Unix for Newbies

What is UNIX © ?

The Open Group holds the definition of what a UNIX system is and its associated trademark in trust for the industry.

In 1994 Novell (who had acquired the UNIX systems business of AT&T/USL) decided to get out of that business. Rather than sell the business as a single entity, Novell transferred the rights to the UNIX trademark and the specification (that subsequently became the Single UNIX Specification) to The Open Group (at the time X/Open Company). Subsequently, it sold the source code and the product implementation (UNIXWARE) to SCO. The Open Group also owns the trademark UNIXWARE, transferred to them from SCO more recently.

Today, the definition of UNIX ® takes the form of the worldwide Single UNIX Specification integrating X/Open Company's XPG4, IEEE's POSIX Standards and ISO C. Through continual evolution, the Single UNIX Specification is the defacto and dejure standard definition for the UNIX system application programming interfaces. As the owner of the UNIX trademark, The Open Group has separated the UNIX trademark from any actual code stream itself, thus allowing multiple implementations. Since the introduction of the Single UNIX Specification, there has been a single, open, consensus specification that defines the requirements for a conformant UNIX system.

There is also a mark, or brand, that is used to identify those products that have been certified as conforming to the Single UNIX Specification, initially UNIX 93, followed subsequently by UNIX 95, UNIX 98 and now UNIX 03.

The Open Group is committed to working with the community to further the development of standards conformant systems by evolving and maintaining the Single UNIX Specification and participation in other related standards efforts. Recent examples of this are making the standard freely available on the web, permitting reuse of the standard in open source documentation projects , providing test tools ,developing the POSIX and LSB certification programs.

UNIX © History and Timeline

1969 The Beginning The history of UNIX starts back in 1969, when Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and others started working on the "little-used PDP-7 in a corner" at Bell Labs and what was to become UNIX.
1971 First Edition It had a assembler for a PDP-11/20, file system, fork(), roff and ed. It was used for text processing of patent documents.
1973 Fourth Edition It was rewritten in C. This made it portable and changed the history of OS's.
1975 Sixth Edition UNIX leaves home. Also widely known as Version 6, this is the first to be widely available out side of Bell Labs. The first BSD version (1.x) was derived from V6.
1979 Seventh Edition It was a "improvement over all preceding and following Unices" [Bourne]. It had C, UUCP and the Bourne shell. It was ported to the VAX and the kernel was more than 40 Kilobytes (K).
1980 Xenix Microsoft introduces Xenix. 32V and 4BSD introduced.
1982 System III AT&T's UNIX System Group (USG) release System III, the first public release outside Bell Laboratories. SunOS 1.0 ships. HP-UX introduced. Ultrix-11 Introduced.
1983 System V Computer Research Group (CRG), UNIX System Group (USG) and a third group merge to become UNIX System Development Lab. AT&T announces UNIX System V, the first supported release. Installed base 45,000.
1984 4.2BSD University of California at Berkeley releases 4.2BSD, includes TCP/IP, new signals and much more. X/Open formed.
1984 SVR2 System V Release 2 introduced. At this time there are 100,000 UNIX installations around the world.
1986 4.3BSD 4.3BSD released, including internet name server. SVID introduced. NFS shipped. AIX announced. Installed base 250,000.
1987 SVR3 System V Release 3 including STREAMS, TLI, RFS. At this time there are 750,000 UNIX installations around the world. IRIX introduced.
1988   POSIX.1 published. Open Software Foundation (OSF) and UNIX International (UI) formed. Ultrix 4.2 ships.
1989   AT&T UNIX Software Operation formed in preparation for spinoff of USL. Motif 1.0 ships.
1989 SVR4 UNIX System V Release 4 ships, unifying System V, BSD and Xenix. Installed base 1.2 million.
1990 XPG3 X/Open launches XPG3 Brand. OSF/1 debuts. Plan 9 from Bell Labs ships.
1991   UNIX System Laboratories (USL) becomes a company - majority-owned by AT&T. Linus Torvalds commences Linux development. Solaris 1.0 debuts.
1992 SVR4.2 USL releases UNIX System V Release 4.2 (Destiny). October - XPG4 Brand launched by X/Open. December 22nd Novell announces intent to acquire USL. Solaris 2.0 ships.
1993 4.4BSD 4.4BSD the final release from Berkeley. June 16 Novell acquires USL
Late 1993 SVR4.2MP Novell transfers rights to the "UNIX" trademark and the Single UNIX Specification to X/Open. COSE initiative delivers "Spec 1170" to X/Open for fasttrack. In December Novell ships SVR4.2MP , the final USL OEM release of System V
1994 Single UNIX Specification BSD 4.4-Lite eliminated all code claimed to infringe on USL/Novell. As the new owner of the UNIX trademark, X/Open introduces the Single UNIX Specification (formerly Spec 1170), separating the UNIX trademark from any actual code stream.
1995 UNIX 95 X/Open introduces the UNIX 95 branding programme for implementations of the Single UNIX Specification. Novell sells UnixWare business line to SCO. Digital UNIX introduced. UnixWare 2.0 ships. OpenServer 5.0 debuts.
1996   The Open Group forms as a merger of OSF and X/Open.
1997 Single UNIX Specification, Version 2 The Open Group introduces Version 2 of the Single UNIX Specification, including support for realtime, threads and 64-bit and larger processors. The specification is made freely available on the web. IRIX 6.4, AIX 4.3 and HP-UX 11 ship.
1998 UNIX 98 The Open Group introduces the UNIX 98 family of brands, including Base, Workstation and Server. First UNIX 98 registered products shipped by Sun, IBM and NCR. The Open Source movement starts to take off with announcements from Netscape and IBM. UnixWare 7 and IRIX 6.5 ship.
1999 UNIX at 30 The UNIX system reaches its 30th anniversary. Linux 2.2 kernel released. The Open Group and the IEEE commence joint development of a revision to POSIX and the Single UNIX Specification. First LinuxWorld conferences. Dot com fever on the stock markets. Tru64 UNIX ships.
2001 Single UNIX Specification, Version 3 Version 3 of the Single UNIX Specification unites IEEE POSIX, The Open Group and the industry efforts. Linux 2.4 kernel released. IT stocks face a hard time at the markets. The value of procurements for the UNIX brand exceeds $25 billion. AIX 5L ships.
2003 ISO/IEC 9945:2003 The core volumes of Version 3 of the Single UNIX Specification are approved as an international standard. The "Westwood" test suite ship for the UNIX 03 brand. Solaris 9.0 E ships. Linux 2.6 kernel released.
2007 Apple Mac OS X certified to UNIX 03.
2008 ISO/IEC 9945:2008 Latest revision of the UNIX API set formally standardized at ISO/IEC, IEEE and The Open Group. Adds further APIs
2009 UNIX at 40 IDC on UNIX market -- says UNIX $69 billion in 2008, predicts UNIX $74 billion in 2013

What about Linux © ?

Developed by Linus Torvalds, Linux is a product that mimics the form and function of a UNIX system, but is not derived from licensed source code. Rather, it was developed independently; by a group of developers in an informal alliance on the net. A major benefit is that the source code is freely available (under the GNU copyleft), enabling the technically astute to alter and amend the system; it also means that there are many, freely available, utilities and specialist drivers available on the net. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Recent versions of Glibc include much functionality from the Single UNIX Specification, Version 2 (for UNIX 98) and later.

What about BSDI © ?

BSDI is an independent company that markets products derived from the Berkeley Systems Distribution (BSD), developed at the University of California at Berkeley in the 60's and 70's. It is the operating system of choice for many Internet service providers. It is, as with Linux, not a registered UNIX system, though in this case there is a common code heritage if one looks far enough back in history.

What about IBM©'s OS/390 ?

IBM has been quietly working on its mainframe operating system (formerly MVS) to add open interfaces for some years. In September 1996, The Open Group announced that OS/390 had been awarded the X/Open UNIX brand, enabling IBM to identify its premier operating system to be marked UNIX 95. This is a significant event as OS/390 is the first product to guarantee conformance to the Single UNIX Specification, and therefore to carry the label UNIX 95, that is not derived from the AT&T/ SCO source code.

What about Windows© NT ?

Microsoft© Windows NT was developed as a completely new, state of the art, 32 bit operating system. As such, it has no connection with the UNIX system source code. However, market demand for POSIX.1 , POSIX.2 has led to developments by several companies of add-ons that provide partial functionality. Should the functionality meet the requirements of the UNIX brand then indeed it could become a registered UNIX system.

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