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Type: Multi-tasking, multi-user UNIX
Creator: Sun Microsystems
Architecture: Sun-1, Sun-2, Sun-3, Sun-4 (SPARC)
This Version: SunOS 4.1.4 (1994)
Date Released: 1982/1983


SunOS is, in a sense, the predecessor to Solaris, Sun's current operating system, and was the first Unix system used by many. Unlike Solaris, which is based primarily upon System V, SunOS is based extensively on BSD, and by the 4.x releases, being based heavily on 4.3 BSD. For this reason, SunOS 4.x maintained some extremely loyal users into the 21st century, long after Sun had moved their entire base to Solaris. Sun finally discontinued support for SunOS in 2003.


SunOS version Release date Code base Description
Sun UNIX 0.7 1982 UniSoft UNIX v7 Bundled with 68000-based Sun-1 system
SunOS 1.0 1983 4.1BSD Support for 68010-based Sun-1 and Sun-2 systems
SunOS 1.1 Apr 1984
SunOS 1.2 Jan 1985 Support for Sun 2/50
SunOS 1.3 Support for Sun 2/160
SunOS 1.4 Mar 1985
SunOS 2.0 May 1985 4.2BSD Introduced VFS layer and the NFS protocol
SunOS 3.0 Feb 1986 4.2BSD + System V IPC coincided with release of 68020-based Sun-3 series. Optional System V tape offered utilities and development libraries.
SunOS 3.2 Sep 1986 Same as 3.0, plus some 4.3BSD First support for Sun-4 series
SunOS 3.4 May 1987 Support for Sun 3/60
SunOS 3.5 Jan 1988
SunOS 4.0 Dec 1988 4.3BSD with System V IPC New virtual memory system, dynamic linking, automounter, System V STREAMS I/O. Sun386i support.
SunOS 4.0.1 1988
SunOS 4.0.2 Sep 1989 Sun386i only
SunOS 4.0.3 May 1989 Support for Sun 3/80, 3/470, 3/480 (sun3x)
SunOS 4.0.3c Jun 1989 SPARCstation 1 (Sun-4c) only
SunOS 4.1 Mar 1990 Support for Sun-2 systems dropped
SunOS 4.1e Apr 1991 Sun-4e only
SunOS 4.1.1 Mar 1990 Bundled with OpenWindows 2.0
SunOS 4.1.1B Feb 1991
SunOS Jul 1991
SunOS 4.1.1_U1 Nov 1991 Sun-3/3x only
SunOS 4.1.2 Dec 1991 Support for multiprocessor (SPARCserver 600MP) systems; first CD-ROM-only release
SunOS 4.1.3 Aug 1992
SunOS 4.1.3C Nov 1993 SPARCclassic/SPARCstation LX only
SunOS 4.1.3_U1 Dec 1993
SunOS 4.1.3_U1B Feb 1994 Earliest release for which Y2K compliance patches were available
SunOS 4.1.4 Nov 1994 Last release of SunOS 4


SunOS was apparently redistributable by users when it was released, as Sun was more interested in selling their hardware, with their software as a tack-on service. As Solaris is still freely available, it is presumable SunOS tape images are acceptable for redistribution. They can be run on The Machine Emulator, apparently.