Test Your Knowledge in Computers #185
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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
Richard Stallman

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 Public License.
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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