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
AIX (Advanced Interactive eXecutive) debuted in 1986 and is a series
of proprietary Unix operating systems developed and sold by IBM. AIX
was originally released for the IBM RT PC RISC workstation. AIX now
supports or has supported a wide variety of hardware platforms,
including the IBM RS/6000 series and later POWER and PowerPC-based
systems, IBM System i, System/370 mainframes, PS/2 personal computers,
and the Apple Network Server. AIX is based on UNIX System V with
4.3BSD-compatible extensions. AIX is one of six commercial operating
systems (AIX, macOS, Solaris, Inspur K-UX, HP-UX, and eulerOS) that have OS versions certified to The Open Group's UNIX 03
The AIX family of operating systems became the IBM standard operating
system for the RS/6000 series in 1990 and is still actively developed
by IBM. AIX is currently supported on IBM Power Systems alongside IBM
i and Linux. AIX was the first operating system to have a journaling
file system. IBM has continuously enhanced AIX with features such
as a processor, disk and network virtualization, dynamic hardware
resource allocation (including fractional processor units), and
reliability engineering ported from its mainframe designs.
AIX 6 was announced in May 2007 and AIX 6.1 was announced on November
9, 2007. Major new features in AIX 6.1 included full role-based access
control, workload partitions (which enable application mobility),
enhanced security, and Live Partition Mobility on the POWER6 hardware
platform. AIX 7.1 (beta) was announced in April 2010 and was officiall
released as AIX 7.1 in September 2010. AIX 7.1 had many new features,
including better scalability, enhanced clustering and management
capabilities were added.
AIX 7.1 also included a new built-in clustering capability called
Cluster Aware AIX. AIX is able to organize multiple LPARs through the
multi-path communications channel to neighboring CPUs, enabling very
high-speed communication between processors. This enables
multi-terabyte memory address range and page table access to support
global petabyte shared memory space for AIX POWER7 clusters so that
software developers can program a cluster as if it were a single
system, without using message passing. AIX administrators can use this
new capability to cluster a pool of AIX nodes. By default, AIX V7.1
pins kernel memory and includes support to allow applications to pin
their kernel stack. Pinning kernel memory and the kernel stack for
applications with real-time requirements can provide performance
improvements by ensuring that the kernel memory and kernel stack for
an application is not paged out.
AIX 7.2 was announced in October 2015 and released in December 2015.
AIX 7.2 principal enhancement is the Live Kernel Update capability
where OS fixes can replace the running AIX kernel with no impact to
applications. AIX 7.2 does this by live migrating workloads to a
temporary surrogate AIX OS partition while the original OS partition
is patched. AIX 7.2 was also restructured to remove various obsolete
components. AIX 7.2 is only supported on systems based on POWER7 or
later processors, unlike AIX 7.1.
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