The first time I remember when one operating system was imitated on another operating system was back prior to Windows 95’s release in August 1995.
A screen saver came out for Windows 3.11 that was called Bill Gates Does Windows. It was a pretty simple screen saver that showed Bill Gates being lowered on a platform which was suspended by ropes, kind of like a window cleaner, and he had a sledgehammer in his hand. He would then commence to smashing your Windows 3.11 desktop to expose a Windows 95 desktop underneath. It was pretty funny and entertaining. It also did a good job of exposing the Windows 95 desktop and what it looked like to a lot of users before it came out.
Screenshot from UltimateSavers.com
Over the years this process of making one operating system look like another has become a major cottage industry with companies and websites popping up all over the place offering to make your OS look like another one.
I even dabbled in this with a program called Windows Blinds and downloaded every skin that would make my Windows PC look like a Mac Desktop. Now come on I am sure there are Mac users who also secretly made their Mac OS look like Windows.
As each successive version of Windows was getting ready to come out you would see skins appear to give you a feel for what the next version of Windows would look like. Windows 95 to Windows XP; Windows XP to Windows Vista; Windows Vista to Windows 7.
Windows 7 grabbed onto the customization aspect of this desire to change up how your OS looks and built in a lot of ways to customize various aspects of the OS. Of course there are plenty of programs out there to help with this as well.
So now we arrive to today and what prompted me to write up this little trip down memory lane.
While perusing my RSS feeds I came across a story from Product Reviews Net that talked about a theme that Android phone users could place on their handset to get an idea on how the Windows Phone 7 UI looks and functions – at least to a certain extent.
I just found it entertaining to realize that we have moved from desktops imitating each other to modern day cell phone handsets being given the same treatment.
Personally I have never seen this between other handsets before. There have been overlays, such as HTC’s Touch Flo 3D, that place an entire new interface layer over the mobile OS but not an overlay that changes your phone OS to look like another phone OS.
Have any of you ever seen that? Let us know in the comments what you have experienced with skins either today or in those years gone by.