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UNIX is an operating system developed by AT&T Bell Labs in 1969. The original UNIX is no longer used, but it has numerous descendants and imitators, which are usually described as UNIX-like systems (partly for copyright reasons). There are two families of UNIX-like operating systems: BSD or System V.

UNIX was a simplified version of Multics, and was originally developed in assembly and soon ported to the C Programming Language.

Linux is a UNIX-like operating system kernel, named after its creator Linus Torvalds. The entire OS might more correctly be referred to as "GNU/Linux", since the majority of the OS (besides the kernel) is GNU software. Although it is similar to Unix in operation and interface, it was in fact written from scratch and is not a derivative of the original UNIX. The main GNU/Linux distributions have each taken different concepts from both BSD and System V, resulting in slight inconsistencies.

Unix humour

Now, although this might be hard to believe, some folks out there don't like Unix. They even wrote a book about it called "The Unix-Haters Handbook", which is freely downloadable as a pdf from various sites on the web, and possibly good for a few laughs. :)

From the beginning of the preface:

Things Are Going to Get a Lot Worse
Before Things Get Worse
"I liken starting one's computing career with Unix, say as an undergraduate, to being born in East Africa. It is intolerably hot, your body is covered with lice and flies, you are malnourished and you suffer from numerous curable diseases. But, as far as young East Africans can tell, this is simply the natural condition and they live within it. By the time they find out differently, it is too late. They already think that the writing of shell scripts is a natural act."
Ken Pier, Xerox PARC

And finally, to leave you with a good taste in your mouth, a fabulous article about operating systems, Unix, batmobiles, and hole hawgs -- that you should go read right now if you haven't already -- is called "In the Beginning was the Command Line" by Neal Stephenson. You can download it here:

Enjoy Unix!

See also