• Save

Linux Vs Unix: Difference and Comparison

Linux vs Unix
  • Save


Linux vs Unix: Unix and Linux are similar in many ways, and in fact, Linux was originally created to be similar to Unix. Both have similar tools for interfacing with the systems, programming tools, file system layouts, and other key components. However, Unix is not free. Over the years, a number of different operating systems have been created that attempted to be “Unix-like” or “Unix-compatible,” but Linux has been the most successful, far surpassing its predecessors in popularity.

What is Linux ?

  • Save

Linux is a Unix based operating system that was designed to provide personal computer users a free or very low-cost operating system comparable to traditional and usually more expensive Unix systems. Linux has a reputation as a very efficient and fast-performing operating system.

Unlike Windows and other proprietary systems, Linux is free and publicly open and modifiable by contributors. Because it conforms to the Portable Operating System Interface standard user and programming interfaces, developers can write programs that can be ported to other operating systems.

The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software collaboration; typically all the underlying source code can be used, freely modified, and redistributed, both commercially and non-commercially, by anyone under licenses such as the GNU General Public License.

What is Unix ?

  • Save

Unix is a computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs. Today’s Unix system is split into number of branches, developed over time by AT&T as well as various commercial vendors and other organizations.

Unix was created to provide a multi-user, multitasking system for users. The object behind the design of Unix was to provide simple, yet powerful utilities that could be pieced together in a flexible manner to perform a wide variety of tasks. Unix is a family of multi-user operating systems.

Unix has a very strong security and model and relatively simple design, making it popular and fairly easy to implement. Many operating systems are either based on or modeled after the first Unix systems, such as Linux, Solaris, or Mac OS X.

Linux Vs Unix:

What is the difference between Linux and UNIX operating systems?

1. License and cost:

Linux is an open source OS hence it is freely distributed. You can easily download a copy of Linux from the internet or get it free through books and magazines. However, you will need to pay for the server versions and Linux OS for large organizations. You will see the best community support for Linux.

Most UNIX like operating systems are not free (but this is changing fast, for example Open-Solaris UNIX). However, some Linux distributions such as Red-hat / Onovell provides additional Linux support, consultancy, bug fixing, and training for additional fees.

2. Security Level: Linux vs Unix

While both the operating systems are vulnerable to different security threats, Linux is more secure than Unix. First, Linux uses the same characters that are in Unix. This includes the isolation of tasks in a multi-tasking environment. In addition to that, passwords in Linux are encrypted and can be managed remotely.

As an open source OS, bugs in Linux can be easily reported by users and developers. This does not happen in Unix as users have to wait for a bug-fixing patch to be developed. The process can take long unlike in an open source environment where problems and bugs are fixed within a short time.

3. Development and Distribution: Linux vs Unix

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.

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

4. Usage: Linux vs Unix

Linux can be installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, ranging from mobile phones, tablet computers and video game consoles, to mainframes and supercomputers.

The UNIX operating system is used in internet servers, workstations & PCs. Backbone of the majority of finance infrastructure and many high availability solutions.

5.Threat detection and solution:

In case of Linux, threat detection and solution is very fast, as Linux is mainly community driven and whenever any Linux user posts any kind of threat, several developers start working on it from different parts of the world.

Because of the proprietary nature of the original Unix, users have to wait for a while, to get the proper bug fixing patch. But these are not as common.

6. Market share: Linux vs Unix

Market share can be interpreted as the number of people using a particular OS. Even though Linux came several years after Unix it has a bigger market share.

The Linux operating system has been installed in more than 25 million machines compared to Unix which has approximately 5.5 million installations.

7. Instillation: Linux vs Unix

Linux is very flexible and can be installed on most of the Home Based PCs and its Installation is economical and doesn’t require much specific and high end hardware.

Unix has a rigid requirement of the Hardware. Hence, cannot be installed on every other machine. Unix Installation is comparatively costlier as it requires more specific hardware circuitry.

8. File System: Linux vs Unix

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

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

9. Examples:

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

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


Also read:- 5 Best Linux Distributions for Programmers and Developers

Common Things Between Linux & UNIX

Both share many common applications such as:

  1. GUI, file, and windows managers (KDE, Gnome)
  2. Shells (ksh, csh, bash)
  3. Various office applications such as OpenOffice.org
  4. Development tools (perl, php, python, GNU c/c++ compilers)
  5. Posix interface


Unix is very old and is said to be the mother of all operating systems. Linux kernel is also derived from Unix. The major difference between Unix and Linux based operating systems is not in the presentation part, but on how they work internally, i.e. mainly at the kernel part.

The difference between the two will also depend upon which exact versions of Linux and Unix you are comparing.

It’s also essential to state that Linux (and many other Unix-like OS) are free to obtain and modify, whereas Unix operating systems are not. Cost is always a major concern while deciding what technology to use, and Linux has an edge in this regard.

Linux is more flexible and free when compared to true Unix systems and that is why Linux has gained more popularity. While discussing the commands in Unix and Linux, they are not the same but are very much similar. In fact, the commands in each distribution of the same family OS also varies.

Solaris, HP, Intel, etc. employ Unix internet servers, workstations, and personal computer. While, Linux is widely employed for computer software & hardware, gaming, tablet, mainframes, etc.


So, between Unix vs Linux, which is the best OS? It all depends on what you want to do with the OS. Otherwise, both have their strongest points and as well as limitations.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *