What is the difference between Unix and Linux 2021 – Currently, Linux is well known everywhere. What’s more, with the release of the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, Microsoft shipped the Linux kernel with the operating system.
What is the difference between Unix and Linux?
Although Linux is often used for most of the internet. But you must know that before the arrival of the Linux operating system, there was an operating system called Unix which became the idea for the birth of the Linux operating system. But maybe you are wondering what is the difference between Unix and Linux?
What is Unix?
The original Unix was the operating system from AT&T, but lately, the UNIX trademark belongs to the Open Group. Unix is also used as a category to describe the entire family of operating systems. With its philosophy serving as a general guideline for following Unix programs, the bottom line is that every program should do one thing well.
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Unix tools should just do their job, ideally producing output that can be fed directly into another program’s input. Today, there are many versions of Unix available, both free and commercial.
What is Linux?
Linux is another term that is more difficult to describe than you might think. Technically, a full-fledged Linux distribution is a “Unix-like” operating system, but this is just the beginning. Many people use Linux as a shorthand term for what would be more accurately described as GNU/Linux.
Linux itself is just a kernel, part of the operating system that performs core computing and interfaces with hardware. The core utilities that run on top of this kernel are just as important. The GNU Linux project also does not contain native Unix code but provides all the utilities of the Unix operating system. This is the main difference between Unix and Linux.
A Brief History of Unix
Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie the creators of the Unix operating system even took inspiration from the previous operating system, Multics. At Bell Labs, the two took concepts from the operating system and rewrote them themselves in C, which Ritchie designed and helped develop.
Unix is not open-source software. AT&T, on the other hand, sells commercial licenses, but it’s not the only company working on Unix. Academics at Berkeley originally developed an add-on called the Berkeley Software Distribution, or BSD. Eventually, BSD became its own complete Unix.
In the 1980s and into the 1990s, various companies began selling their own Unix offerings. These included IBM’s AIX, Sun’s Solaris, and Xenix, which later became SCO UNIX.
A Brief History of Linux
In addition to the various Unix offerings, several Unix-like versions are also available. One of them is MINIX, which is meant for academic use. A software developer from Helsinki named Linus Torvalds was frustrated by the limitations of MINIX and aimed to create a similar kernel that could take advantage of the new PC he had purchased.
At the same time, Richard Stallman was looking for a kernel. He had started the GNU project in 1983, building free drop-in replacements for various Unix utilities. What he didn’t have back then was a free open-source kernel. Torvalds already uses GNU utilities with his kernel, and eventually, so do the others.
Linux quickly saw widespread interest. In the mid-1990s, the project exploded in popularity due to the open-source design nature of both the kernel and the GNU toolset. Even when various other free Unix operating systems were available, the commercial nature of Unix’s first 20 years loomed over it. This still influences the Unix vs Linux battle to this day.
Difference between Unix and Linux
Linux is an operating system developed by Linus Torvalds which was originally created as a terminal emulation to access Unix-based servers installed at the university where he studied. Based on further investigation, this OS is a development or clone of one of the Unix variants called MINIX.
While Unix is an operating system created by two expert programmers, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, which was later developed further by AT & T Bell Labs. Unix is specifically designed as a multiuser, multitasking, and portable operating system. However, the OS is mostly used for server or workstation purposes.
How is Unix Today?
Today, popularity may be the main difference between Linux and Unix. That said, there are freely available Unix distributions that run much of the same software like Linux. The two most popular are FreeBSD and OpenBSD, both versions of BSD, as the name suggests.
Then, of course, there’s Apple. Every Apple device you buy today, be it a MacBook, iPhone, or even an Apple Watch runs a Unix-like operating system. On your iPhone or Apple Watch, you’ll never know this from using it. That doesn’t happen on Mac computers. Just launch the Mac Terminal app, and you’ll have access to standard Unix utilities like ls, pwd, and even editors like vim. These tools can be very powerful.
Is Linux Everywhere?
Linux may be everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you see it. Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system, is a fork of Linux. You may not know how the system works, but behind the scenes is a modified version of the Linux kernel for use in mobile devices.
A lot of the internet runs on Linux. While the Windows and Unix versions support multiple servers, most servers run Linux distributions. Much of this has to do with the free nature of the operating system, but there’s also a choice of how powerful the operating system is, which means less downtime. Unix is no less powerful than other operating systems, but for its popularity, Unix is still inferior to Linux.
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So that’s the difference between Unix and Linux. Running a computer with Unix or Linux is easier than ever. Windows don’t run Linux on its core, but it’s still possible to at least run Linux on top of Windows.
Every Apple device you buy has a Unix version in it as its core too. If you want to run Linux on your computer, that’s easy too. You can always install one of the countless Linux distributions yourself on your computer.
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