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Old Operating Systems Never Die

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the they-just-start-running-in-loops dept.

Operating Systems 875

Harry writes "Haiku, an open-source re-creation of legendary 1990s operating system BeOS, was released in alpha form this week. The news made me happy and led me to check in on the status of other once-prominent OSes — CP/M, OS/2, AmigaOS, and more. Remarkably, none of them are truly defunct: In one form or another, they or their descendants are still available, being used by real people to accomplish useful tasks. Has there ever been a major OS that simply went away, period?"

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MacOS 9 (5, Funny)

tetsukaze (1635797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456237)

Apple hires hit men to track down users and kill them

Re:MacOS 9 (4, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456787)

Actually, as recently as last year I encountered a user who had OS 9 at home, running some ancient version of the mac version of IE (5.x), he was having issues with some third party websites and software but refused to accept that the problem was on his end, kind of like your average Win95/98/ME user...

/Mikael

Re:MacOS 9 (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456801)

Did you receive the fax about the IE6 users?

Gentoo?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456245)

I use Gentoo; how does this affect me?

Yes, there is (-1, Troll)

s52d (1049172) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456253)

Noone is using WIndows to do some real job.

Re:Yes, there is (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456321)

Noone is using WIndows to do some real job.

Who's Noone, and what's he/she using Windows for? Sounds fairly self-defeating, really; I mean, no one important is using it anymore, so Noone might need a new set of talents soon...

Re:Yes, there is (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456479)

How do you pronounce Noone? Like the time? NOO NEE? NOO UN? Is one of the n's silent? Wich one?

Re:Yes, there is (1)

iceOlate (1094287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456697)

Hey, I have a cousin named Noone, and its pronounced New-Knee you insensitive clod!

Re:Yes, there is (3, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456741)

It's Peter Noone, of Herman's Hermits. Like his performing career, it's still chugging along.

Re:Yes, there is (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456345)

You re wrong.

Re:Yes, there is (2, Informative)

rjolley (1118681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456405)

Stupid appears to be abundant on slashdot this afternoon.

Re:Yes, there is (4, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456463)

s/this afternoon//

Why is OS/2 mentioned twice in the article? (4, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456255)

Was it THAT good, or is it doubly obsolete? ;)

Re:Why is OS/2 mentioned twice in the article? (5, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456309)

OS/2 is clearly half an OS. So OS/2 + OS/2 = OS.

Re:Why is OS/2 mentioned twice in the article? (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456331)

they left out "Warp" on one of them?

Re:Why is OS/2 mentioned twice in the article? (1)

middlemen (765373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456333)

It is mentioned twice in the summary on /. and only once in the article.

Re:Why is OS/2 mentioned twice in the article? (5, Informative)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456559)

Back then yes, was THAT good. The desktop (WPS) was simply amazing, HPFS had features that would be nice to see in main linux filesystems (was so aggresive with putting files in contiguous blocks that a defrag script back then just renamed forth and back all files to do the work), and had good management of memory and multitasking. In a modern pc, with current memory/clock speeds, if you manage that it work with all the hardware, would fly. Still today, there is some software maintained for it (i think that i.e. Opera 10 have an OS/2 version). If it (or some of the good portions of it, i.e. the wps) would have been released like 10 years ago in public domain/open source/etc) you probably would be using a derivative of it right now.

Re:Why is OS/2 mentioned twice in the article? (3, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456729)

Back then yes, was THAT good.

If by "good" you mean "a lot of advanced features" then you probably would be right. If "good" however includes enough performance to be useful, OS/2 never was a very good OS. Windows 95 would scream (to quote Steve Jobs) on my 486 DX in the day, while OS/2 Warp 3 would present me with an hourglass mouse pointer most of the time.

Re:Why is OS/2 mentioned twice in the article? (2, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456757)

I still have my Warp discs, and remember OS/2 VERY fondly. It was my desktop OS at work for a number of years, and was absolutely and utterly groundbreaking for its day. The rest of the company was on DOS and Windows 3.11, and I could run both of them as virtual machines on top of OS/2. All that on a "top end" 386SX. :)

Then Windows 95 came out a year later, based on largely the same codebase, and everyone flocked to it. I was sad, because OS/2 was a vastly superior OS, but since the company decided to go Win95, I had little choice but to follow suit, since I couldn't run Windows 95 VMs in OS/2.

Re:Why is OS/2 mentioned twice in the article? (1)

robvangelder (472838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456673)

At 1920 screen resolution, the word appears as the the last word on the first line, and the first word on the following line. I guess it was the kind of typo like when you write "the" twice, and noone notices.

Timex/Sinclair (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456259)

I don't see too many instances of the Sinclair ZX-81 OS around anymore, but then I will admit I haven't performed an exhaustive search.

Re:Timex/Sinclair (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456701)

I don't see too many instances of the Sinclair ZX-81 OS around anymore, but then I will admit I haven't performed an exhaustive search.

The Spectrum ROM is a direct descendent of the ZX81 one, containing much of the same code. I'm led to believe there are still a number of super-spectrum clone machines that are commonly used in Russia. Not to mention the hobbyist/demo scene which still survives for the original spectrum (although mostly in emulators rather than real hardware these days).

Yes there is... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456261)

Windows Vista disappeared October 25th 2009.

Re:Yes there is... (2, Informative)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456411)

No, it was just rebranded.

Re:Yes there is... (1, Funny)

$0.02 (618911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456727)

Widnows Vista was stilborn.

I can hear it... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456269)

Neckbeards rejoice somewhere...

Win 3.1 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456273)

I'm posting from win3.1 because it uses so much less resources it is so much faster!

ME (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456279)

I don't think anyone willingly uses Windows ME for any useful task anymore.

Re:ME (0, Troll)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456443)

Nobody uses it anymore, period. The inherent flaw where it became unstable and bluescreened after 30-something days kind of led to it dying out very fast.

Re:ME (4, Informative)

jgardia (985157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456781)

Well, I have to deal with an embedded medical computer that runs WinME (It's designed to control a gamma probe). So, unfortunately, WinME is not completely dead.

Re:ME (4, Insightful)

daeley (126313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456487)

I don't think anyone willingly uses Windows ME for any useful task anymore.

Were they ever able to? ;)

Re:ME (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456505)

You are wrong.

I send old copies of Windows ME to my sworn enemies.

Re:ME (2, Funny)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456735)

YOU FIEND!!!! Oh the humanity!

Re:ME (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456551)

I don't think anyone willingly uses Windows ME for any useful task anymore.

willingly?

ANYMORE?

Dear God, you live in a happy place.

Re:ME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456621)

The initial happy optimism when it came out made a lot of people blind to its flaws, until those flaws decided to make them unable to actually use it.

Re:ME (3, Funny)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456615)

I'm using ME for a useful task - I have it on a PC in the garage that I'm using to prop up a pile of lumber.

Re:ME (1)

KC1P (907742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456677)

Huh? I've used it for years as my main web-browsing and PuTTY system, just because I hate NT/XP/etc. so much. I'm using WinMe to type this right now. Oh wait, you said USEFUL task.

VMS? (0, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456281)

My first thought was VMS, but of course there's an open version of that.

And somebody open-sourced CP/M.

But "exists as an open-source hobby project" is a bit bringing back your dead lover as a zombie. Yeah, it's still around, but it's not really the same. Unless you're really, really kinky.

Re:VMS? (3, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456335)

Companies definitely still use VMS.

Re:VMS? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456749)

Governments rely on it heavily as well.

Re:VMS? (5, Informative)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456427)

Surely you jest... since
A) VMS is still in active use and development
B) The "Open" in OpenVMS means it is POSIX compliant (and the term open has NOTHING to do with open source. It actually has many software patents)

Re:VMS? (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456797)

Open Source software can have software patents.

Re:VMS? (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456465)

VMS is not dead. Most of the products you use today are in part of a production system build on VMS. They have trying to get rid of it for decades. However the cost of moving off of it is still cheaper then paying the remaining VMS developers full 1990's consulting fees to keep it going.

Re:VMS? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456637)

The Washington School Information Processing Cooperative (WSIPC) still serves numerous ESD's and districts that use VMS. Of course, since the (painfully slow) conversions to AIX started 7 years ago, it's now called the 'legacy system'. But that does not mean there are not 100's of users on these systems.

Re:VMS? (2, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456639)

And somebody open-sourced CP/M.

Not to mention the millions of machines running WinME, which still has the DOS kernel under it, which is derived from a cheap CP/M clone...

Re:VMS? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456805)

But "exists as an open-source hobby project" is a bit bringing back your dead lover as a zombie.

Yeah, this [hp.com] sure looks like an open source hobby project to me.

It may not be the juggernaut of the industry but to call it dead is a gross overstatement.

Mandatory (1)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456285)

Windows Vista?

- I hope

Re:Mandatory (1, Funny)

shaitand (626655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456799)

They are re-releasing that as Windows 7... oh wait, no somebody said it has cool new features like... ummm new themes, a fade-in effect on the start button and the biggest revision to the task bar since win95... its 10 pixels taller.

Yea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456289)

Don't forget good old 4690 OS!

Atari (2)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456301)

TOS. Enough said!

/me ducks and covers in preparation for a massive flaming form all the ST users out there! ;-)

Re:Atari (4, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456813)

Are you kidding? TOS is still used through-out the computing industry. In fact its normally pretty big news when people make TOS modifications as they are behind some of the biggest pieces of software out there in the world.

What people don't know is that the team behind TOS shifted its emphasis towards specialising in very hard to understand and complicated programmes that were designed to confuse those who read them, like Perl but with longer words. This new coding approach was then adopted by Lawyers everywhere which is why everyone now clearly states they have a "TOS" for their website/software/whatever.

Over beer in 1993 an Atari developer was asked by someone what TOS stood for and jokingly said "Terms of Service". This name stuck, particularly with the lawyers and hence TOS now dominates as the underlying operating system for legal documents.

What most people don't realise is that you can run "Chess Master 2000" on the Supreme Court.

What about the Abacus? (3, Funny)

mini me (132455) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456329)

The operating systems behind many abacuses have since passed away. May they rest in peace.

Re:What about the Abacus? (4, Informative)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456435)

That is what you think [youtube.com] !!!!!
It is a very easy way to visualize numbers when you are trained to use one.
Of Course, they get to the point where they create an imaginary one in there heads,
hence you see them scratching on the table to solve equations.

Re:What about the Abacus? (2, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456455)

You've obviously never been down to your local Chinatown (assuming you have one). The abacus is still alive and well in a lot of places. Somebody who really knows how to use one can beat out most people with a calculator, simply because the calculator-user can't punch the keys fast enough.

Re:What about the Abacus? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456583)

Your fingers?

DOS and OS 9 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456337)

MS-DOS (as a standalone product) is pretty much gone (but it legacy lives on in Windos), although I wouldn't be surprised if someone used FreeDOS as their primary OS.

Mac OS 9, on the other hand... it just dissappeared.

Re:DOS and OS 9 (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456395)

Not true. Plenty of people in the print media use macs and are also averse to upgrading because their tight print deadlines leave no margin for error. If something works, they don't fiddle with it. Ever.

Re:DOS and OS 9 (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456623)

MSDOS still has its place in many commercial/industrial applications. If you bought a giant 100k machine that uses a weirdo controller card that's only supported under DOS, you're probably still using it today. If you don't need multitasking, DOS is really not that bad.

Hard to find though... (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456351)

TRS-DOS for a TRS80 model 12

Holy crap that's a PITA to find even an image of a disk to find online.

Multics (5, Interesting)

riley (36484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456353)

Never seen one, heard of an emulator, or know of one still running.

Windows ME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456375)

Altho I don't think one could consider it a "major" OS

Multix (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456377)

Does anyone have a machine capable of running Multix any more? That was a historically important machine, but I don't think there is any hardware available to run it any more.

Microsoft BOB ... enough said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456389)

Microsoft BOB... I somehow dont see that one making a comeback! :-P

I've parted with one already... (1)

Rosy At Random (820255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456393)

'ByeOs'.

Multics (1)

sammyo (166904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456399)

I for one will really be surprised if there is a running Multics outside of a museum.

Multics (5, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456407)

Multics is officially dead. The last site to be using it went offline almost nine years ago. Multics was open sourced two or three years ago, but I haven't heard of anybody taking advantage of that to try using it again.

Re:Multics (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456817)

I've been officially dead before, twice actually. So that's no guarantee it's not around.
 

Amiga OS is dead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456413)

There was only one OS I'm glad to see in the dustbin of history, and that is AmigaOS. Its fans were rabid, howling maniacs on USENET until even they realized that Commodore was not coming back, and the people with the IP are not going to be making anything that is worth buying. These fanatics made the fanbois of Apple, Debian, and others look tame in comparison, because they would be crawling out of their usual comp.sys.amiga.* and into other OS newsgroups with repeated replies to threads that were "Buy a C= and suk less". At the height was a campaign to go around and find Mac users so they could dupe them into stick a floppy disk in their machine to pirate a copy of the Apple roms for the Emplant/Eggplant emulator.

What did AmigaOS give us? The checkered ball bouncing around while a floppy was formatting was considered the height of multitasking for the time in the 1980s. Same with the decent video and sound. However, Macs caught up, then PCs started having basic sound standard (SoundBlaster, SoundBlaster Pro), and decent SVGA graphics.

Re:Amiga OS is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456769)

I remember typing LOAD"*",8,1 for my GUI and it wasn't Amiga OS. How I miss GEOS also typing LOAD"GEOS",8,1 and LOAD"GEOS",8 followed by RUN worked.

Long ago (2, Informative)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456415)

IBM 360/MFT and MVT

Re:Long ago (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456513)

I still have a book on 360/370 assembler. I keep it for the EBCDIC/ASCII/octal/hex/decimal table in the back.

Re:Long ago (3, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456535)

IBM 360/MFT and MVT

They call it "z/OS" now.

ITS? (2, Informative)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456447)

The Incompatible TimeShare system of MIT yore, as I understand it, is truly no more, unless somebody's been *extra* *careful* to keep their PDP-6 in working order all these years.

Oh well, at least we got the Jargon file out of it.

Re:ITS? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456651)

Apparently available under emulation:

http://www.aracnet.com/~healyzh/pdp10emu.html
http://www.cosmic.com/u/mirian/its/itsbuild.html

Re:ITS? (1)

KC1P (907742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456711)

ITS runs fine under emulation (and it's been centuries since it ran on the PDP-6 -- they moved it to the KA10 with a homebrew paging box, then the KL10 and KS10 both with custom microcode to emulate the paging box). I have an RM80 drive with ITS installed on it which worked the last time I powered it on ... but OK that was a while ago.

They don't die (1)

deadkennedy (1594629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456467)

They fade away.

Bob (2, Informative)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456499)

Microsoft had one [wikipedia.org] that never made it.

Re:Bob (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456587)

Should have ready my own post....I guess it was supposed to run on Windows 3.1 and 95. Feel free to mod me down for being stupid.

Re:Bob (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456619)

[...]Microsoft's Steve Ballmer mentioned Bob as an example of a situation "... where we decided that we have not succeeded and let's stop".

As opposed to "we have not succeded but let's sell it anyway", I guess.

RSX-11, RT-11 and RSTS/E (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456509)

Has there ever been a major OS that simply went away, period?

I think RSX-11 [wikipedia.org] , RT-11 [wikipedia.org] and RSTS/E [wikipedia.org] fit that. Some of the PDP operating systems are dead probably because they're still closed source otherwise I'm guessing hobbyists would still be maintaining them.

Re:RSX-11, RT-11 and RSTS/E (2, Interesting)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456657)

These OS's can be run using an emulator (simh for example), and there are sites still running these in production.

Re:RSX-11, RT-11 and RSTS/E (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456731)

I believe that there are many nuke plants still running those, either with software or hardware emulation. They probably will still be running those until the plants are decommissioned.

dom

What has anyone Hird of the Hurd? (3, Insightful)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456553)

Is it still being developed?

IIRC Linux was supposed to be a temporary stand-in until the Hurd was ready to go.

Re:What has anyone Hird of the Hurd? (2, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456659)

Re:What has anyone Hird of the Hurd? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456675)

Everybody knows that the Hurd is for nerds.

Re:What has anyone Hird of the Hurd? (1)

glop (181086) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456795)

There are people running and developing Hurd:
'The GNU Hurd is under active development. Because of that, there is no stable version'
It's only the FSF that said that Linux temporary. Also, temporary solutions tend to last...

OS newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456563)

Don't all successful ie useful OS's rely on Unix as the core?

Re:OS newbie (3, Informative)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456681)

There are a lot of OSes which predate Unix, as well as many OSes since which have had a different lineage (VMS related stuff, such as Windows).

For the most part, I suspect that the useful applications have predominantly lived on beyond the useful lives of the operating systems. That's typically how things work. The apps have been ported to the new OS, and lived on there. In a sense, the spirit of many older OSes - the good ideas - have lived on vicariously through these apps.

Re:OS newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456695)

Not really. They rely more on competent users and administrators. Even a Unix OS will go to hell if not administered correctly. They're just more tolerant in some areas.

8.3 filenames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29456573)

Someone complained to me just yesterday that libpng's cmake generates a DLL with a name that doesn't fit the 8.3-style filename required by his system.

Has the industry been around (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456607)

long enough for this question even to have a point?

Talk to me in 100 years.

Palm (1)

Kirys (662749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456641)

Palm is missing, I really loved my PalmV and my m515 at those times (m515 still works).

Maybe they're right, maybe old OSes never die (1)

shoor (33382) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456643)

I was going to suggest Univac's exec 8, which I used in college, or maybe Modcomp's Max IV, from my first job, but it looks like they or their descendant OSes are still around.

Mandatory (0, Troll)

$0.02 (618911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456689)

BSD is dying.

The death of dinosaurs (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456703)

in a way, they are still here, today. Some of them evolved to i.e. our moderns birds. Some of the old OSs are still here, in a way or another. Think in CP/M, on which was based DOS, over it was built Windows'95, and probably part of it ended in Windows NT and keep that way all up to Windows 7 perhaps. The same could be said about old versions of current operating systems, like i.e. Linux 0.9, maybe there is no running instance of it, but on it was built all the rest.

What was the last popular operating system built totally from scratch?

I'm not even angry... (4, Funny)

daspring (1589413) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456789)

GLaDOS went away when I threw that b%$^& into the fire.

Windows Me (1)

bullet618 (1036750) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456821)

I'm pretty sure Windows ME is dead.

Windows ME??? (1)

cranky_slacker (815016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29456831)

Has there ever been a major OS that simply went away, period?

Windows ME? No, well it should have...bloody piece of shit.

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