cover image

History of Unix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The history of Unix dates back to the mid-1960s, when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AT&T Bell Labs, and General Electric were jointly developing an experimental time-sharing operating system called Multics for the GE-645 mainframe.[1] Multics introduced many innovations, but also had many problems. Bell Labs, frustrated by the size and complexity of Multics but not its aims, slowly pulled out of the project. Their last researchers to leave Multics – among them Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Doug McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna[2] – decided to redo the work, but on a much smaller scale.[3]

Quick facts: Developer, Written in, OS family, Working sta...
Evolution of Unix and Unix-like systems
DeveloperKen Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna at Bell Labs
Written inC and Assembly language
OS familyUnix
Working stateCurrent
Source modelHistorically closed source, now some Unix projects (BSD family and Illumos) are open sourced.
Initial release1969; 55 years ago (1969)
Available inEnglish
Kernel typeMonolithic
user interface
Command-line interface & Graphical (X Window System)

In 1979, Ritchie described the group's vision for Unix:[3]

What we wanted to preserve was not just a good environment in which to do programming, but a system around which a fellowship could form. We knew from experience that the essence of communal computing, as supplied by remote-access, time-shared machines, is not just to type programs into a terminal instead of a keypunch, but to encourage close communication.

Oops something went wrong: