[UNIX] What is it, what is it for? Diferences with Linux
Definitely, one of the most revolutionary operating systems that existed during the golden age of computers, that is, in the late 1960s and early 1970s; was UNIX.
Which, was developed by Bell Labs under the responsibility of AT&T. In this sense, UNIX stood out for its great capacity, because its main attribute was based on being multi-tasking or “multitasking” operating system and had the ability to open several programs, although not simultaneously.
But even so, it was a step beyond the other existing operating systems that were only dedicated to one thing. That is why it is valuable to know the history and impact of this OS General purpose, portable, multi-user and interactive, in computing.
So, below, we indicate the most important and additional aspects to this, its main differences with Linux and its uses today.
History and impact of UNIX in computer science What has made it so special?
Since 1960, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AT&T Bell Laboratories together with General Electric, initiated a novel project to establish an experimental operating system that was called “Multics” to run on a central computer or mainframe.
This, with the aim of developing a large interactive operating system That had several innovations.
However, when creating and developing a game known as “Space Travel” To test this experimental operating system, experts noticed that it was running very slowly on the General Electric machine with Multics. Whereby, Ken Thompson, one of the Bell laboratory programmers started the creation of a new operating system along with another programmer, called Dennis Ritchie (This was responsible for creating the C language).
Since then, they gave way to a novel project baptized as “UNICS” which is the acronym for “Uniplexed Information and Computing System”. But, given the popularity of the word game that saw UNICS as a castrated Multics system, The operating system adopted the official name of “UNIX” around 1969 when its initial release was given.
In this way, the famous OS was born that, until today, is still considered as one of the most important in the history of the computer world. Thus, its direct creators were Thompson and Ritchie, who initially offered a series of small programs from UNIX.
In a nutshell, after a failed project is known as Multics, the programmers at AT&T Bell Labs focused on giving a good response to that, creating an operating system, multitasking and multi-user, fast and secure That had a better reception. Since it worked on most computers of the time that were hulks shared by several users at the same time through connected terminals that sent the orders to a central team.
Main reasons for your remarkable impact
Basically, it was the first proposal developed as a small software, but effective at the same time. Thus, it was possible to build a code that was short, simple, clear, modular and extensible with the ability to be maintained and reused for other purposes by different developers who were not the original creators.
UNIX has been everywhere since it can be run on most of the servers that allow you to access the web, it is located within billions of phones and you can run this operating system within a browser.
The creation of UNIX was a great education for professionals to operate truly expensive industrial equipment. Taking into account that, thanks to this OS, it was also easy for specialists to talk about computing and today, some fundamental ideas about software remain the same as at that time.
Are Linux and UNIX the same? Main differences between both SO
In many cases, users often confuse Linux with UNIX or vice versa. But, although both terms are very similar, the truth is that there is a notable difference between them. In view of that, it is necessary to refer to the most important distinctions between these two main operating systems in the world of computing.
It should be noted that, mainly, these differences are based on the usefulness of both, the type of software they are and the tools contained in each of the systems. Then, an explanation of each of these aspects. With respect to the main utility of UNIX, this is based on the use in server systems, except for the MacOS X operating system which is a desktop operating system.
Taking into account that, said server systems refer to complicated operating systems to install, like those compatible with specific hardware only and systems where commands on the graphical interface predominate.
On the other hand, Linux has operating systems for both servers and clients. Specifying that, within this world, many distributions can be found, many desks and various tools that have been created for them. For example, on the topic of desktop systems, there is Ubuntu, Debian or Linux Mint.
Type of software
While the UNIX it is a proprietary system that cannot be modified, Linux is not. This, because UNIX is owned by the renowned company AT&T and, therefore, the only one that has the permission to modify and/or update it. Unlike that, Linux is an operating system with a completely free and free kernel or kernel.
Thanks to that, it is under the GNU license and for that reason, any user has the possibility to modify the source code that, fortunately, is available to everyone.
As we mentioned earlier, UNIX was designed in order to be reused for different purposes by other developers, even if they are not their original creators. Therefore, it is emphasized that this operating system was not created to meet a predefined objective and with that, You can adapt the system tools to any requirement.
Instead, since its inception, Linux was a functional operating system to which programs and tools were added that were written by or for the project under development, specifically.
What uses can be given to the UNIX operating system today?
Today, UNIX operating systems are widely used in a multitude of devices. Which range from the most capable supercomputers to the most popular mobile phones today and of course, taking into account also the computers that we use day after day.
So, macOS and Linux are clear examples of operating systems of this type. Now, you will wonder why this is due and it is mainly thanks to the philosophy that manages said SO, from these premises:
- A large collection of small programs that manage to work in series.
- A hierarchical file system.
- The use of text files to store data.
- The treatment is given to devices as files.
Consequently, the UNIX operating system has achieved great popularity due to his ability to solve problems that arose before his appearance and for which, the applications or programs designed for a single system were not available in others. This means that thanks to UNIX, different systems can be transported with ease from the beginning.
With this, at present, this OS is also estimated as an excellent mechanism to be used by programmers. Since, said they can find the same programming tools, similar environments and run their programs, without any restrictions, on any system that uses UNIX.