Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

GUIs From 1984 to the Present

Comments Filter:
  • by suso (153703) * on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:34PM (#15898676) Homepage Journal
    There is only one thing I like more than desktop screenshot timelines, and that is when image links that are 320x240 pixel size take me to an image that is 400x300 pixels in size when I click on it.

    Oh yeah, and where is the fucking Amiga desktop screenshot assholes?
  • 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...
    • 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 bad of the glaring typo on page 4.. "Lunix"?
    • 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.

      • Re:OS/2 (Score:3, Interesting)

        by misleb (129952)

        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.

        Hmm, I'm pretty sure that the technology from the combined MS/IBM effort went into Windows NT, not Windows 3.1. (unless, of course, you meant

        • Re:OS/2 (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hypnotik (11190)
          Actually, Microsoft wanted to use the NT for consumers. As you said, it didn't have good DOS support. However, NT needed a mamoth machine at the time to run. That's why it got released for "servers" in the anticipation that they would be a bit beefier hardware.

      • Re:OS/2 (Score:3, Informative)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        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 truckaxle (883149) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:37PM (#15898689) Homepage
    And just where is the blue screen of death [firestream.net]
  • by FlipmodePlaya (719010) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:38PM (#15898696) Journal
    A lot of the screenshots show highly customized desktops (look at the KDE 3.5 shot), which makes a comparison difficult. They're also all in low-resoultion JPEG format, which seems an odd choice...
    • It's not an odd choice at all. It gets them extra page clicks (read: ad $), as more people will click the entire series of images to try and find a working link.
  • 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.

    • And the picture for Mac System 7 clearly says "7.5.3" in the screenshot (while 7.5 is supposed to be a couple pictures down).
    • It is the Apple IIGS desktop, the FIRST APPLE color desktop! with QuickDraw II (first color API), first usage of ADB, adb keyboard, adb mouse, etc etc. Not only that, it's a very old version of the GUI. Give these guy some credit!

      This [wired.com] is a much better gallery of Apple GUIs.

      GEM seems to be left out, as well as all the other "desktops" that predate MacOS, and were just as significant in contributions.

      I do miss the multi-colored Apple menu as well as the a taking a byte out of the multi-colored Apple logo th
  • 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
  • funny, the very first apple GUI looks just like Xerox workstation. Anyone remembers those? With Xerox network protocol (was it XNS?).
  • microsoft (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The 'O' in the MS logo from 1985 kinda looks like a goatse..
  • "GUIs"??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 50000BTU_barbecue (588132) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:45PM (#15898738) Homepage Journal
    An inclusive statement like that should include GUIs from the early 60s (SKETCHPAD) through the Englebart demo through Xerox Star, GEOS on the C64, the Amiga Workbench, Atari GEM, etc... Why only show the PC and Mac?
    • And what's more GEM is a PC GUI too, has been since the beginning. Plus it's still under active development (check the desktop build date on this image [dosius.ath.cx], for example).

      -uso.
  • What? No Amiga GUIs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rubberbando (784342) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:46PM (#15898740)
    It would have been nice to see some pics of the Amiga GUIs, year by year to show how much nicer they were at the time compared to Apple's and Microsoft's.
    • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:42PM (#15898952) Homepage Journal

      It would have been nice to see some pics of the Amiga GUIs, year by year to show how much nicer they were at the time compared to Apple's and Microsoft's.

      And NeXTstep. The NeXTstep GUI circa 1992 looked a great deal like Mac OS X circa 2001 -- it was amazingly better than its contemporaries.

    • by twitter (104583) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:51PM (#15898986) Homepage Journal
      All should show up pre 1999. They look just as good as Windows 98 did and were widely deployed and easy to get. They might also have included a screen shot of TWM to show how things progressed.
      • TWM, 1987 [wikipedia.org]
      • FVWM, 1993 [wikipedia.org] (Enlightenment puts it at 1992)
      • Next Step publishes Open Step [wikipedia.org] which is quickly followed by
      • AfterStep, Window Maker and others much nicer than Windows 95. Most are still available and usable with the latest and greatest free software.
      • Enlightenment, released 1996 [sourceforge.net], still a leader.
      • Gnome used Enlightenment until they moved to Sawfish. The history has just begun

      Of course, everyone should see the first web browser from 1990 [w3.org] (actually a screen shot from 1993, but much the same) running on a Next.

      It might be hard to dig up screenshots all of desktops, but not much harder than the ones they found. It's nice to see someone including KDE in the line up so people can see a little of what they have been missing, like Virtual desktops, since the early 90's.

    • by eyewhin (944625)
      I agree. Amiga blew them all away. Too bad that Commodore so totally sucked at marketing :-( Ironically, the thing that did the Amiga in back then was that people believed it was a gaming computer. Today, the only thing that is keeping MS ahead is the lack of game ports to other OS's. I miss my Amiga.
      • by misleb (129952)
        Did the AmigaOS provide much in the way of APIs and hardware abstraction? I was under the impression that most amiga programs worked directly with the hardware much of the time. That could have been a significant hurdle for general software development.

        -matthew
        • 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 w
  • by digitalhermit (113459) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:46PM (#15898742) Homepage

    1994:

    > ls -a .profile

    1997:

    ~ ls -a .profile .sh_history

    1998:
    tardis ~ ls -a .profile .sh_history .bash_profile

    2001:
    [kll@apocalypse] ls -a .profile .sh_history .gnurc

    2004:
    [kll@helios] ssh apocalypse hostname
    apocalypse

    2006:
    [kll@xm-fc5-001] ssh localhost
    password:

    Virtual Machine - FC5 - Image 001
    Be nice!

  • by John Nowak (872479) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:47PM (#15898743)
    Small pictures, no captions, HUGE omissions, screenshots of OSes not even out yet... why was this posted again?
  • Hard comparison (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pembo13 (770295)
    when comes to KDE at least. Since with enough effort, KDE can look like any of those. Not a Gnome user myself, but some screenshots of it would have been nice for comparison at least.
  • by also-rr (980579) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:49PM (#15898753) Homepage
    And a bit odd in it's selections. It shows Vista (not yet released) but it doesn't show Compiz (under KDE), which is here today and puts Linux well over the top in terms of eye candy.

    I might add that there is a distinct lack of console love as well. I demand equal treatment for bash! Show me the ~$

    Before you were born:
    root@localhost:~$

    After you are dead:
    root@localhost:~$
    • Noooo :)

      Before you were born:
      $_

      Now:

      root@localhost:~$_


      All in bright colors, syntax highlighting, autocomplete and autocorrect, and whatnot.

      Sure it "could have been" done before. But only now it is actually in use.
  • DESQview? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:50PM (#15898758) Journal
    They forgot DESQview, the preferred environment for running your BBS software
    • They forgot DESQview, the preferred environment for running your BBS software

      IIRC DESQview was controlled via the keyboard - while it was a windowing enviroment, it wasn't really a GUI.
  • Would be interesting to see os2, beos, and maybe even pda screens, X (xfree and others) side by side as well :)

    but nice anyway ..
  • If you stick a monochrome screen on a modern computer you'll basically have an 80's desktop.

    Question: Why does it feel like everything "new" in software is a rewrite of stuff that has already been done in UNIX?
    • Question: Why does it feel like everything "new" in software is a rewrite of stuff that has already been done in UNIX?

      Because it is. Unix did it, but in a way that regular people couldn't figure out. It's still being re-written, except this time, it's being done in a much more useable way. The DVD is a re-write of VHS. The both do the same thing, but DVD does it better. Same thing.
  • 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]

  • The web site has a significant error. They present the Mac-like GUI for The Apple II GS as System 5, which it is not.
  • Good Enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:59PM (#15898796) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it's just me, but the look of GUIs seemed to devolve from the initial Mac 1984 system 1 version, until about 1995. The look just got uglier and more cluttered, and color when it was introduced had no real aesthetic, this was probably due in part to display limitations. In 1995 both Mac and Windows finally arrive at reasonably attractive, colorful, and functional versions. KDE sets the bar a little higher in 1998 then stagnates, Mac catches up with X 10.5 and Windows should catch up with Vista.

    Rail against GUIs if you must, but without some vastly improved display system they have converged a stable solution that will probably stay mostly unchanged much like QWERTY typewriters, not because there isn't anything better possible, but because they are good enough, and are what everyone knows.
    • I would tend to agree with you..

      It actually seems to me that the macintosh gui remained stagnant and pretty horrifically uninspired for a number of years, whereas windows changed a lot and got to its 95ish style pretty quick.

      things did change pretty quickly though after that; apple completely blew away the competition whereas windows stayed the same for three or four version (95, 98, 2k)... now it seems like vista may have caught up again a bit. hard to say though..

  • Windows ME? (Score:5, Funny)

    by EnsilZah (575600) <.moc.liamG. .ta. .haZlisnE.> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:07PM (#15898821)
    What, no mention of Windows ME?
    It's almost as if someone doesn't want to acknowledge it ever existed.
  • by GoulDuck (626950) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:08PM (#15898825)
    If these screenshots are corret, we now have proff that Apple copied Microsofts idea about using colors!
  • Where's GEOS?
  • I am sure there will be many MS copied Apple, which in a way is true, and Apple copies others, which is true but is not as most people think, so I want to add this beforehand.

    Having seen and used most of these interfaces, the driving force seems to be the hardware to run them and then an API to make them cheap enough to implement for consumer applications. System 1 was a basic GUI built run on a relatively simple hardware and in a small footprint. The innovation was in fact in the separate GPU, somethin

  • "Nice" Gallery? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Predictor (647746)
    The author of this blurb terms this gallery "nice", and the author of the Web page itself titles it " The Evolution of Desktops". Huh? At best, it is a collection of Windows and Macintosh screenshots. What's missing? The XEROX object-oriented (old sense) GUI, any version of GEM, TopView, X-Windows, Lisa, the Mach interface, the various commercial non-X-Windows UNIX interfaces and whatever the Amiga used.
    • > whatever the Amiga used

      Oh, like a dagger in the heart! :) Workbench was the graphical part of the Amiga system.

      I too was disappointed by the incompleteness (and inaccuracy) of the page. Oh well...
      • Oh, like a dagger in the heart! :) Workbench was the graphical part of the Amiga system.

        Was it? This keeps confusing me. I thought the Amiga GUI was part of the AmigaOS ROMs, as the "Intuition" libraries or whatever they were - with "Workbench" as an optional desktop, comparable perhaps to explorer.exe or the KDE kicker/konqueror combo. After all, you'd always get a full windowing environment even when you booted off an empty floppy/harddisk. And you could quit Workbench, but not the GUI.

  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:18PM (#15898859) Homepage

    Looking at those 20 year old GUIs always makes me sad, since it shows how basically nothing has changed since then. We got more colors, higher resolutions and a few more mouse buttons, but the basic user interaction is still very much the same as back then and still flawed in many ways. For example no mainstream GUI today manages to properly merge the power of the command line with the ease of use of a mouse driven interface, instead both act side by side, where the most 'integration' you get is lausy copy&paste support of filenames from GUI to CLI, however not the other way around. But thats really just the tip of the iceberg, computer interfaces could do so much more, but most of them don't even try. Don't get me wrong, some transparency, drop shadows and other effects can help, but they are really just polishing of something that is broken at a much deeper level.

    As another drastic example of the lack of GUI progress one can look at this NeXTSTEP presentation [google.de] from 1992, even today that video still shows plenty of features which a normal Linux or Windows still can't compete with and with MacOSX it doesn't really look that much better, while it is actually based on NeXTSTEP, it has allocated a whole bunch of cruft from old MacOS, which doesn't really make the overall experince all that good.

    • You're so right! You want to know what else pisses me off? Cars. Cars still use the dated "Steering wheel/Accelerator/Brake" paradigm. Where's the originality!?
      • You're so right! You want to know what else pisses me off? Cars. Cars still use the dated "Steering wheel/Accelerator/Brake" paradigm.

        There are actually some experimental cars with joysticks and a autopilot for cars is also already quite doable, at least on some roads.

        The throuble with GUIs is however very different, the reason why GUIs need improvements isn't because of originality, but because they simply don't work the way they are now. There are tons of tasks that you can do very easily CLI, but not a

    • by maynard (3337) <`j.maynard.gelinas' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:11PM (#15899068) Journal
      "For example no mainstream GUI today manages to properly merge the power of the command line with the ease of use of a mouse driven interface, instead both act side by side,[...]"

      How would you do this? A GUI is intended to provide simplicity by limiting choice to only those options relevant within a given context. Further, it uses visual metaphor to classify objects and data. CLIs use symbolic representation and grammar to organize files and actions, and as such are closer to reading, writing, and speech than a visual interpretation of system state. It's the difference between looking at a graph vs. a table of numbers - both portray the same information, but require different regions of the brain to interpret. Perhaps the problem you lament is not the computer interface, but limitations and differences between how people manipulate visual compared to manipulating the system with symbols and words. These are two distict areas in the brain - why should they work alike?
      • A GUI is intended to provide simplicity by limiting choice to only those options relevant within a given context.

        There is nothing wrong with that, in fact a proper command line completion script for bash will do exactly the same and limit tab completion to what makes sense in the current context (complete only to files matching *.mp3 when using a mp3 tool, complete to options when cursor is at a '--', etc.). But why does a GUI actually limit the amount of action it can perform? Not just in the "don't clutt

    • where the most 'integration' you get is lausy copy&paste support of filenames from GUI to CLI, however not the other way around.

      In some cases it's better than that. In Mac OS X, for instance, if you drag a file from the Finder to a Terminal window, it inserts the filename of that file on the command line, and if you select an absolute filename in the Terminal and drag it to an application in the Dock, it tries to open that file in that application. If you select some text in the Terminal and drag i
    • You probably want something like the environment provided by the old LISP machines, but with better graphics. The McCLIM Listener is a hint of what might be accomplished, but the problem with environments like that is all the legacy software that exists today and does essential work. There is simply no way old software can be simply migrated to a new environment with a radically different paradigm without substantial work - the fundamental design decisions make it difficult.
  • BOB? (Score:5, Funny)

    by awesomo2001 (991790) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:35PM (#15898920) Homepage
    You managed to forget Microsoft's BOB. What's your secret?
  • 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)
    ... 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.
  • Anyone notice that Apple was first to have a usable GUI?
      Anyone remember when Apple sued Microsoft [wikipedia.org] over the GUI?

      Ever notice that Microsoft is always one step behind Apple when it comes to it's operating system? Whose the true copy cat?
  • by extra the woos (601736) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:27PM (#15899119)
    The cool thing about all this is that any one of us that was familiar with one desktop could definately sit down at any of the other desktops, even from 20yrs ago (or 20yr ago if we somehow got into a time machine and came to today), and be perfectly comfortable.

    The basic premises of all these UIs is the same. This leads me to believe that in another 20yrs we will still be using the same folder/file idea that we have today. This is, I think, a good thing. It means that our damn grandkids won't be able to make fun of us for not being able to use the computer! But we can still tell them to get off our damn lawns!
  • 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.
  • Seeing the little 'DD' lurking in the menu bar of one of the Mac screenshots brought back memories. None of them good, admittedly, but still memories. How the hell did we get anything done when we were limited to 20Mb hard drives and (gak!) floppies?

    Judging from TFA, my first exposure to a Mac (after using an Atari 520ST for a couple of years) was an already antiquated Mac Plus running System 3 - I remember that ugly-ass diamond desktop pattern. Even the hardly cutting-edge eMac I'm typing on now would l
  • This "gallery" is extremely misleading, full of gaps and errors, and doesn't take the effort to point out the actual differences. The System 5.0 screenshot appears to be taken from an Apple IIGS running GS/OS, which while similar in appearance to the MacOS, was a different operating system. The System 7.0 screenshot actually has the "About this Macintosh" window open, showing us that it was actually running System 7.5.3R2 (which is skipped in this presentation, which is funny, as most clones shipped with
  • I remember the lady at our local computer store, where we used to buy Commodore 64 programs, was always trying to get me to buy Windows 1. I had been using a Mac since the first week they released it but she kept saying "Look it has a calculator, you can get a mouse for it, it has a clock". I just laughed because that was nothing new to me....and the Mac looked better as well. I was happy using DOS and I had a Commodore running the brains of an Amateur radio repeater for testing before I moved up to the rea
  • by Deliveranc3 (629997) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @09:37PM (#15900475) Journal
    There was Enlightenment, that sucker WAS SEXY!

    Still one of the sexiest in existence, people with 2 button mice suffered and they never really fixed that but it's a pretty pretty baby.

    It's also one of the smallest and quickest GUI's around.

    Wish it shipped standard :(

You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred. -- Superchicken

Working...