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Linux and Unix — Understanding the difference (For Beginners)

As a begineer when we start our journey in the IT field, the majority of us find it difficult to understand the difference between Linux and Unix. This article will help you understand the difference in a very simplified way.

Let’s see some of the differences between Unix and Linux are described below to make our understanding better!

  • Unix is a complete operating system on the other hand Linux is just a kernel.
  • Users: Linux is used by everyone, from home users to developers and computer enthusiasts alike while Unix is mainly for mainframes, except OSK, which is developed for everyone.
  • Linux is actually free and opens source on the other hand Original UNIX is not (Some of the derivatives of UNIX are also free).
  • Usage of Linux is on a wide variety of computer hardware, ranging from a wide variety of mobile phones, tablet computers, Routers, Washing machines to mainframes and supercomputers while UNIX is mainly used on internet servers.
  • More file system Support as far as Linux is concerned.
  • Linux kernel is developed by the community Linus Torvalds overseas things, UNIX mostly developed by AT&T as well as various commercial vendors and other non-profit organizations. Three biggest distributions of UNIX: 1. Solaris(Oracle) 2. AIX(IBM) 3. HP-UX(Hewlett Packard).
  • Most importantly Linux is GNU not Unix.
  • Examples of Linux based OS: Ubuntu, RHEL, Debian, Android, Kali Linux. Examples of UNIX: OS X, Solaris etc.
  • Basically Linux is an engine(Just a kernel).
  • Unix is a Car. (Means Entire operating system).

Note: This article is meant for the beginners.



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Govind Kumar

Technology Evangelist | Practice Lead Cloud Migration @Axcess IO | Cloud Arch. | RHC(SA/E) | AWS (DevOps/Sol. Arch) — Pro. | CCNA | AWS Networking Speciality.