics of programming languages, which allow execution semantics to be specified in a formal manner. Results from this field of research have seen limited application to programming language design and implementation outside academia.

Core library
Most programming languages have an associated core library (sometimes known as the 'standard library', especially if it is included as part of the published language standard), which is conventionally made available by all implementations of the language. Core libraries typically include definitions for commonly used algorithms, data structures, and mechanisms for input and output.
A language's core library is often treated as part of the language by its users, although the designers may have treated it as a separate entity. Many language specifications define a core that must be made available in all implementations, and in the case of standardized languages this core library may be required. The line between a language and its core library therefore differs from language to language. Indeed, some languages are designed so that the meanings of certain syntactic constructs cannot even be described without referring to the core library. For example, in Java, a string literal is defined as an instance of the java.lang.String class; similarly, in Smalltalk, an anonymous function expression (a "block") constructs an instance of the library's BlockContext class. Conversely, Scheme contains multiple coherent subsets that suffice to construct the rest of the language as library macros, and so the language designers do not even bother to say which portions of the language must be implemented as language constructs, and which must be implemented as parts of a library.

Design and implementation
Programming languages share properties with natural languages related to their purpose as vehicles for communication, having a syntactic form separate from its semantics, and showing language families of related languages branching one from another. But as artificial constructs, they also differ in fundamental ways from languages that have evolved through usage. A significant difference is that a programming language can be fully described and studied in its entirety, since it has a precise and finite definition. By contrast, natural languages have changing meanings given by their users in different communities. While constructed languages are also artificial languages designed from the ground up with a specific purpose, they lack the precise and complete semantic definition that a programming language has.
Many languages have been designed from scratch, altered to meet new needs, combined with other languages, and eventually fallen into disuse. Although there have been attempts to design one "universal" programming language that serves all purposes, all of them have failed to be generally accepted as filling this role. The need for diverse programming languages arises from the diversity of contexts in which languages are used:
  • Programs range from tiny scripts written by individual hobbyists to huge systems written by hundreds of programmers.
  • Programmers range in expertise from novices who need simplicity above all else, to experts who may be comfortable with considerable complexity.
  • Programs must balance speed, size, and simplicity on systems ranging from microcontrollers to supercomputers.
  • Programs may be written once and not change for generations, or they may undergo continual modification.
  • Finally, programmers may simply differ in their tastes: they may be accustomed to discussing problems and expressing them in a particular language.
One common trend in the development of programming languages has been to add more ability to solve problems using a higher level of abstraction. The earliest programming languages were tied very closely to the underlying hardware of the computer. As new programming languages have developed, features have been added that let programmers express ideas that are more remote from simple translation into underlying hardware instructions. Because programmers are less tied to the complexity of the computer, their programs can do more computing with less effort from the programmer. This lets them write more functionality per time unit.
Natural language processors have been proposed as a way to eliminate the need for a specialized language for programming. However, this goal remains distant and its benefits are open to debate. Edsger W. Dijkstra took the position that the use of a formal language is essential to prevent the introduction of meaningless constructs, and dismissed natural language programming as "foolish". Alan Perlis was similarly dismissive of the idea. Hybrid approaches have been taken in Structured English and SQL.
A language's designers and users must construct a number of artifacts that govern and enable the practice of programming. The most important of these artifacts are the language specification and implementation.

The specification of a programming language is intended to provide a definition that the language users and the implementors can use to determine whether the behavior of a program is correct, given its source code.
A programming language specification can take several forms, including the following:
  • An explicit definition of the syntax, static semantics, and execution semantics of the language. While syntax is commonly specified using a formal grammar, semantic definitions may be written in natural language (e.g., as in the C language), or a formal semantics (e.g., as in Standard ML and Scheme specifications).
  • A description of the behavior of a translator for the language (e.g., the C++ and Fortran specifications). The syntax and semantics of the language have to be inferred from this description, which may be written in natural or a formal language.
  • A reference or model implementation, sometimes written in the language being specified (e.g., Prolog or ANSI REXX). The syntax and semantics of the language are explicit in the behavior of the reference implementation.


An implementation of a programming language provides a way to execute that program on one or more configurations of hardware and software. There are, broadly, two approaches to programming language implementation: compilation and interpretation. It is generally possible to implement a language using either technique.
The output of a compiler may be executed by hardware or a program called an interpreter. In some implementations that make use of the interpreter approach there is no distinct boundary between compiling and interpreting. For instance, some implementations of BASIC compile and then execute the source a line at a time.
Programs that are executed directly on the hardware usually run several orders of magnitude faster than those that are interpreted in software.One technique for improving the performance of interpreted programs is just-in-time compilation. Here the virtual machine, just before execution, translates the blocks of bytecode which are going to be used to machine code, for direct execution on the hardware.

Thousands of different programming languages have been created, mainly in the computing field. Programming languages differ from most other forms of human expression in that they require a greater degree of precision and completeness. When using a natural language to communicate with other people, human authors and speakers can be ambiguous and make small errors, and still expect their intent to be understood. However, figuratively speaking, computers "do exactly what they are told to do", and cannot "understand" what code the programmer intended to write. The combination of the language definition, a program, and the program's inputs must fully specify the external behavior that occurs when the program is executed, within the domain of control of that program.
A programming language provides a structured mechanism for defining pieces of data, and the operations or transformations that may be carried out automatically on that data. A programmer uses the abstractions present in the language to represent the concepts involved in a computation. These concepts are represented as a collection of the simplest elements available (called primitives). Programming is the process by which programmers combine these primitives to compose new programs, or adapt existing ones to new uses or a changing environment.
Programs for a computer might be executed in a batch process without human interaction, or a user might type commands in an interactive session of an interpreter. In this case the "commands" are simply programs, whose execution is chained together. When a language is used to give commands to a software application (such as a shell) it is called a scripting language.

 Measuring language usage
It is difficult to determine which programming languages are most widely used, and what usage means varies by context. One language may occupy the greater number of programmer hours, a different one have more lines of code, and a third utilize the most CPU time. Some languages are very popular for particular kinds of applications. For example, COBOL is still strong in the corporate data center, often on large mainframes; FORTRAN in engineering applications; C in embedded applications and operating systems; and other languages are regularly used to write many different kinds of applications.
Various methods of measuring language popularity, each subject to a different bias over what is measured, have been proposed:
  • counting the number of job advertisements that mention the language
  • the number of books sold that teach or describe the language
  • estimates of the number of existing lines of code written in the language—which may underestimate languages not often found in public searches
  • counts of language references (i.e., to the name of the language) found using a web search engine.
Combining and averaging information from various internet sites, claims that  in 2008 the 10 most cited programming languages are (in alphabetical order): C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and SQL.

There is no overarching classification scheme for programming languages. A given programming language does not usually have a single ancestor language. Languages commonly arise by combining the elements of several predecessor languages with new ideas in circulation at the time. Ideas that originate in one language will diffuse throughout a family of related languages, and then leap suddenly across familial gaps to appear in an entirely different family.
The task is further complicated by the fact that languages can be classified along multiple axes. For example, Java is both an object-oriented language (because it encourages object-oriented organization) and a concurrent language (because it contains built-in constructs for running multiple threads in parallel). Python is an object-oriented scripting language.
In broad strokes, programming languages divide into programming paradigms and a classification by intended domain of use. Traditionally, programming languages have been regarded as describing computation in terms of imperative sentences, i.e. issuing commands. These are generally called imperative programming languages. A great deal of research in programming languages has been aimed at blurring the distinction between a program as a set of instructions and a program as an assertion about the desired answer, which is the main feature of declarative programming. More refined paradigms include procedural programming, object-oriented programming, functional programming, and logic programming; some languages are hybrids of paradigms or multi-paradigmatic. An assembly language is not so much a paradigm as a direct model of an underlying machine architecture. By purpose, programming languages might be considered general purpose, system programming languages, scripting languages, domain-specific languages, or concurrent/distributed languages (or a combination of these). Some general purpose languages were designed largely with educational goals.
A programming language may also be classified by factors unrelated to programming paradigm. For instance, most programming languages use English language keywords, while a minority do not. Other languages may be classified as being esoteric or not.