Operating Systems,  Programming

A Brief History of Operating Systems

Today operating systems are used everywhere and they are present even in small devices. It is impossible to live without an operating system today. Either it is computers, laptops, or any other smart device for their functioning operating system is essential. More than this, along with devices even the entire infrastructure that we live in today demands an operating system. Operating systems are necessary for this modern society since they are making it run smoothly.

Why Operating Systems?

Irrespective of the type of operating system you are using, it is necessary for the operation of hardware and software on any device. But, like any other technology or device, the operating system was not always been there. It has an origin and history which should be understood for understanding their evolution. The history of the operating system is not something that evolved in isolation. It has developed along with information technology.

By reading the history of the operating system we can understand that, how these operating systems have evolved over time and how they look now.

A brief operating system history

Operating systems have their origin in the 50s of the last century. Before this that is in 1940s programs were directly introduced to machines and this was done through a series of micro switches. Later in the 1950s, a new technology emerged and that allowed the simplest interaction with the computer.

Resident monitor

This was a system that was helping in loading the program to the computer. It was also performing functions like reading from tape and punched cards. This is the technology that encouraged the development of initial operating systems.

Temporary storage

This system was helping to increase the speed by loading the programs simultaneously and executing tasks. In the 1960s there was the launch of integrated circuits and this helped in enhancing the power of computers.


The main memory was holding multi programs and the operating system was responsible for the allocation. Later timeshare was developed and that helped in assigning the execution of applications.


Initially, this was only used in the telecommunications area and it was responsible for processing events even at other computers. After this, came multiprocessors and by the end of the 1970s, there was the release of operating systems like UNIX.


This was the time when windows operating systems were started developing and after this tremendous improvement was seen in the launching of operating systems.


This operating system was completely based on UNIX and this was the time the concept of free software and open-source were in the boom. Later Solaris was released and this is also one of the operating systems based on UNIX.

Microsoft Windows

This is the start of a big family of operating systems that are commercially successful and popular. One word: Windows

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of operating systems that are getting released every year. But among all Windows and Android which is the latest addition are highly successful. Today majority of the smartphones include Android operating system. These are the two major operating systems along with iOS that are very popular and most commonly used today.