Posted in Computers Operating Systems

History of Operating Systems

We all make use of the operating system on a daily basis but never think about it. Every device either it is a laptop or smartphone needs an operating system. There are a lot of things that you need to understand operating systems. Their creation, their first use, when were they actually developed, and how did they actually evolve? Operating systems are the foundation of all of the functions that we utilized on our computers and smart devices. When it comes to creating documents, playing games, or any other function on a computer, it starts with the operating system. This also includes browsing the internet. All of this core functioning operates seamlessly behind the scenes. So surely, no one is browsing a local hookup site like and considering their operating system. They are just enjoying utilities and applications that it allows.

The First Generation Operating Systems (1940 -early 1950’s)

Of course, there were electronic computers in use by the year 1940s. But these were not created with the need for an operating system. At this point, programming was done by using machine language. They were also making use of plug-boards through wiring them for controlling the basic functions of the machine. At this point, computers were just in use for solving very simple mathematical calculations. Hence there was no need for any operating system.

The Second Generation (1955s-1965s)

So, it was in the year 1955, the first operating system was actually introduced. It was named GMOs and this was actually created by General Motors. This operating system was created for 701 machines by IBM. These were the operating systems that were later named as single-stream batch processing systems. The reason behind this was they were actually submitting the data in groups.

Later they named these machines as mainframes. These mainframes were used by professional operators and they were used in large computer rooms. Because of their high price, they were only reachable and used by large corporations and government agencies. Common people were not able to afford these mainframes.

The Third Generation (1965s-1980s)

By the end of the 1960s, the developers of operating systems were started developing multi-programming systems. These computer programs were capable of performing multiple jobs at the same time. This was the milestone and multi-programming was one of the major turning points in the development of operating systems.

Through this multi-programming, they were able to keep the CPU busy and achieved 100% utilization of CPU. There is another major growth that happened at the same time and that is the development of minicomputers. The early developments were DEC PDP-1 in the year 1961. The cost of this minicomputer was $120000.

These minicomputers later open the doors for the development of more and more PDPs. Later PDPs are the ones that lead the right direction for the development of personal computers. But the actual development of personal computers happened by the fourth generation.

The Fourth Generation (1980s-Till Date)

It was the fourth generation operating system that leads to the creation of personal computing. These resembled the minicomputers that were developed in the third generation. But the best part was they were affordable and they were costing a small bit of the actual cost of third-generation minicomputers.

The personal computer was the best gift through this every individual started using a computer. This made a lot of changes in the usage of computers since earlier minicomputers were just owned by large corporations since they were of the high cost. This was the generation that led to the birth of operating systems like Windows operating system and Microsoft. In the year 1975, the Windows operating system was developed and it was because of the vision by Bill gates. Paul Allen and Gates had a clear vision to take the personal computers to the next level.

MS-DOS was introduced in the year 1981 and but at that point, it was not easy for people to learn and understand the cryptic commands which needed. Later Windows started leading the industry and even today it is the most used operating system.

Apart from Microsoft, Apple was the other company that releases operating systems. It was in the 1980s they created their first operating system. Apple Macintosh was created by Steve Jobs and this brought a huge success. The best part was, Apple Macintosh was super-friendly. Later releases of Windows were completely influenced by Apple Macintosh. Even today, these are the two companies that are in competition. Today each and every electronic device needs an operating system and even motor vehicles and ATM machines. If you want to name the most popular operating system today on Smartphones, then it is Android.


In the current decade, each and everybody owns a smartphone and this was the main thing that leads to the creation of popular operating systems. Companies like Google wanted to create the best operating system for Smartphones and they ended up creating Android. There is one more called iOS which is in competition and that is by Apple.

Of course, the history of the operating system looks really short. But you need to understand that it was completely intense. Within a few decades, we have experienced tremendous changes and developments. You will get surprised when you think of batch processing systems evolving to become operating systems like Android which works on your phone.

Minicomputers were making use of operating systems that cannot be compared to today’s iOS or Android. They have evolved so fast and because of that, we are able to make use of everything just in a few clicks.

Bottom Line

We cannot imagine our lives without a Smartphone or a laptop today. To run all these systems you need an operating system that works inside these electronic devices. Without an operating system, none of your electronic devices would work. So, one or another operating system is behind mobile phones, computers, and all kinds of electronic devices. Operating systems are the software which is making this modern society to run smoothly.

The operating system is the backbone for both hardware and software in a device and it is the one that makes them work properly. As the development of the information technology had an origin at some point and it has grown completely, even the operating system. It has grown in a similar way in line with information technology.

Information technology and its development have gifted many things to mankind and one of them is, operating system. Today we can see the operating system running on a device like a Smartphone which is a few inched long. But earlier it was in the form of batch processing and was running on huge computers. This is the evolution of operating systems that happened in a few decades and because of that, we are able to enjoy all kinds of technological amusements.