These popular operating systems are based on Unix, not on Linux

You might have come across some popular misunderstanding of operating systems which makes many computer users believe Unix is the same as Linux. The names of these systems sound quite similar indeed and, on top of that, they also have  a lot of common features. Yet, it doesn’t make them related to each other at all.

If you want to understand the operating systems available to users nowadays, this article will provide you with some essential information.

How are Unix and Linux related?

Actually, the right answer will be these two systems are not related to each other at all. Despite all their similarities, these are two separate projects.

The history of Unix stretches back to 1960s, however, the name Unics with this way of spelling occurred only in 1970s. Since that time, a lot of Unix-based systems were created, yet, Linux is not one of them.

In point of fact, Linux was designed as a completely separate system comprising the functionality of Unix and overcoming its cons while being featured with compatibility with the Unix operating system. For that reason, you can find Linux thus similar to Unix, even though the systems are not related to each other at all.

Thus, you should really remember that Linux is one of the Unix-like operating systems and not is a Unix-based one.

The most popular Unix-based systems

Below you will find some examples of the most popular operating systems which are really based on Unix.


When it comes to the regular users of computers and other gadgets, a great number of them are actually using Unix as a base of the OS X or iOS.

A great switch to the Unix operating system happened in 1997 when the Apple company purchased NeXTSTEP. This is an operating system which was developed on the foundation of BSD also known as Berkeley System Distribution. This system itself is one of the first derivatives of Unix which is actually one of the operating systems particularly close to Unix.

Needless to say, Apple benefited from its move to the Unix system a lot developing their iOS which is successfully used in a range of Apple products including iPads, iPhones and Apple TVs.

Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD)

We have just mentioned BSD as a Unix-based operating system which gave the world such derivatives as OS X and iOS. Actually, the BSD project was started in 1977, however, it stopped its existence in 1995. BSD heavily relied on Unix up to the extent of sharing the same code with this system.

The original Berkeley Software Distribution operating system is not here anymore. Still, a variety of BSD derivatives were created some of which are quite popular nowadays. These projects exist as open-source ones and are used for various purposes. Note that all of the operating systems based on BSD available on this list are licensed under a special BSD licence which is completely open-source. This allows the users of BSD to use the system in absolutely different ways without violating any copyright regulations.


FreeBSD is a feature-complete operating system which means it includes not only a kernel like Linux, but also other essential components such as documentations, utilities and drivers. Although installing FreeBSD by default will give you a programme without a graphical interface, you can run the system with such popular desktop environments as Xfce, KDE or GNOME.


The major aim of the NetBSD project is creating a croos-platform operating system which will work on different types of machines. NetBSD is widely used in embedded systems as well as for servers of a large scale and is not popular among individual computer users.


OpenBSD itself is a derivative of NetBSD and this Unix-based operating system is even more popular than NetBSD itself.

An essential feature of OpenBSD is its transparent documentation and cod which make OpenBSD an essential operating system for the industry of security. In addition to it, this operating system is also great for personal use since it support a large variety of programmes and desktop environments.


One of the first Unix-based operating systems was also developed by Sun Microsystems which is a company currently being a part of Oracle also known for developing the Java programming language. Their Unix product was SunOS developed with a view to being used for server computers as well as a workstation in the first place.

In 1992 the company switched to a new project based on Unix which was called Solaris. Solaris is still available today, however it is known as Oracle Solaris.

Solaris used to be a closed-source project, however, its codebase was released in 2005. This version of an operating system is known as OpenSolaris and it is based on Solaris 10. Even though today this project doesn’t exist anymore, the devotees of the OpenSolaris operating system made their best to preserve it by creating their own fork. This one is known as OpenIndiana and is using the Illumos kernel. OpenIndiana is also widely used for mainframes and large-scale servers.