All Unix, Linux and other Unix-like operating systems are families of computer operating
systems derived from the original Unix System from Bell Telephone
Laboratories. Today, the largest Unix descendent directly certified as
"UNIX" is macOS by Apple. The original commercial Unix derivatives included
HP-UX, AIX and SunOS, to name a few. The diversity and perceived
incompatibility between various Unix systems led to the creation of
interoperability standards including the Portable Operating System Interface
Unix is the original and most powerful and popular multi-user and
multi-tasking Operating System. The basic concepts of Unix were originated
in the Multics project of 1969. The Multics system was intended as a
time-sharing system that would allow multiple users to simultaneously access
a mainframe computer. Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others developed the
basic building blocks of Unix including a hierarchical file system and a
command line interpreter for the PDP-7. Multiple generations of Unix systems
were developed for myriad computers.
As mentioned, historical perceived incompatibility between the various early
Unix systems led to the creation of POSIX and the Single Unix Specification.
Historically, the rigid "standardization" approach led to the creation of
various open source approaches to Unix including the Free Software
Foundation (FSF), GNU and Linux. Unix programs were originally created
around core design philosophies that included requirements like single
purpose, interoperable, and working with a simple standardized text
interface. Unix systems are built around a core kernel that manages the
system and the other processes. Kernel subsystems may include process
management, file management, memory management, network management and
Unix is a multi-user system where the resources can be shared by various
Unix provides multi-tasking. Users can execute many processes at
the same time (practically speaking).
Unix was the first computer operating system that was written in a
high-level language (C Language).
Unix provides a hierarchical file structure which facilitated fast data
Unix has built-in networking functions so that computers can easily exchange
Unix functionality can be extended through user programs built on a
standard programming interface.
UNIX certifies compliance with a full set of interoperability standard, managed and maintained by the Open Group, which includes, not only the kernel, but the entire operating system.
What is Linux?
Linux is a Unix-like operating system created by Linus Torvalds at the
University of Helsinki in 1991. The name Linux refers to
the Linux kernel, the software on a computer which permits applications and
users to access the devices on the computer to perform specific
functions. The development of Linux was a landmark example of global, free
and open source software collaboration. Many companies and similar numbers
of individuals have released their own version of Unix-like operating
systems based on the Linux Kernel.
Similar to Unix kernels, the Linux kernel relays instructions from an
application from the computer's processor and sends the results back to the
Broader in scope than commercial Unix products, Linux has been installed on a variety of platforms including mobile phones, tablets, video game consoles, NAS storage arrays, routers and small embedded controllers.
Currently the world's largest and most powerful data centers and scientific
research centers use some "flavor" of Linux.
The development of Linux is a stellar example of the power of free and open
source software development and global human collaboration.
A Linux "distribution" is a release of a Unix-like operating system based on
the specifications of the Linux kernel.
Linux, like Unix, is a multi-user
system where the resources can be shared by various system users.
Linux, like Unix, provides
multi-tasking. Users can execute many processes at the same time
Linux, like Unix, was written in C.
Linux, like Unix, provides a
hierarchical file structure which facilitated fast data access.
Linux, like Unix, has built-in
networking functions so that computers can easily exchange information.
Linux, unlike UNIX, specifies only the kernel but
not the entire operating system.
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An Interest Fact about the History of Unix and Linux
Richard Matthew Stallman was born on March 16, 1953 in New York City,
New York. Richard is a legendary American free software movement activist and
programmer. He advocates for software to be distributed where users
are free to use, study, distribute, and modify the software. Software that
ensures these freedoms is called free software. Richard launched the
GNU Project. He also founded the Free Software Foundation, developed
the GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Emacs, and wrote the GNU General
Richard Stallman started the GNU Project in September 1983 in order to
create a Unix-like computer operating system which consisted of 100%
free software. Hence Richard began the free software movement. Richard
was the GNU project's lead architect and organizer and he had
developed widely used GNU software including the GNU Compiler
Collection, GNU Debugger, and the GNU Emacs text editor. Richard
founded the Free Software Foundation in October 1985. He created and
advocated the concept of copyleft software based on the principles of
software copyright law to preserve the right to use, modify, and
distribute free software. Richard is also the main author of free
software licenses which describe those terms, most notably the GNU
General Public License (GPL).
Richard has spent most of his life advocating for free software, as
well as campaigning against software patents and digital rights
management. He has actively campaigned against software license agreements,
non-disclosure agreements, activation keys, dongles, copy restriction,
proprietary formats, and binary executables without source code.
Richard has asked that the term GNU/Linux be used to refer to the
operating system created by combining the GNU system and the
Linux kernel. He refers to the Linux operating system as "a variant of GNU,
and the GNU Project is its principal developer". Richard claims that
the connection between the GNU project's philosophy and its software
is broken when people refer to the combination as merely Linux. He
began using the term GNU+Linux in 2003 to prevent people from
pronouncing the phrase GNU/Linux which would erroneously imply that
the Linux kernel is maintained by the GNU project. Linus Torvalds, the
creator of Linux, has publicly stated that he disagrees to modification
of the name.
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