1. History

The history of UNIX dates back to 1969. Through the years, it has developed and evolved through a number of different versions and environments. Most modern UNIX variants known today are licensed versions of one of the original UNIX editions. Sun’s Solaris, Hewlett-Packard’s HP-UX, and IBM’s AIX are all flavors of UNIX that have their own unique elements and foundations. For example, Sun’s Solaris is UNIX but incorporates many tools and extensions designed to get the best out of Sun’s own workstation and server hardware.

Linux® was born out of the desire to create a free software alternative to the commercial UNIX environments. Its history dates back to 1991, or further back to 1983, when the GNU project, whose original aims were to provide a free alternative to UNIX, was introduced. Linux runs on a much wider range of platforms than most UNIX environments, such as the Intel®/AMD led x86 platform. Most UNIX variants run on just one architecture.

2. Target Audience 

UNIX hides the machine architecture from the user so it is easy to make applications which can run on mainframes, servers, and workstations. So, UNIX is mainly for vendors not for end users. Linux is focused on the everyday use being more focused on end users rather than vendors. 

However, centos (Linux) is also preferred for servers.

3. Desktop Environment

There is many Desktop Environment available for Linux . some of them are KDE, GNOME, Enlightenment, XFCE, LXDE, Unity, Cinnamon, MATE, etc.

UNIX has also KDE and GNOME.

Specifically speaking, GNOME concentrates more on eye candy and user interface while KDE is robust and has various Desktop applications.

Ratpoison is a window manager.

4. File System

Unix is mainly command line whereas Linux has GUI with an optional command line.

The file systems supported by Linux are as follows: xfs, ramfs, nfs, vfat, cramfsm, ext3, ext4, ext2, ext1, ufs, autofs, devpts, ntfs. whereas the file systems supported by Unix are as follows: zfs, js, hfx, gps, xfs, vxfs…etc.

5. The kernel

The kernel is the core of any operating system. The source code is not freely available for any of the commercial versions of UNIX. Quite the opposite exists for Linux. As such, procedures for compiling and patching kernels and drivers are vastly different. With Linux and other open source operating systems, a patch can be released in source code form and end users can install it, or even verify and modify it if desired. 


6. Development and Distribution

Linux is developed by Open Source development i.e. through sharing and collaboration of code and features through forums etc. and it is distributed by various vendors.

Unix systems are divided into various other flavors, mostly developed by AT&T as well as various commercial vendors and non-profit organizations.

7. Manufacturer

Linux kernel is developed by the community. Linus Torvalds oversees things.

Three biggest distributions are Solaris (Oracle), AIX (IBM) & HP-UX Hewlett Packard. And Apple Makes OSX, a UNIX based os.

8. Hardware architecture

Most commercial versions of UNIX are coded for a single, or possibly a small handful, of hardware architectures. HP-UX is available on PA-RISC and Itanium machines. Solaris is available on SPARC and x86. AIX is only for power processors, and so forth.


Linux, on the other hand, has historically been designed to be as compatible as possible. Not only is Linux available for dozens of architectures, but the number of I/O and other external devices that might be used are almost limitless. 


9. User

Linux can be used from Everyone. From home users to developers and computer enthusiasts alike.


Unix operating systems were developed mainly for mainframes, servers, and workstations except for OSX, which is designed for everyone. The Unix environment and the client-server program model were essential elements in the development of the Internet


10. Security

Linux has had about 60-100 viruses listed till date. None of them actively spreading nowadays.


A rough estimate of UNIX viruses is between 85 -120 viruses reported to date.




                     LINUX                                                          UNIX


The Source Code of Linux is freely available to its Users.

The Source Code of Unix is not available for the general public.

Linux primarily uses Graphical User Interface with an optional Command Line Interface.

Unix primarily uses Command Line Interface.

Linux OS is portable and can be executed on different Hard Drives.

Unix is not portable.

Linux is very flexible and can be installed on most of the Home Based Pcs.

Unix has a rigid requirement for the Hardware. Hence, cannot be installed on every other machine.

Linux is mainly used in Home Based PC, Mobile Phones, Desktops, etc.

Unix is mainly used in Server Systems, Mainframes, and High-End Computers.

Different Versions of Linux are: Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSuse, Redhat, etc.

Different Versions of Unix are: AIS, HP-UX, BSD, Iris, etc.

Linux Installation is economical and doesn’t require much specific and high-end hardware.

Unix Installation is comparatively costlier as it requires more specific hardware circuitry.

The Filesystems supported by Linux are as follows: xfs, ramfs, nfs, vfat, cramfsm ext3, ext4, ext2, ext1, ufs, autofs, devpts, ntfs

The Filesystems supported by Unix are as follows: zfs, js, hfx, gps, xfs, gps, xfs, vxfs.

Linux is developed by an active Linux Community worldwide.

Unix is developed by AT&T Developers as well as various commercial vendors and non-profit organizations.



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