We use the operating system in our daily life. Every mobile and computer run by the operating system. There are various types of operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Ubuntu, UNIX, Android, iOS, and blackberry OS.
In this post, I will discuss the UNIX operating system.
History of UNIX operating system
In the 1960s, the Multics operating system was developed by MIT, General electric motors and AT&T labs. The problem with Multics was that it uses high resources, expensive hardware and was targeted to a few users. After the failure of Multics, Ken Thompson get ideas from Multics and used B language to make the basics of UNIX OS. Later Dennis Ritchie in 1973 made C language and written all the code of UNIX in C language. As the code of UNIX was open source so many companies and people start using the UNIX code and make some customization and developed their OS. So with time, many variants of UNIX become available in the market including Linux, Ubuntu, Chrome OS and macOS.
Some pros and cons of UNIX are explained below.
Advantages of UNIX operating system
Many big online stores use UNIX or Linux servers to host their websites. UNIX has also used to manage mobiles and electronic machines.
As UNIX is made from using C language so it is a highly portable OS. You can use this OS on any PC or MAC computers. C is a very popular language and most programmers can work easily in this language. You can communicate with hardware by using the C language.
UNIX use less memory while running sophisticated programs. UNIX OS can handle virtual memory nicely. The virtual memory expands as more programs come into the main memory. Most of the tasks in UNIX is done by using fewer resources.
Less code to execute:
In GUI (graphical user interface), we sometimes need many mouse clicks to perform some specific task but in the case of UNIX we can simply write one command in CLI (command line interface) and that task is done.
Files used everywhere:
All type of data is stored in files i.e. all devices and terminal are stored in files. Working with files in OS becomes fast and can be easily managed by UNIX.
Ideal for web hosting:
As UNIX OS is free and secure so it is widely used by web hosting companies. Many web hosting servers use utilities like DNS (Domain Name Server), DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and the webserver.
Safe and secure:
UNIX provides a safe and secure platform in which multiple users can interact with the servers online without any security issues. The interaction with the UNIX servers is fast and without any bugs. UNIX uses UID and GID for controlling permissions for users and files are accessed by users through these permissions
No anti-virus needed:
As you know that Chrome OS, macOS, Linux, Ubuntu and android are developed by using UNIX OS. These OS are considered safe from any virus. You don’t need to install any anti-virus in newly build Chrome OS.
There are many online servers, electric machines where user interaction is not involved. UNIX is an ideal choice for machines and devices where no or fewer user interactions are involved. UNIX can manage the automatic working of systems very well.
Supports multiple users:
In UNIX every user needs a username password to use the OS. Every file is protected from unauthorized use. Multiple users can log in to the system and use the OS as they need. You can take the example of RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) server and VPS (Virtual Private Server). In RDP and VPS multiple users can log in to the system and every login gives private files access to the user. Every user has a user access control system by which they can access the files securely. All the users can open many apps at the same time and there are very few chances that your system may crash. The owner of the system can set the permission level to all the users and then any user can access the files as set by the owner.
String commands and utilities:
If you want to put text inside binary data and tries to fetch the text then it is done by using string commands and utilities. You can combine small commands into complex commands by using string commands. There are more than 400 command and utilities in UNIX by which you can do all type of tasks.
Looks the same as MS-DOS:
If you have experience in using MS-DOS in windows then it becomes easy for you to use UNIX. The usage of commands and user interface is quite similar to MS-DOS.
You can open many programs in the UNIX OS and all the programs work in parallel using multiprocessor technology.
The utilities for UNIX are made in modular form. If you are a programmer then you can make small programs in modular form and then unite the modules and all the modules will work consistently throughout the system.
Human readable source code:
As most of the code is written in C language and is available as open-source so any user can see and understands the code. The source code is written in the English language. I know English words are different from source code but if you understand the basics of programming and also understand English then you can easily follow through with the code and change it.
UNIX has many popular vendors and standards including POSIX, AIX, and HP-UX.
As UNIX is more than 50 years old so there are many expert developers available that can help you to sort out your problem in the OS. The demand for UNIX developers is also high because most cloud-based applications run on UNIX. Online servers and mobile OS like Android is also developed in UNIX.
Many variants available:
There are many types of UNIX variants are available for UNIX OS. If you are not comfortable using Linux then you can use Ubuntu, Redhat or macOS. Every UNIX OS has some type of different UI. You are free to use any type of UNIX OS.
Used in a large organization:
UNIX is used in universities, research laboratories, colleges and large government organizations. Many students and researchers use UNIX for code learning and get expertise in using operating systems. UNIX is considered as the first OS to use a full-screen editor and editing code online by various people becomes easy in UNIX.
Some other features of UNIX include:-
- UNIX is free
- The file system is hierarchical by which accessing and retrieving files become easy
- The performance of UNIX is better than Windows NT
- Stable database access
- Better handling of internet and intranet in servers
- Internet-client and file server are better managed using Java in UNIX
Disadvantages of UNIX operating system
Not user friendly:
Novice user has difficulty in using UNIX. Most of the work in UNIX is done by using commands in CLI so beginner has to remember a different type of commands. UNIX is solely made for programmers and not for beginner users. Some experience people also feel difficulty in using commands because some commands are very different from their name.
There is not any proper documentation available for UNIX. If the user gets any problem then he has to consult some expert and getting online help from the documentation is very difficult. If you compare this with Windows and macOS then you will get proper and easy to follow the documentation that is available online.
Most of the commands in UNIX use cryptic words. It is difficult for the casual user to get the idea of working of command. Some commands use special characters and understanding commands for newbie programmers become difficult. If you use any wrong character in the command then your system will start doing unknown works that may also delete or change some data from your computer. Some commands in UNIX work in a combination of other commands so if you forget any command then your work cannot be completed.
High learning curve:
The commands in UNIX is much more difficult than commands in Windows MS-DOS and macOS. It also becomes difficult to remember the commands. You have to go through the documentation every time you have to use any complex command. The new UNIX OS comes with GUI but still, most of the work is done using CLI. The apps and software in UNIX are also not very popular and you have to learn them before using this software.
Some other drawbacks of UNIX include:-
- Some drivers are not available for the software
- The UI of UNIX is not so much attractive
- Some variants of UNIX requires most memory usage
- As UNIX has fewer users so most game companies not make games for UNIX. UNIX has very fewer games available than Windows and macOS
UNIX has many variants but still, this OS is not used widely as compared to Windows OS. Windows OS has a nice GUI (Graphical User interface) that helps both novice and experienced users to use the OS easily. UNIX is good at extensibility, simplicity and transparency. If you are a programmer then I suggest you use UNIX and if you have just started learning computer then going straight to UNIX becomes a difficult journey for you.