Exploring the UNIX operating systems, including the open-source variants such as GNU and Linux.


Unix is a mature multi-user operating system. Unix incorporates many strong features including true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand loading, proper memory management, and TCP/IP networking. Unix is platform independent and can be installed on nearly any kind of machine, including Amiga, Digital Alpha, Intel, MIPS, Motorola, and Sun Sparc microprocessors.

The name "Unix" was intended as a pun on the mainframe OS called Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) and was written "Unics" at first (UNiplexed Information and Computing System).

UNIX Closed-Source

The two first and biggest makers of Unix was Bell Labs and BSD.

Unix was first made by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie at Bell-Labs.com in 1969. The original versions were called V1 (1971) through V7 (1979). By the 1980s Bell Labs had USL (Unix Systems Laboratories, which was majority-owned by AT&T) of Unix. Their versions were called System III (1982), System V (1983), SVR2 (1984), SVR3 (1986), SVR3.2 (merged with Xenix Unix) SVR4 (1988, merged with BSD Unix and SunOS). Since then the "original" Unix has gone from USL to Novell.com to Canopy.com to Caldera.com which bought SCO.com (Santa Cruz Operations) which also bought Xenix Unix from Microsoft.

The other big Unix developer early on was BSD (Berkeley Software Design, Inc.). Bill Joy and others created BSD while at Berkeley.edu. 2.xBSD (1978), 3BSD (1978), 4.0BSD (1980), 4.2BSD (1983), 4.3BSD (1986), 4.3 Reno (1990), 4.4BSD (1992).

Here are other makers and variations of Unix in no particular order. Usually the makers made proprietary versions of Unix for their hardware. Here are some.

UNIX Open-Source

Unix has been going through a revival since the early 1990s when open-source variations of UNIX started becoming popular. The open-source variations of UNIX are developed by thousands of developers worldwide and is improved almost daily. The GUI of most variants are built on the X Window System. The most popular desktop environments are GNOME, KDE Plasma Desktop, and Cinnamon. Here are the major open source unix-like systems as of 2013:


Market share

Crude estimates from various sources ca 2013:

Most popular version of Linux from various sources ca 2013:

  1. Android
  2. Chrome OS
  3. Mint Linux with Cinnamon
  4. Mageia with KDE
  5. Ubuntu with Unity
  6. Fedora with GNOME
  7. Debian with various
  8. Page Modified: (Hand noted: 2007-09-19 19:17:23Z) (Auto noted: 2013-12-20 20:40:12Z)