Making a difference – Operating Systems

In 1985, Microsoft and IBM agreed to create a new graphical operating system: OS/2. However, Microsoft had already released Windows 1.0, a graphical shell that ran on top of MS-DOS.

In late 1989, the two companies announced that Windows would be developed for low-end systems, and OS/2 for high-performance machines. But in 1990, the companies ended their co-operation. OS/2 slowly disappeared, while Windows, fueled by desktop sales, blossomed. Windows 95, a hybrid 16/32 bit version, was Microsoft’s first step in weaning consumers away from MS-DOS; Windows NT 3.1, released as a business OS two years earlier, was the first true 32-bit Windows operating system. Microsoft has since continued its attempts to merge consumer and business operating systems. Meanwhile in 1991, Finnish university student Linus Torvalds wrote a little operating system called Linux that has shaken up the OS world. It has almost single-handedly created today’s thriving open source ecosystem, making major inroads into the server space. This story is far from over.

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