Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Evolution of Desktops

1984 - 1986

Macintosh System 1January 1984: Macintosh System 1

Macintosh System 2April 1985: Macintosh System 2

Microsoft Windows 1.0November 1985: Microsoft Windows 1.0

Microsoft Windows 1.0November 1985: Microsoft Windows 1.0

Macintosh System 3January 1986: Macintosh System 3

1987 - 1989

Macintosh System 4March 1987: Macintosh System 4

Macintosh System 51987: Macintosh System 5

Microsoft Windows 2.0December 1987: Microsoft Windows 2.0

Microsoft Windows 2.0December 1987: Microsoft Windows 2.0

Macintosh System 6April 1988: Macintosh System 6

1990 - 1994

Microsoft Windows 3.0May 1990: Microsoft Windows 3.0

Macintosh System 7May 1991: Macintosh System 7

Microsoft Windows 3.1August 1992: Microsoft Windows 3.1

Macintosh System 7.1August 1992: Macintosh System 7.1

1995 - 1997

Macintosh System 7.5March 1995: Macintosh System 7.5

Microsoft Windows 95August 1995: Microsoft Windows 95

Mac OS 8July 1997: Mac OS 8

1998 - 1999

Microsoft Windows 98June 1998: Microsoft Windows 98

KDE 1.0July 1998: KDE 1.0

Macintosh System 9October 1999: Macintosh System 9

2000 - 2001

KDE 2.0October 2000: KDE 2.0

Mac OS X 10.1September 2001: Mac OS X 10.1

Microsoft Windows XPOctober 2001: Microsoft Windows XP

2002 - 2006/7

KDE 3.5November 2005: KDE 3.5

Mac OS X 10.5Mac OS X 10.5

Microsoft Windows VistaMicrosoft Windows Vista


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories!

7:43 PM  
Anonymous psg said...

I miss TOS/GEM personally :P

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not Mac System 5: it's GS/OS for the Apple IIgs, an entirely different beast.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you missed windows 2k and windows NT

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Mac System 5 shot looks a lot more like GS/OS - the OS for the Apple ][gs, which you could also add to the list since it went through 6 versions of it's own. :)

7:52 PM  
Anonymous continental_guy said...

Thanks for this wonderful collection.

I was hoping to see some X-windows and Motif and/or Sun "Openview".

7:52 PM  
Blogger Bit-Looter said...

nice..I was born in 1980 and didn't get my first computer until 1998. so it is good to see such a nice reflection.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh, most desktops are left out. What about AmigaOS, TOS, Geos?

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK I got me some popcorn, just gonna sit back and wait for the rabid Amiga fans to come whinging for missing out Workbench ;)

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could have had some of the Xerox PARC stuff at the beginning.

You miss GEM, which was an early desktop, as used by the Atari ST - Falcon, as well as running on PCs at the time.

AmigaOS should have been included because it was first to have many technologies.

RISCOS is another OS that could have been included, including Arthur, its precursor.

Why only KDE? Where's Gnome? How about CDE on Solaris? NextSTEP? GEOS?

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what about OS/2? It had stuff I still miss in Microsoft's shabby clone.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a real desktop - preferable with oak veneer with and a few coffee stain rings here and there.

Make sure it's got Pen and Paper 1.0...


8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you missed SunOS/Openwindows, IRIX, HPUX, Digital Unix, all the original X11's... the list goes on and on.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous rocannon said...

they're all converging to one look!

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that there was a bit more distinction between OS 'personalities' then. Seems the natural counterpart to upgrade is homogeny.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Ademan said...

Where's GNOME? GNOME is a very popular DE as well. (I also prefer it over KDE personally, but that's beside the point)

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice nostalgic trip down memory lane. It presents a pretty unglamorous early windows, but hey, it really was in its default state. Thanks for posting it.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous awesom-o said...

You forgot the most innovative of all operating systems, Microsoft's!

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears your screenshot for System 7 is actually 7.5.x.

I had an LCIII back in the early 90s, and I remember gloating to the MS fans about how much better the Mac GUI was.... thanks for the trip down memory lane.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you get that system 6 image form and do you have a disk imgae of it?

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Where did you get that system 6 image form and do you have a disk imgae of it?

8:44 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Ah, the memories. So old school... Takes me back in the day. My dad use to have Windows 3.1.

A perfect example of how something so simple has evolved to something much more complex... and don't forget about Dual Core...

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please add Gnome coz currently, Gnome has been equally popular with KDE and lots of people like it because of its simplicity. Also looks very different coz you see the Panel and the "Main Menu" on top

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You totally left out Amigas, which had a very modern and usable UI, capable of serious multimedia quite early on, especially in terms of responsiveness. I've never used it, but I hear that RiscOS is also worth serious consideration.

On Vista... it's not out yet, and has no place here, unless you're also including screenshots of other unfinished designs, such as KDE 4.0, the next version of Mac OS, etc.

Finally, it might have been nice to see some of the rarer systems, like NeXT, DEC Alphas doing live video as you drag windows early on, BeOS, etc.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's our Miggy?

Seriously - it makes MacOS and Windows look dated when compared in the 80s.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People.. he didn't say it was an all-inclusive documentary. There's thousands of different GUI's out there, if you want to get technical about it. He's not getting paid to write this blog, so you can't EXPECT him to track down every OS in existence just for a stupid blog post. Christ.

Your general point was made with this post, anyway. Microsoft stole the idea for Windows from Mac, and then made more money with it.. and now everything's trying to look like everything else.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand how you could have an incomplete GUI history slashdotted. This is just a mislabled Mac vs PC Gallery.

This site has a lot more complete history than your gallery does.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoops that last link was this

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool. I like the early screens. They really show how behind Microsoft was when compared to Apple.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I misremembering or is that screenshot of "System 6" actually System 7? I don't remember the help menu appearing until System 7.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is Amiga's Workbench?

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missing OS/2 WPS.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2009 called...
...they want material for their OS nostalgia piece before Google owned it all.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poster above is correct. The Mac "System 6" screen shot is actually System 7. v6 didn't have any color icons or menus, and the baloon help was a highly advertised feature of v7.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

As others have noted, where's GEM and Amiga Workbench? Both were widely used in their day (MUCH more so than Windows 1.0 or 2.0.) Also, where's BeOS? NextStep?

9:24 PM  
Blogger Egfrow said...

Left out BeOS, NeXT, and Amiga GUI's

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice work. But i miss OS/2 and Gnome as major GUI's. Maybe BeOS and Nextstep.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your macintosh system 5 pic is actually Apple IIgs System 6. Oops!

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is Fluxbox ???

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much too selective!

You forgot X Windows before "KDE" which includes Motif and Athena and fvwm95, you forgot Gnome entirely. And you forgot FBUI, the Linux in-kernel windowing system.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give the poor guys a break about Bob.
Microsoft Bob is what got Microsoft Bill laid!

(he met his wife while she was working on that project)

9:45 PM  
Blogger Pascal said...

Why not gnome?
whyn not amiga?
why not [put your favorite GUI here]?

Guys, why don't think about there are no screens of a 1981 amiga/sun/whatever available?

if you are a fanboy, do your gallery yourself and post the link.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...

awesome compilation!

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The screenshots could be bigger ;)
A revised version with all the DE mentioned by others would be fantastic.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Ammon said...

> The screenshots could be bigger ;)

Actually, in many cases, they could not. Lots of the older shots are posted in their native resolution, you're just looking at them on an overpowered monitor ;)

10:11 PM  
Anonymous felipec said...

I agree that you cannot post all of people's favorite UI's.

With Microsoft and Apple ones it's OK, but you included KDE, if you did that you should at least put GNOME, and possibly X-windows.

That's what I think, great post anyway.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WoW KDE was ahead of the game even when it first set its foot into the game

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't all the people who whine about all the ones he's missed-out put together their own galleries and submit them? It could grow into something really interesting. And if you can't be bothered then don't post your pointless moans.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss Amiga Kickstart/Workbench and NeXTstep/OpenStep.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous FrenchMac said...

There is a lot of other UI, but the one that brings the most and that I was expected to see is NeXTStep.

Could be in black and white in 1988 or in color in 1990. It bring so much and doesn't seem outdated like the Windows 2.x and System 6 of its time.

It would show what happen when you create a new operating system by choosing the best technology in each domain...

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missing X-window, XGL next big thing!

10:47 PM  
Blogger Gremlin Hunter said...

To those wanting the GEM / TOS atari desktop, look at a Mac System 1 thru 3 but with a green background. Apple sued Digital Research to remove some functionality from Graphics Environment Manager as it was to much like Mac System.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you shouldn't forget the Lisa OS and 7/7

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you missed windows 2k and windows NT

I agree. Huge misses.

11:04 PM  
Anonymous pazu88 said...

How can you find the Windows 1.0 screen, is it from an emulator?

11:15 PM  
Blogger Luca said...

And Geos,Tos,NextStep,BeOs,......AMIGA?!?!?!!?

11:18 PM  
Blogger Andrew Dyjak said...

nice (:

11:36 PM  
Blogger diego said...

Very nice, but do you remember de cde in sun os?... thats a nice memory...

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work, but please do fix the "Mac System 5" screenshot to properly credit GS/OS. It is definitely GS/OS running on an Apple IIGS.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Nice job. I wonder what the future will bring us?

11:44 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Nice trip down Memory Lane...

Thanks for sharing...

11:48 PM  
Blogger hinch said...

Youshould also have put the old Amiga screenshots for comparison so we could see just exactly how far behind apple and microsoft were at the same time

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm... Good job, but your missing some other ones. But 2000, NT aren't very different from 95.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah.. the good old days. Sad not to see OS/2 though.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous SixDays said...

Impressive. Although I must say that Windows always stands out as the ugliest of them all, and by that I even mean Vista. Vista looks like kde 1.0. But even uglier.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not an evolution of Desktops and shouldn't be called such. This is an evolution of Macintosh and Windows desktops, with a couple of KDE screenshots thrown in, which obviously don't belong here.

If you wanted to do an evolution of Desktops, you should have looked past the obvious. Missing are Apple Lisa, GEM, GEOS, AMIGA, XEROX PARK, Non-KDE X11 based Desktop systems, and NeXT, to name a few.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Thë Là¢ke¥ said...

hah! microsoft was waay behind Mac.. then suddenly the Windows 95 jump happened!!
anyways... apple shud have sued ms long ago!
Microsoft rules!
i mean.. suck!!

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To add to the "X-windows before KDE" comments, you forgot Enlightenment which used a bit of everything but still had features KDE and Gnome are struggling to emulate.

Of course on a 486sx25 back then it was gawdaweful slow...

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Irix had a lot of innovations over the mac and windows. Toolchest, buttonfly and more. And the HP150 as one of the first heavily used touch screens (would you like fries with that?)

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the Amiga? ;)

(Apart from dead)

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

That is a good memory for all

12:34 AM  
Blogger Eric Blade said...

you should definitely include some other things. Such as OS/2, and any other system that could really be used to improve upon what currently is in use

12:35 AM  
Blogger GraphicArtist2k5 said...

MAN those old os's were ugly as hell!! personally, i felt windows me was one of the worst things microsoft ever made. that damn thing gave me nightmares.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... forgot about xfce.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's interesting that between 2001 and 2005 the most changes happened in the linux desktop, then apple got revisions of OS X, and Microsoft has been postponing every year.

(pd. I am an amiga fan, but i understand, this not my blog :)

1:06 AM  
Anonymous fatagnus said...

it's interesting that between 2001 and 2005 the most changes happened in the linux desktop, then apple got revisions of OS X, and Microsoft has been postponing every year.

(pd. I am an amiga fan, but i understand, this not my blog :)

1:06 AM  
Blogger Mr. Raven said...

The interesting thing is how little guis have changed since MacOS 7 in 1991 15 years ago. Sure the actual OSs are better with protected memory, pre-emptive multitasking, TCP-IP stacks, etc, but the basics of the gui of desktop, icons, file explorer, control panel, and program menus have not changed in a significant way other than getting flash and polish in FIFTEEN years, sad. And I say this as a big fan of OS X Tiger but isn't it time to actually start using the capacities of our fancy graphics cards and dual core cpus for something new?

1:16 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

good post, its great to see the gui progression.

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the last two years, you could include screenshots of Ubuntu releases. That would give you a good Gnome comparison to the KDE/Mac/Win trio currently on display.

1:25 AM  
Blogger valtameri said...

Great work!

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Gustavo Munoz said...

Gnome? Add it to your awesome collection!

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the best GUI galleries by far is Marcin Wichary's GUIdebook: Graphical User Interface Gallery.

This page has a very nice overview of three major GUIs (Mac/Win/KDE) but GUIdebook is far more comprenensive -- covers all manner of GUIs including EIKON, RISC OS, AmigaOS, CDE and GS/OS. And the rather bizarre Breadbox system.

And it's a lot more reliable :)

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the best GUI galleries by far is Marcin Wichary's GUIdebook: Graphical User Interface Gallery.

This page has a very nice overview of three major GUIs (Mac/Win/KDE) but GUIdebook is far more comprenensive -- covers all manner of GUIs including EIKON, RISC OS, AmigaOS, CDE and GS/OS. And the rather bizarre Breadbox system.

And it's a lot more reliable :)

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Pyrogenic said...

I'm glad one of the first comments was about "1987: Macintosh System 5" actually being GS/OS. Which I loved. Good old GS. :-)

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice trip down memory lane, BUT, I would have added Amiga screenshots too. The Amiga was really only beat by stupid managment who didn't understand what they had.

2:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All Windows screenshots show the dull gray boring interface and all Mac screenshots show the funny things in life. Please show more _comparable_ screenshots, this looks like a Mac ad campaign :-)

2:53 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

This is kinda weird - I'm only 19, and I remember using at least 1 OS from each timeframe (pretty much every one, in fact). Also, I must ask - where's the GNOME?

3:30 AM  
Anonymous rabid Amiga fan said...

workbench is where

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That isn't System5 for Mac as mentioned. System 6 did not have balloons and labels (both new for system7) so that one is wrong too. Don't know why 10.5 is included really.

I thought Windoze1 was TOS/GEM at first glance!

3:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss all the NeXTSTEP / OPENSTEP stuff (OS X predecessor)

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about OS/2 Warp? PC-DOS? DR-DOS? Gnome?...

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the screenshot you posted of "Macintosh System 5" isn't really System's a different GUI designed for the Apple IIgs that just happens to look like MacOS.

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Dale said...

the people that whine about missing screens are of course always welcome to create their own gallery, and then get it /.ed so that we fanboy fags can tell you everything you missed. otherwise, stfu and enjoy the historic trip down a past of thievery.

and r-101, good job, it's nice to talk a trip back to the future every once in a while.

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

although not "complete" .. nice compilation .. maybe someone could start a wiki for this and then it would be complete ..

5:07 AM  
Anonymous dex Otaku said...

OS/2, anyone?

It's worth noting some of the things that OS/2 really brought to the desktop first [though many existed in various unices first], like the right-click context menu.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to see that mighty desktop of the ealry Macs. HP-UX and OS/2 notable omissions but hey! Well done. Thinking about getting my first Mac in 20 years. Would love to get a new iMac but with a System 2 look. Limited market but how funky running OS X with a monchrome flat icon GUI. Does anyone do a utility to achieve this reto look?

5:18 AM  
Blogger kace said...

Very nicely done. I'm curious, where did you get all of these shots? And, did it take a long time to put together? (... "The Making of 'The Evolution of Desktops'")

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the comments about "you left out..." versus "Stop whining...", the post is entitled "The Evolution of Desktops". I would therefore have expected at least a complete list for the three environments included - Mac OS, Windows, and KDE.

At the least the Xerox STAR and Apple Lisa screens would help those who have never seen those machines undestand where the MAC OS 1 came from. Same with NextStep for OSX. Win NT 3.51, 4.0 and 2000/XP would be easier to do of course (compared to getting one from a STAR workstation; I haven't even seen one since 1983). Finally, UNIX screens to KDE and Gnome would be useful as well for the Linux crew.

So perhaps it would have been *better* to do three versions of this? One for each main stream? Just a thought.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is one proof that microsoft has always follow the steps of mac...

5:54 AM  
Blogger infoterror said...

What about GEOS? The Amiga? Atari ST? And corporate UNIXES during that era? GS/OS?

Seems biased toward the Crapintosh and KDE, which have always been sort of boring to me. Where's the history, man?!?

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Missed...
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Coleco Adam

excellent start though

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about TWM and associated variants.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Brad Templeton said...

What about VisiOn -- it predated all these, though not the Alto which others have noted should be there.

Has some screen shots

7:00 AM  
Blogger Flash said...

Lovely. I remember my first mac. Ahhh... and my first Windows and the day i switched to windwos...

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Vista looks coolest for the next gen GUIs.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kde looks so good for its age

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeap that 1987 Sys 5 is definitely GSOS... one of the first 256 color "hires" windowed systems maybe even the first. This was the beginning of Apple's disloyalty to its customers.

Apple ][gs was a marvel... Wouldn't mind seeing some Atari ST and Amiga OS desktops here... or maybe even WindowMaker which pre-dates KDE. CDE also should be represented as a showing of how bad a desktop can be when all vendors agree.


8:00 AM  
Blogger m0 said...

hehe you missed many windows versions. And you need more windows screenshots. This blog more dominated with MAC :)

Windows ME, Windows 2000.. Hmm But very nice memories!

8:52 AM  
Blogger Erik van Luxzenburg said...

Probably already said in one of the 109 comments, but I miss Gnome? Furthermore it's highly fascinating to see the developments of the GUI's!

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Kristian Risager Larsen said...

I miss the UNIX GUI's.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

were is XGL?!?!

9:58 AM  
Anonymous TJ said...

It was over quickly, but I was hoping to see the GEOS for C64. THAT was a brave experiment for a 4MHz CPU with a 170Kb floppy drive!

10:11 AM  
Anonymous TJ said...


I just checked at Wikipedia and yup it's on there (from 1986)

"At its peak, GEOS was the third most popular operating system in the world in terms of units shipped, trailing only MS-DOS and Mac OS."

Who knew?

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss:
- Gnome
- CDE/Motif
- OS/2
- AmigaOS
- Atari ST GEM
- Commodore64/GEOS

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm missing The Operating System... snif...

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's also Windows Tablet PC Edition, different versions of MCE (or at least one screenshot showing the latest MCE interface), and even the version of Windows for the UMPC, although that's stretching things a bit. Even Pocket PCs and Palms - both 'real' computers - which have gone through several evolutions. Now we're getting the Nokia N93 and upcoming Microsoft 'Windows Mobile' handhelds that can be plugged into a TV, with a wireless Bluetooth keyboard, and used that way, should you wish to approximate the experience you'll get on a regular Windows/Mac/Linux PC.

A comparison to some of the user interfaces seen in movies could be a good project, too - Johnny Mnemonic, Minority Report, that Michael J Fox movie with Demi Moore (Indecent Exposure?) and whatever other interfaces we can remember... some were silly, others quite futuristic... when are we gonna see some of these appear in real life? :-)

12:34 PM  
Blogger Tormod said...

Thank you. Great collection. Two comments. I have to agree that more desktops and windows managers would be nice.

But, more importantly – it would be nice with better resolution on the existing ones. At least 800x600 or 1024x768 when applicable. It's really hard to see the interesting details.

Again, thank you.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous elevate said...

Great post! I miss the old mac OS :)

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved those pics :)

As a lot have said, I miss GNOME :)

There are others like WindowMaker, FluxBox, etc...

1:48 PM  
Anonymous psyphen said...

ah the memories :)

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's Amiga OS, Atari OS etc.? FVWM? Gnome? CDE?

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And where is the WorkBench (Amiga) ???????

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And where is the Atari ST GEM from the early 80's? 'Twas much nicer than the Mac OS..., IMHO

3:04 PM  
Blogger Amatheon said...

Why is the Amiga Workbench not shown here? Would have been interesting to see how their interface developed compared to the others. Their GUI was very well layed out, easy to use, and better at times than the MAC GUI of that time.
Make this list better and add the Amiga.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Proving once and for all that the Mac OS environment has been and will continue to be way more innovative than anything Redmond can put out.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I didn't have a chance to see many of these, so thanks! :)

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice, but what about the CDE, which Unix used for years before any improvements were made, see:

CDE Screenshot

I hated this thing, but it was a huge part of the evolution of the OS GUI : )


3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look you see Windows caught up with Mac by 95 but Mac got ahead after Jobs returned with Next. Following the evolution of Next is also very interesting

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahm, better change your "Macintosh System 5" as it aint Macintosh System 5.

Free clue: google the Apple IIgs...

OK. OK. It's GS/OS, either 5 or 6, not sure which at the quick glance... the give away SHOULD have been the slots control panel item! Macs NEVER had a slots control panel item, along with the desktop "coloration"... 640x400(or was it 480?) 4 base colors, dithered to 8(? or was it 16?)... Guess I need to boot up the ol' IIgs again for a looksey...

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're really missing a lot o stuff there. You don't have Smalltalk. You don't have Lisa, you don't have NeXT, you don't have Symbolics, you don't have SGI.
You don't have the GNOME cube and you don't have Java 3D. You don't have OpenCroquet.
You're just a stupid home loozer that know shit about the history of desktops.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the best.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You lost GNOME!!!!!! please,

4:14 PM  
Anonymous jackshit said...

The topic, "The Evolution of Desktops", is very misleading, and very pro Mac. Xerox, GEM for the PC and the Atari, and a few other OS's, had every much or more to do with the "Evolution" of desktops than did the Mackintosh series of computers.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Err... Where is OS/2?

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny... all the idiotic gnome fans... Obviously even Mac OS 1.0 is far superior to that smelly foot.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the half dozen operating systems that are still available for Atari computers? Or the new Amigas?

4:54 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

where is the windows 2000, windows me?

5:26 PM  
Anonymous coldacid said...

You forgot Poland! Err, GEOS!

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow people, I thought his blog here was great. I think the authors intentions was mainly just to give a simple overview of the evolution of the most influential desktops. Not a complete history. Sheesh, I'm sure there is another site out there dedicated to the entire history. In fact, I'll look for a link right now so this poor guy doens't have to keep listening to these stupid complaints. Ohh, after 30 seconds of searching, whaddya know. Wikipedia has a very nice article on this history of the GUI.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice shots of some old systems. But what about...... and ..... and you can't forget...... The fact that you left out...... means that you ...... and how on earth did you miss the ....... OS?

Find a picture of Mesopotamia 1.0 clay tablet OS and you'll have the 1st desktop. Of course, the developers of the noted OS, Papyrus 1.1 had something to say about the scrolling feature.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Gnome?!!!

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here you can find another timeline with more systems.

6:28 PM  
Blogger blendmaster said...

fluxbox? openbox? *box? and since you're including beta operating systems, where is looking glass and xgl/aiglx?

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who cares about gnome, windows 2000, nt, and others window-managers, he did what he did, a good review in the history of 3 desktop environments, that's all, stop annoying and crying, if you miss something, find shots and extend the review by yourself

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please, update the KDE section with newer versions. Here are the most important releases:

1998: KDE 1.0
2000: KDE 2.0
2002: KDE 3.0
2006: KDE 3.5

And, please, let's not forget GNOME!

1999: GNOME 1.0
2002: GNOME 2.0
2006: GNOME 2.14

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the Amiga OS GUI screenshots? This would be a good avenue to show how advanced this computer was back in 1984.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ammon said:
Actually, in many cases, they could not. Lots of the older shots are posted in their native resolution, you're just looking at them on an overpowered monitor ;)

You're completely incorrect. Not a single one of those shots is at it's native resolution. They've all been shrunk down, with what looks like bicubic resizing (yecch).

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Microsoft Windows 1.0 - I don't know for them.
I know Windows 3.1 and next.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting collection of screen shots. It is quite sparse, though. As others here have said, it would be nice to see some images of Lisa (and NeXT)to show the Mac's lineage, as well as OS/2 which greatly influenced Windows' look (though MS would likely prefer to strongly deny that). Some early views from the early X environments would be neat, too.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the Amiga WorkBench is missing... I think that there should have been inclusions to the varios versions of that. ;)

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed some Gnome screen shots :P

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suddenly everyone's an expert!

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is xcfe?? good Gnome??? pretty Enlightenment?? and awesome Xgl???

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

personally xgl is more beautiful than windows vista or mac.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uhm, why aren't and of the old UNIX X/Windows systems displayed here? for example, SGI's 4Dwm?

11:44 PM  
Blogger v¹n©ënt said...

Ahap, Gnome!
Unix doen't count?

12:16 AM  
Anonymous mannequin said...

Really. Stop complaining about this or that OS not being in the list.

If you want a page that is trying to get everything, go here:

12:43 AM  
Blogger cner said...

very cool

5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ugh people, wouldn't we be better off if we just forgot about GNOME?

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

huh Where is the AMIGA? year `85?
Long live Workbench! Remember folks!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is OS/2? Where is CD? Where is Gnome?

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's CDE, not CD :P

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

XGL! not listed, wtf .....

shame shame shame. I'm running XGL and vista isn't even out. Just some sucky beta's

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you seriously need to get laid...holy crap. "That's not Mac System 5: it's GS/OS for the Apple IIgs, an entirely different beast." What a fuckin' tool.

Thanks for the cool post and the time it took.

4:08 PM  
Blogger SKY said...

Old's cool! ;B

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Jared said...

What about Microsoft ME? You forgot one of the best out there

7:25 PM  
Anonymous bolo said...

GNOME ???????????????????

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Halain said...

Very nice article :)

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i used to have an Apple IIe in my house back in 1988. it's a non-graphical generation of Apple.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jung told me i have a weird sense of humor.. but i think you are more weird than me. even if i had a weird sense of humor.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad this overview doesn't include the OS/2 warp operating system...

1:54 PM  
Blogger Jose said...

The good old days... don't miss the old prices!!

2:40 PM  
Anonymous rouge said...

Nice collection - thank you for that

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks man..

from Turkey , Eralp

9:49 PM  
Anonymous danielsemper said...

Man, this collection is excellent. Congrats ^^

12:04 AM  
Blogger carlco2 said...

what about the atari 400 i miss the busy bee

4:38 AM  
Anonymous tecniart said...

You shuld see the new 3d linux desktop... and how "fast" the next Vista is

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best desktop environment is kde. win = mac + kde + etc + trash + xçwksl +sddfkbasf+ stolen + ffdf +f

2:21 PM  
Blogger Ramtha said...

Shouldn't the shot of VIsta be exactly the same as the shot of Leopard 10.5?

2:31 PM  
Blogger Alex Charalambides said...

Got any shots of IBM's OS2?

11:40 PM  
Anonymous dH said...

You should start it with GEOS (later GeoWorks :)

4:29 AM  
Blogger kurotashio said...

Nostalgia! :O

6:26 AM  
Anonymous james said...

Awesome thanks for taking the time to do this

1:14 PM  
Anonymous KyleXY said...

I remember installing Windows 3.0 all those years ago. Wow...

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Peet McKimmie said...

Where are the shots of GEM? Or the NEXT project? OS/2? OS/2 Warp? NT 3.50? The Amiga GUI?

Many of the apparent "jumps" in the development of Windows and Mac OS can be seen evolving in these systems.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We almost for DesqView/X which was an X-Windows interface for MS-DOS in the late 80's and early 90's

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...





3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GEM Desktop image link

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK... Give it a rest - stuff was missed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3:18 PM  
Anonymous eDon said...

Contrary to accepted wisdom, there were desktops before 1984. My first “desktop” was a DecWriter followed by various “dumb” terminals connected to UNIX variant boxes under my desk. Then there was the evolution of character based PCs, TRS80, MS-DOS on IBM-PCs, XT, AT, and so on.

Thanks for assembling this trip down memory lane.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and what about GEOS on the C64? My first GUI. :-)

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey man don't forget the most wonderful a coolest desktop ever created

The GUI in NEXT Step was decades ahead of it's time. Even today it still rocks.


3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about SymphonyOS? I don't seem to see anyone looking for that one. It's even out now and being actively developed!

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Jon N. said...

Thanks for the memories! I miss my Atari 800 XL, & Powerbook 190cs. Just remember folks, that the GEM OS is still out there under FreeGEM! Look at the transition, when these systems went on to the web! I had my Win 3.1 for 11 years, until I got XP, 2 years ago. Wish I went to Mac OS X! Golden years!

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the main point is the two systems that have been around and evolved the whole time (Amiga, Atari faded out, UNIX GUI's faded in) -- if I were him, I wouldn't have included KDE at all. (Maybe he should have been more specific in his definition.) A complete list of screen shots from every six months for the past 25 years on up to a dozen systems. . . would be cool, but that's not this site.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where the REAL beginning with the Altair????

Where's OS/2 2.x and Warp? Where's NEXTStep? Those are HUGE pieces of missing information. The OS world did not evelove from Apple and MS?

Heck, where's my Atair 800XL taht booted to BASIC??? This was one of the firts PCs to have a separate graphics processor.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys needs to get off the 'Failed-OS' train here. It's an EVOLUTION of OS's. Meaning the ones that actually lasted from the start to the current. Amiga is DEAD. Atari is DEAD. NextStep & OpenStep... DEAD! These systems are merely footnotes in history, and the longest lasting victors are what are posted here.

Be gone with your rotting code, stop complaining and get on with the times.

Besides, Microsoft and Apple have been in bed together secretly for years. That's why their releases happen so closely together, why MAC and Windows systems are starting to mesh now, and why Vista looks like a MAC clone. They are not going to sue each other when they MAKE MONEY off each other!

Such are my comments. :P

5:29 PM  

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