Unix history-simple.svg
Evolution of Unix and Unix-like systems
DeveloperKen Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna at Bell Labs
Written inC and assembly language
OS familyUnix
Source modelHistorically proprietary software, while some Unix projects (including BSD family and illumos) are open-source
Initial releaseDevelopment started in 1969
First manual published internally in November 1971 (1971-11)[1]
Announced outside Bell Labs in October 1973 (1973-10)[2]
Available inEnglish
Kernel typeVaries; monolithic, microkernel, hybrid
Default user interfaceCommand-line interface and Graphical (Wayland and X Window System; Android SurfaceFlinger; macOS Quartz)
LicenseVaries; some versions are proprietary, others are free/open-source software
Official websiteopengroup.org/unix

Unix (/ˈjnɪks/; trademarked as 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.[3]

Initially intended for use inside the Bell System, AT&T licensed Unix to outside parties in the late 1970s, leading to a variety of both academic and commercial Unix variants from vendors including University of California, Berkeley (BSD), Microsoft (Xenix), Sun Microsystems (SunOS/Solaris), HP/HPE (HP-UX), and IBM (AIX). In the early 1990s, AT&T sold its rights in Unix to Novell, which then sold its Unix business to the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) in 1995.[4] The UNIX trademark passed to The Open Group, an industry consortium founded in 1996, which allows the use of the mark for certified operating systems that comply with the Single UNIX Specification (SUS). However, Novell continues to own the Unix copyrights, which the SCO Group, Inc. v. Novell, Inc. court case (2010) confirmed.

Unix systems are characterized by a modular design that is sometimes called the "Unix philosophy". According to this philosophy, the operating system should provide a set of simple tools, each of which performs a limited, well-defined function.[5] A unified filesystem (the Unix filesystem) and an inter-process communication mechanism known as "pipes" serve as the main means of communication,[3] and a shell scripting and command language (the Unix shell) is used to combine the tools to perform complex workflows.

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.[6]

  1. ^ McIlroy, M. D. (1987). A Research Unix reader: annotated excerpts from the Programmer's Manual, 1971–1986 (PDF) (Technical report). CSTR. Bell Labs. 139. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 November 2017.
  2. ^ Ritchie, D. M.; Thompson, K. (1974). "The UNIX Time-Sharing System" (PDF). Communications of the ACM. 17 (7): 365–375. CiteSeerX doi:10.1145/361011.361061. S2CID 53235982. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b Ritchie, D.M.; Thompson, K. (July 1978). "The UNIX Time-Sharing System". Bell System Tech. J. 57 (6): 1905–1929. CiteSeerX doi:10.1002/j.1538-7305.1978.tb02136.x. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  4. ^ "Novell Completes Sale of UnixWare Business to The Santa Cruz Operation | Micro Focus". www.novell.com. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  5. ^ Raymond, Eric (19 September 2003). The Art of Unix Programming. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0-13-142901-7. Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  6. ^ Ritchie, Dennis M. (January 1993). "The Development of the C Language" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.

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