Unix Operating System - Pride over 50 Years

It is almost half a century passed from the date where the Unix Operating System was first invented. Its 49th anniversary is to be celebrated in August this year (2018). Although it is nearly 50 years old, we cannot find it as a useless operating system as it is being used with the execution of even a small code of the Unix OS by each and every person who uses at least a smartphone or who is connected to the internet and do their work. Even any OS in the modern trend has the influence of this Unix OS at any stage of its evolution.

Example :- Windows Operating System is being executed on the stepping-stone of the communication Stack designed with the Unix Operating System which is used to temporally store data and information of the communication process.

Example  :- Most of the parts of the Apple OS X, has been designed using the coding systems of the Unix OS.

Example  :- Lying-in-home of the Linux Operating System is Unix OS.

Example  :- Most of the web servers on the internet which store data and manage them accurately, are also invented using the Unix OS.

Birth of the ‘UNIX Operating System’

In the beginning of the 70th decade, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), General Electric (GE) and Bell Labs in conjunction commenced a huge mission to invent a new Operating System for the ‘Mainframe Computers’ used in the 60th decade. The mission was named as ‘Multics’ which stands for ‘Multiplexed Information and Computing Service’. MULTICS was a large, ambitious and innovative operating system that was intended to support hundreds of simultaneous users. It was well structured with many new features included than the feature was there before. The most important fact is that the Security of the Computer has been considered well in that plan.

The invention of the Multics Operating System was begun with the idea of making it a commercial product. Although it was sold to many customers, it was unable to succeed as a commercial product. Therefore, the maintenance process of the Multics was totally killed and all the resources used to invent the operating system was thrown away. It brought an intermission to all the scrutineers worked on the manufacturing process of the Multics Operating System.

There was a member from the Bell Labs scrutineers group who took a part in the invention process of the Multics OS. His name was ‘Ken Thompson’, who was a PC game lover. During the intermission period, he did something useful by making a PC game named as ‘Space Travel’. But in mainframe computers, its executing speed was so slow where Ken Thompson had to invent a new Operating System, which can be used to play his game accurately. So he wrote the codes for his new operating system, for nearly one month and it was done coding in August 1969. The codes Ken Thompson wrote was the main code chart of the Unix OS.

There was another member from the Multics Project, who was side by side with Ken Thompson in the process of creating his new OS. ‘Dennis Ritchie’, who was engaged with improving Software for PDP-7 computers at DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) was that one who helped Ken Thompson to improve the Operating System he invented, for the PDP-7 Computers. All these were happening to make the PC game Ken Thompson created, work more accurately in Computers. ‘Brian Kernighan’ was also from the Multics OS manufacturing team, who passed the idea of developing the OS Ken Thompson invented, for DEC PDP-7 computers. The name ‘UNIX’ was given by him for that new Operating System.

In 1971, AT&T Bell Labs funded for the further improvements of the Unix Operating System. The name ‘Unix’ was officially accepted in this year. Also, in this year it was improved with ‘Text Processing’ feature and the ability to use it by many at the same time.

By 1973, it was rewritten in ‘C Language’, to make it easy to add new features to this operating system. By this time it has become more famous among Universities and technical organizations. Bell Labs sold a booklet of the complete code chart beside with the OS to those who bought the OS and earned a quite profit.

In 1975, a new update of the Unix OS was released as ‘Unix 6’. In 1980, there was the 10th updated version of the OS. In 1980, Microsoft built a UNIX based Operating System for the 16-bit Microcomputers. Windows was invented with the influence of that new operating system which was named as ‘Xenix’.

Evolution of ‘UNIX’

By modifying the sources code or the major code chart of the Unix Operating System, new versions of the Operating System were invented and it mostly happened after the year 1982. All the software needed to work with a computer were connected to the hardware of the computer with the use of the source code of the OS which was known as the Unix Kernel.

In 1982, University of California found a new OS named as ‘BSD Unix’ (Berkeley Software Distribution of Unix). Bill Joy was a member of that team which invented the BSD OS. In 1982 he built-up an organization on his own as ‘Sun Microsystems’, inventing Unix based ‘SunOS’ operating system.

Thereafter, so many new modified versions of the Unix OS was found and the ‘NeXT OS’ of the Apple company was one of the special version among them. That NeXT OS was the base of the Mac OSX which was constructed for the Apple Computers. Some parts of the source code which was written by Dennis Ritchie are there in the Kernel of the Mac OS, even for today.

Although the kernel of the Unix OS is an Open Source cord chart, there are Intellectual Property Owners for the Unix OS. Therefore no one is allowed to modify and to release new versions of the Unix OS unless they get permissions from the party who own the regulations regarding the subject. Todays, it is handled by the ‘Open Group’ Organization. (Opengroup.org)

Unix VS. Open Source

Richard Stallman, who was a Programmer at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), came up with an idea of finding a way which allows anyone to download the source code of the Unix OS for free and let anyone modify it on their own, rather than keeping it in a way to be bought spending cash. So he began to build that kind of an OS. It was named as ‘GNU’. GNU is also an OS like Unix. All the essential features of an OS such as Kernel, Driver Programs, User Interface, and System Utilities were there in the GNU as well. With the head-start of writing the codes, in 1983, Richard Stallman gave the birth for the ‘GNU.ORG’.

In 1984, he began another organization called, ‘FSF.ORG’. He commentated that the Open Source Software means the computer programs which can be used, copied, examined, modified, and improved by anyone, with no restrictions or regulations regarding the Intellectual Property Ownership. A statement containing this definition was offered in 1985 which was identified as the ‘GNU Manifesto’. The kernel of the GNU OS was named as ‘Hurd’. This community supported Hurd Kernel was done improving in 1991.

Unix VS. Linux

In 1987, Andrew Tanenbaum; a computer scientist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, intended an Operating System named ‘Minix’, based on the Unix OS. It was intended to make clear the doubts of his students regarding the process of an operating system. Also, he wrote a booklet about this Minix OS and shred a floppy disk containing the kernel of the Operating System with that booklet. It was shred through the network called as ‘Usenet’ and became so popular within a very short period of time. Within the first 3 months of the birth of Minix Operating System, about 40 000 of the population have had begun discussions about this new OS and ways of improving the File System of the OS.

Linus Towards; a student who was studying computer science at the Helsinki University at Finland, was also one of them who was engaged in the improving process of the File System of the Minix OS. Not only that, he used this Minix OS for his work, mastering the knowledge of him regarding how to modify it for different purposes. With this influence and the knowledge, on 5th of October 1991, he published a fresh kernel of a new Operating System to the world. It was named as ‘Linux’, which we use even in the present, and the base of this Linux OS is also the Unix OS, as it was intended using the Unix’ File System.

Linus Towards share the Kernel of his Linux OS and gathered a huge crowd to improve it. Linus was already engaged with the community of Open Source Software and he worked on combining the Linux OS with the GNU OS. As a result of partnering with Richard Stallman, the kernel of the Linux OS was taken as the kernel of the GNU OS and the GNU/Linux Operating System was born. The Linux operating system, which most of the population talk today is this GNU/Linux System.

With this head start, the process of producing operating systems using the kernel of the GNU/Linux OS was begun. Likewise, in 1993, ‘Debian’; the world’s first completed GNU/Linux based operating system was designed. Thereafter, many of such operating systems were designed and they are called as ‘GNU/Linux Distributions’. ‘Ubuntu’, ‘Android’, are on the very high of the list of GNU/Linux Distributions, which is completely filled with many modified versions such as, ‘Chromium OS’, ‘RedHat’ & ‘Suse’. All of them are invented with the influence of the Unix OS. 

 UNIX OS Infographic by Dinuka Navaratna - InfoTechD.com
 UNIX OS Infographic by Dinuka Navaratna - InfoTechD.com


From the birth of the Unix OS in August 1969, it ran on a long path of success with so many achievements. Codes of the Unix kernel have been used in any of the computers used in nowadays. Ken Thompson; the father of the Unix OS improved it with the help of Dennis Ritchie. Brian Kernighan gave the name ‘Unix’ for the OS Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie designed together. It was completely re-written in ‘C Language’, by 1973. In 1975, a new version of the Unix OS was released as ‘Unix 6’. ‘Xenix’ was produced by the Microsoft for their 16-bit Microcomputers, in 1980. Windows was designed with the influence of this Xenix OS. ‘NeXT OS’ of the Apple Company was also designed based on the Unix OS. Richard Stallman created the GNU OS and is the founder of the GNU.org and the FSF.org. In 1991, Linux OS was launched which was designed based on Unix OS. The first OS of the GNU/Linux Distribution was produced in 1993 which was named as ‘Debian’. All those versions of the GNU/Linux Distribution are based on the Unix OS. Likewise, Unix OS came a long way for nearly half a century, with a great pride.

In 1983, Ken Thompson and Dennis Richie were awarded the ‘Turing Award’ which is believed as the Nobel Prize of Computer Science, for designing the Unix Operating System. The ‘National Medal of Technology’, which is the highest award offered for an American Technologist, also won by these two for the year 1998 and it was given by the American President, Bill Clinton on 27th of April in 1999. This is what we talk as the great pride of the Unix OS.

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  1. This is very efficient virtual memory, so many programs can run with a modest amount of physical memory. Nice article!

  2. Nice article, I find it helpful, thanks for that! :)

  3. Great article. I've been out of touch with this stuff for years, so it was a good refresher.

  4. This is very useful information thank you for sharing this

  5. I've always heard terms like Unix and Linux been thrown around but I never knew the differences before now. Thank you for clarifying.

  6. Wow it is pretty impressive how long they've been around.

  7. I didn't realize they'd been around for so long! Such an interesting article.

  8. Thank you for useful information. Its insightful to read the background and comparisons of Unix Operating Systems.

  9. I might not be a techy but I know of the Unix operating system, however, I have heard nothing about it till this moment. Thanks for sharing this detailed post.

  10. a really nice article. really impressed on how well detailed and well knowledgeable you have presented it.keep up the good work

  11. Very interesting and informative work you've presented in this article. Thank you for sharing so we can grow our understanding!

  12. Fifty years is quite the accomplishment. They must be doing something right!

  13. I have not had much luck with it..:(

  14. I have never heard of Unix tbh, but man this was a very informative article.

  15. This is useful information, thank you for sharing!

  16. thanks for sharing this information. I didn't know about this.

  17. The last time I heard about UNIX is back in college. Wow this is a nostalgia! I paid my classmate to do my UNIX assignment :D


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