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Difference between GNU and Unix

Difference between GNU and Unix

In the early days of computing, there was a clear division between different types of operating systems. One camp was led by Unix, while the other was championed by GNU. These two OSes had very different philosophies about how software should be written and used. While both systems have their pros and cons, it’s important to understand the differences between them before making a decision about which is best for your needs. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the key differences between GNU and Unix.

What is GNU?

GNU is a computer operating system that is free software—that is, it respects users’ freedom. The GNU operating system consists of GNU packages (programs specifically released by the GNU Project) as well as free software released by third parties.

  • The development of GNU was initiated by Richard Stallman in 1983 to provide a Unix-like kernel that would be free software. GNU’s own kernel, GNU Hurd, was not completed until 2001 (fifteen years later).
  • However, since GNU components are integrated with the Linux kernel, which was developed much sooner, most users ended up using a GNU/Linux system. This combination is now used by millions of people, on desktops as well as on servers, in companies and in homes all over the world.
  • And more than 90% of its source code is free software. It is important to note that “free” in “free software” refers to freedom, not price. Anybody can get a copy of a free software program and use it however they want.

They can study it and modify it; they can redistribute copies; and they can sell copies, if they wish. In fact, many free software programs are distributed with the expectation that they will be improved and redistributed by others.

What is Unix?

Unix is a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix, development starting in the 1970s. Unix systems are characterized by a modular design that is sometimes called the “Unix philosophy”. This means that the operating system provides a set of simple tools that each perform a limited, well-defined function. These tools can be combined together to perform complex tasks. Unix also has a strong focus on security, providing features like user authentication and process isolation that help to protect users and their data from harm. Unix is used extensively in servers, workstations, and embedded systems, and its popularity has resulted in a large number of variants, including Linux, FreeBSD, and macOS.

Difference between GNU and Unix

GNU and Unix are two popular operating systems. GNU is a free software project that was started in 1983 by Richard Stallman. It is based on the Unix operating system and provides users with a wide range of tools and applications.

  • Unix, on the other hand, is a proprietary operating system that was developed by AT&T in the 1970s. Unlike GNU, it is not available for free and can only be used on specific hardware platforms.
  • While GNU and Unix share many similarities, there are also some significant differences between them. GNU is designed to be a complete operating system, while Unix is only intended to be used as a foundation for other software projects.
  • GNU also provides users with a far greater degree of control and flexibility than Unix does. As a result, GNU is often the preferred choice for experienced users, while Unix is more commonly used by beginners.


So what is the difference between GNU and Unix? In short, GNU is a software platform that consists of all the tools you need to produce complete applications, while Unix is just one tool in the GNU arsenal. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive comparison of these two platforms, be sure to check out our blog post on the subject.

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