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Is there a free Unix (no Unix-like) distribution?

If there is no plain Unix distribution. What is the difference between Unix-like and Unix based distributions?

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6  
What's your definition of Unix? (and why do you care?) –  Captain Segfault Sep 29 '09 at 1:24
    
Actually, I am also confused. I search, but found all OS to be Unix-like or variant. Regards –  kobra Sep 29 '09 at 1:37
    
Anything that legally calls itself Unix has gone through expensive certification, and is unlikely to be available at no cost. Anything you can get without spending money (either on the OS itself or the computer) is not going to go through the certification process. –  David Thornley Sep 29 '09 at 20:38

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The various BSD OSes have a direct lineage to the BSD Unix developed at the University of California at Berkeley, and I doubt you can find anyone who would claim that the UCB Unixes weren't Unix. Lineage doesn't necessarily mean anything, though.

Linux definitely doesn't have any Unix lineage; it pretty much sprang forth fully formed from the head of Zeus Linus.

If you're interested in lineage, this history of Unix is interesting.

If you're interested in being able to say "UNIX" on the package, here is the list of products certified as UNIX by the owners of the trademark:

UNIX 03 Registered Products:

  • Apple Inc.: Mac OS X Version 10.5 Leopard
  • Fujitsu Limited: Solaris™ 10 Operating System on Fujitsu PRIMEPOWER® 64-bit SPARC® Based Platforms
  • Hewlett-Packard Company: HP-UX 11i V3 Release B.11.31 or later on HP Integrity Servers
  • IBM Corporation: AIX 6 Operating System V6.1.2 with SP1 or later
  • IBM Corporation: AIX 5L for POWER V5.3 dated 7-2006 or later
  • IBM Corporation: AIX 5L for POWER V5.2 dated 8-2004 or later with APARs: IY59610, IY60869, IY61405 with VAC 6.0.0.8 or later on pSeries CHRP systems
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris 10 Operating System plus patch 118844-06 for X86 and on, on 64-bit X86 based systems
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris 10 Operating System and on, on 32-bit X86 based systems
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris 10 Operating System and on, on 32-bit and 64-bit SPARC based systems

UNIX 98 Registered Products:

  • Fujitsu Limited: Solaris 9™ Operating Environment and on, on 32-bit and 64-bit SPARC®-based systems
  • Fujitsu Limited: Solaris™ 8 Operating Environment on SPARC®-based Platforms, 32-bit and 64-bit
  • Hewlett-Packard Company: HP Tru64 UNIX® V5.1A or later running on HP AlphaStations and HP AlphaServers
  • IBM Corporation: Systems using PowerPC™ architecture based processors with AIX 5L™ for Power V5.2 or later
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris™ Express 05/03 Operating Environment, SPARC Platform Edition, 05/03 and on, on 32-bit and 64-bit SPARC systems
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris™ Express 05/03 Operating Environment, X86 Platform Edition, 05/03 and on, on 32-bit X86 based systems
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris 9 12/02 X86 Platform Edition and later on 32-bit X86 based systems
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris 9 and on (SPARC 32 bit and 64 bit Platform Editions)
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris 8 and on, on 32-bit and 64-bit SPARC based systems
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Solaris 8 and on, on X86 based systems

The only thing on there that approaches a free OS is Solaris, which you can download and license without cost. The source isn't open, but you don't have to pay for it.

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Excellent answer, but I have one quibble. If by 'Linux' you mean the kernel, then fine. But since most people use 'Linux' to mean, more or less 'GNU/Linux', it becomes misleading to say "Linux definitely doesn't have any Unix lineage." The joke of "GNU's not Unix" is that it is and it isn't, so to speak. (They don't share code, but they share quite a lot of features, philosophy, style, structure, etc.) –  Telemachus Sep 29 '09 at 23:45

OpenSolaris

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opensolaris is unix-like too en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opensolaris –  Mahmoud Hossam Sep 29 '09 at 1:23
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TECHNICALLY, there is no "Unix" You can't go to a store (web or otherwise) and buy "Unix" (or "plain vanilla Unix"). They are all Unix and all variations of Unix. Linux is NOT - that was designed from the ground up to be like Unix. –  Multiverse IT Sep 29 '09 at 1:32
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@Multiverse IT: Technically, there are operating systems that may legally be called Unix. The cheapest way of getting one of them is probably to buy a Mac Mini. –  David Thornley Sep 29 '09 at 20:39
    
MacOS is based on BSD... –  Multiverse IT Sep 30 '09 at 5:07

FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD come to mind. Edit: nope, these are Unix-like.

But now I'm confused. I originally thought you meant truly Unix-based (as opposed to Linux or OSX or whatever). But if you mean TM Unix, then doesn't your question answer itself (No)? Or am I just misunderstanding you?

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the three are unix-like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeBSD –  Mahmoud Hossam Sep 29 '09 at 1:24
    
@Phobia: yes, I was about to update my post. I originally thought the OP meant to exclude Linux systems, but I realized I was wrong. –  Telemachus Sep 29 '09 at 1:25

'UNIX (tm)' is intellectual property. I've lost track of who owns it right now Wikipedia says The Open Group owns it, and they want money for every copy sold, so anything you want to call 'UNIX (tm)' will cost.

The unix-like operating systems all conform to some POSIX standard or another, and are in fact unix enough for your needs. Whatever your needs may be.

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