Skip to main content

A History of the GUI

I’ve never fully appreciated the NeXT heritage of Mac OS X until today. Now, I know that when NeXT came out it blew the doors off of every competitor. I know about it’s UNIX base, the Framework environment, that it was used to create DOOM, Seti@home, Toy Story and the WWW.

What I have never done before is the math. The chronological math that is. NeXT was introduced in 1988. The same year OS/2 1.0 came out. Windows was in version 2.0, and 3.1, the most commonly used version until Windows 95 was three years away. If you really want to realize just how far ahead NeXT was from every other OS take a look at the screenshots on this page. Everything on that page looks like some archaic form of GUI experimentation that sucked and failed. All except one. One of these things is not like the others. One of these things doesn’t belong. One of them looks like a modern operating system. One of them was inventing the World Wide Web while the others were trying to figure out how to create a LAN.

I use the world’s most advanced operating system. It didn’t just get that way recently, it’s always been that way.