what's unix and what's not

Mike Hoskins mike at adept.org
Tue Nov 25 18:55:17 PST 2003

Milo Hyson wrote:
> Alex de Kruijff wrote:
>> On Tue, Nov 25, 2003 at 02:01:24AM +0100, .VWV. wrote:
>>> what's unix and what's not?
>> I feel that *anything* that is based up on the orginal Unix version
>> should be called Unix.
> It is my understanding that the Linux kernel was built from scratch. It 
> may be patterned after UNIX, but it wasn't based on it. BSD, on the 
> other hand, is derived (indirectly) from the original work by Ritchie 
> and Thompson. Of course, I may be on crack....

Linux was built as a UNIX alternative, or so the story goes.  i.e. Linus 
had access to solaris/etc. machines at university, but wanted to try 
"something new" as an OS project.  of course he had basic OS concepts 
ingrained from using and interacting with other OS (primarily solaris i 
believe)...  but the idea was "something not UNIX", or so i've read in 
accounts by Linus.  so...  before making assumptions about Linux, i'd go 
ask him.  ;)

in general, i've always heard and believed "Linux is not UNIX" -- but 
that is really a matter of semantics.  how similar does something have 
to look to UNIX before it actually is UNIX?  also, more than something 
purely technical/identifiable, i've always believed the distinction is 
one that was historically drawn with design goals in mind...  so it's 
not one i'd just dismiss without understanding those goals.  at least 
not if you respect technical mythology as much as fact.  ;)

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