Unix Wars, Redux

Linux is not Unix, but since Linux is a Unix “clone”, wars in the Unix world affect the Linux world.

But licensing issues cannot be ignored. For every CPU that Linux supports, Unix or another clone is available. What Linux provides that Unix does not is a unified feature set across all the supported machines. The fact that Linux is licensed under the GPL means that a feature written on one architecture is available to the others, unless it is really by nature architecture-specific—and very few features are.

This feature-sharing among architectures helps give Linux the potential to outstrip Unix development in the long run. It certainly makes Unix vendors sweat, and with good reason. Linux has the long-term potential to cause Unix vendors to cooperate more fully with each other; if they refuse, Linux has the potential to eat away at a large part of their current markets.

Caveat venditor.