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Chapter 20. Using Basic Unix Commands > Understanding UNIX and Mac OS X

Understanding UNIX and Mac OS X

When working on a Macintosh, you operate using an easy-to-use interface that guides you though your daily tasks. If you want to open MS Word, and you've placed it in the Dock, all you have to do is move your cursor into the Dock, and click on the MS Word icon. While elegant interfaces are not new to the Macintosh, what's going on in the background has totally changed.

When Apple created an operating system for Macintosh computers, they used UNIX; when they created OS X, they beefed it up, and gave users easier access to the internal system of codes that operate the computer. Bell Labs' Ken Thompson developed UNIX in 1969, and with the help of Dennis Ritchie, the inventor of the "C" programming language, they rewrote UNIX entirely in "C" so it could be ported to different computers. In 1974, UNIX was licensed to universities for educational purposes, and over the years, people added and improved the language, until it spread into the commercial world. Today dozens of different UNIX versions are around; each with unique qualities, yet still staying faithful to the original AT&T version. All of the versions were based on AT&T's System V, Berkeley System Distribution (BSD) UNIX, or a hybrid of both.


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