Dead Operating Systems seem like a good subject for dead media research. However, it's a very broad field of study. I'd like to solicit ideas from other Necronauts on narrowing the scope of the topic.
Here are some criteria that we could look at:
1) Does the machine itself have to be in disuse, or just the Operating System? Computer platforms and OS's rarely die without one somehow managing to kill the other.
2) Some may argue that revisions of existing OS's should count. The dam could burst if this is the case. Think of all the revisions and flavors of MS-DOS, and cringe.
2a) UNIX isn't dead, but what about dead flavors of UNIX? XENIX might be a worthy contender for stand-alone treatment.
3) Are dead personal computer DOS's really the same phenomenon as dead mainframe OS's? What about game machine OS's and the systems that drive embedded chips == microwaves, autos, calculators, etc.?
4) How do you classify dead OS's? Can you generalize, or must you study each one separately? What aspects of operating systems should compel our attention? How can a layman even tell them apart?
And how about the compelling subjects of:
Computer Punch Cards, their sizes, formats, and codings
Tickertape-driven Calculating Machines (are these still
used at all?)
Dead Floppy disks
Dead Hard Drive recording schemes (such as MFM, RLL)
Glad to be able to get back into the fray for a bit,
Patrick Lichty (firstname.lastname@example.org)