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GUIs From 1984 to the Present 263

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gooey-all-over-the-place dept.
alewar writes "This nice gallery shows the evolution in the appearance of Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and KDE through the years, from the first version to the last available. Not technical, but still interesting to recall some memories from the good old days."
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GUIs From 1984 to the Present

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  • Better timeline (Score:5, Informative)

    by zubernerd (518077) * on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:36PM (#15898684)
    Man, must be a slowwwww news day...
    Here is a link to a better timeline:

    http://toastytech.com/guis/guitimeline.html [toastytech.com] Toasty Tech has some spiffy screenshots of various GUIs.
    Ah, the memories...
  • Some corrections. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Saven Marek (739395) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:38PM (#15898697)
    The picture shown for System 5 is not a Mac system, rather it's a version of the Apple IIGS desktop.

    The picture labelled as System 6 is a version of System 7, not System 6.

  • by Zzyzygy (189883) * on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:38PM (#15898698)

    Another good site to look at for GUI history is Nathan Whitehorn's "GUI Gallery" here: The GUI Gallery [toastytech.com]. I like it because Nathan is actively developing it. He actually loads and runs these various environments before writing about them.

    Either that, or that boy has way too much time on his hands :-)

    -Scott
  • This is always fun (Score:3, Informative)

    by wjcofkc (964165) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:51PM (#15898766)
    I really enjoy this sort of stuff, here is an article discussing the history of the GUI from the very begining:

    http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/gui.ars [arstechnica.com]

  • Re:Better timeline (Score:5, Informative)

    by alerante (781942) <alerante&bellsouth,net> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:14PM (#15898848) Homepage
    The GUIdebook [guidebookgallery.org] also has tables showing the progression of specific interface elements (for example, icons [guidebookgallery.org]).
  • Too narrow (Score:3, Informative)

    by ucblockhead (63650) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:39PM (#15898940) Homepage Journal
    Where's Amiga? Where's Atari? Where's OS/2? Where's Gnome? Where's BeOS?
  • OK, but where is... (Score:2, Informative)

    by silverdr (779097) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:59PM (#15899027)
    ... GEOS, GEM, The Amiga, The Atari ST and other very important GUIs of the era??! The title should rather be something else than what it is.
  • Where's GNOME? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ABoerma (941672) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:00PM (#15899028)
    ...or NeXTSTEP, or Amiga, et cetera.
  • Re:Well then (Score:5, Informative)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:01PM (#15899030)
    Truly to say that the Graphic Engine in OSX and Vista are the same shows a complete lack of understanding. OSX graphics = WindowsXP with GDI+. The only exception is the Offscreen Bitmap Compose that OSX uses.


    100% wrong. OS X uses a technology called Quartz, which is a totally different world above Windows XP's GDI+. It's vector-based and resolution-independent, and has been since its introduction six years ago. The same instructions used to draw to a printer are used to draw to the screen.

    Vista has a full round trip Vector based Composer than does things OSX couldn't dream of like real, from Vector acceleration techniques (round trip) to GPU sharing and GPU RAM virtualization, stuff that has pushed NVidia and ATI to rethink the multi-tasking and Memory aspects of the GPU market. Yet MS is pulling this off with the current generation of Video cards.


    Quartz is a vector-based layer, and Quartz 2D Extreme in Tiger/Leopard accelerates all GUI drawing operations via the GPU.

    When I say that OSX is WindowsXP/GDI+ with only the addition of a Bitmap Composer, I am being serious.


    No, you're being ignorant. Quartz is not Windows XP/GDI+ with "only the addition of a Bitmap Composer." You seem to know little about the Quartz Compositor layer in OS X.

    OSX has no further graphic abilities than WindowsXP


    Wow, so all those anti-aliased Quartz vector operations I've been doing are available in Windows XP? I can print the contents of any view to a printer automatically like I can with Quartz?

    Please put down the MSDN marketing brochure before posting.
  • OS/2 (Score:5, Informative)

    by reporter (666905) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:02PM (#15899037) Homepage
    The link at Toasty Tech [toastytech.com] is much better than the original link [blogspot.com]. The original link seems to be focused on the GUIs of operating systems (OSes) targeted at consumers, but the Toasty-Tech link presents the GUIs for all major OSes.

    The original link notably omits OS/2.

    Whereas Windows 3.1 was a cooperatively multitasked OS, OS/2 was a pre-emptively multitasked OS just like UNIX. OS/2 was rock solid. In opinion, it had only 2 problems. It was released just slightly ahead of its time: OS/2 needed, at least, an 80486 to be adequately fast even though most consumers were running computers that had an 80386, an 80286, or even an 8088.

    The second problem was that IBM did not give it away for free. Windows 3.1 was, in general, inferior to OS/2 although Windows 3.1 was perfectly matched to the underpowered processors at the time. Windows 3.1 often crashed. Even when Windows did not crash, it often froze when an application neglected to cooperatively relinquish the processor. Windows 3.1 main advantage was that it had the Microsoft name on it. If IBM had open-sourced OS/2 or given it away for free, then IBM could have wrestled the entire OS market from Microsoft. Most consumers would have chosen a free, rock-solid OS over a more expensive, crappy OS. Being free is important since most consumers are cheapskates.

    Also, Windows 3.1 was actually based on the core code on which IBM and Microsoft had collaborated. After they terminated the joint project, IBM continued development on the core code and turned it into OS/2. Meanwhile Microsoft gutted the parts (e.g., preemptive multitasking) that, in its opinion, the consumer would not value and morphed the result into Windows 3.1.

    When you look at the APIs for both OS/2 and Windows 3.1, you can see the common heritage of both products. More than half of the APIs have identical or nearly identical names and arguments.

    If the common ancestor of both products were called "Homo Erectus", then OS/2 is Cro-Magnon man, and Windows 3.1 is the chimp that preceded Homo Erectus.

  • by diamondsw (685967) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:48PM (#15899200)
    Rather useless little thing. System 5 is mistakenly called System 4 (there was no 4), and a IIgs screenshot becomes "System 5". System 7 shows up here as "System 6", and System 7.5 (it's even in the damn screenshot!) is now "System 7"

    This asshat has no clue what he's posting. Check out the other links people have posted for real GUI histories.
  • Re:Well then (Score:3, Informative)

    by jiushao (898575) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:50PM (#15899205)

    100% wrong. OS X uses a technology called Quartz, which is a totally different world above Windows XP's GDI+. It's vector-based and resolution-independent, and has been since its introduction six years ago. The same instructions used to draw to a printer are used to draw to the screen.

    This is a nonsensical argument, just GDI+ operations are also resolution-independent, based on vectors (of course, lines and fonts and such are after all vector-based) and does map directly to printers. As it happens, so did the stuff in MacOS 9 and GDI prior to Windows 2000, which makes both sides of the argument quite invalid. These are simply long-known features.

    Quartz is a vector-based layer, and Quartz 2D Extreme in Tiger/Leopard accelerates all GUI drawing operations via the GPU.

    Quartz 2D Extreme is however extremely unrealiable and thus disabled in both.

    No, you're being ignorant. Quartz is not Windows XP/GDI+ with "only the addition of a Bitmap Composer." You seem to know little about the Quartz Compositor layer in OS X.

    Feel free to point out where the difference lies, as far as I can see the composition layer in GDI+ is indeed a pretty straight match to the one in Quartz.

    Wow, so all those anti-aliased Quartz vector operations I've been doing are available in Windows XP? I can print the contents of any view to a printer automatically like I can with Quartz?

    Well, yes and yes.

    In the end the arguments here are simply too simplistic, with a simple checkbox approach to evaluating technology GDI+ indeed does well against Quartz, in reality Quartz is a much more modern and at the same time mature approach. On the other hand it seems equally clear that Vista graphics does leapfrog Quartz, unless Quartz 2D Extreme manages to prove itself in the future (the problem is that there is a bit of a mismatch between GPU functionality and the classic Quartz rendering, whereas the Windows Presentation Foundation have been very much designed with GPU implementation in mind, giving it a bit of an edge).

    Whether this is relevant or not is highly arguable however, Quartz software is extremely speedy, and Quartz Extreme (the compositor part that actually works that is) does offload the most performance-critical step. Microsoft should have some kudos for the great design of the Windows Presentation Foundation, but Apple may actually be better served keeping the small rendering operations in software where it is easy and flexible to maintain the best possible predictable quality of graphics. The performance difference is most likely small in practice.

  • Re:OS/2 (Score:3, Informative)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @06:19PM (#15899871) Homepage Journal
    Hell it also missed Amiga OS, Geo, and GEM.
    Like OS/2 the Amiga had preemptive multitasking and a GUI but in 1985.
    Also left off the list was Visi0n, Topview, NextStep, and News. All in all a pretty crappy list.
  • by iamhassi (659463) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @06:49PM (#15899961) Journal
    "I judge articles based on whether or not I enjoyed them and that's it."

    Yeah... but considering all the guy did was rip every from google images it's a bit disheartening:
    Windows 1.0 [google.com]
    Macintosh System 1 [google.com]
    Macintosh System 3 [google.com]
    Microsoft Windows 2.0 [google.com]

    Or he stole them from Wikipedia: Macintosh System 7 [wikipedia.org]

    He didn't even dig far either, he just ripped them from the first page of images that popped up.
  • by LeftOfCentre (539344) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:28AM (#15901153)
    Games often did work directly with the hardware, but software did not. The AmigaOS API was extensive -- especially with AmigaOS 2.04 and above which offered a really good standard widget library (gadtools.library), object oriented GUI extensions (BOOPSI) translation services (locale.library), graphics (intuition.library), spoken speech and much, much more. I particularly liked how GUIs would continue working even when apps locked up or crashed (in the sense that windows and widgets could refresh and react when clicked on).

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