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  • Writer's pictureblkrishnarao

A Brush Up on UNIX Fundamentals Part - 01 | Unix 101

Updated: Apr 16

The following opinions expressed in this post are my own and in no way connected to my employer. 

For those who have never heard of the word UNIX or those who have heard it from someone (more or less it is one of our Computer Science friend), it is very natural to be afraid of or skeptical about it.

So for ease lets say, its different than Microsoft Windows which all of us are very much used to.

When we compare, the Windows to Unix it is never fair, but  to provide a better understanding of their insights , let us learn about the features of WINDOWS and UNIX .

Multi-user System

In Windows, we generally have one user using the system at a time, In Unix , we can have more than one user working on the same system from different terminals at one time.  


Also its not necessary that if you are running one job you cannot run another one, Unix provides the liberty to perform multiple jobs at the same time.  

So in very simple terms,

UNIX is a multitasking and multi-user system. It is an Operating System that is capable of handling multiple activities from multiple users at the same time.

Having said Operating System, a simple language to explain how/what an Operating System means/works we need to know two important terms KERNEL and SHELL.


The computer program that manages and co-ordinates all the details of the system resources and computer internals is called Kernel or Operating System.


It is a command line interpretation. It basically translates the command entered by the user to a language that is understood by the Kernel.

UNIX Operating System acts as a link between a user and the computer.

UNIX was developed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson at AT & T Bell Labs in the year 1969.

Few Important Pillars of UNIX are:

KERNEL -: It is also known as "The heart of  the Operating System", which interacts with hardware and takes care of most tasks like memory management,task scheduling, file management etc.

SHELL -: It uses standard syntax for all commands and interprets the need of the user and communicates the same to the kernel. A few known shells are Korn Shell,C Shell, and Bourne Shell.

Commands and Utilities -- Basically commands  are syntax which are user friendly and give a user the ease to use them for the kind of activity they want to perform.

Files and Directories -- All data in Unix is organized in Files. Files are then organized in directories and directories are organized in a tree like structure to form a file system.

This basic info on UNIX should ease up the further topics.

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