I was using Sun Microsystems Solaris operating system at school for the last month. I was also told by my professor that it was also Unix operating system. Are Unix and Solaris the same thing? I looked online for screenshots of both and the results are practically identical to each other, as well as the screen I would look at while on-campus. I would like to add Unix and Solaris operating systems to my resume, but I don’t know if it would make sense if they are one in the same. Please help.
What an interesting question! My short answer is that Unix and Linux are not at all the same thing, though Linux evolved from the world of Unix, and that Solaris is indeed a “flavor” or version of Unix from Sun Microsystems.
To understand how they all fit in, including other systems like Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux, we need to dig into the history of Unix and understand its oft-convoluted family tree.
It all starts out with an operating system from the mid 1960s called Multics…
Multics was a mainframe multitasking operating system co-developed by Bell Telephone Labs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and General Electric. Problem was, it was big and complex. Bell Labs withdrew from the project, but a group of BTL folk, notably Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan, wanted to create something with many of the same multitasking capabilities, just simpler to use. They named it “Unix” as a joke, saying “whatever Multics is many of, Unix is just one of”.
In 1973 Ritchie and Kernighan created the “C” programming language and introduced a newly rewritten version of Unix written in the new high-level language, a huge leap from the assembly code that marked all other OS development at the time. AT&T (owners of Bell Telephone Labs) opted to make the Unix source code available to universities, which created a great amount of interest, particularly at the University of California, Berkeley and its Computer Science Research Group.
The CSRG group jumped in head first and really started to add new commands and capabilities, along with rewriting many of the lowest level portions of the operating system, releasing their version as BSD Unix, the Berkeley Software Distribution. This lead to a huge headache, actually, and a schism in Unix development, with AT&T claiming copyright infringement and UC Berkeley eventually rallying free software developers to rewrite every line of questionable BSD Unix code to make it “AT&T free”. (I know, I was a contributor to the effort)
Sun Microsystems was founded by three Stanford graduate students, Vinod Khosla, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Scott McNealy, but a fourth person joined quickly thereafter: Berkeley Unix developer Bill Joy.
With that team, it’s no surprise that the early generations of SunOS (eventually rebranded Solaris) were based on BSD Unix, but in 1991 Sun changed the internals of SunOS (Solaris) from Berkeley Unix to AT&T’s SVR4 Unix. This was the great SunOS 4 –> SunOS 5 (aka Solaris to Solaris 2) migration.
That same year, a Finnish software developer named Linus Torvalds started developing his own lightweight mini-Unix specifically for PCs that he called “Linux” (though he initially wanted to call it “Freax”, actually)
Finally, Mac OS X is based on the Mach kernel with “BSD additions” thrown in and its own Aqua graphical interface. Mach, for its own part, is said to be “compatible with” Unix, created to be a replacement for the BSD Unix kernel (lowest levels of the operating system).
Frankly, this makes my head spin and I’ve been involved with Unix since 1980. To your question “is Solaris Unix?” the answer is “yes, definitely”. Should you put both Solaris and Unix on your resume? I think that’s a good idea. And add Linux too, for good luck.