what is unix

What is UNIX?

Unix (officially UNIX) is a registered trademark of The Open Group that refers to a family of computer operating systems and tools conforming to The Open Group Base Specification, Issue 7 (also known as POSIX.1-2008 or IEEE Std 1003.1 – 2008).

The original Unix operating system was developed at AT&T’s Bell Labs research center in 1969. In the 1970s and 1980s, AT&T licensed Unix to third-party vendors, leading to the development of several Unix variants, including Berkeley Unix, HP-UX, AIX, and Microsoft’s Xenix. In 1993, AT&T sold the rights to the Unix operating system to Novell, Inc., which a few years later sold the Unix trademark to the consortium that eventually became The Open Group.

Unix was developed using a high-level programming language (C) instead of platform-specific assembly language, enabling its portability across multiple computer platforms. Unix also was developed as a self-contained software system, comprising the operating system, development environment, utilities, documentation, and modifiable source code. These key factors led to widespread use and further development in commercial settings, and helped Unix and its variants become an important teaching and learning tool used in academic settings.

Who Developed Linux

Dennis M. Ritchie


Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie was an American computer scientist. He created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system

Born: September 9, 1941, Bronxville, New York, United States
Died: October 12, 2011, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, United States

As Dennis’s siblings, Lynn, John, and Bill Ritchie–on behalf of the entire Ritchie family–we wanted to convey to all of you how deeply moved, astonished, and appreciative we are of the loving tributes to Dennis that we have been reading. We can confirm what we keep hearing again and again:

“Ken” Thompson

Kenneth “Ken” Thompson, commonly referred to as ken in hacker circles

is an American pioneer of computer science. Having worked at Bell Labs for most of his career, Thompson designed and implemented the original Unix operating system

History and Timeline

“…the number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected…” – Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson, June 1972

“… When BTL withdrew from the project, they needed to rewrite an operating system (OS) in order to play space war on another smaller machine (a DEC PDP-7 [Programmed Data Processor] with 4K memory for user programs).

The result was a system which a punning colleague called UNICS (UNiplexed Information and Computing Service)–an ‘emasculated Multics'; no one recalls whose idea the change to UNIX was”