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Running UNIX

  1. Jun 23, 2005 #1
    I'm thinking about running unix as a virtual machine. What is a good distribution that I should start with? I was looking at FreeBSD. By the way I don't know if I'm confusing my terminology with unix, so is there a "unix" from the open group and are the others (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc.) just "unix-like" in nature?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2005 #2


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    Unix has many branches such as the *BSDs, Solaris, AIX, etc.

    The *BSDs and Solaris are available for free on the internet.
  4. Jun 23, 2005 #3


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    The only real "standard" among Unix-like operating systems is POSIX, the Portable Operating System Interface. Almost all operating systems that are described with the terms "Unix" and "Unix-like" are POSIX-compliant, and will run the vast majority of the Unix world's software without modification.

    Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and so on are all POSIX-compliant.

    - Warren
  5. Jun 23, 2005 #4


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    We could also distinguish further:

    Essentially, there's two "streams" of the original UTS (Bell Labs UNIX Time Sharing System): SystemV by AT&T and BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution -- you can guess where this comes from). All of the BSDs, old SunOS, etc. are all very BSD-like. Solaris is pure SystemV; IRIX is mixture between BSD and SystemV, as is Linux, as well.

    One of the main characteristics that distinguishes a SystemV-like and BSD-like system from another is the startup-shutdown procedure. SystemV and BSD, both, have very different startup-shutdown methods. SystemV also does file locking, job control, and tons of other stuff rather differently than BSD. POSIX tries to bridge the gap between SystemV and BSD by establishing a multitude of standards: common commands with similar syntax, POSIX-compliant libc, along with multithreading mechanisms (something Linux hasn't had until a few years ago).

    Most of this, though, isn't really relevant to you at all. I assume you're running an x86 system, therefore, you'll be confined to all the free, open-source UNIX derivatives like Linux, and the *BSDs and so fourth. You won't be able to run IRIX or any of the other propiertary UNIX derivatives; however, Solaris is also an option that I highly recommend if you want a decent UNIX experience. It runs under VMware rather nicely, as you can see:

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  6. Jun 23, 2005 #5
    I see you have a sunsystem avatar, no wonder you highly recommend it

    I plan on doing electical and computer engineering (plus low-level coding), would linux/unix give me a better environment to run tools, and develop technical software too? In other words is the *nix environment better for hardcore technical stuff?
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