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  1. #1

    Unix / Linux history ?

    I know linux pretty well so I was trying to understand what happened before and up to the creation of GNU/Linux.

    What I am curious about is what unix os's are open source.

    Going by this chart File:Unix history.svg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I am wondering other then the GNU/linux , Hurd , minix , and the GNU project what other stuff is open source.

    Like is any of the BSD os's , AIX , HP-UX , IRIX...etc open source? Or is it just the GNU/linux stuff on the chart?

  2. #2
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    While this isn't the whole story, it might help.
    And you might get more info from the references and linked-to pages.

    History of free and open-source software - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    New users, read this first.
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  3. #3
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    I've got a couple of bookmarks that might interest you on this subject. Check them out and see if they help a bit.
    UNIX/Linux History
    The UNIX System -- History and Timeline -- UNIX History
    I think most of the flavors you have mentioned are Open Source but maybe the better question is, which EULA do they use? GPL or BSD or something else. Sorry but I'm not really up to date on operating systems other than Linux in general. Hopefully someone with more in depth knowledge can chime in here.
    I do not respond to private messages asking for Linux help, Please keep it on the forums only.
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    I'd rather be lost at the lake than found at home.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Well my main question from what I have read ( all your links )

    Not to concerned about the licensing weather it is BSD or GNU GPL or LGPL
    Mostly concerned about weather it is possible to get the source to unix distro's other then linux ones.

    Going by your links these seem to be the major unix based distro's that are not derived from linux.
    IBM --	 AIX/PPCi
    HP --	 HP-UX/PA-RISC & Itanium
    DEC/Compaq --	True64/Alpha
    Sun --	 Solaris/SPARC/UltraSPARC
    SCO --	 whatever they call it these days/x86
    BSDi --	 BSDi/x86 ???? Bought by Wind River???
    For Example could you get the source to solaris , or a BSD os's ?

  6. #5
    Well , I think I found it.
    Going by this link

    It seems the only open source unix based os would be all the BSD variants, and just recently the solaris os (i.e open solaris by sun/oracle)

    Not sure about
    DEC/Compaq -- True64/Alpha

    Correct me if I am wrong I am trying to piece all this together.

    Also curious if
    Novell netware is open source
    OS2 is open source
    OpenVMS is open source ????

  7. #6
    Linux Newbie SL6-A1000's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    @Sam111: I actually believe OS/2 is shared-source, IBM weren't allowed to fully release the OS because of shared code between Microsoft that is properietry.

    I've done alot of research in this area, in regards to distro's based of Linux and Unix or Unix-like in the case of BSD.

    I haven't found any unix based distro's that are open source at least not direct derivitives of it. This might be a more detailed timeline if your interested:
    File:Unix history-simple.svg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The closest you will get to a "current unix" based open source OS is Solaris (a fork of SVR4). Either using the current Oracle Solaris 11 (which is awesome, but requires oracle's free registration) alot more functionality and software support than even Solaris 11 express. Or there is OpenIndiana a trully open source Solaris fork, that is based of the illumos kernel, Also really good but is still largely in development.

    The other closest relative to a "true" unix system is Plan 9 or Inferno (derivitive) but don't expect alot of kool new eye candy or anything like that, it has a lack of support.

    However, if your taking about the SVR4 (System V Release 4) then thats proprietry software. The only way you can get your hands on that is through a licence with the companies who maintain and run HP-UX, AIX, or SCO (Now something else, forgotten the name)

    You could also try these:
    QNX: Free for non-commercial use, which run's a real-time kernel. Not new school in eye candy, but it is definitly different. Uses the Photon GUI (Gnome like) and what they call the Neutrino Kernel (Microkernel)
    AmigaOS: Not free, (AROS is its open-source version) Supposedly a really good operating system, though i've never used it. Intend to give it a whirl in my free time.
    Haiku: Also apparently really good, but again, haven't tried it, need an intel (IA-32) archictecture.

    In terms of where these three systems fit into the picture, i am not sure.

    Wikipedia is your friend for this: Comparison of operating systems - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited by SL6-A1000; 11-28-2011 at 01:48 AM.

  8. #7
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Mason Texas
    From a search on unix at the website, the following distro's turn up.

    1. Nexenta OS
    Nexenta OS is a free and open source operating system combining the OpenSolaris kernel with GNU application userland. Nexenta OS runs on Intel/AMD 32-/64-bit hardware and is distributed as a single installable CD. Upgrades and binary packages not included on the CD can be installed from Nexenta OS repository using Advanced Packaging Tool. In addition, source based software components can be downloaded from network repositories available at Debian/GNU Linux and Ubuntu Linux.

    2. NexentaStor
    NexentaStor is an enterprise-class unified storage solution built upon the foundation of the open-source file system Nexenta Core Platform, including the ZFS file system. NexentaStor adds to the open source foundation a complete set of managed features, including ZFS and synchronous block level replication, integrated search, console and graphical user interfaces, and optional advanced features, such as management of storage for leading virtualised environments, enhanced mapping and management for Fiber Channel and iSCSI environments, and active/active high availability. A free "developer's edition" based on the most recent stable Nexenta Core Platform is available free of charge for users with less than 4 terabyte of used disk space.

    3. OpenIndiana
    OpenIndiana is a continuation of the OpenSolaris operating system. It was conceived during the period of uncertainty following the Oracle takeover of Sun Microsystems, after several months passed with no binary updates made available to the public. The formation proved timely, as Oracle discontinued OpenSolaris soon after in favour of Solaris 11 Express, a binary distribution with a more closed development model to début later this year. OpenIndiana is part of the Illumos Foundation, and provides a true open-source community alternative to Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express, with an open development model and full community participation.

    4. Oracle Solaris
    Solaris is a computer operating system, the proprietary Unix variant developed by Sun Microsystems. Early versions, based on BSD UNIX, were called SunOS. The shift to a System V code base in SunOS 5 was marked by changing the name to Solaris 2. Earlier versions were retroactively named Solaris 1.x. After version 2.6, Sun dropped the "2." from the name. Solaris consists of the SunOS UNIX base operating system plus a graphical user environment. Solaris is written in a platform-independent manner and is available for SPARC and x86 processors (including x86_64). Starting from version 10, the Solaris licence changed and the product was distributed free of charge for any system or purpose, but after the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle in 2009, the product is once again proprietary with a restrictive licence.

    5. SchilliX
    SchilliX is an OpenSolaris-based distribution which runs from CD and can be optionally installed on a hard disk or a USB memory stick.

    A search for BSD turns up:

    1. DesktopBSD
    DesktopBSD is an operating system based on FreeBSD and the FreeSBIE live CD. Its main goal is to provide a desktop operating system that is easy to use, but still has all the functionality and power of BSD. In the long term, DesktopBSD wants to build an operating system that meets most requirements desktop users have, like installing software, configuring power management or sharing an internet connection.

    2. DragonFly BSD
    DragonFly is an operating system and environment designed to be the logical continuation of the FreeBSD-4.x OS series. These operating systems belong in the same class as Linux in that they are based on UNIX ideals and APIs. DragonFly is a fork in the path, so to speak, giving the BSD base an opportunity to grow in an entirely new direction from the one taken in the FreeBSD-5 series.

    3. FreeBSD
    FreeBSD is a UNIX-like operating system for the i386, amd64, IA-64, arm, MIPS, powerpc, ppc64, PC-98 and UltraSPARC platforms based on U.C. Berkeley's "4.4BSD-Lite" release, with some "4.4BSD-Lite2" enhancements. It is also based indirectly on William Jolitz's port of U.C. Berkeley's "Net/2" to the i386, known as "386BSD", though very little of the 386BSD code remains. FreeBSD is used by companies, Internet Service Providers, researchers, computer professionals, students and home users all over the world in their work, education and recreation. FreeBSD comes with over 20,000 packages (pre-compiled software that is bundled for easy installation), covering a wide range of areas: from server software, databases and web servers, to desktop software, games, web browsers and business software - all free and easy to install.

    4. FreeNAS
    FreeNAS is a tiny FreeBSD-based operating system which provides free Network-Attached Storage (NAS) services (CIFS, FTP and NFS).

    5. Frenzy
    Frenzy is a portable system administrator toolkit, a live CD based on FreeBSD. It generally contains software for hardware tests, file system check, security check and network setup and analysis.

    6. FuguIta
    FuguIta is an OpenBSD live CD featuring portable workplace, low hardware requirements, additional software, and partial support for Japanese. This live CD is intended to be as close as possible to the default OpenBSD when installed on a hard disk.

    7. GhostBSD
    GhostBSD it is a user-friendly, GNOME-based FreeBSD distribution in the form of an installable live CD. Besides developing the live CD, the project's other goal is to improve the GNOME desktop experience on a FreeBSD system.

    8. Jibbed
    Jibbed is a (non-installable) live CD based on NetBSD. It is built from the latest NetBSD sources from the HEAD branch. The third-party applications provided on the CD are the latest versions, including experimental packages from wip-pkgsrc.

    9. m0n0wall
    m0n0wall is a project aimed at creating a complete, embedded firewall software package that, when used together with an embedded PC, provides all the important features of commercial firewall boxes (including ease of use) at a fraction of the price (free software). m0n0wall is based on a bare-bones version of FreeBSD, along with a web server (thttpd), PHP and a few other utilities. The entire system configuration is stored in one single XML text file to keep things transparent. m0n0wall is probably the first UNIX system that has its boot-time configuration done with PHP, rather than the usual shell scripts, and that has the entire system configuration stored in XML format.

    10. MidnightBSD
    MidnightBSD is a FreeBSD-derived operating system. A critical goal of the project is to create an easy-to-use desktop environment with graphical ports management, and system configuration using GNUstep. The vast majority of the operating system will maintain a BSD license. MidnightBSD was forked from FreeBSD 6.1 beta.

    11. MirOS BSD
    MirOS is an operating system based on OpenBSD and synchronised with the ongoing development of its parent. The most important differences between OpenBSD and MirOS include a completely rewritten bootloader and boot manager, a slim base system without NIS, Kerberos, BIND and i18n, binary security updates for stable releases, and current versions of the GNU developer toolchain.

    12. NetBSD
    NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable UNIX-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from 64-bit AlphaServers and desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent in both production and research environments, and it is user-supported with complete source. Many applications are easily available through The NetBSD Packages Collection.

    13. OpenBSD
    The OpenBSD project produces a FREE, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. Our efforts emphasize portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography. OpenBSD supports binary emulation of most programs from SVR4 (Solaris), FreeBSD, Linux, BSD/OS, SunOS and HP-UX. OpenBSD is freely available from our FTP sites, and also available in an inexpensive 3-CD set.

    14. PC-BSD
    PC-BSD has as its goals to be an easy-to-install-and-use desktop operating system, based on FreeBSD. To accomplish this, it provides a graphical installation to enable even UNIX novices to easily install and get it running. It pre-configures KDE, video, sound, and networking so that the desktop can be used immediately. A graphical software installation program makes installing pre-built software, known as Push Button Installers (PBI), as easy as other popular operating systems.

    15. pfSense
    pfSense is a m0n0wall-derived operating system. It uses Packet Filter, FreeBSD 6.x (or DragonFly BSD when ALTQ and CARP is finished), ALTQ for excellent packet queuing, and an integrated package management system for extending the environment with new features.

    Hope that helps.
    Registered Linux user #526930

  9. #8
    Ok , then for the most part the only open source operating systems that allow you to few and modify the kernel source. Is either a variation of GNU/Linux or BSD variant.

    I know where to get the GNU/linux many kernel's (at a site like or other GNU repo sites) but where are all the other kernels for the bsd based ones?

    I have little experience working with BSD only word with some oracles solaris thats the closest thing to BSD for my so far.

    Also curious what people thing is a better unix/linux system BSD or GNU/Linux?

  10. #9
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Mason Texas
    Try this link, I think you can download the kernel from here. FreeBSD and Linux Kernel Cross-Reference
    Registered Linux user #526930

  11. #10
    Linux Newbie SL6-A1000's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    I'm also pretty sure your can get the Solaris (Openindiana) kernel from the git repository as well. For memory the latest is called snv_151a under the git repository.

    If its not in git, have a look around the OpenIndiana website they should have a link to their source and packages somewhere, I couldn't find but i know its there.

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