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Favorite Operating Systems of all time?

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What are your favorite operating systems of all time?


My top three off the cuff:


-DOS: Just because. Simple, and so many great games and programs.


-OS 9.2.2 (Mac) The pinnacle of the 90's mac era. So stable, so good....


-Windows 98'-It just worked in that era, pretty clean and smooth and added features 95 was lacking.


What are your favorites?


Honorable mentions:


-Windows 2000


-Windows XP


-Max OSX 10.6.8


-Mac 7.5.5


-Atari ST TOS Os's



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AmagaDOS - hands down the most productive development environment I've ever used.
Unix - What a real stable/secure OS looks like and a very productive development environment
Windows XP - The only reason XP is above Linus, is because it runs Windows Applications and can run/build in a Unix like environment using Cygwin
Linux - Wannabe Unix... should probably be above Windows XP
Windows 98 - The best early version of Windows
OS-9 (6809, not Mac) - Would be higher on the list if disk storage and speed hadn't been such an issue
OS2 - I'd put it above Windows 98 but it was abandoned too quickly
I liked Windows 7 but they dumped it before fixing everything. Vista wasn't bad but... same deal.


Worst OS?


WindowsMe - Mostly Windows 98 with fixes for USB and networking. Too bad they never fixed their fixes. I haven't paid for a separate version of Windows since.
Windows NT - This "stable" OS sucks. A system I worked with had to be rebooted every night to keep from crashing and it would still lock up at times. The Unix based app I wrote that communicated with it never crashed.

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Honestly, 98 was king. There is a reason people continued to use it into the 2010s. Of course, the longest reign would go to XP I suppose. But in the end, 98 had everything one needed. It was the first of the "Modern" OSes. Everything we have now is essentially a reincarnation of that early version.

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Well, I guess I'll give some answers that are pretty far removed from most other people's here:

NeXT: It helped get the power of UNIX under control early on. It's port to x86 architecture left something to be desired, however.

OS/2: A better DOS than DOS and a better Windows (3.1) than Windows? Mostly true. The REXX language wasn't bad either.

MacOS (Classic Era): This was helped by having some nice hi-rez (for the time) gray-scale monitors built into early Macs.


I have to agree with WinME being among the worst OSs. I can't begin to tell you how many times I was asked to fix someone's computer that was running that junk.

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Early to 10.6 Mac OSX, including their killer "apps" and bundled software. Nothing compares yesterday or today. Not even Apple's latest craptastic offerings, which are easily some of the worst yet. sigh


If I'm being honest with myself, that's the last time I truly enjoyed working with/on a computer - for everyday practical use that is.


When it comes to screwing around, gaming and general operating systemy stuff, I still very much enjoy my Amiga's and AmigaOS. :)

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I thought Windows 98 was pretty good - everything seemed to work with minimal fuss. XP was pretty stable as well.


Mac OS X 10.6.8 was the pinnacle of modern OS's for me, though, and worked great on PPC and Intel Macs. I could be happy with that for the rest of my life. Fast, stable, just enough features but not overloaded. They've completely abandoned their user interface guidelines since.


For 8-bit machines I really liked Apple's DOS, it was fast, easy and to the point.

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BeOS 5, Windows 98SE, Windows XP. Those are my three top OS's.


I really really loved BeOS. I ran it exclusively for two years. BeShare was awesome, BeBits was an excellent resource, and there were even a few retail games ported to it and a really great version of Eric's Ultimate Solitaire ;) Not to mention it chewed up multimedia like no tomorrow. Movies ran great while doing other stuff, and "Soundplay" is still the only MP3 player that I know of that could process MP3 playback backward which made listening to Pink Floyd secret messages easy ;) That program also had a realtime slowdown and speedup playback slider. All of these things just showed what that OS was capable of.


Win98SE was (and still is) my favorite Windows version due to how advanced it is in such a small and resource friendly package. I run it on a Pentium 180 machine to this day and am able to play MP3's, work with USB flash drives and do most of what you would do on a modern OS with much much less resources (64MB!)


Windows XP is also just legendary. It provided usability and speed for many years. It wasn't until the need for so much "eye candy" that we needed to upgrade to Vista (well, I didn't, but many did)

Edited by eightbit
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Best OS? :)


I've been in Utopia, and have used truly futuristic operating systems:


* Smalltalk-80 on Xerox Alto

* Genera on a Symbolics 3600 (Essentially LISP on the bare metal)


What do both of these operating systems have in common?


Essentially, they allowed real time modification of every single aspect of the system, while it was running. Fantastic for research work. Something I deeply miss today.



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In general, I don't like to look back, especially when improvements make things more versatile and stabile. Once in a while, there's a release that adds great features, things you only remember are there if for some reason you try to hop back to another point in time. Like that guy who pulled a Mac LCIII out of the trash in 2017 with the crazy notion of making it into a game box. ;)


  1. I liked it when iOS 4 added background audio to apps, so you could (finally) stream music or podcasts while using a navigation app.
  2. I liked how Windows XP had Windows NT/2000's protected memory while providing loads of consumer device drivers.
  3. Windows 95 plug and play device manager was a huge step forward, as was a unified software installer.
  4. I agree that Mac 9.2.2 was top of the hill for a while, especially when the early days of OS X was a rough transition until hardware caught up and software improvements helped so much.


I would never want to use any of these old things as a primary OS today.


Nowadays, I see software versions as a river always flowing. Holding back on updates always introduces compromises, like no security updates, or dropped compatibility. Moving forward can break things too (see 16-bit software under modern Windows, or 32-bit software in iOS -- no longer supported), but enough good things come out of it I think it's a net improvement.

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I haven't used that many operating systems to tell the good ones apart from the bad ones, but here are some that I liked:


AmigaOS 2.04 - Quite an improvement from the earlier 1.3, and not that much behind 3.0.


AIX 4.2 - I think I liked it due to slight obscurity vs Solaris or any Linux/BSD system at the time.


Windows XP - While I was struggling with 98SE for many years, XP was quite an improvement once I installed it.

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Linux - a friend turned me on to this in its early days. At first I didn't get the appeal. But then I saw the complex operations he was doing with single line commands-- things that would take a much bigger programming efforts in the OSes I was using, and I was hooked.


modern MacOS - Had a mac at my last job, The OS worked very well.


Windows and I have never gotten along all that well- It has a tendancy to fight me on what I want to do. But some were better than others. Win98SE and XP were the better ones. Windows 7 is supposed to be good too, but I've had problems with it. Win 10 works, except it feels much slower than I expect it to be on my PC, and I can't figure out why.


Older OSes- I don't miss them so much


TOS- rather bare bones. I had to write programs in GFA basic to do things that an OS should do but TOS didn't. But at least it was more usable than-

AmigaOS- Powerful, but kinda user-hostile. Especially on a floppy-disk only system

DOS - I guess on some level I liked the simplicity. I absolutely DO NOT miss TSR hell... you know when you had all these TSRs you needed to load, and they all needed to be at least partly resident in the base 640K, then you would find that after loading them, you didn't have enough memory to run the application you wanted, so you had to get them loaded into Expanded or Extended memory (two incompatible concepts), and I remember running "memmaker" all the time, trying to find the magical combination that let me have all my TSRs in memory and still run applications. The DOSBOX emulator has a nice built-in DOS that adds features and has built-in TSRs so that we can emulate a DOS system without the pain.

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Atari's Gem based TOS is my favourite vintage OS, specifically the post Rainbow variants. I'd probably edge 1.62 over 2.06 for compatibility sake, but regardless of the later version, TOS beat the hell out of the MAC or Amiga OSes that existed simultaneously (note, I'm not saying ST's were superior to MACs / Amiga's in every regard, but their OS had no era-specific competition).


OS9 was my primary MAC OS, and I hated the introduction of OS X, not because it wasn't an exponential improvement (it was) but because it wasn't compatible with my PowerPC MAC. I went PC as a result (probably a dumb move, but you know what they say about hindsight!)


From playing around with my friends' MACs though I'd say the Snow Leopard iteration of OS X has been my favourite so far.


For Windows based PC's Win7 didn't suck (although it did get rid of truly functional multiple toolbars - restricting them for the first time to the taskbar), but no Windows OS came anywhere near the customizability (is that a word?) of Windows XP, - the pinnacle of Microsoft OS'es. I keep an old XP machine around, and I am repeatedly blown away by how much better (and tweakable) is was than anything MS has released since.


For Linux builds, my fav was Ubuntu, but it's been awhile since I've had the time to look at more recent builds, so while I list Ubuntu as my favourite, ignorance to newer products probably influence that preference.



Worst OSes? Win 10 - no competition...it broke more than any other OS has fixed. (Latest victim, my left ALT key died with the anniversary update - which sucks for a bilingual typist) it slowed emulators, or made them unuseable. And let's face it, it really is just glorified spyware. Not since SONY planted rootkits on their music CD's has any corporation so blatantly insinuated themselves into their users activities, and so unapologetically invaded their privacy. It also removed any level of customization, making it the absolute worst OS for computer enthusiasts. (hell, the selectable colour palette rivals 8-bit computing!


Microsoft says that Win 10 is their last OS, and they will simply patch upgrade to newer versions from this point forward (à la OS X, how original!). I say that is a decision that will see the once mighty Microsoft go the way of AOL within two decades (if not sooner.)


But STe era TOS will always be the closest OS to my heart, with OS9 and WinXP bringing up the rear!

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I have several:


1- Apple II DOS 3.3

I learned so many concepts and operations on this. Compared to cassette tape this was light years ahead. It felt like I upgraded my II+'s Applesoft Basic with new commands. It integrated nicely and took me but an hour to learn how to LOAD, SAVE, DELETE, VERIFY, and INIT. And after finishing the last chapter in the Dos Manual I felt like I had a Ph D at age 10. And it was so much more interesting that being force-fed impossible tales of invisible dead men in the sky that never existed.


2- MS-DOS 5.0 & 6.22

Again I learned a lot of things, PC focused this time around. I loved playing around with and running benchmarks on smartdrv.sys. And I thought it was real cool to have DoubleSpace. Again it was great entertainment to see if a program could be made to load faster and take less space. Balancing the amount of CPU decompression time vs the amount of disk transfer time. I also learned more advanced disk operations such as file placement and defragging and error recovery and all sorts of odd technicalities.


3- Windows 3.1

When I got this I just knew I was entering the big leagues of computing. A real Graphical User Interface at last. I really got into PC Telecom with this. With all the terminals and external modems and stuff. Cool! I also liked the Activision Action Packs and MS-Arcade. The baby steps of modern-day emulation. I loved Word 2.0 and it was one of the main (if not THE main) reason I got into 486, PCs, and Windows. The things I wanted to do on this OS worked! No more fighting.


4- Windows XP

We all know the world-famous longevity of this OS. I still use it today, daily. And I love its file management capabilities and all the tools written to assist with organization and curation. USB mass storage on this OS simply worked.



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As we all know, Microsoft Windows always has been, and always will-be, flawed. That being said, I thought XP stood out in my mind as the most significant advancement. I mean, FINALLY, YOU WERE OUT OF .DLL HELL FROM EARLIER VERSIONS!!!! Yes I understand, Windows Haters, it's still Windows. But it was at least SOMEWHAT stable. It just kept out of the way and launched my programs. That's all I really wanted.


Win98 was quite flawed, but I had a good run with that one, too.


Windows 7 is as far as I have made it, and I suppose I like it for similarities to the past. I inherited a cheap (but mint condition) laptop. It had Vista. I hated Vista. I bought one of those cheap Windows 7 (with viable serial number for install) from Ebay, and I can't believe how much noticeably-better the slug is with 7. So, although my experience with Vista is quite limited, it must really suck and 7 is evidently much better!


Notice, there's been little mention of Windows 8, 8.1 (what's the difference? avoided it all the same!!!!) and I haven't seen Windows 10 here, but I haven't tried it, so I'll reserve judgment.

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