What is Unix anyway?
- Unix is a computer operating
- Q: What is an operating system???
- A: A control program that works with users to run programs, manage
resources, and communicate with other computer systems.
- Several users can use a Unix machine at the same time, hence, Unix is a multiuser
- Thus, Unix is much different than working on a PC or MAC where
typically only one user uses a machine at a given time.
- There are over 250 Unix commands:
- some are very simple, e.g., copying a file
- some are very complex
- Unix is also a multi choice system:
- In other words, there are often many ways to accomplish the same
- This is not true to the same degree with MS Windows or MAC OS.
- Unix is therefore, much more complex (and often frustrating) than
running Windows or a MAC.
- To make matters even more confusing, there are different versions of Unix:
- Here in the Met Lab, we run Slackware Linux.
History of Unix
- Was developed as a "fun" project by a couple of programmers
working for AT&T Bell Labs back in the late 60's.
- AT&T along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were
co-developing a massive, monolithic operating system called Multics.
- Around 1969, Bell Labs became disillusioned with Multics, it was slow and
- However, it had some nice functionality within it and it was a
- Multics was ported from a GE mainframe computer to a Digital Equipment
Corporation (DEC) PDP-7 computer.
- On this machine, Multics was refined into what we now call Unix.
- The Bell Labs computer programmers continued to improve Unix.
- The first customer of a computer running Unix was the Patent Department
inside Bell Labs.
- It was an instant success!!!
- In 1973, Unix was written in the C programming language for portability
- Bell Labs was prohibited from selling Unix, thus in order to distribute
their OS system, they sold it to colleges and universities for a nominal
- Thus, it was in the 70's when Unix became a widely used OS, but only in
the college/university/research environment.
- Unix ran very well on powerful computers used for research and therefore
became the OS of choice at universities around the country.
- Since the 70's, Unix has undergone significant changes and improvements
made by a number of institutions including:
- University of California, Berkley
- University of Maryland
- University of Deleware
- Duke University
- Sun Microsystems
- Digital Equipment Corporation