What is UNIX?

UNIX is a computer operating system, first released in 1971.

Development on UNIX began in the late 1960s by a group of AT&T Bell Labs employees.

UNIX is a multi-user, multi-tasking operating system, known for its versatility and portability.

It is also known for its use of a command-line interface and its adherence to a set of strict design principles, such as the use of plain text files and the separation of functionality into small, modular programs that can be combined to perform complex tasks.

UNIX has many benefits, some of which include:

  • Portability: UNIX is designed to be portable, meaning that it can run on a wide variety of hardware platforms, including desktops, laptops, servers, and supercomputers.
  • Robustness and scalability: UNIX is known for its robustness and scalability, which makes it well-suited for large and complex projects, as well as for running mission-critical applications.
  • Multi-user and multitasking: UNIX is a multi-user and multitasking operating system, which means that multiple users can work on the same system at the same time and multiple tasks can be performed simultaneously.
  • Security: UNIX has a built-in security feature, which makes it one of the most secure operating systems available.
  • Networking: UNIX is designed to be network-friendly, with support for a wide range of networking protocols and services, making it easy to connect to other systems and share resources.
  • Shell scripts: UNIX provides powerful shell scripting capabilities, which allows for automation of repetitive tasks and makes it easy to create powerful command-line tools.
  • Open-source: UNIX and its variants (Linux, BSD, and macOS) are open-source, which means that the source code is freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute.

The term "nix" is shorthand often used to refer to operating systems that are based on the UNIX operating system.

It is a play on the word "Unix" and is used as a generic term to refer to any operating system that is based on the UNIX operating system, such as Linux, macOS, and BSD. The asterisk in "*nix" can stand for any letter, and it's used to indicate that it could be any of the UNIX-like operating systems. This term is used to refer to all those systems as a group, as they share similar design principles, commands, and utilities.

Related Terms

    Glossary »