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Old 02-27-2005, 10:33 PM   #1
Mr. Hill
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A bit off-topic but what is Unix exactly and how does it work?


Does anyone know anything about Unix? I know that BSD is Unix with a grpahical interface and that Linux is based off of Unix but what is Unix? Kind of laughing at myself for asking this because I really doubt it but can I find Unix for free? Is Unix just Unix or does it have several distros? Is it really hard to learn? Is it just a command line? Unix scares me so a little info on it would kind of interest me. Thanks.


I know that this is highly off-topic being a Linux forum but without Unix there would be no Linux (I'm pretty sure). Not asking much here, just a little bit of information. Thanks.
 
Old 02-27-2005, 10:50 PM   #2
Matir
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Well, everything you could ever want to know about Unix can be read at http://www.levenez.com/unix/

On a shorter note:
Unix was developed by AT&T and then split into multiple versions of Unix (NOT distributions in the Linux since: they had unique kernels). Eventually GNU/Linux was developed as a Unix clone.
 
Old 02-27-2005, 11:03 PM   #3
KimVette
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UNIX is a family of operating systems, including BSD, which incorporates AT&T code and was originally architected back in the '70s. UNIX is any operating system which utilizes that code - it's as simple as that, but I don't think that is what you are really asking.

Running a search on Google and going to the first hit will bring you to a page with many definitions, including:

Quote:

/yoo'niks/ [In the authors' words, "A weak pun on Multics"] n. (also `Unix') An interactive time-sharing system originally invented in 1969 by Ken Thompson after Bell Labs left the Multics project, originally so he could play games on his scavenged PDP-7. Dennis Ritchie, the inventor of C, is considered a co-author of the system. The turning point in UNIX's history came when it was reimplemented almost entirely in C during 1972--1974, making it the first source-portable OS. UNIX subsequently underwent mutations and expansions at the hands of many different people, resulting in a uniquely flexible and developer-friendly environment. In 1991, UNIX is the most widely used multiuser general-purpose operating system in the world. Many people consider this the most important victory yet of hackerdom over industry opposition (but see {UNIX weenie} and {UNIX conspiracy} for an opposing point of view). See {Version 7}, {BSD}, {USG UNIX}.

An operating system developed by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie at Bell Laboratories in 1969, vaguely inspired by the advanced MULTICS system built by MIT. Unix really took off after 1979, when Bill Joy at UC Berkeley released a version for Digital's VAX minicomputer. Unix fragmented into a bewildering variety of mutually incompatible versions, thus enabling Microsoft Windows to take over most of the server market. The only surviving variants of Unix are Sun's Solaris and Linux. NOTE by Kim: BSD, IRIX, Unixware, HP/UX, and other Unix variants are still around, and it's curious that they said Linux is one of two surviving Unix variants, when it's not even really Unix at all!)

UNIX is a multiuser, multitasking operating system that is widely used as the master control program in workstations and especially servers. A myriad of commercial applications run on UNIX servers, and most Web sites run under UNIX. There are many versions of UNIX, and, except for the PC world, where Windows dominates, almost every hardware vendor offers it either as its primary or secondary operating system. UNIX is written in C.

A computer operating system developed in the early 1970s. Unix (pronounced "YOU-nicks") is widely used in high-end workstations and servers. Many variants of Unix have been developed, including Sun Solaris, Free BSD, and Linux. Again: Linux is not Unix. This is very important to point out and remind people, as the SCO issue has shown!

Unix is an operating system originally developed by Bell Laboratories on mini-computers. It became the main operating system for networked computers during the 80s, and is commonly used for business applications like database processing. There are many variants or ``flavors'' of Unix, including Sun's Solaris, IBM's AIX and Hewlett-Packard's HP/UX.
Linux is not UNIX.
Linux is not UNIX!
Linux is not UNIX!!
Linux is not UNIX because it contains no AT&T code!!!

Linux happens to be an open-source clean-room workalike clone of Unix originally founded by Linus Torvalds. The claim (probably true) is that he started the project so that he could have his own version of Minix for the 386 so he didn't have to wait for computer time in the lab. I don't think that when he started Linux that it was going to make him world-famous and become a threat to Microsoft. heh!

What is BSD? BSD is a kernel which can be run in a console mode (it looks like DOS - just a command line) or you can install and run XWindows on it. "BSD is Unix with a grpahical interface" is false because XWindows is separate from BSD, and BSD can be run without the graphical interface. X is X and BSD is BSD. It just so happens that BSD can run X, and most BSD users run X. It's also worth pointing out that Apple's OS/X is a BSD variant, and it doesn't run X, it runs Quartz, which is very similar in function but implemented in vastly different way.


Remember: Linux is not Unix
 
Old 02-28-2005, 02:12 AM   #4
foo_bar_foo
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at some point
fairy later on in the game
the word "unix" came to stand for a comercial product
and lots of other variations like ESIX and the like
so we say gnu/Linux is not Unix (wink wink) but it actally is
i wonder how much of the original code
for Xenix the original IBM,SCO,MS, and Apple operating system
was actually bsd and unix sys3
even then the argument was on no doubt
as companies tried to position themselves to controll the new computer pie
and just how much of original unix and bsd and all the rest of it was actually paid for and developed using US taxpayer money through the pentagon and it's support of universities ?
but alas as with all US tax money we pay for something we later must purchase again to have access to.
anyway if IBM really owns the word "unix" now seems like we can use it again free of charge
if you are using linux you are already using unix
 
Old 02-28-2005, 03:00 AM   #5
chris318
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Linux is not UNIX.
Linux is not UNIX!
Linux is not UNIX!!
Linux is not UNIX because it contains no AT&T code!!!


Wow KimVette. Your saying BSD is unix and linux was developed in a black hole completely independant of all the other unix variations. As I recall linux is now using the BSD memory management system, and has taken many other ideas from open source in general. And I doubt very much that any code from the origianal AT&T product is still in bsd or any other modern unix variant. Unix is all just a big blur at this point. What is, what isn't. All just variations. Some big. Some small.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 05:25 AM   #6
onelung02
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Unix is simply an operating system (oddly enough, developed by a few who wanted to play I believe star wars, lol) that is based on the fact that going about things with a simple approach is more efficient that going about things with a for more technologically advanced approach. Basically, "simple is beautiful". I read a book, trying to remember what it was, that used the example of the English language having only 26 letters, where as the Chinese language has many, many letter/characters. So Unix was built on the thought that if you start something out simple, it can progress and grow easier.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 11:54 AM   #7
KimVette
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Quote:
Originally posted by chris318
Linux is not UNIX.
Linux is not UNIX!
Linux is not UNIX!!
Linux is not UNIX because it contains no AT&T code!!!


Wow KimVette. Your saying BSD is unix and linux was developed in a black hole completely independant of all the other unix variations. As I recall linux is now using the BSD memory management system, and has taken many other ideas from open source in general. And I doubt very much that any code from the origianal AT&T product is still in bsd or any other modern unix variant. Unix is all just a big blur at this point. What is, what isn't. All just variations. Some big. Some small.
From a purist perspective Linux is not UNIX, and more importantly, as the SCO case has proven, the legal distinction between Linux and UNIX is important to keep in mind. In practical use, Linux works like UNIX, is administrated like UNIX, and UNIX code can even be compiled to run on Linux, but because it is not a derivative of the original AT&T project, it is definitely not UNIX. To deny that is to deny the standard classical definition of the term, and it blurs the legal distinction and gives SCO's weak case some merit.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 01:06 PM   #8
foo_bar_foo
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Quote:
Originally posted by KimVette
From a purist perspective Linux is not UNIX, To deny that gives SCO's weak case some merit.
or is it that even bothering to make the distinction seems to give SCO's case some merit.

addition: the real issue is the fact that you can't own a computer algorithm which is just a sequence of numbers. To claim so is the equivalent of saying that a certain person owns 2+2=4. Numbers exist in nature and like genetics and other natural things are a part of our collective heritage as citizens of planet earth and can't be owned. That should be the legal argument.

Last edited by foo_bar_foo; 02-28-2005 at 01:26 PM.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 01:50 PM   #9
KimVette
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Quote:
Originally posted by foo_bar_foo
or is it that even bothering to make the distinction seems to give SCO's case some merit.

addition: the real issue is the fact that you can't own a computer algorithm which is just a sequence of numbers. To claim so is the equivalent of saying that a certain person owns 2+2=4. Numbers exist in nature and like genetics and other natural things are a part of our collective heritage as citizens of planet earth and can't be owned. That should be the legal argument.
Really? Then this RSA patent (info on it here also viewed here but I'm not going to go through the pain of USPTO to look up the actual filing) doesn't exist? Curious! I thought you said algorithms cannot be patented?
 
Old 02-28-2005, 02:08 PM   #10
guzzi
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unix

Eric S. Raymond (my hero) has written a great book "The Art of UNIX Programming" that goes into great
detail about the start of UNIX and how all the other nix systems came into being.

But, please don't let me stop the great debate going on here. I enjoy peoples thoughts.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 02:17 PM   #11
J.W.
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Quote:
Originally posted by foo_bar_foo
the real issue is the fact that you can't own a computer algorithm which is just a sequence of numbers. To claim so is the equivalent of saying that a certain person owns 2+2=4. Numbers exist in nature and like genetics and other natural things are a part of our collective heritage as citizens of planet earth and can't be owned. That should be the legal argument.
Just FYI, the argument that because software is a string of zeroes and ones, and therefore reduces to a number (which cannot be copyrighted) has been rejected by the courts. I believe the rejection was due to the fact that merely representing text as a series of binary digits was irrelevant - the fact remains that the software was and remains an original creative work. To say it a different way, just because a work can be stored in digital form, it has no impact on the copyright. If it did, then anyone would be able to take any published book, type it into a computer, and then claim that since it was now "a number" it would lose its copyright. Clearly that argument would fall on its face.

Personally, from a theoretical standpoint, I think the "all software reduces to a single number" argument is interesting in the abstract, but simply does not work in the real world. Just my 2 cents -- J.W.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 03:34 PM   #12
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I can see this is going to be one of those never ending debates. I don't even care. I know i put it on my computer and it's better than windows, much more powerfull, stable, faster, and I can tell it to do whatever I want and it will listen.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 03:38 PM   #13
PTrenholme
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So, there's the history. Not exactly what you asked, but you seemed to push a few people's hot buttons.

To summarize: Unix is not now any specific thing. However, all of the various "flavors" of Unix, even those (like Linux) which do not use "original" AT&T/Bell Laboratories code (which was, I believe, in either B or BCLP, and, later, re-written in C) share a core set of command-line directive which may be used to control the operation of a computer.

If you wish to see a list of the directives supported by your specific variant of Unix, bring up a command prompt and (in most implementations) press the “Tab” key (the “command completion” directive) twice. On my system (Fedora Core 3), this offers to list all the 2782 commands recognized by the FC3 Unix variant in the “bash” shell.

I believe that that number – 2782 – of commands is the basic reason that some people (like me) find it hard to know exactly which command to use for whatever I'm attempting to accomplish. There is, however, a core set of directives (with a text display bias, because Mr. Thompson was being paid to work on a computerized printing system). You might find the comparison at http://www.yolinux.com/TUTORIALS/uni...dos_users.html of interest. The UNIX commands listed are (a subset of) the core UNIX command set.

Oh, if you haven't found them, the commands
Code:
man -k <whatever>
-or-
info --apropos <whatever>
can be helpful in finding a command somewhere among those 2782 possibilities.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 05:27 PM   #14
cs-cam
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I thought the SCO case was with the BSD variants of the time (primarily 386BSD), not linux which wasn't yet even an itch in the back of Linus' mind. Linux was developed later and Linus Torvalds (creator of the linux kernel) has said in an interview that if 386BSD wasn't tied up in court at the time then linux probably would never have happened.

At any rate I don't know anything else
 
Old 02-28-2005, 07:20 PM   #15
Mr. Hill
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Eep, didn't mean to get a debate going but thanks to all for giving me good info.

Ack, should have stated in my thread that I knew that Unix was not Linux and that Linux was not Unix and such.

Even though Unix is probably far too advanced for me how exactly do I get it now? I think PTrenholme was trying to tell me but I dunno.

From what I have gathered - Unix is already on I just have to access it, no downloads or buying anything. I may be wrong but meh.

Wow, I had no idea that AT&T created the Unix code, that's really interesting. Thanks again for the history/background.
 
  


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