by January 3, 2012 0 comments

Here we talk about some of the most used operating systems which completely changed the way people used to interact with machines.


Started as a small project in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, Linux turned out to be a revolution in the operating system market. Since then there is no turning back. It has grown from a small number of files of source code to 300+ distros. From operating system to network storage, anti-virus to firewall, this open source software has everything to serve an enterprise. You do not have to pay any licensing fees also.

When Linux kernel was first launched, it had restriction on commercial activities. But later was made available for the world for free. Torvalds then invited the programmers to enhance the functionality of the Linux but on a condition that it should be free. Though Linux is not popular among general public and the reason behind this is its functionality. Also it is a freeware you cannot call for troubleshooting. But a large community of Linux programmers is available on the Internet who is ready to help you out.


There is no denying that Microsoft Windows has revolutionized the way of computing. With the growing interest of people in graphical interface, Microsoft introduced Windows 1.0 in November 1985. It was more of an extension of MS-DOS, where you do not have to type command instead move the mouse cursor. It lacked in functionality, so Microsoft released Windows 2.0 in 1987. But the major breakthrough was Microsoft Windows 95, launched in August 1995. This version of Windows had networking support and was the first to have plug-and-play capability. This version also offered the multimedia capabilities. Within a year of its launch, it became a hugely successful and popular OS in the world. Another Microsoft product that highly impacted the business world was Windows NT. Windows NT was 32-bit operating system which was built to meet the high-end business requirement. Other features like processor independency, hardware and software portability and multi-user environment made it stand apart from other OSes present in the market at that time.

Later in 1998, Microsoft released Windows 98 which was consumer specific. The Quick Launch bar that we have today in Windows was first introduced in Win98. Other improvement included support for USB devices and DVD and it is the last OS based in MS-DOS. After that Microsoft came up with enhanced and redesigned version of Windows which includes Windows ME, XP, Vista and 7. Now with the launch of Windows 8 Developers Preview, Microsoft seems to be ready to take the tablet market also.


MacOS was first introduced in 1985 with Apple’s Macintosh computer. At the launch, it was known as “System”. It was the first operating system to be based on graphical user interface (GUI) and that made it stand apart from other operating systems. Also one does not need to have a hold on commands like in MS-DOS. But there were certain loopholes in this OS. It did not support multi-tasking, that mean you could run only one application on it. Apart from that there were also compatibility issues with other OSes.Multi-tasking was brought in MacOS with the release of System 5. But the major upgrade in this series was System 7.

Novell NetWare

Novell Netware was first introduced in 1983 and involved the concept of file sharing. It is Novell’s Netware that made the networking what it is today. A robust operating system, Netware made it possible to use cheap Intel-based servers instead of the costly RISC ones demanded by UNIX. To those not well versed in the inner workings of UNIX, the advent of Novell Directory Service (NDS) made managing networks easier than it was ever before.

Mobile OSes


Android was actually purchased by Google in 2005 from a company named Android Inc. Released in Nov 2007, Android is a Linux based open source OS for mobiles and tablets. The first commercial version, which was Android 1.0, was released in Sep 2008. With the release of the Android 1.5, codenamed Cupcake, Android versions were named after desserts. Like version 1.6 was codenamed Donut, 2.1 Eclair, 2.2 Froyo, 2.3 Gingerbread, 3.0 Honeycomb and finally 4.0 Ice-cream Sandwich. One thing to notice is that the versions are named in alphabetical order. Out of all, the versions that are released only 3.0 is tablet specific.

Android has actually taken the mobile market with a storm. Android made it possible for companies to come up with cheap smartphones. It also gave the chance for small companies to come up with their handsets, since they do not have to purchase the rights of the OS. It shook the tablet market also, which was once impacted by Apple. Now companies like Samsung, Reliance, Acer have launched their Android based tablets. Today anyone can buy a tablet for Rs 10,000. Also, the cheapest tablet, Aakash, is based on Android.


Originally developed for iPhone, iOS was later extended to iTouch and iPad. Though Apple was not the first company to brought touch screen mobile phone in the market but the quality the iOS and the iPhone brought in the market was not overshadowed by anyone in the market. It’s the iOS touch interface that created the market for touch phones and it successfully created a strong market for smartphones. Apple has always worked toward making life simpler and easier. With the addition of SIRI, the voice operated assistant in iOS 5, Apple seems to go beyond touch. You can simply give the instructions to your phone and it will “intelligently” perform the task. Initially third party applications were not supported on iOS but today, according to Apple, more than 5,00,000 applications are present on Apple Store.

Blackberry OS

BlackBerry is the mobile OS developed by Research In Motion for its Blackberry products. This OS supports multitasking and different input devices like track wheel, trackball. Now BlackBerry has replaced these devices with track pad and touch screen. BlackBerry has once or rather still has a strong hold in enterprises or corporates.

BlackBerry is best known to be a device for corporates. Well the reason behind this is the support for corporate emails. Through BlackBerry Enterprise Server, organizations can integrate their mail servers with the BlackBerry mobiles. It allows them to synchronize their emails with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, calendar, contacts, etc. For push emails and instant messaging (BlackBerry Messenger) a high security through message encryption, available on the device itself, is maintained. BBM was first introduced in Feb, 2008. This is equipped with features like sending and receiving messages, sharing photos, sending music files, etc. BBM allows multiple BlackBerry users to chat in a group. This made the communication between different users a lot easier and cheaper. This also gave others a chance to develop the same kind of app for different platforms. For these services, BB uses its own server. But it raised the security concern in different countries. In addition to its fleet of mobiles, BlackBerry has also launched a tablet -Playbook.

Windows Phone

Based on its history, one cannot expect Windows Mobile to expand its market again but with Windows Phone we can’t say the same. Since Microsoft has collaborated with Nokia (which is still at the top as mobile manufacturer even after a drastic drop in market share) for its Windows Phonet. HTC was initially stuck to Windows Mobile but later moved to Android but now with the launch of Mango (Windows OS 7.5), HTC again launched mobile phones based on Windows OS. It includes features like IE9, which works in the same fashion as in desktops and for gamers it integrates the handset with XBox 360. With Microsoft Office mobile version and SkyDrive available on the phone you can synchronize your Microsoft Office.


Symbian OS was originally owned by Symbian Ltd. Later in 1998 companies like Nokia, Ericsson, Symbian came together and renamed it Symbian OS. First device to use Symbian OS was Ericsson R380 and was also referred to as first smartphone. Later Nokia 9210 Communicator was regarded to be the first open phone based in Symbian OS. In 2008, Nokia acquired Symbian OS and Symbian Foundation was established which was a non-profitable organization and in 2010 Symbian Platform was officially made available as open source. Before Android and iOS Symbian was the market leader in mobile phone OS. Until 2011 Symbian OS was at the top in market share but now is behind Android. This made Nokia replacing Symbian with Windows Phone as the OS for its future mobile phones.

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