What Is Unix?


Unix operating system is the root of multi-tasking operating systems. We can call Unix as the first modern operating system that provides advanced operating system features like kernel, development tool, user and admin commands, multi-tasking, etc. Unix operating system is developed 1970’s in Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson, Dennis Richie, and others. Unix is developed for Bell Systems’ internal usage but it is widespread along with universities and other companies which made is a very popular and standardizing operating system.BSD, Microsoft(Xenix), AIX, Solaris, and others forked from Unix and from its standards.

Unix History

Unix can be named as the oldest modern operating system which is even used today. Unix is created in the early 1970s in the Bell Labs which is owned by AT&T. In 1970 a group coined the name Unics for Uniplexed Information and Computing Service but later named Unix by Brian Kernighan. The first versions of Unix were written with Assembly language but it was hard to port different hardware and platforms. So from Unix version 4 operating system is developed with the C programming language. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, a lot of different operating systems are created with the influence of Unix. These influenced operating systems were BSD, System V, Sequent, HP-UX, SunOS/Solaris, AIX, Xenix. In the 1990s the Unix and Unix-like operating systems dominated the world’s fastest supercomputers with the usage of about 90%. The most popular operating system Linux is created as a Unix-like operating system with the support of most features and applications in 1991. Also, MacOSX’s older version named Darwin is created in 2000 was a Unix-like system too.

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Unix Components

Unix operating system is created for technical people without end user in mind. So Unix provides different components and function in a technical way. Unix contains kernels, drivers, services, libarries, documentation, tools etc as a complete operating system.

Kernel : Kernel is the core of the Unix operating system which is responsible for hardware, process, services and system resources management. Kernel creates, runs process with related memory. Kernel also provides different services or system calls to the user space applications.

Development Environment: As a geek operating system, Unix provides a complete toolset for software development. It provides C/C++ language compiler, assembler, linker, libraries, tools, documentation by default.

Services: Services are important part of the Unix operating system where it is designed to be completely command line based every function is provided as services even the X GUI is a service. Services are used to access, use, change, configure different function like connecting wireless network, running desktop environment etc.

Documentation : In order to use tools and provide development tools information Unix contains a lot of documentation most of them are technical. Unix documentation provides simple tool usage to the api functions and paramters. Documentation is provided via man command and page in most of the cases.

Tools: The most popular component of the Unix was the tools it provides. Unix tools were so popular they are ported into Unix-like operating systems like AIX, Linux, MacOSX etc. Even newer Microsoft operating system like Windows 8,10 or Windows Serve 2016 provides replicas of the Unix tools.

Linux vs Unix

Linux is implemented as a clone of Unix. Most of the tools and functionality of Unix can be found in the Linux operating system. Actually Unix and Linux can be used synonyms. Also, there is a *nix term that is used for both operating systems. If we set asterisk Li the full term will be Linux or if we set asterisk U the full term will be Unix.

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C Programming Language

Unix another impact on computer science is the new procedural, high level and very popular programming language named C. C is very popular too after 45 years. The main motivation to develop C was the need for a programming language to develop tools in the Unix operating system. Other languages were no suitable because of portability, efficiency, and other issues.

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