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GNU is Not Unix Software Linux

Can GNU Ever Be Unix? 217

An anonymous reader writes "The question isn't whether Linux can be certified as Unix. At least some distributions no doubt can. But who would pay for it? And is it worth the trouble? Jem Matzan asks these questions on NewsForge, and reminds us that the Open Group, not SCO, owns the Unix trademark,"
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Can GNU Ever Be Unix?

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  • by ggvaidya ( 747058 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:42AM (#9857884) Homepage Journal
    can Unix ever be *nix?

    Seriously, for all practical purposes, GNU + Linux is setting the trend now. Ask IBM, Novell, SCO ...
    • by smartfart ( 215944 ) * <joey@joeykelly . n et> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:27PM (#9858049) Homepage Journal
      Right... IBM has seen the writing on the wall, putting Linux on every piece of hardware they produce. Sun also sells Linux boxen. While not traditionally a UNIX vendor, Novell has all but dumped their old operating system, switching to Linux instead.

      I don't think UNIX matters much anymore.

      • UNIX matters (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @02:32PM (#9858666) Homepage
        well, it mattered to me.

        Back in the days, around 1995, my friends and I were looking for any UNIX to put on our machines to learn. We tried an old copy of SCO Unix which didnt work, and were busy snooping till we found Linux just as it was getting popular online. We got into Linux because we were out looking for UNIX.

        Nowadays I've got AIX and Solaris on ultrasparc to play with, so I can finally brag about knowing 'unix', but would be real nice if Linux is called UNIX. Even though SCO has spilled cold water on the brand name, it still carries enough weight, and maturity of two decades, to get attention. Linux is still new to the scene, and UNIX has carried the full weight of the Internet since its birth... that means something.

        Linux means alot more now, so can UNIX be Linux, or at least its former self? Thats possible, if Linux is branded UNIX, and UNIX can once again claim to be a popular flexible modern OS. Cant do that with SCO Unixware.
        • Re:UNIX matters (Score:5, Interesting)

          by boaworm ( 180781 ) <boaworm@gmail.com> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @03:17PM (#9858902) Homepage Journal
          I know that this is not entirely correct, but this is the way it "feels" like for me, personally.

          UNIX is the actual operating system (which Linux has made a very powerful and capable clone of). It could be OS X, Solaris, AIX, *BSD or whatever. Fine, now I have my UNIX station, what am I going to do with it ?

          Of course, I'm going to run GNU software on it. That's the whole point of running UNIX, the GNU software. Killer apps like the X server(s), Emacs, ftp/web/dns servers and virtually any other software you could ever imagine. I'm running UNIX (or clones) to run the GNU software.

          I'm curious, does anyone else share this view ?
          • Re:UNIX matters (Score:5, Interesting)

            by AstroDrabb ( 534369 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @04:18PM (#9859189)
            UNIX is the actual operating system (which Linux has made a very powerful and capable clone of). It could be OS X, Solaris, AIX, *BSD or whatever.
            The thing is, is that Max OS X and *BSD are not UNIX [opengroup.org]. If you look at that list, according to the Open Group, the only recent OSes that are _true_ Unix and allowed to be called UNIX are Sun Solaris, IBM AIX and Compaq Tru64. So if you need a true Unix, these are your only choices. However, for me and probably many others, if you need close-to-Unix, then Linux, *BSD and even Mac OS X are very, very close and will do the job very well if not better then the current _true_ UNIX system out there. I don't think that the Unix name will be that important in a few years. Linux, Mac OS X and *BSD have a name already in the IT market. What would getting Linux, Mac OS X or *BSD Unix certified do for them?

            I do agree with you though about the GNU software. That is what makes a good Linux/*BSD system.

            • The thing is, is that Max OS X and *BSD are not UNIX.

              I don't remember there I read this, but someone once explained that while *BSD isn't trademark UNIX, it definitely is genetic Unix. Linux, on the other hand, isn't Unix at all, but merely a workalike.

    • by mystran ( 545374 ) <mystran@gmail.com> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @03:27PM (#9858944) Homepage
      No, the real question is "SHOULD" GNU ever be a Unix. The whole POINT of GNU is that it's not Unix, it's (or aims to be) something better!
      • The whole POINT of GNU is that it's not Unix

        Not exactly.
        I'd say the point is to be Unix without being called Unix. By being better it cuts the ground out from under the ownership of the name.

        Vastly oversimplifying, and a lot of this is by association with the hardware it run on.
        Unix 1. AT&T Unix. Very expensive and underpowered hardware by today's standards.
        Unix 2. Berkeley Unix. Amazing what you can do with cheap grad student labor.
        Unix 3. Linux. Triumph of anarchy. Product of the internet.

        The name
    • Indeed.

      It'd be more necessary for a Unix company to try and get LSB certification than for a Linux company to get Unix certification.

      AIX, Solaris, Longhorn etc all claim the ability to run Linux binaries as a feature. The last time Linux did that, it was using IBCS - which nobody's cared about for a long time.
    • and get 53 different answers.

      1 from IBM and Novell and 52 from SCO.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lphuberdeau ( 774176 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:44AM (#9857895) Homepage
    Is there really a good reason why would GNU be considered as UNIX officially? GNU has it's own credibility. What is UNIX anyway? Does anyone have a concrete definition of what UNIX is right now (no historical reasons, not the fact that the filesystem starts with /).
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:48AM (#9857910)
      Is there really a good reason why would GNU be considered as UNIX officially? GNU has it's own credibility. What is UNIX anyway? Does anyone have a concrete definition of what UNIX is right now (no historical reasons, not the fact that the filesystem starts with /).

      The UNIX specifications (93, 95, 98 and 03) specifically define what can be called a UNIX. Before then (each number is a year btw), I believe all you can do is combine all the generally accepted unix based systems (UNIX, BSD, AmigaOS, Xenix, etc) and accept that there was a time when there was no really accepted 'standard' and everyone just did thngs a similar way
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by alangmead ( 109702 ) * on Sunday August 01, 2004 @01:18PM (#9858270)

        Before the Open Group had the trademark and developed the certification process, AT&T held the trademark and might allow AT&T source licensees to use it. In the later years, they had a certification process that became the initial Open Group certification. When AT&T owned it, anything marked as Unix had some amount of AT&T code as its base. BSD hadn't still contained AT&T code, the Net2 [oreilly.com] release was in 1994, so all commercial BSD based systems (older SunOS, NeXT, older SGI, etc.) were derivatives of a common code base . Xenix was a based on an early Bell Labs release. (I don't know where the reference to AmigaOS came from.)

        The AT&T conformance was mostly to prove that when vendors made local modifications, they didn't mess anything up.

      • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

        by andreyw ( 798182 )
        AmigaOS was not UNIX. It wasn't even UNIX-based. It was however an innovative design nontheless, with a message-passing microkernel.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by k4_pacific ( 736911 ) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (cificap_4k)> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:56AM (#9857937) Homepage Journal
      The Unix trademark is allowed on anything that confroms to several standards laid out by the Open Group [opengroup.org] who owns the Unix trademark. Linux on X86 won't comply becuase some of the errno codes are incorrect, being based on Minix, which also uses incorrect values. GNU/Linux for other platforms could qualify as they are, but again, GNU/Linux seems to be evolving as its own standard which seems to be more widely supported because of the freeness and wide availability of Linux.

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:59AM (#9857946) Homepage Journal

      UNIX® describes any operating system sold under a brand licensing [opengroup.org] agreement with the Open Group. This requires the product to pass a checklist [opengroup.org] that includes certification to the Single UNIX Specification [unix.org] (free reg. req.) on a given set of supported hardware, based in part on product testing [opengroup.org], and payment of brand fees pursuant to the Trademark Licensing Agreement [opengroup.org] (PDF). Often these brand fees [opengroup.org] are high enough to shut out publishers of low-volume operating system products.

    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
      Best reason: The Unix monicker would stop all the GNU fanatics from frothing at the mouth every time they heard the word "Unix".

      Case in point. I'm at a conference. Someone asks me what I use. I reply "Unix". Suddenly their eyes bug out, their ears turn red, and they scream, "no you're not, GNU/Linux is not Unix!!!" Then I explain that I'm not running Linux and they're heads finally explode.

      Okay, that's a bit of hyperbole, but in my experience most GNU advocates (a distinct breed from Linux advocates) take
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:49AM (#9857913)
    GNU = GNU's Not UNIX...

    Have to change that to say GIU Is UNIX :p
  • Can GNU ever be unix?

    I don't know. Maybe we should just ask SCO. They would probably have a reasonable opinion.
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ianoo ( 711633 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:51AM (#9857919) Journal
    If it's "close enough", surely big business are going to do more research than just look at whether it's been certified by The Open Group just so the Linux community can use its trademark?

    The problem, as well, is what to certify. There are so many combinations of kernel, drivers, libc, userspace utilities and windowing systems that any certificate could well be rendered useless.

    For example, if IBM paid for SuSE to get certified, would that apply to RHEL or Debian, if they were using slightly different kernel versions or different kernel patches as is often the case?
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It applies when bidding for contracts, especially government. Government contracts usually require a checklist of features, and if one of them asks for UNIX-certified OS, then people can't make bids using Linux.
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fished ( 574624 ) <amphigory@noSpam.gmail.com> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:54AM (#9857930)
    Who cares if Linux is Unix at this point? We are rapidly approaching the point at which UNIX is a Linux-like operating system rather than Linux being a UNIX-like operating system. I'm more or less convinced that proprietary UNIX is dead as a major force in the market. Moving forward, Linux will be setting the agenda and proprietary UNIX will be playing catch up.

    This is particularly evident when you notice that the major improvements in some recent version of Solaris (8 & 9, but not 10 apparently) is to add more open source software and stability improvements.

    • I'm more or less convinced that proprietary UNIX is dead as a major force in the market.

      You're forgetting Mac OS X.
      • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Fished ( 574624 ) <amphigory@noSpam.gmail.com> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @01:05PM (#9858216)
        You're forgetting Mac OS X.
        No I'm not. OS X is based on FreeBSD and is not Open Group certified last I heard. Moreover, one of the major features of OS X.2 IIRC was enhanced Linux compatibility.
        • I thought OS X was based on NeXT.
          • I personally think a fair way to thi9nk of it is OSX is based on NextStep while Darwin is based on BSD.

            Historically it was:

            BSD -> NeXTStep -> Openstep -> Rhapsody -> OSX.

            However OSX has been pulling new stuff from the BSD tree lately (but exclusively at the Darwin level), and thus its reasonable to consider Darwin to be part of the BSD family; while OSX is in some sense to different than the others to really be a sibling more like a distant cousin.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by archen ( 447353 )
      I think it's less of an issue of who is more like who, as opposed to who makes the right decisions and moves forward. Unix is not the end all pinnacle of operating systems. Posix compliance is a good thing, but Linux needs to move where the community wants it to, not where the Unix standards neccesarily is.
    • We are rapidly approaching the point at which UNIX is a Linux-like operating system

      You mean GNU-like? Linux is only a kernel, you know.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @01:36PM (#9858359) Homepage
      Who cares if Linux is Unix at this point? We are rapidly approaching the point at which UNIX is a Linux-like operating system rather than Linux being a UNIX-like operating system.

      I have been saying that for several years now. UNIX is all but dead. The only commercial UNIX likely to still be arround in ten years time as an ongoing product is OS/X. Solaris will have long since joined IRIX, Digital UNIX and VMS as O/S you can still buy and occasionaly see a minor upgrade for it.

      There is a basic set of core functions that O/S do and this has not changed in principle for over a decade. Log based file systems, threads that work etc are now standard, but none of this was new ten years ago.

      The interesting stuff all takes place either above or below the O/S layer. .NET, J2EE etc are where interesting stuff is happening.

      At the driver level I think that both Unix and Windows have the model hopelessly wrong. We have at last got past the point where we have to recompile the kernel for each new driver. But drivers are still mostly executable code while the differences between devices of the same genre are with very few exceptions the type of thing that can be described by code tables.

      I would like to see device manufaturers get out of the device driver writing business, have a genuinely generic driver in the O/S and discover the repetoire of a particular device by reading a configuration file - preferably one that can be read from the device. From a pragmatic point of view XML would probably be a good match for the task since you would inevitably need structured data and a way to extend the basic data structures.

      Unix once had this with the printcap and termcap files. Unfortunately people just seem to be unable to resist turing complete code.

    • We are rapidly approaching the point at which UNIX is a Linux-like operating system rather than Linux being a UNIX-like operating system.

      Bullshit. Until those commercial UNIX systems abandon their kernel architectures for one modeled on Linux, it won't happen. There are no improvements in Solaris to make its kernel more closely match the architecture of Linux.
  • by YankeeInExile ( 577704 ) * on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:55AM (#9857933) Homepage Journal

    I think it is almost certain that some distro of Linux could easily pass OG's test suite. It is also almost a certainty that FSF/GNU would never opt for it on religious grounds.

    The rest of the thread is now available for stupid /. jokes.

    In Soviet Russia, The Open Group petitions GNU for certification.

    • by imkonen ( 580619 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:15PM (#9858007)
      Is there are particular reason that FSF/GNU would object to certification? I haven't read the 55 pages of requirements, but I didn't get the impression that either "closed source", "not free to modify" or anything else incompatible with the GPL are part of the requirements. If you take a certified version and modify it, you undoubtedly can't call it certified anymore, but you're still free to redistribute your modified, "no-longer certified as Unix" version.

      But I think the more significant point is that it's not FSF/GNU who would have the most incentive to get a distro certified as Unix. As the article pointed out, it's probably the hardware companies like IBM and Sun who would find it worthwhile.

      • it's probably the hardware companies like IBM and Sun who would find it worthwhile.

        IBM have specifically taken a hands-off approach to Linux. They have team members contributing to the 'greater' Linux source trees, but there's no sanctioned 'IBM' brand of Linux. They don't want nor need an 'official' IBM version of Linux.

        The reasons for this are complex.
    • I think it is almost certain that some distro of Linux could easily pass OG's test suite. It is also almost a certainty that FSF/GNU would never opt for it on religious grounds.

      One question I had after reading the article, say IBM pays for certification of some particular IBM-distro. Now, is it IBM who is certified, or is it the distro? If I simply redistribute the exact sources that IBM do (free to under the GPL), am I now a supplier of a certified Linux solution?

      When certification can cost up to ha

  • No. And Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by T-Ranger ( 10520 ) <jeffwNO@SPAMchebucto.ns.ca> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:58AM (#9857943) Homepage
    "UNIX" means different things to different people. One definition would be something that contains ATT UNIX code. Another would be something that has a bunch of certifications. Linux has neither.

    But, the BSDs, and I believe even Solaris and AIX have a Linux compatability layer, or at the very least, "the GNU toolset", GCC, glibc, etc. Of course you wont beable to run IA32 binaries on a UltraSPARC, regardless of the compatability layer, but you could run IA32/Linux stuff on IA32/*BSD, or SparcLinux stuff on a Solaris box.

    I guess Im trying to say, given that lots of things can run Linux binaries, can cleanly compile Linux targeted sources, Linux + GCC + glibc may be a better standard to target then POSIX and whatnot. It is definitly more modern. Or to put things another way, UNIX is irrelevent, the question shoud be: can UNIXes ever be Linux?

    • Re:No. And Yes. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kscguru ( 551278 )
      Better standard maybe... but Linux + GCC + glibc is an incredibly difficult thing to standardize upon! Standardization at the industry level takes months if not years ... have you seen any one of those three stay at the same version (exact same API and ABI, no patches, etc) for any fraction of that time? Linux (or GNU/Linux if you prefer) is too much of a moving target for anyone to hit.

      Go out and look at industry certifications - they certify against RHES version X, or whatever else the flavor of the m

    • "UNIX" means different things to different people. One definition would be something that contains ATT UNIX code. Another would be something that has a bunch of certifications. Linux has neither.

      It didn't occur to me at the time that AT&T sold the Unix copyrights and the Unix Trademark, but that act was solidly admitting defeat to the Open Software Foundation (now the Open Group) in the Unix wars. The OSF created their OSF/1 operating system to try to promote Unix as an API standard and not the name o

    • and unix means one thing to the open group

      unix.org [unix.org]
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:59AM (#9857945) Journal
    Linux deviates from Posix in several ways, and at least one of them is deliberate - because Linus is convinced that his way is better. Posix can't change because that would break all the existing and past unixes. IMHO Linus is unlikely to change because he believes in the advantages of his way.

    (I don't recall what the particular difference was but as I recall Linus had a very good point. Security? Robustness? Anyhow it should be trivial to look it up - which I'd do if I had the time just now.)

    And I don't see that it really matters, since they can continue as two operating systems and virtually anything will operate well on both, and some things break even crossing between Posix-compatible systems. Linux is doing quite well as is and may end up dominating. The rumors of the demise of the BSDs seem overblown. And who knows what will come next.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:03PM (#9857960) Homepage Journal
    Its just for 'brand recognition' anyway, and Linux has that now.

    If you say 'Linux' to the general IT population, they already know what you are talking about. ( and they also realize the differences beteeen it and 'unix' ) so why muddy the waters?
  • by . visplek . ( 788207 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:06PM (#9857979)
    When GNU is Unix, LAME must be an MP3 encoder and WINE must be an emulator.
  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:07PM (#9857983) Homepage
    What's the point? To be facetious, Unix is old and busted, linux is the new hotness. Instead of being focused on the past, look to the future. Being stamped "Unix" doesn't have the same meaning today as it did ten years ago. Bean counters today aren't asking about a Unix solution but a Linux one. Its the tech buzz word of the last 5 years. To the general public Linux has better name recognition than Unix. In fact, I commonly hear non-tech people referring to real Unix systems as "Linux".
  • Nope. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:11PM (#9857998)

    One of the reasons that GNU's Not Unix is because intentionally or not, a lot of the GNU tools differ from and are often outright incompatible with their counterparts from the original Unix and its descendents. There would be a lot rewriting and outright disposal of some of the primary features (or "incompatible extensions", as we would say if this were Microsoft) of the GNU utilities and libraries. These changes would also break compatibility in innumerable ways just among various pieces of GNU software. File formats would have to change. (gtar archives, Makefiles, etc)

    The GNU project was a good idea with a good mission, but specifically calling it "GNU's Not Unix" really backfired on them in this aspect because Unix as we know it today is now more popular than it's ever been among both geeks and the corporate world.
    • And not just tools. The GNU part in GNU/Linux consists not only of tools but crucial system libraries such as the C library. GNU has its extensions also there. And of course the GCC has its own features. This is not much of a problem because GNU is Free and it runs under different platforms and kernels.
    • The GNU project was a good idea with a good mission, but specifically calling it "GNU's Not Unix" really backfired on them in this aspect because Unix as we know it today is now more popular than it's ever been among both geeks and the corporate world.

      Which of course expains why LINUX is growing at the expense of UNIX. It also explains why UNIX companies are using LINUX in places they previously would have used their own proprietary version of UNIX in. It also explains why LINUX is in more homes than UNIX
  • by foobsr ( 693224 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:15PM (#9858010) Homepage Journal
    If you ask google [google.de] , it does not seem a good idea. SCO comes up first.

  • Paying for unix? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cow007 ( 735705 )
    Free BSD as the name suggests IS free. Unix is not a valad trademark beacause beacause of its many forks and variations it has become a generic term. IMHO I think the people at SCO and Sony (with its joke of a digital music player) fell off the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. Protecting your copyrights has become difficult these days. In a world of convergance, reverse engineering and "hey that was my idea" tactics A review of copyright laws and procedures needs to take place. If we come t
  • The GNU people would just have to think up a new name, and then we'd have to put THAT in front of Linux. Not to mention it would probably be another fucking self-referential acronym :)
  • A better question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:48PM (#9858147)
    Is what should GNU be. Not to be pedantic but if you have done real work with more than one GNU/Linux distribution you have run into compatibility issues. Its a fact of life and an impediment to the progress of GNU's penetration.

    If standardization is a good thing (I think it is, but your opinion may vary) how should The GNU/Linux world go about it, and what parties should certify. Right now there are the DeFacto standards (Redhat/slackware/Suse/Mandrake) of the big distributions. The problem with these defacto standards is eventually the game collapses. There have been attempts to have multiparty standards (United linux comes to mind) but those for various reasons havent made a big push.

    You can allready see the problems in setting a GNU/linux standard when there are vicious arguments over naming it Linux or GNU/Linux. Just who is going to be able to make decisions on filepaths, naming conventions, and library depencies and then shove it down the throats of the contrarians.

    So before you ask can "GNU be Unix", you need to ask does GNU want to be standard, Who's standard, and does that standard want to be close enough to Unix to comply.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @12:59PM (#9858195) Homepage Journal
    No Linux distribution has bothered to achieve Unix branding because it's simply not important anymore. People who purchase Unix systems know what Linux is and they know it's the best and fastest growing Unix-like system out there. More importantly, they know that the applications they use have been tested on Linux, probably as a top-tier platform, often as the recommended platform (see Oracle). That being the case, why would a Unix certification from The Open Group make any difference?

    Meanwhile, commercial Unix vendors are going out of their way to achieve Linux compatibility, at either the source or binary level. Linux is quickly becoming the standard to which other Unices are compared. This means two things:
    • The Open Group and its branding are irrelevant
    • Richard Stallman is effectively wrong: GNU is Unix. Except in the real world we don't call it GNU, we call it Linux.
  • What's the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by billsf ( 34378 ) <billsf.cuba@calyx@nl> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @01:01PM (#9858201) Homepage Journal
    This is redundant, but not knowing what its going to cost beforehand is the downfall of Open Group. $45,000 is one thing, half a million is another matter.

    Linux has indeed been repackaged and registered. (To avoid flames from those that don't already know, I won't say which ones.) Linux as in say Gentoo and BSD in say FreeBSD are very successful now and it would be hard to justify the value in risking so much money for a seemingly worthless qualification.

    I'm sure Suse (Novel) and Redhat will actually seek registration as commercial products. If X/Open would agree to fixed priced terms, they would do far more business. (Are you seeing this Open Group?) All things considered, this is like the MSCE scam and might have a negative impact.

    The above mentioned BSD and Linux have treated me very well on a number of hardware platforms. Keep up the good work.

  • UNIX 2003 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taj ( 32429 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @02:12PM (#9858556) Homepage

    Is the branding alive or not?

    What Unix passes Unix 2003? OK. Who passed UNIX 98? Get the picture? Its going to cost ~$0.5M when all said and done. What advantage is there? Some of the 'UNIX' systems out there have not passed a checklist in over a decade.

    Linux does not need people who dont code deciding what is right and wrong in expensive ongoing beurocratic processes. Things are decided much faster in open forums which document the process in ample detail.

    Linux does deviate but given a coin toss, it goes with the previous 'standards.' If the legacy means does not make sense, its ignored and documented.

    The UNIX branding made sense with legacy closed source Unix systems. It provided a level of trust that customers could drop to without even (imagine!) seeing the underlying code.

    It was a bandaid on a broken model. The outdated Unix systems deviated but the customer could only read documentation, not code.

    So systems like Solaris, AIX, HP-UX ... have two options. Continue down the documentation/standards/branding route increasing customers costs $100's/install or just open up the developement process/source.

    If they decide to open up the process, they have to decide wether to join open source projects or try to replicate the efforts.

    'UNIX' is dead. Do we need a netcraft survey?

    I know people are going to say that wont work. "Look at all the forks in apache and perl and python. It will be anarchy."

    Thats proven to not be the case. The problem has always been closed source.
  • What's in a name? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpghost ( 719344 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @02:32PM (#9858667) Homepage

    My first reaction was: "Why the heck should Linux be Unix-certified? With increasing popularity, Unix will soon have to be Linux-certified if it wants to get any kind of market acceptance."

    Well, as amusing as it may be, this thought is flawed. First of all Linux is merely the kernel; it's not even glibc, nor any other GNU tools, or third party packages. BSDs are Unix-like OS, just like Linux(-distros) are Unix-like. Solaris is also _a_ Unix-like OS, just like HP-UX.

    Actually Unix has become a generic term which refers to all kind of kernels that expose a POSIX (don't remember the exact number) interface to userland applications. Any kernel (or microkernel + servers) that implements this interface, can be justly called Unix (or at least Unix-like; so as to not feed SCOundrel or Open Group lawyers).

    The really interesting thing about the hype around Linux, is when we will move on and replace the Linux kernel with something totally different (be it microkernelized, or whatever). Then, we won't have just a GNU/Linux system anymore, but, say, also a GNU/Hurd/L4, GNU/Hurd/Mach or GNU/BSD, BSD/Linux, BSD/Hurd/*, ... system (terminology being "OS personality"/"OS servers"/"microkernel" or "OS personality"/"monolithic kernel").

    It seems silly to use the kernel name only as a brand for all kind of Unix-oid systems, regardless of them using the Linux kernel or something else; but providing the POSIX Unix interface.

    To wrap it up: it's just a matter of names and brands. As other posters have commented before, Linux has gained enough popularity and visibility. It doesn't need to be certified to be successful!

    • First of all Linux is merely the kernel; it's not even glibc, nor any other GNU tools, or third party packages.

      Once upon a time, that was true - when you said 'Linux' it meant a kernel. These days, not so much.

      Technically, the Linux Standards Base includes kernel, c libaries, and various GNU tools (and their versions and interfaces).

      These days, kernel developers call themselves kernel developers. When people talk about Linux, they mean an OS. When people talk about getting a new version of Linux, they
  • Does noone remember that GNU stands for "GNU is Not Unix"
  • by mslinux ( 570958 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @02:56PM (#9858809)
    GNU (GNU's not Unix) has been certified Unix. In other news... Richard Stallman died today of a sudden heart attack.
  • New Acronym (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @03:04PM (#9858842)
    I don't know if this is a new idea, but why not just use Linux as an acronym.

    Linix Is Not UniX

    Similar to PINE:
    Pine Is Not Elm
  • Why bother (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @03:04PM (#9858846) Journal
    Linux and GNU has its on street cred now. I really don't think the people still need to be sold on Linux and GNU being up to the job anymore. Most people wether they will admit it or not *know* Linux and GNU are now as good as the admin or engineer that runs the system, its the support network behind GNU and Linux they still worry about.

    I think whats telling is how often and for how long we have seen Unices shipping with the GNU tools and compiler in the system. GNU is not Unix its something that in most or maybe all cases is inspired by Unix works like Unix but is better then Unix. Getting GNU certified as Unix would in that sense almost be a slap in the face to GNU, although it might still be an endorsement to the Linux kernel. Linux though as stated before does have enough of its own cred that Unix certification will have very little meaning.
  • If Linux fully follows the Open Group standards, a lot of source code would run without change across compatible systems. Say you wrote a specialized, expensive CAD application for AIX. Now you might ask customers to cough up the hardware, since it will be only 30% of the cost anyway. On the other hand, if you can release it for Linux without any further effort, why wouldn't you?
  • The simple fact is that throughout all of this both SCO Group and IBM do have certified products, are licensed to and do use the UNIX trademark in association with certified products with the correct attribution.

    You can help us to remind the industry of the ownership of the UNIX trademark and ensure that its proper use as a neutral indicator of certification for the benefit of customers of UNIX systems.

    To help, is very simple, all you have to do is to publish the following attribution.

    "UNIX is a r
  • "Can GNU ever be Unix?" Doubtful at best. Personally I think GNU is not Unix and never will be. Incidentally, that is the very reason I use GNU in the first place, for I think it is much better than Unix, probably the EMACS alone is better (or at the very least complexier and more feature rich) than Unix. So no, GNU will not be Unix, in my opinion.
  • by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @04:51PM (#9859334)
    Last year the Open Group sued Apple because Apple was advertising OSX as a "UNIX". This was reported on slashdot here [slashdot.org]. Apparently Apple had originally licenced the trademark, but had stopped paying fees and the licence lasped. Apple contended that "UNIX" is now a generic term and that they shouldn't have to pay to licence it. The Open Group, of course, felt compelled to defend their cash-cow trademark, so they lauched a lawsuit.

    So, where is this now? I did a search but even the mighty power of Google can't seem to find any reference to the outcome or status of the case. Does anybody know what the status of this case is? Was it settled, or just languishing on the court's docket?
  • GNU is NOT Unix. GNU is NOT Unix.

    It's all in a name. Why even write an article about when "GNU is NOT Unix" will become certified Unix. This is a lot like having, say anarchists revolt and form a tolitarian government. Next article please.
  • Linux is the son of God.

    Therefore Linux is God and consequently Linux == Unix.

    That would make perfect sense to 60% of Americans...

  • Linux is making a case for itself as being "NOT Unix".

    I saw an ad a while back in Ccmputer Reseller News [crn.com] that went something like: "Do we HAVE to use UNIX for our database?"...

    The implication is that "everybody knows"... UNIX==EXPENSIVE. Linus is much, much cheaper, and you can save $X,000 using Linux.

    Given its history of high price, vendor lockin, and balkinization, why would anything Linux even care about "being Unix"? Linux has buzz, Unix has a buzz. Which would you prefer?

    Unix is a good ancestor t
  • I think a good point to remember is that the UNIX standard only lists minimum requirements for a UNIX. Linux could merely implement these requirements and still be able to innovate.

    Not only would this increase the capabilities of Linux but it could also serve as a way to bring UNIX applications into the Linux world with little effort. Once this is done, Linux can then efficiently replace UNIX itself.

    What I believe the industry needs, is a "modern UNIX" that can compete with Windows from not only a user
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @09:56PM (#9860665) Homepage
    Why would we want to have Linux be a certified Unix?

    When Saturn came around, or Asian cars came to the US, did they try and advertise themselves as "Ford-compatible" or did they try and make a name for themselves?

    This might have been a good idea a good 3, 4 years ago, but not now. 3, 4 years ago, Linux didn't have a market to speak of, and was not much more than an industry-wide toy. Now, it has major backing from IBM and Novell, and even people like my mom (technophobe nurse) is beginning to hear about Linux as the next-best thing. Linux currently offers, for the most part, much more than the Unix offerings. That couldn't have be said 5 years ago.

    The last thing the Linux community needs now is to have Linux associated with an old, outdated 'standard' that is Unix.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.