Operating systems have changed in nature in response to demands of users, and in response to advances in hardware and software technology. The purpose of this paper is to trace the development of major themes in operating system design from their beginnings through the present. This is not an exhaustive history of operating systems, but instead is intended to give the reader the flavor of the dif ferent periods in operating systems' development. To this end, the paper will be organized by topic in approximate order of development. Each chapter will start with an introduction to the factors behind the rise of the period. This will be fol lowed by a survey of the state-of-the-art systems, and the conditions influencing them. The chapters close with a summation of the significant hardware and software contributions from the period.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Operating systems (Computers); Computer programming

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Computer Science (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Computer Science (GCCIS)


Michael Lutz

Advisor/Committee Member

Peter Lutz

Advisor/Committee Member

Wiley McKinzie


A physical copy of this thesis can be found in RIT's Wallace Library at QA76.6.R43


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