Solved Are Linux and Unix the same?
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.