Linux vs Unix

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An operating system is the most important software that a computer cannot work without.

What is Unix?

Unix is a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix, whose development started in the 1970s at the Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others. There are different versions of Unix, and some of the simplified versions are – Sun Solaris, GNU, and macOS X.

It began as a one-man project under the leadership of Ken Thompson of Bell Labs. It went on to become most widely used operating systems. Unix is a proprietary operating system.

The Unix OS works on CLI (Command Line Interface), but recently, there have been developments for GUI on Unix systems. Unix is an OS which is popular in companies, universities big enterprises, etc.

What are the features of the Unix operating system?

Some of the prominent features of Unix are as follows:

  • Unix distinguishes itself from its predecessors as the first portable operating system: almost the entire operating system is written in the C programming language, which allows Unix to operate on numerous platforms.
  • It can be used as the master control program in workstations and servers.
  • Hundreds of commercial applications are available
  • In its heydays, UNIX was rapidly adopted and became the standard OS in universities.
  • It was the first operating system that was written in a high-level language and was easy to port to another machine with the least adaptation.
  • It is a multi-user system where the same resources can be shared by multiple users.
  • The functionality of Unix gets extended through a standard programming interface.
  • Unix offers multi-tasking, which means each user can carry out several processes simultaneously.

Unix Architecture

Unix architecture consists of several layers mentioned below:

  • Hardware – It consists of all the hardware related information.
  • Kernel – It is the heart of the operating system that interacts with hardware. It also handles tasks like memory management, task management, file management, power management, etc.
  • Shell – This layer basically processes your request. When a user type commands at the terminal, Shell interprets the commands and calls the program a user needs. The commands that are used are -mv, cat, grep, id, wc, cp, nroff, etc.
  • Application Layer – The application layer includes graphics programs, database management programs, word processors, commands, etc. These programs, as a single unit provide an application to end-users.

What is Linux?

Linux is a family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution.

The Linux OS relays instructions from an application from the computer’s processor and sends the results back to the application via the Linux OS. It can be installed on a different type of computers mobile phones, tablets video game consoles, etc.

The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software collaboration. Today many companies and similar numbers of individuals have released their own version of OS based on the Linux Kernel.

What are the features of Linux?

  • Supports multitasking
  • It can easily co-exists along with other Operating systems.
  • It can run multiple user programs
  • Individual accounts are protected because of appropriate authorization
  • Linux is a replica of UNIX but does not use its code.
  • Programs might be consist of more than one process, and each process can have multiple threads

Architecture of Linux

The Linux operating system consists of four layers – Hardware, Kernel, Shell, and Application layer. Let us find out more about these layers:

  • Hardware – The hardware layer consists of all the physical devices that are attached to the system. Some of the examples are -RAM, motherboard, CPU, Hard disk drive, etc.
  • Kernel – Kernel is the core layer of the Linux operating system that establishes the direct interaction with the hardware.
  • Shell – This layer acts as an interface that takes inputs from the user and sends it to the kernel and vice versa.
  • Applications – These applications are the utility programs that run on the shell. Some of these applications are -web browsers, media player, text editor, etc.

Differences – Linux vs Unix

Are Linux and Unix the same thing? No, they are not. Unix and Linux are different from each other, but yes they do share a relationship because Linux is derived from Unix. Linux system is a continuation of the Unix design. Is Linux better than Unix? Readout more to find out which is better and helpful for your working style.

Basis of Difference Linux Unix
Source Code The source code is accessible to the general public The source code is not available to anyone
Kernel Follows monolithic kernel approach Can be monolithic, microkernel, or hybrid
Portability It is portable and can be booted from a USB stick It is not portable
Cost Linux is freely distributed and can be downloaded in different ways. Paid versions are also available Different versions of Unix have different prices depending upon the type of vendor.
Development Linux is open-source where thousands of programmers can collaborate online and contribute to its development. The different versions of Unix are developed by AT & T and also by commercial vendors
Text Interface BASH is the Linux default shell and supports multiple command interpreters Originally made to work in Bourne Shell. However, it is now compatible with many others software.
GUI Linux has two GUI – KDE and Gnome. Common desktop environment and Gnome
Threat detection Threat detection is fast in Linux because it is community-driven. If any user posts about a threat, a team of developers start resolving it. Unix users have to wait a little longer for a bug to get fixed
Architecture It is available for more than twenty different CPUs including ARM It is available for PA-RISC and Itanium machines
Supported file systems xfs, nfs, cramfsm ext 1 to 4, ufs, devpts, NTFS. zfs, hfx, GPS, xfs, vxfs
Versions Different Versions of Linux are Redhat, Ubuntu, OpenSuse, etc Different Versions of Unix are HP-UX, AIS, BSD, etc

Linux vs Unix: Commands

There are certain differences between the shell commands of Unix and Linux. The commands of Linux and Unix may look similar but they are not the same.

Solaris vs Linux

Solaris also called Oracle Solaris belongs to the Unix family. Linux is compatible with more system architecture than Solaris does and therefore, Linux is more portable. Solaris seems better when it comes to hardware integration and stability. Linux has a faster development rate as compared to Solaris. 

macOS vs Linux 

macOS is a Unix OS that has its Kernel called XNU. It is used in one of the most reliable PC’s ie. Apple’s computers. macOS is relatively easy to install. Linux is cheaper and more flexible. macOS uses the HFS+ file system, but Linux uses ext4.

Limitation of Linux

  • There is no standard edition of Linux.
  • It has patchier support for drivers that may cause malfunctioning of the entire system.
  • Linux is not very easy to use at least for new users.
  • Many programs that we use for Windows like Microsoft Office will run on Linux with the help of a complicated emulator
  • Linux may be suitable for a corporate user but much harder for a home setting.

Limitations of Unix

  • Unix is designed for a slow computer system; it can’t offer fast performance.
  • It has an unfriendly and non-mnemonic user interface
  • Shell interface can be risky because a single typing error can destroy files.
  • It lacks consistency because its versions are slightly different on various machines.
  • Unix does not give any assured hardware interrupt response time.Is Linux better than Unix?

Linux has gained more popularity because it is more flexible and free when compared to Unix. They are not the same but very much similar, even the commands in each distribution also vary. There are studies that show Linux is growing at a faster rate than any other operating system and it is believed that in the coming future it may leave Unix installation far behind.

Future of Linux and Unix

History of Linux – Linux was introduced in 1991 and got popular in a short period of time. Originally, it was designed only for intel 386, but today it runs on every machine. It has millions of users, and it is doing well in the embedded systems, industrial automation, cloud computing, mobile devices, robotics, etc. it is definitively less popular for the desktop system industry.

Talking about its future, Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux, has declared some developments and improvements in the features that will be compatible with a wider number of systems.

Unix is an old OS, and its advocates are continuously developing new specifications to make it compatible with the coming era of computing.