Full-fledged base operating systems (designed for standard computer systems)

Ever feel like there's a shortage of operating systems? See what this page (and DistroWatch.com) can do to remedy that.

Information from an overview of some popular operating systems may provide information to help make recommendations to choose among available choices of operating systems.

[#bsd]: Berkeley Software Distribution (“BSD”) releases

The following are operating systems that heavily use code based on the old “Berkeley Software Distribution” releases of code.

The main operating systems most often associated with BSD (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD) support the pkg-add suite (pkg-add, pkg-info, pkg_delete) of tools. (sp???)

[#openbsd]: OpenBSD
OpenBSD is one of the BSD operating systems.
[#freebsd]: FreeBSD
FreeBSD is one of the BSD operating systems
[#netbsd]: NetBSD
NetBSD is one of the BSD operating systems
[#drflybsd]: DragonFly BSD
DragonFly is one of the BSD operating systems
[#darwin]: Darwin-based
The Darwin-based release which was the first to reach substantial popularity would be the Mac OSX line of operating systems released by Apple.
[#miros]: MirOS

Review this info for accuracy: As I understand , this has had a few different approaches. In at least one release, the code was based on OpenBSD but contact information was not fully updated, so computers booting this code displayed a message to contact Theo DeRaadt (the leader of the OpenBSD project) as the contact for this OS. That was interesting because Theo DeRaadt was not involved with creating this variant of the operating system, so the MirOS ended up violating a basic principles of support: Never direct users to support from a source that has no intentions of supporting the product. Results may not be what is expected.

[#oldbsd]: MirOS Older, commercial, discontinued BSD operating systems
386BSD, BSD/386, BSD/OS. SunOS versions 4.x and earlier (prior to SunOS 5.x/Solaris which Wikipedia's page comparing BSDs says “is based on SVR4”). MidnightBSD has several licenses used by MidnightBSD, and from the Wikipedia article on MidnightBSD, this BSD seems related to FreeBSD.
[#linux]: Linux-using Operating Systems (Linux-based operating systems, or operating systems which started off by using the Linux kernel)
Overview of Linux-based operating systems
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Debian-based

These operating systems support *.deb files for software package management.

Debian
(Information about Debian is in the section about operating systems using the Linux kernel.)
Ubuntu-based
Ubuntu
Kbuntu, Xubuntu, etc.
[#oschromi]: Solutions based on code from Chromium OS
[#chromios]: Chromium OS
(Information about Chromium OS is in the section about operating systems using the Linux kernel.)
[#chromeos]: ChromeOS
(Information about ChromeOS is in the section about operating systems using the Linux kernel.)
[#mintlinx]: Linux Mint

(Note, Linux Mint does not appear to be related in any way to Mint.com's free financial software called Mint.)

Others
Ultimate Edition (DistroWatch page on Ultimate Edition), Lubuntu (“light Ubuntu for faster computing”), HackToLive's Super_OS (formerly “Super Ubuntu”) which uses Reconstructor (the home page of which redirects to Reconstructor's Wiki).
RedHat-based

This software tends to use *.RPM files for package management.

CentOS
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RHEL (PNAELV)
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Others
Fedora Core
Fedora Core
Scientific Linux
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Others
Suse
OpenSUSE
Linux from scratch
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Gentoo
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Slackware
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Linspire (Lindows, Xandros)
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Speclialized
Helix
Forensics
BackTrack
Network penetration testing
Others
DistroWatch Weekly Issue 339 (February 1, 2010) featured article: GNOBSD states “New distributions are submitted to DistroWatch all the time.” It is likely that most of these use Linux (with a second place likelihood of using BSD code).
[#unix]: Unix (also spelled as UNIX)

The name “Unix” was used for an operating system developed by AT&T. It has largely been replaced in the market by the “Berkeley Software Distribution” that was strongly based on Unix code, and (perhaps to an even greater extent) to other operating system distributions that used both the Linux kernel and a set of userland utilities similar to what came with Unix/BSD. Many of the userland utilities by the distributions using Linux may be software by GNU.

To see some flowcharts: Wikipedia's Unix History graphic shows some of the more well-known variations. UNIX History has a large flowchart. (The flowchart may be seen using JavaScript on the website, and there are PDF files that may be downloaded.) (There is another flowchart available in the section about operating systems that use Linux: The “GNU/Linux Distribution Timeline”.)

“The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition”, from June of 1972, has been quoted to say, “The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected.” There had been an operating system called Multics which stood for “Multiplexed Information and Computing Service”. Later, UNIX was made, initially being “called UNICS (UNiplexed Information and Computing Service)--an 'emasculated Multics'; no one recalls whose idea the change to UNIX was.” (Quote is from Wayback Machine @ Archive.org capture of Unix History, with info from Peter H. Salus's “A Quarter Century of UNIX”, previously hosted by the University of Georgia's English Department.)

Xenix (by Microsoft)
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[#msopsys]: Microsoft Operating Systems, compatible/similar code
Operating systems marketed as having code meant to run “Microsoft Windows” programs
Windows emulation

Although not actually meant as a full-fledged operating system, because the project's main goals are not to be the initial large set of code that runs when a computer starts, code from emulators, particularly Wine, may appear in some operating systems and this is a popular target of support when operating system emulation is being pursued.

Wine code
Wine
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Cedega CrossOver
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
TransX/Transgaming
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Other Windows emulators
Webu? Winemu?
ReactOS
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Microsoft Windows
Code using, derived from, and/or modeled after NT code
Windows 7
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows Server 2008
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows Vista
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows Server 2003
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows XP
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows 2000
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows NT 4.0
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows NT 3.51
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows NT 3.1
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Code meant to use boot code using, based on, or compatible with MS-DOS

The term “Win9x” might sometimes be meant to refer to Win95 and Win98 and Win98SE, but probably more commonly refers to a platform that is also meant to include WinME.

Windows Millenium Edition (also officially known as “Windows ME”, clearly meant as an abbreviation, and also officially known as “Windows Me”)
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows 98 Second Edition
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Windows 98
The term “Windows 98” may be meant to refer to this operating system, or may be meant to also include the successor, Win98SE. This operating system has been referred to by Microsoft as “Windows 98 Standard Edition” (but which should not be abbreviated Win98SE since that would seem to refer to Win98 2nd Edition), and this has also been known as Win98FE (which stands for “Windows 98 First Edition”).
Windows 95
OSR 2.1, OSR 2, and original Win95.
Windows 3.1 and newer 3.x
Windows 3.11, Windows 3.1. (Using related code, in China only, Windows 3.2.)
Earlier versions of Windows
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
MS-DOS
(See the “DOS operating systems” section.)
OS/2-based

(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)

OS/2

OS/2 supported running DOS programs (although there were cmpatibility issues) and many versions included WinOS2, which was support for running Windows programs. OS/2 also provided a platform for software that was meant specifically to run in OS/2. (OS/2 had “Workplace shell” and “Presentation Manager”.)

OS/2 2.x and 3.x (and others?) had support for running 16-bit versions of Windows. For compatibility with 32-bit versions of Windows, see http://odin.netlabs.org/

http://osfree.sf.net ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/osfree/ )

eComStation
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Others
Windows CE is described in the section for mobile devices.
[#dos]: DOS operating systems

This section is about FreeDOS and operating systems which are largely compatible with that platform. (It is not about other operating systems which may be named DOS, such as Apple's DOS 3.3 which is not meant to be compatible with MS-DOS 3.3.)

FreeDOS
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
MS-DOS
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Operating systems using code from DR-DOS
Names include DR-DOS, OpenDOS, DR-OpenDOS, and Novell DOS, Concurrent DOS (Concurrent DOS/386, CDOS), Multiuser DOS (MUDOS, MDOS)
IBM PC-DOS
(See the page about Microsoft Operating Systems (and similar/compatible platforms) for further details.)
Software based on code from PhysTechSoft

PhysTechSoft released “PTS-DOS”, while “PTS/DOS” and “Paragon DOS Pro 2000”/“PTS/DOS Pro 2000” was released by “Paragon Technology GmbH”/“Paragon Software Group”, formed by some programmers who left PhysTechSoft. PhysTechSoft has referred to Paragon's DOS releases as illegal, as noted by the Wikipedia article on PTS-DOS: section on “History and versions”. Paragon also made file system drivers, such as NTFS for Win98.

This variant of DOS is revered by some users as the best version of DOS, allowing more free conventional memory than other versions. Source code is not available except that Paragon DOS Pro 2000 (according to Wikipedia article on PTS-DOS: section on “History and versions”, which is being quoted) “contained bundled source code of older PTS-DOS v6.51.”

PhysTechSoft's “PTS-DOS 32”, also known as “PTS-DOS v7.0”, supports FAT32. Google Translation of PSG's history shwos Paragon's “PTS DOS 6.51” supported FAT32.

PhysTechSoft's PTS-DOS 2000, English PTS-DOS FAQ (including mentioning some bugs), Google cache/conversion of PDF of (an English) manual for Paragon's PTS DOS 2000 Pro

It seems this may use Config.PTS.

[#oldos]: Older operating systems
Solaris

(See also: SunOS)

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CP/M

Rather similar to DOS (and perhaps even having a degree of compatability), a/the main vendor, Digital Research, pursued DR-DOS rather than CP/M.

VMS

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Novell Netware
The Novell Netware server operating system was intended to be run on a server that communicated over the network with machines that ran the Novell Netware Client software on other operating systems.
[#macos]: Mac OS

Mac OS 8 was replaced by Mac OS9. Mac OS9 was replaced by Mac OSX which was a radically different operating system: it was based on Darwin and did not provide compatibility with Mac OS9. (Files that were executable by both OS9 and OSX were called “universal” binaries.) Mac OSX is actually covered in a different section: Darwin-based operating systems.

Low-res video (on YouTube) about Steve Jobs saying good bye to OS 9

Mac OS 8 replaced “Mac OS 7.6”. Wikipedia's article on “System 7”: section called “Mac OS 7.6” says “With 7.6, the operating system was officially called "Mac OS" instead of "System".” However, Wikipedia's article on System 7 notes that the name “Mac OS” “had first appeared on System 7.5.1's boot screen.” Naturally, System 7 was the update to System 6, and there was a System 1 (or System 1.0).

OS/2-based code
Information on this is in the section about operating systems marketed as having code meant to run Windows programs. Although some varieties of OS/2 did not include WinOS2 code bundled in, such “OS/2 for Windows” releases could transform an existing Windows installation into something that used WinOS2.
NeXTSTEP

Obtained by Apple. Mac OSX is a descendent of this code. See also: OpenSTEP.

John Romero's Platnet Rome.ro: Apple-NeXT Merger Birthday says “At that point NeXTSTEP had morphed into Cocoa - the development environment that Mac coders live in.” John Romero's Platnet Rome.ro: Apple-NeXT Merger Birthday says “id Software developed the groundbreaking titles DOOM and Quake on the NeXTSTEP 3.3 OS running on a variety of hardware for about 4 years. I still remember the wonderful time I had coding DoomEd and QuakeEd in Objective-C; there was nothing like it before and there still is no environment quite like it even today.” He later comments that after John Carmack's “research was done”, “it was agreed that the entire company needed to develop our next game on NeXTSTEP.” (John Romero also had Raven obtain NeXT computers to make Heretic, and Hexen and Strife were also made with NeXT.)

See also: NeXT computers.

Eros-based
Eros-OS.Org has a main page calling this the “Extermely Reliable Operating System”. This operating system was created more for the purpose of being a research product in a university ratehr than striving for widespread market adoption, and has been discontinued. Successors to the project include The EROS Group, LLC's operating system Coyotos as well as a separate continuation called CapROS. Eros-OS: Novelty describes some features, such as a minimal kernel which was 24.3kb and expected to double or triple in size when finalized. That page also notes, “Architecturally, the EROS system is most closely descended from an earlier system known as KeyKOS.” (The University of Pennsylvania has a KeyKOS web site.) EROS FAQ: Security and Realiability notes Key Logic, Inc.'s KeyKOS descends from Tymshare's Gnosis.
Older Unix operating systems (and similar)
System V

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Xenix

Wikipedia's page on Xenix says “In 1987 Microsoft transferred ownership of Xenix to SCO in an agreement that left Microsoft owning 25% of SCO.” “The last version of Xenix itself was 2.3.4.” That Wikipedia page identifies the “Source model” as “Closed source”.

HP-UX

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etc.

See also: Older, commercial, discontinued BSD operating systems, Wikipedia's graphic showing Unix history (referenced/used by Wikipedia's page on Unix and Wikipedia's page on “Unix-like”).

Gavin's “Best of Show” for IOCCC 2004
http://www.ioccc.org/2004/gavin.hint (might be Unix-like?) 32-bit, x86. Intallation instructions for Gavin's OS, Source code for Gavin's OS is a whoppin'ly huge 3,556 bytes.