OS/2 leads readers' favorite OSs of yesteryear

Also acclaimed: VAX/VMS, DR-DOS, Atari TOS and more. Oh, the memories!

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The GEM graphical user interface

Don't forget Digital Research's GEM! I remember when Windows 95 came out and it looked surprisingly familiar; I had been using GEM for almost 10 years! Although more of a GUI than an OS (it ran under DOS, TOS and DR-DOS) I remember running it on a souped-up 386 with double DOS and an extra video card. A two-monitor multi-desktop system in the 1980s! I could finally develop in one monitor and run the code in another. -- Trollicus

Why choose just one OS?

Some OSs I've used:

  • RSTS on PDP-11
  • VMS on DEC VAX 11/750
  • BBC Basic/DFS/ADFS on BBC Micro (remember sideways ROM/RAM!)
  • Pick on various (the NHS Trust I work for still uses this on its Dispatch system)
  • DR-DOS on any old PC

Ah! Nostalgia moment over. Is it true that Digital Research (DR-DOS) was originally called Intergalactic Digital Research? [Yes! -- Ed.] -- zOpium

I have all of the operating systems in the top 10 -- and computers to run them on! I also have all the versions of TRS-80s, original IBM XTs (with original monitors, math co-processors, 7 meg boards), color computers, old kit computers, PCjrs, 8-in. floppies and drives, etc. I also have much software for all of the 200+ computers I have. I would like to have a computer museum someday! -- Chuck Poltrock

No one could have possibly worked on all the OSs that were ever created, but it seems like I tried. I did all the ones you mentioned plus:

  • Every version of DOS and Windows
  • RSTS/E on PDP-11
  • Switch banks on PDP-8i
  • PRIMOS on Prime computers
  • Apple DOS
  • Mac OS from day one to X
  • OS-9 Real Time Multi-User OS for Motorola 6809 8-bit CPUs
  • SunOS
  • Solaris 5 to 10
  • DEC Unix
  • HP-UX
  • Charles River Data Systems UNOS
  • VMS
  • A huge host of proprietary OSs that needed to be loaded/compiled to get hardware moving

My favorite, for being the most advanced text-based OS that had context-sensitive help back before anyone knew about it, was WMCS (Wicat MultiUser Control System). This OS, and an interactive graphics generation program that rode on top of it, helped George Lucas get Star Wars off into space. Damn, I'm old. -- Doctor Digital

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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