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Operating systems continue to evolve. A recently developed type of OS called a distributed operating system is designed for a connected, but independent, collection of computers that share resources such as hard drives. In a distributed OS, a process can run on any computer in the network (presumably a computer that is idle) to increase that process's performance. All basic OS functions—such as maintaining file systems, ensuring reasonable behavior, and recovering data in the event of a partial failure—become more complex in distributed systems.

Research is also being conducted that would replace the keyboard with a means of using voice or handwriting for input. Currently these types of input are imprecise because people pronounce and write words very differently, making it difficult for a computer to recognize the same input from different users. However, advances in this field have led to systems that can recognize a small number of words spoken by a variety of people. In addition, software has been developed that can be taught to recognize an individual's handwriting.



 

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