Both Unix and Linux are operating systems. The main function of an operating system to coordinate with the different computer parts to perform their responsibilities. The operating system is the main master control unit of the computer. It holds together the different parts of the system and lets them do their job. When you want to start a program, duplicate a file or display the contents of a certain directory, the operating system does these tasks for you.

The operating system makes two computers distinct from each other. If two computers are being run by the same operating system, it will be challenging to tell one from the other. On the other hand, if you have identical computers but are run by different operating systems, each would appear differently to the user.

What is UNIX?

In the late 1960’s, UNIX was created. It was created to provide a multitasking and multiuser system. UNIX was made to provide powerful tools that could be orchestrated together to perform various tasks.
There are three parts comprising the UNIX operating system. These are as follows:

  • Kernel
    The kernel is a program loaded to the memory of the computer when it is turned on. It basically controls the distribution of the hardware resources. It knows what the available resources are and it has the programs to connect and exchange information to the devices connected to it.
  • Standard utility programs
    These also allow you to give commands to the operating system.
  • System configuration files

What is Linux?

Linux is an operating system like the UNIX that has gained its popularity over the last few years. Linus Torvalds created the Linux kernel. His creation was made available for free to the world. Torvalds invited programmers to make enhancements on Linux which enabled the operating system to grow rapidly. Linux offers more configurations options and functionality which made it the choice for most users.

UNIX vs Linux

After knowing what UNIX and Linux operating are, now we will discuss on the difference between the two. The following are the differences between the two:

  • Cost
    You can download Linux for free. Most UNIX operating systems are not free.
  • User Friendliness
    Linux is considered to be more user friendly than the UNIX. Most UNIX operating systems were developed for mainframes workstations and servers.
  • Security Firewall Software
    In order to protect you server and computer from hackers, Linux has open source netfilter based firewall. The UNIX comes with its own firewall. Some would require you to purchase firewall software from third parties.
  • File Systems
    Linux uses ext3 and ext4 file systems. Jfs, gpfs (AIX), jfs, gpfs (HP-UX) are the various file systems supported by UNIX.
  • End user point of view
    The differences between the two operating systems are not that noticeable.
  • System Administrator point of view
    There is not that significant difference but may experience differences in performing the following functions:
    – Names of hardware devices
    – Procedure of software installation
    – Administrative commands and utilities
    – Volume management
    – Patch management
    – Package management

Which one is better?

The debate as to which operating system is better has still not been resolved up to now. The debate between the two is considerably interesting since Linux came about because of UNIX. Several proponents will go with Linux since the cost is much lower than UNIX. Linux is good for smaller servers where you want to try out the things on the Internet. It can also handle thousands of users and runs on low cost hard wares.

It really depends on the needs of the user on which operating system to use. You need to consider the pros and cons of each operating system.