Test Your Knowledge in Computers #812
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UNIX, Linux and the Key Differences
What is Unix?

All Unix and 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 preceived incompatibility between various Unix systems led to the creation of interoperability standards including the Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX).
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 others.
Key Features:
  1. Unix is a multi-user system where the resources can be shared by various system users.
  2. Unix provides multi-tasking. Users can execute many processes at the same time (practically speaking).
  3. Unix was the first computer operating system that was written in a high-level language (C Language).
  4. Unix provides a hierarchical file structure which facilitated fast data access.
  5. Unix has built-in networking functions so that computers can easily exchange information.
  6. Unix functionality can be extended through user programs built on a standard programming interface.
  7. 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 application.
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.
Key Features:
  1. Linux, like Unix, is a multi-user system where the resources can be shared by various system users.
  2. Linux, like Unix, provides multi-tasking. Users can execute many processes at the same time (practically speaking).
  3. Linux, like Unix, was written in C.
  4. Linux, like Unix, provides a hierarchical file structure which facilitated fast data access.
  5. Linux, like Unix, has built-in networking functions so that computers can easily exchange information.
  6. 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

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 standard .
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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