An overview of the system

Origins of the UNIX system

The UNIX system evolved over a twenty-year period, and a distinctive philosophy emerged among the programmers who developed it. Unlike previous operating systems, the UNIX system was designed to be consistent; while it may initially look complex, once you understand the interrelation between the components, and learn to reason along the same lines as the developers, you will find the UNIX system straightforward to use. This is because the consistency of design was pursued at all levels, and the same general design philosophy was applied to virtually all the components of the system.

The UNIX operating system grew through several generations. The very first implementation of UNIX, by Ken Thompson of Bell Labs in 1970, ran on a DEC PDP-7 minicomputer with only 8KB of RAM and a magnetic tape drive.

Today, large UNIX systems run on everything from personal computers to mainframes more than a billion times as powerful as the first system. This highlights the three most important characteristics of the UNIX philosophy:

This design philosophy is explained below, with examples of how to apply it to everyday problems in using and understanding the SCO OpenServer system.
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SCO OpenServer Release 5.0.7 -- 11 February 2003