Contrary to what many of us would have thought, up until earlier this month it was still possible to buy a license for Windows 3.x (although support was ended in 2001), mainly for use in embedded systems like cash registers or ticketing systems and notably to power the in-flight entertainment systems on some Virgin and Qantas long-haul jets. But now, about 18 years after its release, the aging operating system is finally being put to rest.
Windows 3.x was the first windows-based operating system to seriously rival Apple’s Mac graphical user interface, and largely responsible for catapulting the software giant to fame and industry prominence. Part of the reason Windows 3.x was still around at some levels is its minimum requirements, which included a 10MHz 8086/8088 processor, 640K of RAM, 7MB disk space and a CGA, EGA or VGA graphics card. The fact that it was 100% compatible with older MSDOS applications helped too.
It’s the end of an era for Microsoft, but also an opening for Linux platforms to further encroach the embedded market.