What is Unix? Wikipedia says: “Unix (trademarked as UNIX) is a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix, developed starting in the 1970’s at the Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others”. Unix was written in C Language and assembly language. The compiled programming language C was originally developed by Dennis Ritchie between 1969 and 1973 at Bell Labs.

The number of people and major companies involved in Unix is vast, as the Wikipedia article says: “Initially intended for use inside the Bell System, AT&T licensed Unix to outside parties from the late 1970s, leading to a variety of both academic and commercial variants of Unix from vendors such as the University of California, Berkeley (BSD), Microsoft (Xenix), IBM (AIX) and Sun Microsystems (Solaris). AT&T finally sold its rights in Unix to Novell in the early 1990s, which then sold its Unix business to the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) in 1995, but the UNIX trademark passed to the industry standards consortium The Open Group, which allows the use of the mark for certified operating systems compliant with the Single UNIX Specification (SUS). Among these is Apple’s macOS, which is the Unix version with the largest installed base as of 2014.”

There is an interesting diagram at Wikipedia that shows the development of Unix.

The Unix Philosophy

Wikipedia says: “The Unix philosophy, originated by Ken Thompson, is a set of cultural norms and philosophical approaches to minimalist, modular software development. It is based on the experience of leading developers of the Unix operating system. Early Unix developers were important in bringing the concepts of modularity and reusability into software engineering practice, spawning a ‘software tools’ movement”.

Single UNIX Specification (SUS)

Wikipedia says: “The Single UNIX Specification (SUS) is the collective name of a family of standards for computer operating systems, compliance with which is required to qualify for using the “UNIX” trademark. The core specifications of the SUS are developed and maintained by the Austin Group, which is a joint working group of IEEE, ISO JTC 1 SC22 and The Open Group. If an operating system is submitted to The Open Group for certification, and passes conformance tests, then it is termed to be compliant with a UNIX standard such as UNIX 98 or UNIX 03.”

Wikipedia adds: “Very few BSD and Linux-based operating systems are submitted for compliance with the Single UNIX Specification, although system developers generally aim for compliance with POSIX standards, which form the core of the Single UNIX Specification.”


Wikipedia says: “The Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) is a family of standards specified by the IEEE Computer Society for maintaining compatibility between operating systems. POSIX defines the application programming interface (API), along with command line shells and utility interfaces, for software compatibility with variants of Unix and other operating systems.”

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