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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[4]: Some large inacuracies
By CATs on 2017-08-03 06:29:40
> Win95 through WinME could not boot the computer without DOS there doing so for them. whether they knocked DOS out of memory once they loaded or not is inconsequential. without DOS, none of them functioned. DOS is essentially their bootloader.

Windows wasn't a self contained OS until Windows NT (in workstations and servers), and XP (on home PCs).

on a side note, I've never tried this, but really should; I'm wondering if Windows 95 will run from FreeDOS.

By that logic, Linux is just a GUI on top of BIOS and not a full OS. So is Windows 7. Or almost any other OS.
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[4]: IOS and Android
By CATs on 2017-08-03 06:30:44
> > Let's make a simple rule: if it has it's own kernel, it's a different OS. If it uses same kernel as something else, it's NOT a different OS.

So if I put Audi rims on my Honda my Honda is now an Audi? Seriously?

Simplifying logic down to retarded.

An OS is more than just a kernel.

I don't know what "rims" are, but if it means "engine", then yes. The very essence of OS is it's kernel.

Edited 2017-08-03 06:31 UTC
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[4]: Nice idea, but it is too hard to set good criteria ...
By daedalus on 2017-08-03 07:46:21
Not as different as you seem to think. The emulation argument breaks down too when compared to Mac OS X - when that switched to Intel, it also needed to use emulation to run older PowerPC software (Rosetta). Amiga OS4 is no different. The API is compatible, just the CPU is emulated so to the eye there's no difference between software written for OS3 and that written for OS4.

Edited 2017-08-03 07:48 UTC
Permalink - Score: 3
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RE[4]: IOS and Android
By CATs on 2017-08-03 08:50:51
> > Let's make a simple rule: if it has it's own kernel, it's a different OS. If it uses same kernel as something else, it's NOT a different OS.

So if I put Audi rims on my Honda my Honda is now an Audi? Seriously?

Simplifying logic down to retarded.

An OS is more than just a kernel.



So I just looked up what "rims" mean. It seems you are trying to sound retarded on purpose: comparing rims to OS kernel, seriously??? Rims would be better compared to window decorations in theming software such as Stardock WindowBlinds. Kernel is much better compared to car engine. And yes, if you put Audi engine in your Honda, it's no longer Honda.

Edited 2017-08-03 08:51 UTC
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[4]: IOS and Android
By CATs on 2017-08-03 09:13:51
Putting Audi rims on Honda is like applying Windows XP theme to Gnome running on Debian. Don't act stupid comparing rims to kernel.
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RE[2]: Years are messed up??
By poesiemeister on 2017-08-03 11:18:13
2000? You're forgetting embedded MS-DOS. For example, my Windows phone has a copy of embedded MS-DOS mobile.

MS-DOS Mobile Version 1.0
Copyright (C) Microsoft Mobile 2015

All rights reserved.

C:\>

Admittedly, this was released on 1st April 2015.
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RE[4]: FreeDOS missing
By demetrioussharpe on 2017-08-03 13:15:24
> Thom's chart was only intended to include active development of the OS.

This is incorrect. In fact, he specifically said, Red indicates the operating system is no longer being developed, whereas green means it's still under active development. The chart clearly has OSes that are actively in development as well ass OSes that are no longer in development.
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RE[5]: IOS and Android
By mistersoft on 2017-08-03 13:24:26
and to extrapolate the car analogy a bit more..

A. is the essence of a car really more the Chassis+bodywork combo - or the engine..?

It is of course both. But I think most folk would agree the chassis+bodywork is (generally) the larger component, but it won't "drive the same" without the original/correct engine

B. Similarly when you get Microsoft reconstructing "linux" with Ubuntu userland, utiliities, libraries etc, adding their own translation layer and (of course) using their own NT kernal still ....it might "run" linux programs.....but it won't drive like it any longer.

And only SOURCE CODE APPROVED mega-partners can really tinker with the engine etc. You or your local garage are SOL
Permalink - Score: 2
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RE[5]: IOS and Android
By demetrioussharpe on 2017-08-03 13:31:44
> > > Let's make a simple rule: if it has it's own kernel, it's a different OS. If it uses same kernel as something else, it's NOT a different OS.
That would make Server/Desktop Linux and Android the same OS.

Which, in essence, it is.


No, it's not. An OS is the kernel AND its userland. Linux is only a kernel. Server/Desktop versions of Linux wrap a completely different userland around the Linux kernel than Android does. They're not the same OS, they're merely the same kernel.
Permalink - Score: 2
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RE[2]: Makes no sense
By Morgan on 2017-08-03 14:17:23
> I think R5 released in 2000.

Yep, August 2000, though it was still sold commercially until late 2001. I bought my copy of R5 in the summer of 2001. A few months later Be, Inc. folded.
Permalink - Score: 2

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