The history of operating systems is a pretty amazing one especially when you can see many of them together and compare them. Webdesigner Depot has an excellent article on the history of OS interface design showing the various GUI based operating systems.
One thing that is extremely evident when looking at the various designs is that IRIX 3 was way ahead of it’s time. The closest OS in regards to interface is Windows 95 which was released 9 years after IRIX 3. The other operating systems that were released both before and after for several years are really lacking in graphical appeal and look like they were drawn on an etch-a-sketch.
IRIX 3 was based on Unix with BSD extensions and was designed for their workstations and servers. Looking at later versions it appears as if the design stayed the same. It’s too bad that the OS didn’t keep progressing and get released to a larger user base.
Make sure you check out Webdesigner Depot’s full post so you can appreciate where we have come from.