Basics of Backend Engineering

What is Operating System?

This section will cover the most important concepts to learn in operating systems as a backend engineer and some general knowledge that will accelerate your backend engineering career.

What is Operating System?

An operating system is the most important software in a computer. It is system software that manages the resources of a computer. It manages the memories, processes, and other software. These resources include but are not limited to the central processing unit(CPU), computer memory, file storage, input/output (I/O) devices, and network connections.

Most importantly, the operating system allows you to communicate with your computer without knowing how to speak the language of the computer.

Types of operating systems

If you’re starting, you’ll probably start using the operating system that comes pre-loaded with the system. However, updating, removing, and installing a new operating system on your machine is possible. For instance, you can remove the Windows operating system and install the Linux one.

Below are the three main types of operating systems:

  • Windows

  • Mac

  • Linux

Now, let’s take a look at each of them separately.

Microsoft Windows

The Microsoft Windows operating system was created in the mid-1980s, and there have been different versions of it up to the time of writing. We have Windows 11, which was released on October 5, 2021.

The Windows operating system comes pre-loaded on most new PCs, which makes it the most popular operating system in the world, including the fact that Windows is a Graphical User Interface (GUI) which makes it very user-friendly and easy to get started with.

Since Microsoft Windows was initially created for home and personal computers, the usage and support for advanced command-line interface (CLI) is different from Mac and Linux.



macOS (previously called OS X) is one of the operating systems created by Apple, and it comes pre-loaded on all Macintosh computers or Macs. Many versions have been launched since its first announcement on 24 March 2001. However, the latest version at the time of writing is the macOS 12 (Monterey), launched on June 21, 2023.

The MacOS also use a graphical user interface for most day-to-day activities but also widely supports the use of a command-line interface (CLI) for advanced users.

According to the Global Stat Operating System Market Share, MacOS users account for less than 10% of global operating systems as of the time of writing. This is much lower than Windows users, which account for 80%. This large disparity margin is because MacOS is very expensive.



Linux is one of the free, open-source operating systems created by Linus Torvalds in the 1990s. Linux is an open-source operating system that can be modified and distributed by anyone worldwide.

The advantages of Linux are that it is free, and there are many different distributions—or versions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Kali, Mint, etc — you can choose from. However, According to StatCounter Global Stats, Linux users account for less than 2% of global operating systems as of the time of writing. However, most servers run Linux because it's relatively easy to customize.

Linux primarily uses the terminal for communicating and interacting with the operating system. However, different distributions (distros) come with different GUIs to help you with your day-to-day activities.

The Linux operating system is a good choice for backend engineering because it’s used in most servers and supports many good features for server-side development. However, it has a steep learning curve as you must learn how to use the terminal enough for your day-to-day activity as a backend engineer.

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