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  3. The short answer is no. But in years gone by, that probably was something that was a bit of just a general opinion out there that Linux programmers, people who understood Linux very well were the expert developers.

    But that's sort of changed these days with the advent of modern tools, which are available generally on all three platforms, certainly on Windows, Mac and in many cases on Linux. The requirement to know and understand Linux to be considered an expert developer isn't really there.

    I mean it won't hurt to have the skills, because depending on where you go to work, we will find that they all will have a particular environment. You might work for a particular company, and they're focused on Linux, that's their infrastructure, that's their development environment. So obviously in that scenario, you'd need to understand and be productive in Linux. In other cases, and what I've seen largely out there, is many shops actually have a mixture. They have Windows desktop machines for most developers to do their basic development work, and they've certainly got Linux machines as well for perhaps for the deploying applications they're creating, or for specialized people for particular tasks, system admins and so forth who are using Linux.

    So in general, no, you don't need to be a Linux, basically a Linux user or guru to be considered an expert developer these days. Just one final thing I'll add though, try and get used to even if you're using a Windows machine or a Mac, try getting up to speed a little bit with the command line. That can be really useful because a lot of programming out there these days, programming shops, will have a need to use command lines. They use the command line to access things. You certainly won't be creating programs completely at the command line, because that's why we've got modern IDEs like IntelliJ and Eclipse and so forth. They have got so much functionality built in to make it much easier for developers to be productive.

    You won't need to do all your programming in there, but if you know the basics of a command line tool how to navigate into different folders, copy files and so forth, you can be quite productive. And to give you a bit of a background, that's really where I've come from, I've focused largely on the command line, so I ran Linux myself for a number of years as my desktop platform. These days I'm using Macs, but I still do a lot of my work at the command line, because that's what I'm used to. Those are skills you don't necessarily need to have, but if you've got them, they'll probably be considered a bonus on your resume.

  4. The main difference most people are concerned about is that Unix is a proprietary OS, while Linux is open source.

    Unix was originally written as a networking OS. For a very long time, it was the primary operating system for much of the Internet. Being proprietary, it can cost as much as $20,000 USD (yes, that's thousand) for a mainframe system. The end user is not authorized to modify the kernel or much of the underlying code in any way, as it's a violation of the license.

    The initial Linux kernel was written in 1991 by a Finnish student named Linus Torvalds, and was meant to be both a clone of the Unix system, yet free for anyone to use and modify as needed. In a way, it's one of the most well known crowdsourcing projects, since many hands have taken the original kernel and improved on it for many uses. The "license" dictated by Torvalds is simply to make the modified source code freely available to everyone, which is why so many software companies have their finished product AND the source code available for download on their site, without charge. Many will ask for donations, but it's not required.

    In truth, these two differences are really the biggest ones. Technically, Linux was only the kernel, which is the basic framework for which the entire OS operates on, while Unix was the full package. However, "Linux" has come to encompass the whole package, also.

    Some minor differences lie in the tools and other software provided with each installation. These tools may operate a bit differently from each other, but in general, each does very similar things. Unix provides somewhat more advanced boot options, but mostly because the majority of Unix systems have a more advanced BIOS.

    Linux and Unix both share a great deal of similarities, such as the shell, GUI (Graphic User Interface) like KDE or Gnome, and can both use many of the same programs, such as Open Office, along with development tools (Perl, Python, C++ compilers).

    For most home users with desktops and laptops, using one of them many Linux flavors is nearly the same as using Unix, but a lot less expensive. Many small and medium networks also use Linux, since it has the same power and tools Unix does.