In Pictures: A visual history of OS desktop environments

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

GEM February 28, 1985 – Digital Research, Inc. released GEM for their CP/M operating system. Apple promptly sued DRI, claiming that the features and design of GEM was similar to its Lisa and Macintosh graphical environments. Apple won. As a result, GEM for DOS was forced to restrict the ability for users to have windows that overlap and eliminate icons representing disk drives on the desktop. We'll ignore the fact that Apple didn't actually invent overlapping windows and the like, shake our heads in disbelief, and move on.

Fun Fact: “Digital Research ,” founded by Gary Kildall (co-host of the Computer Chronicles show on PBS), was originally named “Intergalactic Digital Research.” Because Gary Kildall was awesome.

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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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