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Essential Guide to Computing: The Story of Information Technology, The by E. Garrison Walters

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Chapter 6. Evolution of the Operating System

A brief study of the evolution of the operating system will accomplish two objectives. First, it will provide insight into the choices that software designers made as they faced key architectural issues, many of which are still of concern today. Second, since a number of the OSs that were developed as long as 25 years ago continue to be in active use, looking backwards also helps us understand contemporary systems.

In the earliest days of computing, back when people controlled the computer by flipping switches on and off (and we complain about carpal tunnel syndrome), there was no operating system. Software, such as it was, was very simple, and everything was in one piece. As things got more complicated, ...

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