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hey all im an IT major at my school. and this semester i am taking an operating systems course and our book is all about unix. my question is: is unix what is used to make linux? or are they too seperate types of OS's?
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lastelement0 wrote:
hey all im an IT major at my school. and this semester i am taking an operating systems course and our book is all about unix. my question is: is unix what is used to make linux? or are they too seperate types of OS's?

UNIX was made by Bell Labs in the 70s, which eventually became MS Xenix, which then became SCO UNIX, which became the UnixWare and OpenServer of today as well as Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, VMS, and a few others. Every true UNIX based OS is licensed by SCO today.

Linux, on the other hand, is a clone of Unix that is open source, written be Linus Torvalds on a Mac. Linux is not Unix at all, though SCO makes the claim that it is.
The functionality of Linux OS is based on what Unix originally provided, with additional features added of course. The history of the development of Unix and Unix-like systems spans a 30-year period and includes most of the technical issues that are important on PC's today, except perhaps for the modern user interface, which grew up at Apple and Amiga, among others, and was tacked on to Windows and Unix-like systems later.

Some might see the X-windows system as having more importance than I'm giving it, but the things X was designed for, such as a low-bandwidth way to update a remote display, are really not important in today's PC.

Incidentally, Linux properly refers only to the kernel program which is the central manager of the operating system. The tools and libraries which work on top of that are the GNU tools, and the entire OS is officially called GNU/Linux.
Linux is not Unix, and GNU isn't, either. In fact, GNU is a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix."

Linux is LOOSELY derived from Minix, a "teaching" OS developed in the '80s. Unix is a commercial OS, still extensively used in many applications and on mainframes. BSD is, effectively, a Unix variant, but cannot legally be called that, as part of the agreement that gave the source code to Univ. California-Berkeley's Software Development group (Berkeley Software Development--BSD). Their code was eventually ported to Intel platforms, and is the foundation for all modern BSDs. Just for informational purposes, Minix is still very much alive (a new version was released late last yr), and it's still a good learning tool. However, it's best suited for old hardware (if you have a 386 sitting in the closet...), and is command line only.

As was pointed out, strictly speaking, Linux refers ONLY to the kernel. BSD, on the other hand, refers to the entire OS--utilities, command programs (gawk, grip, bash, etc.) and to the productivity software, even (though that can be argued). The entire OS/software is developed together, in conjunction with the other bits. In comparison, Linux's kernel is the only part that Linus Torvalds controls and maintains. The various applications, various utilities, various command programs are all maintained separately, though mostly under the GNU/GPL licensing structure.

BSD's philosophy and licensing are more amenable to cohesive development and security/debugging, but sometimes serve to restrict development because of the limited number of programmers working on any given BSD project. Linux's--and GNU/Linux's--philosophy and licensing result in a much more chaotic development environment, with a somewhat greater likelihood of bugs and security flaws, however, it's very conducive to development. I think it's safe to say that GNU/Linux's evolution is orders of magnitude quicker than any proprietary, closed-source OS.

BSD's evolution is significantly slower than GNU/Linux's, but still much faster than proprietary OS's, as the developer base is much bigger. Additionally, the average BSD user is more "geeky" and there's no real attempt to make any of the BSDs exceptionally user-friendly (with the possible exception of PC-BSD). Within the BSD communities, there's a sort of "BSD is for experts, let's keep it that way" attitude. Not precisely unfriendly; I've found help easy to come by, but more a lack of concern with supplanting Windows or any other OS.
Loosly, Unix can be used to mean any operating system that complies to the POSIX standard; that is, the original UNIX (in caps), BSD, Linux (with GNU), etc. I would (personally) say that Linux is "a Unix" but not "UNIX". But it's basically a matter of terminology, all Unixes and Unix-likes function in similar (but not identical) ways, so we might as well have a word that describes them all...
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