Is the Linux Operating System Older than Windows?

I recently read online someone saying that “Windows did not come out as an OS til 1995”. Is this person correct?

First some background information about Windows.

The first Windows was Windows 1.0 that ran on-top of MS-DOS. It was released on 20 November 1985. The most popular ancient version of Windows people sometimes talk about is Windows 3.1 (released on: April 6, 1992), not realizing that there were versions of Windows before 3.1.

Microsoft has Windows NT (a stable, secure, really well done OS brand still being used by millions today; not MS-DOS based) that initially was released as Windows NT 3.1 on July 27, 1993. Windows NT has *no* MS-DOS underneath it (in other words, the Windows NT line has nothing to do with MS-DOS at all; people just think it does).

Technically Windows as an OS did not come out until 1993, however Windows did exist as an MS-DOS shell way back in 1985…long before Linux. Also, Windows 1.0 is seen as the first official Windows on the market.

Non-Windows NT Operating Systems (MS-DOS based):  1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, 98 SE, ME

Windows NT Operating Systems:   Windows NT 3.1, Windows NT 3.5, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10

The first Linux came out by Linus Torvalds in 1991 (he uploaded Linux to a FTP server belonging to FUNET).

Linux first came out first as an actual OS in 1991. However Windows NT came out in 1993 (roughly two years after Linux; the guy’s statement about Windows being out as an OS in 1995 was off by two years).

So the answer is: While Linux (1991) is slightly older than Windows NT (1993), it really is not that big of deal since they both are good operating systems to get things done on, and seriously now, who would care anyway? 🙂

Update 10-04-2019:

I recently became aware of someone commenting on my post. This guy – who we will call “Frank” – was asked by a member of an online community to give his opinion about what I wrote.

Frank claimed my “Is Linux older than Windows?” question was “out of scope”, due to Windows having come out in the 1980s (before it became an operating system).

Frank is incorrect. My context when talking about “Windows” is the Windows NT family – released in 1993 – when Windows became an operating system. I made that clear in my post.

I was not comparing the DOS-based Windows (e.g., Windows 98) to Linux, as he misunderstood. It appears he did a “speed reading” of my post, and completely missed my context in the process.

To my surprise, the guy he responded to disagreed with Frank’s stance and instead agreed with mine.

To make it clear to everyone:

  1. I only mentioned the older, non-NT versions of Windows (e.g., Win98) to give background information to people who may not understand that there is more to Windows than XP (2001) and beyond.
  2. Windows (as an operating system – Windows NT 3.1) did in fact come out in 1993. The guy repeated the same misinformation about Windows coming out as an OS in 1995 😕. Seriously, this information is easily verified online.
  3. Unfortunately, several people “up-voted” his comment, even though he gave wrong information about Windows NT and technically misrepresented my article. They obviously did not verify the information he gave, and just assumed he was correct.

Please keep in mind that I do not hate the guy. I just wish he had taken the time to honestly review my post, before trashing it over a misunderstanding of what I wrote.

There was another guy who responded to Frank, telling him he was giving misinformation about Windows. Frank, to my knowledge, never replied back.

Posted in Operating Systems