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THE BEST OPERATING SYSTEMS
Home Server and Personal Use?
Understanding the difference between a server OS and an everyday OS is crucial.
There are very specific differences between a server OS and an everyday OS.
An everyday OS runs programs including Microsoft word and excel, Adobe Photoshop, and one’s favorite computer games.
There are also applications that make browsing the web and checking email easy. .. read more
What OS Is Best?
The UNIX operating system was created more than four decades ago at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories.
With continuous development since its inception, UNIX has made its presence from tiny embedded devices to servers and supercomputers.
This article provides a brief history, philosophy, specification of UNIX and discusses top ten operating systems of the UNIX systems.
Brief History of UNIX
In terms of evaluation of operating systems, UNIX has a long history. In the 1960s, MIT along with General Electric (GE) and AT&T’s Bell Laboratories worked on a co-operative research project to create a new operating system called MULTICS (Multiplexed Operating and Computing System). Multics was conceived as a general purpose time-sharing utility to support electricity and telephone services. It had numerous features; few of them are high availability, hierarchical file system, security to modular design (allowing adding resources while the system is running), command processor (like shell), dynamic linking, online reconfiguration. Multics was developed initially for the GE-645 mainframe and later Honeywell continued it on its Honeywell 6180 machines.
However, Bell Labs pulled out of the MULTICS project and started development of a new operating system for PDP-7 machine. Ken Thompson (one of the Multics developers) joined with Dennis Ritchie and team members to develop new multi-tasking operating system called UNICS (Uniplexed Operating and Computing System). This is considered the first UNIX operating system. UNIX was designed to be portable, multi-tasking and multi-user in a time-sharing configuration. It is said that the person who coined the word UNIX is Brian Kernighan. The word UNIX is pronounced as yoo-niks, not yoo-neeks or yoo-nucks. In 1972, UNIX was rewritten in the C programming language after porting the code from assembly language making UNIX a much more portable.
The AT&T’s Bell Labs licensed UNIX to outside parties from the late 1970s. UNIX source code was made available for free. This opened gates to have different flavors of UNIX operating systems based on the needs. There are primarily two base versions of UNIX available: System V and Berkley Software Distribution (BSD). The majority of all UNIX flavors are built on one of these two versions. In the early 1980s, the impact of UNIX in academic circles led to large-scale adoption of UNIX by commercial vendors including HP-UX, Solaris, AIX, and Xenix. With more than four decades of constant development, UNIXemerged as a successful operating system running from tiny embedded devices, servers, desktop to supercomputers.
The rise of UNIX philosophy
Ken Thomson and the developers of UNIX established a set of cultural norms for developing software popularly known as the "UNIX philosophy." It emphasizes building simple, modular, and extensible software that can be easily maintained. The UNIX philosophy is summarized as follows:
- Small is beautiful.
- Make each program do one thing well.
- To do a new job, build afresh rather than complicate old programs by adding new "features".
- Expect the output of every program to become the input to another, as yet unknown, program.
- Write programs to work together.
- Write programs to handle text streams, because that is a universal interface.
- Build a prototype as soon as possible.
- Choose portability over efficiency.
Single UNIX Specification (SUS) and POSIX
The Single UNIX Specification (SUS) refers to the family of standards for operating systems, compliance with which is required to qualify for using the "UNIX" trademark. Currently, the UNIX® trademark is owned by “The Open Group”. The Open Group provides certification programs for an operating system to be officially certified as UNIX® and POSIX-compliant.
The Advent of UNIX-like Systems
In the late 1980s, Andrew S Tanenbaum created a new tiny operating system called MINIX for educational purposes. The MINIX 1.0 had 12,000 lines of C code. It is said that the design principles of MINIX greatly influenced Linux Torvalds to develop Linux from scratch as MULTICS influenced UNIX.Linux is a POSIX compliant operating system. In 2001, the Linux Standard Base (LSB) was formed to standardize the internal structures of Linux distributions. Currently, there are more than 600 active Linux distributions exists.