What is Unix?

Just curious....
Heard so much about Unix here and there
so I said,better ask the Pros.
Since I have never seen it or used it
I am a little intrigued...So I would
appreciate a few answers:
What is Unix?Is it operating system like
windows with installation/setup and
the rest?
Does it run on PC or what?
What is it used for...running servers or
...???
Is it true that it is all text run
(something like DOS)?
Does it require specific hardware to run?
Is it useful for home use?
Where can you get it?
So please,enlighten me....
BosanacAsked:
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chris_calabreseCommented:

                What is Unix?Is it operating system like
                windows with installation/setup and
                the rest?

Unix is a name that may be used by any operating system that meets the Unix98 specification from The Open Group or which traces its lineage back to Version 7 Unix from Bell Labs.  There are also a few Unix-like systems like Linux that are not strictly conforming to the Unix98 spec, but are sufficiently close that most people refer to them as Unix anyway.

So, Unix is actually a family of very similar operating systems, each of which implements all the usual OS stuff like memory management, software installation, security, networking, etc., etc.

                Does it run on PC or what?
                Does it require specific hardware to run?

Several commercial and non-commercial flavors of Unix run on x86 hardware, including Linux, BSD, SCO OpenServer, SCO UnixWare, and Solaris x86.

Other Unix flavors run on more specialized hardware such as Power-PC (IBM AIX and Linux), Sparc (Solaris, Linux, BSD), HP PA-RISC (HP-UX, Linux), Alpha (True64), MIPS (IRIX), and StrongArm (Linux).

One of the strengths of Unix is that it runs on so many hardware platforms, from the very tiny (the kind of palm computers that full-blown Window95/98 can't run on) to the huge (dozens of Numa boxes clustered together, each of which has dozens of processors and gigs of memory).

                What is it used for...running servers or
                ...???

Unix is most popular in the web server and database server spaces. However, it can generally do anything Win* can do, and then some.  The one exception is that most Unix flavors can't run Win applications, so you're pretty much stuck with Win* if you want MS Office (as opposed to Star Office, Applix Office, and Corel Office, all of which have ports to various Unix flavors).

                Is it true that it is all text run
                (something like DOS)?

No.  Unix systems actually had graphical capabilities long before anything out of MS did.  Unlike WIn* and Mac, however, Unix systems typically allow things to be controled not just from the GUI, but also from the command line through API's, and through _documented_ configuration file formats.  This allows the Unix programmer/administrator to chose the right way of doing things for their task, rather than being stuck with the way MS or Apple dictates.

This is really the biggest and most important thing to know about Unix.  The Unix philosophy is "you can do anything you want and it won't be too difficult and will generally make sense."

The Mac philosophy is "you can do anything we want you to, it will be very easy, and it will make sense."

 Win* has no such philosophy, so some features are Mac-like, being inflexible but easy to use and make sense, other some features are Unix-like being flexible, not too difficult to use and make sense , and still other features are inflexible difficult to use, and don't make any sense.

                Is it useful for home use?
Yes.

                Where can you get it?

Linux distributions are freely available from www.mandrake.net, www.redhat.com, www.debian.com, www.calderasystems.com.  www.corel.com.  Red Hat, Caldera, and Corel also sell support.

BSD distributions are freely available from www.freebsd.org, www.openbsd.org, www.netbsd.org.  A commercial version of BSD is available from www.bsdi.com

Commercial versions for PC's that are available for nominal fee for non-commercial use from www.sun.com and www.sco.com
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BosanacAuthor Commented:
Can you run Unix on ext.part with
Win/** ??
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chris_calabreseCommented:
Yes, you can run Unix on an extra partition.  However, it must be on the primary physical drive on most Unix flavors.  You'll also need something that knows how to boot multiple OS' like System Commander.
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BosanacAuthor Commented:
Thanx!
0
chris_calabreseCommented:
You're welcome.
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