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operating environment
Last modified: Sunday, September 01, 1996 

operating system
The environment in which users run programs. For example, the DOS environment consists of all the DOS commands available to users. The Macintosh environment, on the other hand, is a graphical user interface that uses icons and menus instead of commands.

There is a thin line between operating environments and shells. Historically, shells are the interfaces to operating systems. They do not actually add any new capabilities; they simply provide a better user interface. So-called intelligent shells, however, actually extend an operating system's capabilities, so there is little difference between intelligent shells and operating environments.

Operating environments are sometimes called control programs.

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Operating Systems

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control program

environment

graphical user interface

JVM

Microsoft Windows

operating system

shell

virtual machine


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