Linux Commands

Is Linux Unix?

UNIX and Linux, the name looks alike. Computer users often intermingle both UNIX and Linux. UNIX is considered as the leading member in the list of operating systems. The UNIX operating system was introduced in the 1960s, and its derivatives, such as IBM, Sun-Solaris, and macOS, are still in use. Apart from this, Linux is a UNIX-like kernel, and it also supports a list of distributions that are based on the Linux kernel. Linux was introduced in the early 1990s.

This post provides a deep insight into UNIX and Linux to strengthen the arguments about, Is Linux UNIX? For this purpose, the outline of this article is provided here:

What are Linux and UNIX?

Linux is an open source and freely available kernel that can be obtained from the internet. Hundreds of distributions have been invented that are inspired by the Linux kernel, such as Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Arch Linux, Manjaro, etc. There is an open-source community of Linux to provide rapid runtime support services. Additionally, Linux-based distributions provide an interactive Graphical User Interface which is the primary reason that Linux is used by simple as well as advanced computer users.

In 1969, a group of collaborators and a Non-Profit Organization invented the UNIX operating system at Bell Labs. Primarily, UNIX serves the community that uses servers, workstations, or mainframe computers. It was a dedicated CLI operating system. Later, UNIX also started offering GUI support as well.

Comparison Between Linux and UNIX

Until now, you have learned the basic introduction of both UNIX and Linux. For a better understanding, the comparison of UNIX and Linux is presented here. The following table provides brief information by keeping a few important factors in view.

Factors Linux UNIX
Scope Open source and free therefore used by a large amount of the community. UNIX is dealt with by the vendors, and thus they charge differently as per the system’s requirement.
Default Interface  Bourne Again Shell (BASH) “Bourne Shell” refers to the default interface of UNIX.
GUI Support Supports various desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, and MATE. Few derivatives support the GNOME environment only.
Derivatives  Ubuntu, CentOS, Manjaro etc. SunOS, Solaris, ULTRIX, macOS.

Linux can also be referred to as a UNIX derivative because the development of Linux is inspired by the UNIX system.

Community Support A group of volunteers handles and solves queries of the users instantly. The UNIX users have to wait longer for their queries to be solved by the vendors/stakeholders.
File system Support It supports a variety of modern file systems, including Ext3, Xfs, Ext4, FAT, NTFS, FAT32, etc. UNIX OS has the support for a limited number of file systems, including gpfs, jfs, Xfs, etc.
Usage Used in Home PCs. Thus, a novel computer user can also use Linux. It can also be used in servers and supercomputers and is thus suitable for expert users as well. Recommended for experts as it is used in the servers, mainframe computers/supercomputers.
System Linux is a kernel, not a complete OS. UNIX is a full-fledged operating system.
Security  Highly secure. Provides the same security features as Linux.
Source Code availability  The source code of Linux is open to everyone. The UNIX source code is not available to the public.
Development  The Linux community contributes to and continually develops its functionality. UNIX serves various versions that are developed/maintained at AT&T labs and the other vendors as well.
Architecture Support Supports x86, ARM family (arm and arm6), MIPS, Power ISA, PowerPC, and so on. It supports a very small number of architectures such as PA-RISC (Precision Architecture – Reduced Instruction Set Computer), Itanium, x86, etc.
Portability  Portability is much higher as it supports a lot of system architectures. UNIX is not as portable as Linux because of the lesser support for system architecture.

That’s it. A detailed comparison of UNIX and Linux is carried out to decide, Is Linux UNIX?


Linux is a kernel, whereas UNIX is a proper Operating System. Linux is built on the base of UNIX. However, the Linux developers did not utilize the source code of UNIX for the development of Linux. This post has provided detailed information to decide whether Is Linux UNIX? It is observed from this post that Linux and UNIX have some similarities. However, they cannot be considered the same as the list of differences is too large.

Linux is suitable and easy to use for home users, developers, administrators, and so on. Contrary to this, UNIX refers to the mainframes and servers; therefore, experienced individuals can enjoy the perks of UNIX.

About the author

Adnan Shabbir