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How old are operating systems?
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-08-01 23:09:59

Today, it hit me that iOS is already ten years old. I consider iOS a relatively new and fresh operating system, but can we really say that at ten years old? In order to figure that out, I quickly threw together a little graph to visualise the age of both current and deprecated operating systems to get a better look at the age of operating systems.

It counts operating system age in terms of years from initial public release (excluding beta or preview releases) to the last release (in case of deprecated operating systems) or until today (in case of operating systems still in active development). I've included mainly popular, successful, consumer-oriented operating systems, leaving out more server or embedded oriented operating systems (such as UNIX and QNX), which tend to have vastly different needs and development cycles.

As far as the nomenclature goes, Windows 9x includes everything from Windows 1.0 to Windows ME, and Mac OS covers System 1 through Mac OS 9.2.2. Windows CE is currently called Windows Embedded Compact, but its line also includes Windows Phone 7, Windows Mobile, and Windows PocketPC.

Red indicates the operating system is no longer being developed, whereas green means it's still under active development. The only question mark in this regard is Windows CE; its latest release is Embedded Compact 2013 in 2013, and while I think it's still in development, I'm not entirely sure.

This graph isn't a scientifically accurate, well-researched, quotable piece of information - it takes many shortcuts and brushes several questions aside for brevity's sake. For instance, looking at the last official release doesn't always make sense, such as with Windows Service Packs or Mac OS X point releases, and I haven't even been entirely consistent with these anyway.

On top of that, the graph doesn't take months or weeks into account, and just counts everything in terms of years. Linux shouldn't technically be included at all (since it's just a kernel), and you can conceivably argue that, for instance, Mac OS X is older than its initial release in the form of 10.0 since it's so heavily based on NEXTSTEP. Amiga OS is also a bit of a stretch, since its development pace is slow and has even died down completely on several occasions. You could maybe possibly argue that BeOS is still in active development in the form of Haiku, but I consider Haiku a reimplementation, and not a continuation.

In any event, I originally wasn't planning on doing anything with this, but I figured I might as well publish it here since it's an interesting overview.

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RE[3]: Nice idea, but it is too hard to set good criteria ...
By leech on 2017-08-03 21:47:59
Maybe someone should hire a bounty hunter to track down him down and let all the people who got ripped off for that throw Red/White boing balls at him.
Permalink - Score: 2
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RE: Amiga OS?
By leech on 2017-08-03 21:56:59
I guess technically the source was released for 3.1... which arguably complicates things in the Amiga community. People don't want to look at the code who work on AROS, because then some of it might bleed in, and then some jerk could potentially close the project down, or cause massive re-writes...

Sadly, so few turds in that bowl try to stink it up for the people who just want to breathe life into it.
Permalink - Score: 2
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RE[3]: Years are messed up??
By judgen on 2017-08-03 23:45:59
Nothing byt the version nuber was changed from DOS8.

For example: If i release BeOS 5.1 claiming it to be a new OS and make sure that it has a f--king stupid GUI call to break compatibillity.

Oh no that was Bernd Korz.

Edit: And i like the guy. I wish that it would have been legal.

Edited 2017-08-03 23:47 UTC
Permalink - Score: 2
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IRIX?
By jburnett on 2017-08-04 00:05:09
Wow, no IRIX love here, not even on the diagram.
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[6]: Nice idea, but it is too hard to set good criteria ...
By daedalus on 2017-08-04 07:41:12
Yep, there were two CPU jumps on the Mac, but each time the same OS was on either side of it - OS8 for 68k to PPC and OSX for PPC to Intel.

The jump from OS9 to OS10 (X) was far more substantial, so much so that it's an entirely different OS, and there wasn't really compatibility between the two. Software had to be recompiled to run on OSX. On the other hand, OS4 is a port of the OS3.1 code to PPC and maintains full, transparent compatibility with it, just like a 68k app on an OS9 Mac or a PPC app on an OSX Leopard Intel Mac. There's no compatibility layer other than CPU instruction translation; 68k apps use the PPC APIs natively, and it's impossible to tell whether an app is 68k or PPC when you run it.

What you might be thinking of is that there is also an emulation of the classic Amiga chipset, however that's a machine emulator (UAE) and not the same thing at all. It's needed for software that *didn't* use the OS but banged the hardware directly. That's not really incompatibility between OS3 and OS4 though since such software doesn't bother using either.
Permalink - Score: 3
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CHART SO FLAWED
By user78 on 2017-08-04 14:22:06
entire chart is so flawed that you only cherry picking the OS..you didn't put entire OS when you want to post your articule on the site why waste people time to read it at first..tried rewrite the articuled better for our understand and don't leave out the important details ..its very rude to leave all UNIX flavors and apple os, all the BSD...if you going start mention the age of os..why stop at few favorites ..your flawed as editoria on your site. suppoese reasearch your work first and combine into great story about our OS history..start from the grandfather pdp's and UNIXes..and wish you mention the fate of MacDOS and MACBSD..even microsoft unix version..even BeOS i was fond at one point in my childhood but LINUX still is my favorites and current os i used now for WIndows layer os

Edited 2017-08-04 14:27 UTC
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RE[5]: Some large inacuracies
By sarreq on 2017-08-04 14:42:33
Linux does not NEED DOS to load, it's there as an option. Windows9x/ME NEEDS DOS to run, it cannot boot on it's own.
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[5]: Some large inacuracies
By sarreq on 2017-08-04 14:44:48
No. They. Didn't.

Win9x/ME had to have DOS boot the machine for them, they could not boot independently of DOS.
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[3]: Years are messed up??
By sarreq on 2017-08-04 15:09:02
https://blogs.windows.com/devices...

It was an April Fools prank.
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[5]: Some large inacuracies
By sarreq on 2017-08-04 15:16:40
OK, so now we have the "Alternative Facts" camp chiming in.

Strictly speaking, Linux is only the kernel, it is not the GUI. OR the command line. OR the OS as a whole. Most people only refer to Linux as the OS for brevity, or misunderstanding of the ecosystem.

The BIOS/UEFI starts the system and preps it to hand over to the bootloader.

For Linux, GRUB, LILO, BURG, or SysLinux (among many others), which then loads the Linux kernel, which then loads the drivers and other system processes, configuration files, and any software configured to load on boot. You can use Linux just fine without using one of the many Linux based GUIs, but you still have to use one of the many CLIs to do so.

MS-DOS's is built into the MBR of every disk it formats, but is only there to make sure IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS are also on the disk, and then hands the boot process over to IO.SYS. IO.SYS then loads MSDOS.SYS which then loads COMMAND.COM. After that, if you have a CONFIG.SYS and/or AUTOEXEC.BAT, those are processed, and depending what's in AUTOEXEC.BAT, you're either dumped to the DOS prompt, or loaded into Windows(v1 — ME) via WIN.COM. No DOS -> no way to load WIN.COM -> no Windows. Once AUTOEXEC.BAT is done processing, whether Windows loads or not, the system is done booting.

While Windows 3.x to ME are certainly quite alot more than just a GUI, they are ALL still dependant on DOS to set the system up to run.

Edited 2017-08-04 15:22 UTC
Permalink - Score: 1

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