What is the difference between Unix and Linux?

What is the difference between Unix and Linux?

Unix and Linux

Understanding the difference between Unix and Linux is important for anyone interested in operating systems. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are some key differences to consider.

Is Unix a type of Linux?

No, Unix is not a type of Linux. In fact, it's the other way around. Linux is a Unix-like operating system. It was created as a free and open-source alternative to Unix. While they share many similarities, they are distinct systems.

Should I say Linux or Unix?

Whether you should say Linux or Unix depends on the context. If you're referring to the open-source operating system that is widely used today, you should say Linux. However, if you're referring to the older, proprietary operating system that was developed in the 1970s, you should say Unix.

Is Unix and Linux Shell same?

Unix and Linux both use what is known as a "shell". This is a command-line interface that allows users to interact with the system. However, while the concept is the same, the specific shells used can vary. For example, popular shells in Linux include Bash, Zsh, and Tcsh, while Unix systems often use the Korn shell or the C shell.

Key Differences Between Unix and Linux

  • Source Model: Unix is proprietary while Linux is open-source.
  • Development and Distribution: Unix systems are developed and distributed by AT&T as well as various commercial vendors. Linux distributions, on the other hand, are typically community-driven.
  • Usage: Unix is often used in servers, workstations, and mainframes. Linux is used in a much wider range of devices, from smartphones to supercomputers.


In conclusion, while Unix and Linux share many similarities, they are distinct operating systems with their own strengths. Whether you choose to use Unix or Linux will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Unix still used today? Yes, Unix is still used today, particularly in enterprise environments.
  2. Is Linux better than Unix? Whether Linux is "better" than Unix depends on your specific needs. Linux tends to be more popular for personal use, while Unix is often used in commercial settings.
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