In Pictures: A visual history of OS desktop environments

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

Xerox Alto March 1, 1973 – Xerox announced the Alto, the first shipping computer system with a mouse-driven graphical interface. Well, “shipping” may be a strong word. Roughly 2,000 of these beauties were produced and, predominantly, used within Xerox and schools. Look at that screenshot. Look familiar? Doesn't look all that different than your current computer, does it? And this was more than 40 years ago. Movable, overlapping windows. Bitmap graphics. WYSIWYG text editing. And, for the software developers out there: Bit Blit. First done, right here.

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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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