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Go backGUIsArthurOS 1.2
Since in 1987 RISC OS was still not ready for prime time, and the new Acorn Archimedes machines were about to ship, ArthurOS was written as a temporary replacement. As you can imagine, it was pretty limited, but already introduced several concepts that survived in RISC OS for many years – for example the icon bar at the bottom of the screen (by many considered the inspiration for taskbar in Windows 95) and pop-up menus invoked by pressing the middle mouse button.

BeOS R5.0.1 Personal Edition
BeOS R5 was the last release of this interesting multimedia operating system before Be, Inc. went out of business. BeOS sports an interesting, very responsive GUI, which is refreshing, even if a little bit underdone.

GEOS V2.0 for Commodore C64
Graphical Environment Operating System for Commodore C64 was one of the first, if not the first GUI the author of this website has become fascinated with. GEOS tried to recreate Macintosh interface on a vastly inferior machine, and even if it was slower and more limited, it prolonged the life of a dying 8-bit platform.

GS/OS 6.0.1
After the birth of Lisa and Macintosh, Apple attempted to create a similar GUI for its older generation of machines. GS/OS 6.01 was the latest operating system for 16-bit Apple IIgs, featuring an impressive colour interface very similar to that of early editions of Mac OS.

Longhorn 4015
Sporting a controversial Plex look, this successor to Windows XP will look quite different when released in 2006 as Windows Vista. This in itself is a good reason to take a closer look.

Mac OS 8
Mac OS 8’s promised appearance theme manager was cancelled, but the new Platinum appearance found its way into the GUI. Other enhancements included spring-loaded folders, pop-up windows on screen edges, live scrolling updates and contextual menus.

Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar
Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar was the first release of Macintosh operating system to use product codename as the actual release title. It was also universally regarded the first really mature version of Mac OS X. In GUI department Jaguar introduced Quartz Extreme (utilizing video acceleration for desktop composition), refined Aqua interface, slightly enhanced Finder, and improved accessibility features. Check out the rest of the changes and compare Jaguar to other releases of Mac OS.

Mac OS X 10.3 Panther
The first Mac OS X edition to grace this website is version 10.3 from 2003, (code)named Panther. More evolutionary than revolutionary, Panther brought in new metallic logo, brushed-metal Finder, a neat feature called Exposé (for quick access to all open windows) and Fast User Switching, among other changes.

Microsoft OS/2 1.30.1
This joint creation of IBM and Microsoft was really crude and at times looked like Windows 2.5 that never was. Soon, Microsoft would leave the alliance, concentrating on Windows, and IBM would rewrite much of the interface for OS/2 2.

OPENSTEP 4.2 was the last issue of NeXT operating system, featuring highly appraised and innovative GUI. It featured such characteristic innovations as tear-off menus, shelf, dock, column file view, services and object-oriented underpinnings. After Apple buy-out of NeXT, OPENSTEP turned into Rhapsody, and then into Mac OS X.

QNX Momentics 6.2.1 Non-Commercial
QNX Momentix is not used for normal office work, therefore not many people know it. And it is a pity, because QNX includes a nifty, responsive and damn cute interface, which strikes a nice balance between usability and eye candy. GUI love from the first sight, if there ever was one.

Red Hat Linux 9
Threats and anonyms can finally stop. First Linux GUI has been added to the site and it certainly won’t be the last one. Red Hat Linux 9 defaults to nice and conservative, although unpolished at the edges GNOME 2.2 with Bluecurve theme. Check it out.

Rhapsody Developer Release 2
The closest you can get to running Mac OS on Intel machines without emulation. Rhapsody is a direct descendant of NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP, using an interface very similar to that of Macintosh System. Unfortunately, DR2 is the last issue for non-PPC machines (on Macintoshes, Rhapsody evolved into Mac OS X).

RISC OS 3.11
This is one of the most popular editions of this largely unknown GUI for British Acorn Archimedes machines. It features some very interesting mechanisms, such as the icon bar at the bottom of the screen (years before Windows 95), unique pop-up menus and interesting use of drag and drop throughout the GUI.

This GUI for post-Archimedes Acorn machines featured an updated NewLook interface, but most of the changes (such as support for StrongARM processors, audio and video chips, disk controllers) were under the hood. As all previous editions of RISC OS, it was a ROM release, which meant extremely fast boot times.

Solaris 9
Solaris 9 abandoned OpenWindows GUI and stuck with Common Desktop Environment, now in version 1.5. Even if it doesn’t at all look like anything from late 2002, it is an alternative to ubiquitous Windows and Mac OS, worth at least a glimpse.

System 1.1
The first, 1984’s Macintosh interface was black and white, limited, single-tasked and about 200K in size. Yet it showed the world that personal computing could be much friendlier than the command line and set up trends to be followed by nearly all later GUIs.

System 7
This most important update to Macintosh’s operating system since 1984 included wide use of colour, new icons, scalable fonts, balloon help, Apple Menu customization, labels and aliases.

Whistler 2257
This internal alpha release of Windows XP, still codenamed Whistler, had some unique features – most notably toned-down Watercolor visual style, unique icons in Control Panel, and the first version of the new Start menu.

Windows 1.0
Admit it, you probably never used nor seen one. The first, 1985’s version of freshly-renamed Interface Manager was ugly, non-functional (didn’t even have overlapping windows!) and never gained much market share. It took Windows another five years to become widely recognized.

Windows 3.0
This was the first Windows that hit mainstream. It offered significant advantages over previous editions of Windows, and – what might be as important – it looked way better.

Windows 95
The legendary Windows 95 release, which made many people stand in queues that one memorable August night. As the underlying OS, the GUI also received many improvements, including better use of right mouse button and the Start button.

Windows Millennium Edition
The last Windows in 9x family and at the same time last Windows with only single appearance theme. Its slightly updated interface put more emphasis on home and multimedia use, but the operating system itself quickly got quite a bad reputation.

Windows XP Professional
This successor to consumer branch of Windows 2000 line brought many GUI changes, such as introduction of appearance theme manager and new Luna interface, task menus, bigger and more colourful icons, and sub-pixel font smoothing for LCD screens.

Workbench 1.0
Maybe it was simple, ugly, user-unfriendly and inconsistent. Maybe it never lived up to its full potential. Maybe it was as ill-fated as the computer it ran on. Still, it faithfully served many Amiga 1000 users and with full multitasking in 1985 it was something they could take their pride in.

Workbench 2.04
The second edition of Workbench, distributed with new Amiga 500+ and 3000 machines, brought in new 3D look and icons, more thought-out menus and requesters (dialogs), boot menu and an improved file system.

Copyright © 2002-2006 Marcin Wichary, unless stated otherwise.