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computer_basics:a_short_history_of_operating_systems

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A Short History of Operating Systems

Mithat Konar
Feb 13, 2013

The major eras

  • Mainframe/midrange-server era
  • The personal computing era
  • GUI desktop era
  • Open source “era”
  • Mobile era

Mainframe/midrange-server era

  • ~1960-1975
  • multiuser, multitasking
  • UNIX (late 1960's)
    • many versions
    • commercial but given away to academic institutions
    • still widely used in research and academia

The personal computing era

  • ~1975-1985
  • a.k.a. microcomputer era
  • single user, single tasking
  • CLI and menu UI
  • CP/M (1974)
  • Apple II (1977)
  • DOS (1981)
  • Commodore 64 (1982), Amiga (1985) …

GUI desktop era

  • ~1985-2010
  • Apple Macintosh (1984)

GUI desktop era

  • Windows
    • 1.0 (1985), 3.1 (1992): DOS-based
    • Windows NT (1993): UNIX competitor
    • Windows 95 (1995): preemptive multitasking
    • Windows 98 (1998): networking support
    • Windows 2000 (2000): NT evolved
    • Windows XP (2001): true multiuser; Pro, Home versions
    • Windows Vista (2006): gazillions of versions
    • Windows 7 (2009): many versions
    • Windows 8 (2012): one-OS-for-all-platforms, touch-centric
    • Server-centric
      • Windows Server 2008
      • Windows Home Server

GUI desktop era

  • Apple OS X (2001)
    • Unix-based (Darwin BSD)

Open-source alternatives

  • ~1991-present
  • Linux (1991)
  • BSD UNIX (open versions since ~1991)
  • Either can be configured for desktop or midrange server (or larger!)
  • Linux powers most Web servers

Mobile era

  • ~2010 - present
  • Setting the stage:
    • Embedded Linux (1991)
    • Windows CE/Embedded (1996)
    • Palm (1996)
    • Symbian (1997)
    • BlackBerry OS (1999)
    • Windows Mobile (2000)

Mobile era

  • Showtime:
    • iOS (2007)
    • Android (2008)
    • webOS (2010)
    • bada (2010)
    • Aliyun (2011)
    • Tizen (2012)
    • Firefox OS (2013?)
    • Ubuntu Mobile (2013?)

Not covered

  • Custom OS for supercomputers, etc.
computer_basics/a_short_history_of_operating_systems.1361313539.txt.gz · Last modified: 2013/02/19 22:38 by mithat