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Friday, March 7, 2008

Difference between Linux and UNIX

Q. What is the difference between Linux and UNIX?

A. UNIX is copyrighted name Only big companies are allowed to use the UNIX copyright and name, so IBM AIX and Sun Solaris and HP-UX all are UNIX. The Open Group holds the UNIX trademark in trust for the industry, and manages the UNIX trademark licensing program.

Linux is UNIX clone

But if you consider Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) standards then Linux can be considered as UNIX. To quote from Official Linux kernel README file: Linux is a Unix clone written from scratch by Linus Torvalds with assistance from a loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net. It aims towards POSIX compliance.

Linux is just kernel

Linux is just kernel. Linux distribution includes GUI system, installation and management tools, compilers, editors etc. Linux distribution makes it

Most UNIX oses considered as compete operating system.

As I said earlier Linux is just kernel with Linux distribution makes it complete usable os. Most UNIX oses comes with A-Z programs such as editor, compilers etc. For example FreeBSD comes with A-Z programs.

License and cost

Linux is Free (as in beer [freedom]). You will see best community support around. Many UNIX oses are not free (but this is changing fast, for example OpenSolaris/Solaris UNIX).


Linux is considered as most user friendly UNIX like os. It makes easy to install sound card, flash players, and other desktop goodies.

End user perspective

The differences are not that big for the average end user.

System administrator perspective

Again, the differences are not that big for the system administrator. However, you may notice difference while performing following operations:

  1. Installation procedure
  2. Hardware Device names
  3. Admin commands or utilities

Following documents or URL should help anyone to get more idea:

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