UNIX  What is it, What is it for? Differences with Linux ▷ 2020

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; it was UNIX. Which was developed by Bell Laboratories under the responsibility of AT&T.

In this sense, UNIX stood out for its great capacity, thanks to the fact that its main attribute was based on be a multi-tasking or “multitasking” operating system and had the ability to open multiple 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 know the history and impact of this OS general purpose, portable, multi-user and interactive, in computing. Therefore, below, we indicate the aspects of greatest importance and in addition to this, its main differences with Linux and its uses today.

History and Impact of UNIX on Computing What has made it so special?

Since 1960, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AT & T’s Bell Laboratories together with General Electric, began a novel project in order 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 great interactive operating system that had several innovations.

However, when creating and developing a game known as “Space Travel” To test such an experimental operating system, the experts noticed that it ran very slow on the General Electric machine with Multics. Whereby, Ken thompson, one of the Bell Labs programmers started creating a new operating system together with another programmer, named Dennis Ritchie (This was in charge of creating the C language).

Since then, they gave way to a new project called “UNICS” which is the acronym for “Uniplexed Information and Computing System”. But given the popularity of the pun that considered UNICS a neutered Multics system, the operating system adopted the official name of “UNIX” around 1969 when it was first released.

Thus, the famous OS was born which, to this day, 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 short, after a failed project known as Multics, AT & T’s Bell Labs programmers focused on giving a good answer to it, creating a fast and secure multi-tasking, multi-user operating system which was better received.

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 orders to a central computer.

History and impact of UNIX on computing What has made it so special?

Main reasons for your remarkable impact

  • Basically, it was the first proposal developed as a small software, but effective at the same time. With which, 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 everywhereSince it can be run on most of the servers that allow you to access the web, it is found in 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 industrial and truly expensive equipment. Taking into account that, thanks to this OS, it has also become easy for specialists to talk about computing and as of today, some fundamental ideas about software remain the same than in that time.

Are Linux and UNIX the same? Main differences between both OS

Are Linux and UNIX the same?  Main differences between both OS

On many occasions, users often confuse Linux with UNIX or vice versa. But, despite the fact that both terms are very similar, the truth is that there is a notable difference between them. In view of this, 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 that each of the systems contain. 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 these server systems refer to complicated operating systems to install, like those compatible with specific hardware only and systems dwhere commands predominate over the graphical interface.

On the other hand, Linux has operating systems for both servers and clients. Specifying that, within this world, a large number of 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.

Software type

While UNIX it is a proprietary system that cannot be modified, Linux is not. This, because UNIX is the property of the well-known AT&T company and, therefore, the only one that has the permission to modify and / or update it.

Unlike this, Linux is an operating system with a completely free and free kernel or kernel. Thanks to the fact that it is under the GNU license and for this reason, any user has the possibility to modify the source code, which, fortunately, is available to everyone.

System tools

As we mentioned earlier, UNIX was designed in order to be reused for different purposes by other developers, even when they are not its original creators. Therefore, it is emphasized that this operating system was not created to meet a predefined objective and with it, can adapt the system tools to any requirement.

Instead, from 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 made of 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, also taking into account the computers that we use day after day. So, MacOS and Linux are clear examples of such operating systems.

Now, you may wonder why this is due and it is, mainly, thanks to the philosophy used by said OS, based on these premises:

  • A great collection of small programs that can work in series.
  • A hierarchical file system.
  • The use of text files to store the data.
  • The treatment given to devices as files.

Consequently, the UNIX operating system has become very popular due to your ability to solve problems that arose before your onset and for which, applications or programs designed for a single system, were not available in others. This means that, thanks to UNIX, different systems can be easily transported from the beginning.

With this, at present, this OS is also considered an excellent mechanism to be used by programmers. Since, said they will be able to find the same programming tools, similar environments and run their programs, without any restriction, on any system using UNIX.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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