Friday, February 26, 2010
The Triumph of Unix. Wha-?
Unix? What's Unix? For those of you who already know, you can skip this first paragraph. Unix has always been the operating system of choice for engineering and science. It's a classic hard-to-learn but very powerful system for running a computer.
Doesn't Windows still dominate? Well, yes. But here's a big but.
The internet was born on Unix. That's why URLs have slashes to separate directories instead of the backslashes of Windows (it always bothers me when customer service reps tell me to use backslashes when they read off URLs to me. I always tell them they don't have backslashes, and they don't respond.) That must really irk Microsoft. URLs are basically Unix syntax-- no spaces, domain addresses that end in .com and .edu.
Email started on Unix. Back then it was called E-Mail. You used a program called mail, or a slightly better one called Mail. In 2010, Macs use mail.app. What will they come up with next? Only time will tell...
Unix was the first OS (as far as I can tell) to use usenames and passwords to get into accounts. Now everybody's doin' it!
(have trouble remembering them all? Make a googledoc at doc.google.com and keep them all in a file called "passwords." )
Linux is getting more user friendly and more popular It's got the same basic interface as Unix distributions. I was tickled when even Wal-Mart was selling netbooks with linux on them.
Finally, Mac OS is basically Unix, under the hood. Jobs based his NeXT step OS for the NeXT machine on Unix. When he got back to Apple in 1997, he basically made MacOS X from NeXT. I belileve it uses a version of linux, Free BSD, under the hood. You can get a terminal window on a mac and type Unix commands!
The Android OS is on 60,000 phones shipping per day as of February, 2010. It's based on linux.
Unix is great for everything but ease of learning and UI. It's great to see its influence.
Pictured is rapper Kook Keith.
I think this is possibly the nerdiest post I have ever written. Except for Kool Keith.
Kool Keith is always ill.