UNIX




“UNIX was the first operating system designed to run on ‘dissimilar’ computers by converting most hardware specific commands in machine language into an independent programming language called ‘C,’” Jon Wolfe writes in the Nashville Business Journal. (Wolfe 29) UNIX was the basis of AT&T’s telephone system and the government’s wide area network system. Then it became the basis of communication between engineers and scientists, and eventually the basis of communication for everyone worldwide (World Wide Web (Web)). It has held this remarkable spot since 1969.
However, in the 1990s there are competitors in the market, namely, Microsoft Corporation with its Windows NT product. But UNIX-based software suppliers are not just turning over and letting the competitors win. UNIX supporters are many, and UNIX remains, and will remain a major player in the marketplace.
The unique advantage of the UNIX operating system when it was introduced was that it could (and still does) run on dissimilar machines, unheard of prior to 1969. UNIX also can run more than one program at a time, store complex graphics and databases, and link to other UNIX and mainframe computer systems, including DOS since the late 1980s. UNIX-based systems control various programs written by many companies to distribute information between multiple computers within the network. This minimizes user costs and eliminates system-wide hardware crashes. Some of the original UNIX programs are “still evident today.” (Wolfe 29)
UNIX was developed at AT&T in 1969, primarily for controlling the phone network and handling government communications. Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Systems, other U.S. companies and international companies now sell versions of UNIX that work best on their computers.
UNIX at first worked over ARPnet, “named after its sponsor from the Pentagon.” (Sembawang 1997). The ARPA network grew throughout the 1970s when computer networks from various organizations, both nationally and internationally, began to link to ARPAnet, mostly for transferring engineering and scientific research data. “With the advent of satellite transmissions, the first international network connection was made with the University of London (England) and the Royal Radar Establishment of Norway in 1973.” (Sembawang 1997)
In 1979, the National Science Foundation established the Computer Science Research Network (CSnet), which connected to ARPAnet through a gateway. This system was used for
e-mail and sharing technical information. (Sembawang 1997)
In the early 1980\'s, the NSF created its own network, NSFnet, which added educational links for schools and libraries. However, access to NSFnet was limited to these government or government research organizations. (Sembawang 1997)
In 1992, NSF created Advanced Network and Services, Inc. (ANS), used to manage the NSFnet, which opened up the Internet to everyone. ANS also opened up the potential for multimedia on the Internet through the World Wide Web. (Sembawang 1997)
Once the potential was there, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) began a project to create the international internet. The CERN project operated on TCP/IP transfer protocols developed inside a Berkeley UNIX system. The project was started in the mid-1980s and completed in 1990. By 1993, the internet had become a world-wide phenomenon. (Segal 1995)
The Web allows users to easily browse through hypertext and multimedia located on various computers and main frame systems around the world. Prior to the CERN project, internet users had to know UNIX programming language and move around in a cumbersome UNIX shell environment. (Segal 1995)
The Web can best be described as a “global interactive, dynamic, cross-platform, distributed, graphical hypertext information system that operates over the internet. (Lemay 4)
It operates on many protocols, including FTP, Gopher, UseNet, WAIS databases, and TELNET. Most of the text transferred over the internet is written in hypertext markup language (HTML). Graphics are transferred via standard generalized markup language (SGML) through the UNIX operating system.
No one owns the web, but a consortium of U.S. and European individuals and organizations who support its operation, called the World Wide Web (W3) Consortium, established the protocols and languages that will be supported on the web. (Lemay 12). Popular browsers include Netscape, NCSA Mosaic, Lyna, MacWeb and WinWeb. A URL (home pages, BBSs, etc.) is a pointer to a posting on a Gopher, UseNet or FTP. All of these are currently transferred over the UNIX operating system.
“Today, the Internet is still growing in terms of size and number of connections. It is estimated that there