In Pictures: A visual history of OS desktop environments

A trip down memory lane, tracing major milestones in the evolution of the desktop environment.

GNOME March 3, 1999 – GNOME 1.0 was released by a team of Open Source developers, in large part, as a response to KDE. You see, KDE utilized the Qt UI toolkit, which many felt wasn't compatible with Free Software. In contrast to that, GNOME opted to utilize the Gtk toolkit, which was licensed under the LGPL. Beyond that, truth be told... GNOME didn't really bring many new ideas. But as time went on, the GNOME desktop continued to evolve and refine. Eventually, it managed to grab an incredibly large share of the Linux desktop market.

Fun Fact: GNOME stands for “GNU Network Object Model Environment.” And its logo is a foot. Who says developers don't make great marketers?

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  • Marcelo

    excellent, but.. you´re forgot Atari Operating System (TOS) launched in 1985.

  • Steve Petrov

    I think the Framework Desktop Developed by Aston-Tate, then Borland and later Selections & Functions is worth a mention. It was a DOS based text/graphical GUI which used the desk top metaphore long before MS-Windows. So I think it's historically important. In fact it's still around, can be run in MS Windows and tends to be used by certain specialists and die hard fans: http://framework.com/

    BeOS is also worth a mention and had many supporters who kept trying to resurect it. In fact, a visit to the BeOS wiki reveals that several OSes decended from BeOS, some LINUX based and one not, are still being developed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BeOS At this point, such OSes would probaby be of interest only to programmers, hobbiests and total geeks who love tinkering with OSes... not that there's anything wrong with that! LOL!

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