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I consider LINUX as a flavor of UNIX. Really Linux is this freeware version of UNIX, that works basically the same, but was written later and was more a project in reverse engineering (copying) an Operating System. Some design parts are better, but some aren't. Really, it is really more accurate to think of LINUX as a UNIX clone than as UNIX. However, since all UNIXEN (including LINUX) have more in common than they have different, let's just pretend that everything that looks, smells and behaves like UNIX is UNIX. In the world of UNIX this assumption is often enough to cause fits and endless debate -- so be careful that you don't use the term UNIX as casually as I do.

Even Solaris (Sun), HP/UX (Hewlet Packard), AIX (IBM) and IRIX (SGI) are considered UNIX to me, and gawd knows that'll trigger more than a few as those bastardized proprietary children aren't real UNIX. And so on.

🗒️ NOTE:
For the record, I'm going to get 5,000 emails on how superior LINUX is to UNIX because it is open source and the advantages of GNU, Freeware and OpenSource licensing.

To balance this out will be hundreds of others emails explaining how LINUX isn't a real UNIX, since it was a just a poor copy done decades later and there is no commercial incentive for real Q.A. (Quality Assurance) and so on.

Which is one of the altruisms about UNIX -- everyone has an absolute 100% correct view of exactly what it means (to them), and they are more than willing to tell you about it.


I'm both a big UNIX fan, and one of its detractors. UNIX is the old war-bird of Operating Systems -- which is ironic since it really isn't an Operating System any more -- but more on that later. UNIX was created as a private research project by AT&T's Bell Laboratories (Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie) in 1969. Since AT&T wasn't really in the computer business they had the wise marketing plan of giving away the source code to UNIX for free. UNIX wallowed around and was basically only popular in education and research labs because it was inferior to other commercial OS's of the time. But since Universities could modify this Operating System freely, many programmers cut their teeth (in school) using it, and researchers came from academia so they used it too. This legacy has totally defined what UNIX is, and what it is good for -- and bad at. It wasn't good, it was free. But perfect is the enemy of good enough, and UNIX was always "Good enough" that people used it, added to it, and it sort of became a defecto solution until it got near universal adoption. These same pragmatic compromises are similar to why TCP/IP and HTML became the Internet. more...