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Type: Time-sharing
Creator: Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy at Bell Labs
Multitasking: Multi-tasking with swapping/paging (latter added in a later version)
Architecture: Originally PDP-7, then PDP-11; now cross-platform.
Date Released: 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 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. A number of clones of Unix, which share the interfaces, and 'look and feel', but no code, have also been produced; most notably, Linux.

Notable versions

Versions of relevance for hobbyists include the initial versions from inside Bell Labs; it later spread more widely inside the Bell system, at the same time that it was starting to appear outside.

'Research' versions

Note that 'Version' in early UNIXes refers to the revision of the 'UNIX Programmer's Manual'; UNIX didn't really have coordinated distros before about V6:

Other AT&T versions

The rest of the Bell system, outside Bell Labs, soon found it useful, too, and a number of disparate versions, intended for different environments, appeared:

  • CB-UNIX - for use in control applications, including real-time systems
  • PWB/UNIX - used for production of other systems, in for computer center type usage
  • USG UNIX - a version for general use inside the Bell system

These were later unified, and Unix then went commercial and was sold outside AT&T, in a number of releases. (Below is an early ad for AT&T UNIX.)

Unix ad

CSRG releases

Meanwhile the Computer Systems Research Group‎ kept on releasing newer BSD UNIX's, mostly for the VAX, derived from 32V. These had wide distribution, and tremendous impact; they were a major step in UNIX's road to its current ubiguity.

Descended from there are several popular versions:

  • 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

External links

Fun links