Unix and Linux

When AT&T-owned Bell Laboratories developed the Unix operating system around 1970, they were not allowed to make money on it. AT&T was "the telephone company", operating as a national monopoly with guaranteed profits, and they were not supposed to divert money from that operation into developing a venture that might compete with IBM or Univac. So they gave it away to universities for free, but all others had to pay $38,000 for a magnetic tape with the code, without any possibility of technical support. The result was a generation of university graduates that had learned their programming in this well-designed environment.

But "real unix" never broke out of the laboratory. Although Sun workstations were the preferred development platform for many engineers, they found no favor in the corporate information systems departments.

This changed in 1991, when a student named Linus Torvalds at the Helsinki Technical University created a small system that looked indistinguishable from Unix, but ran on a standard PC, and gave it away. In a couple of years, Linux swept the world, and by now it has pushed the MacIntosh system from the number two spot behind Windows.

Here are some links to Linux information:

And some links to the history of Unix:
Revision history:
	$Log: linux.htm,v $
	Revision 1.3  2000/08/15 01:28:23  lars
	These files now live in ../comphist/
	Revision 1.2  1999/08/20 05:04:08  lars
	Added links to Dennis Ritchie's history articles.
	Revision 1.1  1999/07/21 17:19:11  lars
	Add page for Linux, BeOS. Update Windows page.