The Secret World of Alternative Operating Systems

May 16th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

The Secret World of Alternative Operating Systems on

Think Windows, OS X, and Linux are the only modern desktop operating systems out there?


(OK, I know you’re smarter than that. But just for a moment, feign ignorance so my intro works.)

Think again! Up now on Technologizer is “The Secret World of Alternative Operating Systems” — a slideshow devoted to 12 little-known GUI-based operating systems. Many of them are free, all run on the x86 platform, and none are based on Linux. Even cooler, a handful of them descend from legacy OSes and GUI shells that once intended to compete with Microsoft Windows.

This particular slideshow is devoted to operating systems that run on the most common PC standard at the moment, so don’t get disappointed if you don’t see AmigaOS, RiscOS, or MiNT up there.

I hope you enjoy it.

7 Responses to “The Secret World of Alternative Operating Systems”

  1. Donn Says:

    We had GEM Desktop on our IBM AT (286) clone back in the day. I created some real masterpieces (I thought) in GEM Paint, and I used GEM Write for school work in middle school. It was a pretty good system – I might consider putting it back on my hacked i-Opener. Glad to hear there’s an free version!

  2. arlandi Says:

    Benj, what a surprise!
    always love this alternative OS thing.
    kinda surprise to see this topic in your site, though. as it is not related to vintage computing. but i don’t mind, at all! hahaha.

  3. Benj Edwardsnmost Says:

    It kinda is related to VC&G, arlandi, in the way that a handful of the OSes are descendants of historical, legacy operating systems that most people think are extinct, but people still use today. Glad you liked it!

  4. Bjorn Nitmo Says:

    No mention of Coherent or QNX. It’s a bummer, man.

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Sorry to let you down, Bjorn. I’ll try harder next time.

  6. Luis Says:

    I love slieshows like this. For some strange reason i can, easily, spend hours reading sites like toastytech that is full of legacy os screenshots. Great work Benj.

    However Ill agree with Bjorn about QNX. Its probably the most used OS that no one knows. Its even on car computers.

  7. Benj Edwards Says:

    I didn’t include QNX precisely because of its popularity. What makes slideshows like this one fun is that they include items most people don’t know about and have never used. Since both of you guys mentioned QNX, it just goes to show that it’s too popular for the list. 🙂

Leave a Reply