Unix vs Linux – Difference and Comparison

What is Unix?

Unix is a globally used operating system that was developed in the late 1960s. The main function of Unix is to serve as a communicational bridge between the user and the computer. In Unix, all resources within a system are controlled by a unit called the kernel. The communication between a user and the kernel is done with the medium of the shell – a specialized program integrated into Unix. The specialty of Linux lies in its being partially open source under the license.

The shell uses a command-line interface to receive commands provided by the user and then convert them into a language comprehensible by the system. Unix comes in a variety of versions, including HP-UX and Solaris Unix. Unix is designed to provide the user an environment in which he can simultaneously perform tasks. Users can, therefore, multitask in Unix. As for the interface, it remains the same in Unix. Therefore, its updates come at a slower pace.

Unix features a full-fledged data management system in which all data is stored in the form of files. These files are created to be organized in different directories in the system. This whole system of data management is terminologically called the filesystem. Unix is empowered with an array of software tools to increase its productivity and utility.

What is Linux?

Linux is a multipurpose operating system that is virtually present in almost everything you use, from your computers to smartphones. It was developed in the mid of 1990s and has undergone significant developments since then. It is a licensed open-source OS and, most interestingly, the underlying structure of Android. Like any other OS, Linux functions to regulate the resources allocated to the hardware of a system.

The whole design of Linux incorporates many components, from the bootloader to the graphical server. The bootloader allows your computer to boot. The kernel in Linux serves as the nucleus of the whole OS. Its graphical server visualizes several graphics on your screen. Daemons in Linux imply different background services that start at the boot. Then comes the desktop environment and applications where the actual work is done.

Since Linux is open source, it can be modified and redistributed by developers. You are allowed to employ the OS for any purpose without seeking any approval. Other benefits of Linux include availability at low cost, easy interface, unbeatable performance, impenetrable security, stable working, and frequent updates. This is why Linux is the choice of millions around the globe who are into computer technology in one way or another.

Difference Between Unix and Linux

  1. Unix was developed in the 1960s, whereas Linux came later in the mid-1990s.
  2. Unix is a partially open-source OS, whereas Linux is fully open-source.
  3. Unix has an unchanging interface, whereas Linux’s interface changes over time.
  4. Unix has infrequent software updates, whereas Linux rolls out frequent updates.
  5. Unix has higher system requirements, whereas Linux demands lesser in it.

Comparison Between Unix and Linux

Parameters of ComparisonUnixLinux
History & OriginIn the 1960s, Dennis Ritchie and Ken ThompsonIn the mid-1990s, Linus Torvalds
LicensePartially open-sourceFully open-source
Software UpdatesInfrequentFrequent
System RequirementsRelatively HigherComparatively Lower


  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.5555/191771
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=uwNVAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT6&dq=linux&ots=YJKE7SEUHf&sig=3118roFfpfd9zgoGAk9HfUeZWCk