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Type: Time-sharing
Creator: Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy at Bell Labs
Multitasking: Multitasking with paging/swap
Architecture: Originally PDP-7, then PDP-11 now cross-platform.
Year Introduced: 1969

Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX® - the documentation switched from using 'UNIX' to 'Unix' as of V7) is a computer operating system originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy.

Today's Unix systems are split into various branches, developed over time by AT&T as well as various commercial vendors and non-profit organizations.

Versions of relevance for hobbyists include:

  • Unix System 1 - The first version of UNIX that has been recently made to run on the PDP-11
  • UNIX V5 - One of first version with known source and binaries available.
  • UNIX V6 - The last version before branches started to appear
  • Unix V7 - One of the most complete and the last generally available and PDP-11 version of Research UNIX
  • Unix/32V - A 32bit port of System 7 to the VAX 11/780.

Unix then went commercial and was sold. Below is an early ad for AT&T UNIX.

Unix ad

CSRG releases

Meanwhile the CSRG kept on releasing newer BSD UNIX's derived from 32v.

  • 2.11 BSD - A still-maintained version for PDP-11s
  • 3.0 BSD - Derived from 32v, including a real virtual memory system
  • 4.0 BSD - A vastly improved 3.0
  • 4.1 BSD - These were mostly betas testing new filesystems & the TCP/IP protocol.
  • 4.2 BSD - The first shipping version of BSD with TCP/IP, FFS & termcap for the VAX.
  • 4.3 BSD - A version of pre-POSIX BSD, for the VAX.
  • 4.4 BSD - Did this version ever ship?
  • Net/1 - The TCP/IP source, and other programs free of the AT&T copyrite
  • Net/2 - Almost an entire release of all the source. This was the contention in the AT&T vs CSRG lawsuit.
  • 4.4 BSD Lite - This was the result of the aformentioned lawsuit. This was 'lite' in that it removed the offending 6 files.

386 BSD This is the first Net/2 derived OS that then spawned the Net/FreeBSD os's.

FreeBSD focuses on providing a system geared towards a single user.

NetBSD will run on a variety of 32-bit older systems from the VAX to the Amiga.

OpenBSD derived from the NetBSD project will run on all kinds of systems.

See also