Difference between Linux and Unix

Difference between Linux and Unix

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Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Oct 26, 2023 18:27 IST

Unix and Linux are operating systems similar to Windows, Ubuntu, and Apple macOS. In this article we will discuss Linux vs Unix operating system.


Linux and Unix are operating systems similar to Windows, Ubuntu, and Apple macOS. Operating Systems contain and manage all the programs and applications that run on the desktop or mobile. The primary function of an OS is booting, memory management, loading and execution of a program, data security, disk and process management, and user interface.

You can also explore: Types of Operating Systems

In simple terms, the OS manages both the software and hardware functions of devices. This article will discuss the difference between Linux and Unix Operating systems. So let’s explore ‘Linux vs. Unix Operating System.’

Read Also: What is Operating Systems – Types, Function, and Example 

Must Check: Operating Systems Online Courses and Certifications

Table of Content

Unix vs. Linux – Difference between Unix and Linux

Comparison Linux Unix
Definition Free and Open-Source operating system Operating system that can be only used bits copywriters
Kernel Kernel is monolithic. Kernel is monolithic, microkernel, or hybrid.
Operating System Linux is just the kernel. It is a complete package of the operating system.
Interface BASH (Bourne Again SHell) is the Linux default shell. Originally used the Bourne Sell but now it is compatible with BASH, Corn & C.
File Extension Supports various file systems such as Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, jfs, NTFS, FAT, FAT32, Btrfs, xfs, vxfs. Supports various file systems such as fs, gpfs, hfs+, hfs, zfs, xfs, ufs.
Threat Detection As it is community-driven, threat detection is quite fast and resolved by a team of developers. Users have to wait for bugs to get fixed.
Usage Developed for all kinds of work and can be used by anyone. Developed for servers, workstations, and mainframes.
Availability Available in different languages (i.e. multilingual) Available only in English
Example Some Linux versions are Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Debian GNU etc. Some Unix versions are SCO Unix, SunOS, Solaris etc.
Types of Operating Systems
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Functions of Operating System
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Operating System Interview Questions
In this article you will find important operating system questions which are likeable to be asked in interview.

What is Unix?

Unix is a machine-independent, robust, multi-user, multi-tasking computer operating system developed in the 1960s by AT & T Bell Laboratories. It is the first operating system written in High-Level language (C). The Unix system has a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that provides an easy-to-use environment. The much-appreciated features of UNIX are flexibility, network capabilities, security, time sharing, portability, modularity, etc.

Everything in Unix is either a file or a process and can quickly move operating system software from one hardware to another.

There are many versions of UNIX, such as Sun Solaris, GNU/Linux, and macOS X.

Architecture of Unix Operating System

The three essential parts of Unix are Hardware, Kernel, Shell, and Programs.

Hardware: Hardware is Unix Architecture’s most simple and least powerful layer.

Kernel: Kernel is the most powerful layer and the core of the Unix Operating system as it has the power to start and stop the program, handles the hardware using drivers and acts as an interface between user and hardware. It plays a role in memory allocation and manages the swapping between memory and disk.

The two main features of the kernel are process management and file management.

Also Read: Kernel and its types: Operating Systems

Shell: It is a communication bridge between the user and kernel, i.e., when a user writes a command, the shell reads and understands them and sends a request to execute them. Once the program is executed, it sends a request to display programs on the user’s screen again.

There are three types of Shells in the Unix Operating System:

  • Bourne Shell
  • C Shell
  • Korn Shell

Programs: It is the last and the outermost layer of the Unix architecture that is responsible for executing the application program

Must Check: TCS Unix Online Course and Certificates

Must Check: Unix System Basic Course by Coursera

What is Linux?

Linux is a free and open-source operating system that came into existence around the mid-1990s. It is one of the most popular platforms that manage all of the hardware resources associated with the desktop, laptop, or mobile applications. Linux kernel and application can be installed on any hardware and used by multiple users to perform multiple functions simultaneously.

Linux runs on everything from space rockets, submarines, and supercomputers to mobile as it offers top-notch security using authentication, authorization, and encryption.

Architecture of Linux Operating System

The architecture of the Linux operating system is composed of the following components: Hardware, Kernel, Shell, System Libraries, and Utilities.

Hardware: The hardware layer is made up of several peripherals, such as CPU/RAM/HDD.

Kernel: The Linux Kernel is the foundation of the Linux Operating System and is the core interface between hardware and its processes. The kernel manages memory and helps to determine which process can use the CPU and for how long. 

Shell: Shell is a mean, lean, and coding machine that acts as a medium between kernel and the users, where users can interpret commands and load applications, and execute them.

System Libraries: These are particular types of functions that are used to implement the functionality of an operating system.

Utilities: It provides users with most of the functionality of an operating system.

Must Check: Top Linux Online Courses and Certifications

Must Check: Free Linux Online Courses and Certifications


This article briefly discusses Linux, Unix, the difference between Linux and Unix, and the architecture of Linux and Unix.
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What is the main difference between Unix and Linux?

Unix is a proprietary operating system, while Linux is an open-source operating system.

What are some examples of Unix and Linux operating systems?

Examples of Unix operating systems include Solaris, AIX, and HP-UX. Examples of Linux operating systems include Ubuntu, Fedora, and CentOS.

What is the difference in the usage of Unix and Linux?

Unix uses a Common Desktop Environment (CDE) and GNOME as its GUI, while Linux uses a wider range of GUIs, including GNOME, Unity, KDE, and more.

What is the difference in terms of development and distribution between Unix and Linux?

Unix development is not as dynamic as Linux. The distribution of Unix versions is controlled by respective companies, while Linux is distributed by various vendors like Debian, Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu.

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About the Author
Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content

Vikram has a Postgraduate degree in Applied Mathematics, with a keen interest in Data Science and Machine Learning. He has experience of 2+ years in content creation in Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science, and Mac... Read Full Bio


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