An operating system initially developed in the 1960s at Bell Labs. Its developers wrote it in C programming language along with assembly language.
The creators of Unix originally intended the operating system for computing operations inside Bell Labs. But in the late 1970s, AT&T sold Unix variants for academic and commercial purposes to various vendors. Sun Solaris, GNU/Linux, and macOS X were some of the commercially used variants of the Unix operating system.
The Unix operating system enabled cross-platform compatibility. Unix systems followed a modular design in which the entire system is broken down into small modules. Each such module performed a well-defined operation. The Unix filesystem was responsible for storing and classifying critical configuration files.
Unix had a multiuser environment which enabled multiple users to be online at once. Unix also had multitasking capabilities which made it powerful for executing numerous tasks at once. Information in the Unix system comprises files. These files combine to form directories, and these directories further integrate into a tree-like structure called the file system.
Real-World Example of Unix
Solaris is an operating system based on Unix's philosophy and design and was purchased by Sun Microsystems as a proprietary version of Unix. Solaris is now known as Oracle Solaris after Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010. Since its inception and right up to 2005, Solaris was a closed proprietary software.
After 2005, Sun started exposing most of the codebase under its OpenSolaris open-source project. After Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, the company discontinued the OpenSolaris project, and the Solaris platform converted back to a closed proprietary software.
Significance of Unix
The Unix operating system comprises three parts. The primary component of Unix architecture is the kernel. The kernel is the hub of all operations in the OS as it allocates time and memory to programs. It also interacts with the Unix filesystem to store and retrieve information.
Users can interact with the kernel through the shell interface. The shell provides a command-line interpreter (CLI) interface where the users can enter their commands. These commands are instructions or operational tasks carried out by the shell. The shell provides a command prompt for the user on the user interface (UI), indicating that it is ready to receive the next task.
The Unix operating system achieves modularity by using small programs that are a set of instructions to meet various needs. These programs can combine to perform a variety of complex tasks. Usually, programs only interact with the shell, but some might also interact with the kernel.
Unix vs. Linux
Linux is another popular operating system developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Linux operating system is widely used even today in desktops, mobiles, and tablets. Unlike Unix. Linux is an open-source operating system whose codebase is available for use in its extended community. Some of the popular Linux distributions include Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, etc.
Unix was initially developed as a command-line operating system. Linux uses KDE and Gnome for the Graphical User Interface (GUI), making it much more user-friendly.