[buug] Hello, I'm new.
rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Aug 12 22:48:33 PDT 2002
Quoting Bonkers the Evil Admin (Matt Bockman) (bonkers at thetechbox.com):
> I'm new to this UUG.... I've been wanting to get into a lot of Unix or
> Linux based groups so I can learn lots. I'm in SDLUG and this, so I hope
> to learn a lot. I host my own mandrake server which seems pathetic, I
> want to change it to Unix, or change the Linux distro, I don't like RPMs
> very much.
Welcome. You've fallen into the clutches of a mixed BSD / Linux crowd,
If you're physically in the Bay Area, you might want to attend the 11th
anniversary Linux Picnic, this coming Saturday in Sunnyvale. Free of
charge, but you should RSVP. Reservation on-line form, and full
details, are at http://www.linuxpicnic.org/ .
There's also, of course, the IDG LinuxWorld conference starting tomorrow
at Moscone Center in S.F.
> Anyway, I was just wondering what the main diffrences were between
> Unix and Linux?
First, you'd have to decide what "Unix" is in 2002. And whether you or
anyone else cares.
It used to be reasonably clear what Unix is, and also that people cared.
These days, the concept's a bit muddy, and also there's little reason to
To elaborate: AT&T Bell Labs was of course originally responsible for
the thing, which started out being a copyrighted codebase plus a
trademarked name to go with it. UC Berkeley's Computer Science Research
Group gradually made the codebase bearable, without ever having rights
to the trademark. (That codebase was of course the ancestral BSD.) In
the process, CSRG replaced literally all AT&T code.
Both the AT&T and Berkeley codebases, through 30+ years of tangled
history, gave rise to innumerable offshoots. Plus there were
independent reinventions based on the same ideas with either little or
literally no AT&T code. But everyone with at least a little common
sense borrowed _Berkeley_ code, because it was permitted to do so, and
because that code failed to suck. (Note that this _is_ a Berkeley
As a result, current direct descendents of CSRG's BSD -- FreeBSD,
NetBSD, OpenBSD, Apple Darwin, Apple Macintosh OS X, Tenon MachTen, and
probably some others I'm forgetting -- can claim to have their kernels
and some of the surrounding code be _descended_ from "Unix" (meaning
AT&T's copyrighted codebase)l, but in fairness can say they _are_ "Unix"
only in a sort of homeopathic sense of the essence of Unixness clinging
to it even after the last AT&T molecule was long gone.
Systems built around the Linux kernel (which may be what you mean when
you say "Linux") have a kernel codebase written independently (more or
less) of both AT&T and CSRG, plus a small amount of surrounding code
that's ideosyncratic to the Linux kernel, plus a great deal of code
surrounding that that's _literally_ the same as on common BSD-descended
systems and other *ix-ish systems.
Speaking of *ix systems, there remain all manner of non-open source
*ixes that are Not Dead Yet. People often say "*ix" as a slightly
mocking concession to the lawyers who at times have tried to maintain
with a straight face that "Unix" is a valuable trademark.
That trademark was tossed from AT&T to Novell, which lobbed it over to
The Open Group when Novell sold the (who-cares-it's-now-worthless)
legacy AT&T Unix codebase to SCO, Inc. -- which in turn was absorbed
into Caldera, Inc. So, if you literally want to call your *ix "Unix",
you have to put up with whatever anal-probe techniques The Open Group
has in mind for that purpose.
But that brings me back to the original point: Nobody really cares
whether one may legally call something "Unix". Largely, nobody really
cares whether something _is_ Unix in any non-lawyerly sense, either:
Lookng from a functional perspective, those are irrelevant, and what
matters is support for more-or-less standard system calls and other
conventional system architecture that allow easy portability among
members of the *ix family.
In short, wrong question. ;-> However, welcome.
Cheers, A good man has few enemies; a ruthless man has none.
rick at linuxmafia.com
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