what's unix and what's not

Alex de Kruijff freebsd at akruijff.dds.nl
Thu Nov 27 17:22:17 PST 2003

On Tue, Nov 25, 2003 at 06:55:15PM -0800, Mike Hoskins wrote:
> 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.  ;)

With Linux i was thinking about the whole OS, since it quite difficult
to compare a kernel with an entire operating system.

Its a fact that over the time Linux exist it has had a number of sources
imported from BSD. Linux may not be called UNIX because you can get a
sued. Only the company that owns that right can call it operating system
UNIX. Currently this is SCO. AT&T who had the rigth back then has agreed
not to sue BSD. This is way BSD can be more freely in using this term. 


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