[GRLUG] Historical OSes

Adam Tauno Williams awilliam at whitemice.org
Thu Dec 24 09:15:32 EST 2009

On Thu, 2009-12-24 at 07:46 -0500, Bob Kline wrote:
> http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/10-operating-systems-you-ve-never-heard-of-657469
> An amusing look at the last 30 years
> of PCs.  One sees the ebb and flow of
> ideas and features between platforms,
> but also sees people putting a great deal
> of effort in to keeping 25+  year old OSes
> alive.  While many old OSes contained 
> interesting features and ideas,  I'd think
> most of them have been moved to newer
> platforms by now,  and but for various
> nostalgia trips, it's hard to see why some
> go to such great lengths to try to keep 
> them alive.  

Agree.  Unless you need to run truly legacy software, or access
[recovery] antique files, there isn't much of anything to harvest from
those OSs.  An in many cases the hardware itself is rapidly

> e.g., the best thing to come of Minix was
> probably to teach Linus Torvalds enough
> about Unix to write Linix.  Up to about
> version 6,  Bell Labs used to give Unix 
> source code to university CS departments
> for study.  It eventually stopped doing 
> that, and things like Minix filled in the
> gap some.  

And I learned how to program on a Commodore VIC-20, and do assembler on
a Commodore 128.  In some aspects I think learning on such primitive
platforms actually had some advantages.

> But Linux now mounts almost
> any file system of interest, so why keep
> things like DOS around?  It was last seen
> in win98, which, I gather, was mostly an
> overlay on DOS.

Actually running the legacy applications, some of which have proprietary
hardware that doesn't work in emulation.

As they say:  Old technology doesn't fade-away, it just becomes

> Otherwise, this is a study in PC history,
> which anyone old enough to remember
> some of the chestnuts will connect with.

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