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Table of contents
What is Linux?
What is Unix?
Comparison between Unix and Linux
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the major difference between Unix and Linux?
Are Unix and Linux the same thing?
How is Unix different from Linux and Windows?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Difference between Unix and Linux

Author Monika Yadav
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Linux and Unix are both open-source operating systems. Unix was developed in the 1970s at Bell Labs, and its various versions are primarily used in servers and workstations. Linux, inspired by Unix, is a flexible and widely-used operating system, powering everything from personal computers to servers, supercomputers, and embedded systems.

Difference between Unix and Linux

In this article, we will learn about the features of Unix and Linux, the Difference between Unix and Linux. So what are we waiting for, let's go ahead and add some more knowledge to us. 

Also see: Multiprogramming vs Multitasking, Open Source Operating System

What is Linux?

Linux is an open-source operating system modeled on the Unix operating system. Developed primarily by Linus Torvalds in 1991, it provides a free and low-cost operating system for individuals and enterprises.

Linux is known for its stability, performance, and security  features of linux operating system. It supports many networking protocols and offers a robust platform for a variety of applications, ranging from basic home use to advanced systems like supercomputers.

One of the key characteristics of Linux is its ability to run on a wide array of hardware platforms, from personal computers and servers to mobile devices, embedded systems, and more.

Linux operates under an open-source license, which means its code is freely available and modifiable. This has resulted in a plethora of Linux 'distributions' or 'distros' that are tailored to specific use cases, such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian.

Due to its flexible and robust nature, Linux is the operating system of choice for many servers, databases, mobile phones (Android is built on a Linux kernel), and embedded systems. It is also favored by programmers and system administrators for its versatility and command-line interface.

Also read :  features of linux operating system

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What is Unix?

Unix is a powerful, multi-user, and multitasking operating system originally developed in the 1970s by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others. It was designed to be a small, flexible system used by programmers.

One of Unix's key design aspects is its philosophy of providing small, simple tools that each perform a limited, well-defined function but which users can combine to perform complex tasks. This design is often summarized as "Do one thing and do it well."

Unix systems also feature a hierarchical file system, which organizes files and directories in a tree structure, and a command-line interface, although many Unix systems also offer graphical user interfaces today.

A distinguishing feature of Unix is its high portability. It was one of the first operating systems written in the C programming language, a high-level language. This means Unix can be installed on various hardware platforms.

Unix has influenced many other operating systems, including Linux and BSD. Today, versions of Unix (and Unix-like operating systems) run on various systems, from servers and mainframes to desktops and embedded systems. Several major variants of Unix are commercially available today, including Solaris, AIX, and HP-UX..

Comparison between Unix and Linux

Feature Unix Linux
Definition Unix is an efficient and versatile operating system that seamlessly connects users and computers. Linux is a flexible and collaborative open-source operating system that empowers users with diverse software capabilities and hardware support.
Origin& License Proprietary licenses, but there are some versions which are open source and Unix was developed in the 1960s Open source and Linux was created in 1991
Kernel Monolithic kernel Monolithic kernel
Hardware support For newer hardware there is limited support for Unix. Supports a wide range of hardware architectures.
Shell Bourne shell (sh) or Korn shell (ksh). Bash shell.
Filesystem hierarchy Follows the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) Follows the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS)
Package management Various package management systems. Mostly uses the package management system of the distribution.
Commercial support IBM, Oracle, and HP Available through vendors as well as the open source community
Performance Generally faster due to lower overhead May have higher overhead due to more features and modularity
Cost It can be expensive for commercial versions. Free and open source.

Also read - features of operating system

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the major difference between Unix and Linux?

Unix is an operating system originally developed in the 1970s at Bell Labs, with various proprietary versions. Linux, created in the 1990s, is Unix-like but is open-source, meaning its code is freely available and modifiable, leading to many diverse distributions.

Are Unix and Linux the same thing?

No, Unix and Linux are not the same. Unix is an operating system developed in the 1970s, while Linux is an open-source operating system created in the 1990s, inspired by Unix. Although they share similarities, they are distinct systems.

How is Unix different from Linux and Windows?

Unix, Linux, and Windows are all operating systems, but they differ in design and usage. Unix and Linux are similar, being multiuser and multitasking systems widely used on servers and workstations. Windows, on the other hand, is primarily used on personal computers and emphasizes a graphical user interface.


We hope this article helped you understand the difference between Unix and Linux. We have also discussed the Introduction and features of Linux and Unix. Refer to our other related articles for a better understanding.

You will find straightforward explanations of almost every topic on this platform. You can read more such articles on our platform, Coding Ninjas Studio. So take your learning to the next level using Coding Ninjas. 

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