Journal of Computer Engineering & Information TechnologyISSN : 2324-9307

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Short Communication, J Comput Eng Inf Technol Vol: 13 Issue: 3

Evolution of Operating Systems: From Early Systems to Modern Platforms

Sarker Tariq*

1Department of Computer Science, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, China

*Corresponding Author: Sarker Tariq,
Department of Computer Science, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, China

Received date: 23 April, 2024, Manuscript No. JCEIT-24-137262;

Editor assigned date: 26 April, 2024, Pre QC No. JCEIT-24-137262 (PQ);

Reviewed date: 13 May, 2024, QC No. JCEIT-24-137262;

Revised date: 21 May, 2024, Manuscript No. JCEIT-24-137262 (R);

Published date: 29 May, 2024, DOI: 10.4172/2324-9307.1000305

Citation: Tariq S (2024) Evolution of Operating Systems: From Early Systems to Modern Platforms. J Comput Eng Inf Technol 13:3.


The evolution of Operating Systems (OS) is a spans several decades, marked by continuous innovation, technological advancements, and change of direction. From the rudimentary batch processing systems of the 1950s to the sophisticated, distributed platforms of the modern era, operating systems have undergone significant transformations in functionality, architecture, and user experience. In this comprehensive exploration, we trace the evolution of operating systems from their humble beginnings to the complex, multi-functional platforms that power today's digital age.

The earliest operating systems emerged in the 1950’s alongside the development of mainframe computers, laying the groundwork for modern computing paradigms. These early systems were rudimentary in nature, primarily serving to manage hardware resources and facilitate batch processing of jobs [1]. One of the pioneering operating systems of this era was the General Motors Operating System (GMOS), developed for the IBM 701 mainframe in 1956 [2] GMOS introduced key features such as job scheduling, input/output control, and memory management, setting the stage for subsequent OS development. The 1960s witnessed the advent of time-sharing operating systems, which enabled multiple users to interact with a computer system simultaneously [3].

Time-sharing systems introduced concepts such as multitasking, where the CPU switches rapidly between executing multiple tasks concurrently, and interactive user interfaces, which allowed users to interact with the computer in real-time [4]. One notable example of a time-sharing operating system from this era is CTSS Compatible Time- Sharing System CTSS, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1961. CTSS pioneered interactive computing and laid the groundwork for future advancements in user-centric operating systems [5]. The 1960’s also saw the introduction of IBM's System/360 mainframe computer family, which revolutionized the computing industry with its compatibility and scalability. Alongside System/360, IBM developed the OS/360 operating system, a comprehensive suite of software components designed to support a wide range of computing tasks.

OS/360 introduced innovations such as virtual memory management, allowing programs to use more memory than physically available, and Job Control Language (JCL), which enabled users to specify job requirements and dependencies [6]. Despite its complexity, OS/360 became a cornerstone of mainframe computing and influenced subsequent operating system designs. In the late 1960s and early 1970’s, a group of researchers at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, began work on a new operating system called UNIX [7]. UNIX was designed to be portable, flexible, and modular, with an emphasis on simplicity and efficiency. One of UNIX's defining features was its grading file system, which organized files and directories in a tree-like structure. UNIX also introduced the concept of shell scripting, allowing users to automate tasks using simple command-line interfaces.

Released in 1971, UNIX quickly gained popularity in academic and research settings, laying the foundation for the modern UNIX-like operating systems that dominate computing today. The 1980s witnessed the rise of Personal Computers (PCs) and the emergence of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), which revolutionized the way users interacted with computers. Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS (formerly Mac OS) emerged as two dominant operating systems for PC and Macintosh computers, respectively [8]. Microsoft Windows, initially released in 1985, introduced a graphical desktop environment with windows, icons, menus, and a pointing device (mouse), making computing more intuitive and accessible to a broader audience. Apple macOS, first introduced in 1984, featured a similar GUI-based interface, along with innovative features such as the Finder file manager and the iconic Macintosh desktop.

In the early 1990’s, Linus Torvalds, a Finnish computer science student, developed Linux, an open-source UNIX-like operating system kernel. Linux was built on the principles of collaboration, communitydriven development, and free software, attracting a global community of developers and enthusiasts. Linux quickly gained popularity in server, embedded, and enterprise computing environments, thanks to its stability, performance, and flexibility [9]. Today, Linux powers a wide range of devices and systems, from smartphones and tablets to supercomputers and cloud servers, cementing its status as one of the most influential operating systems in computing history [10]. In the 21st century, operating systems have continued to evolve in response to changing technological landscapes and user demands. Cloud computing platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), have emerged as dominant forces in the computing industry, offering scalable, and ondemand access to computing resources over the internet.


Mobile operating systems, such as Google's Android and Apple's iOS, have transformed the way people interact with technology, powering smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices with intuitive touch-based interfaces and app ecosystems. The evolution of operating systems is a testament to human ingenuity, creativity, and adaptability in the face of technological challenges and opportunities. From the early days of batch processing and time-sharing systems to the modern era of cloud computing and mobile platforms, operating systems have played a pivotal role in shaping the course of computing history. As we look to the future, operating systems will continue to evolve and innovate, driving progress and empowering users in an ever-changing digital landscape.


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