Test Your Knowledge in Computers #763
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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
Linus Torvalds

Linus Benedict Torvalds was born on December 28, 1969 and is a Finnish–American software engineer who is the creator of Linux. Linus was also the original principal developer of the Linux kernel. The Linux kernel is the kernel for Linux OS distributions as well as other operating systems such as Android and Chrome OS. Linus also created the distributed version control system called Git.
Linus was introduced to the GNU Project in 1991 after another Swedish-speaking computer science student, Lars Wirzenius, took him to the University of Technology to listen to free software evangelist Richard Stallman's speech. Linus used Richard's GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) and his initial prototypes of Linux were publicly released later that year (1991). Version 1.0 was released on March 14, 1994.
Linus was honored with the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize by the Technology Academy Finland "in recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel."
Linus is also the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award and the 2018 IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award.
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