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POS 420 Week 3 DQs

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POS420: DQ’s for Week 3
Discussion Question 1 - Week 3 (Saturday):
Why do some describe UNIX as the most flexible operating system?
During the past 40+ years, UNIX has evolved into a powerful, flexible
and multipurpose operating system. As it has been implemented in its many
variants, UNIX serves as the operating system for all types of computers,
including personal computers and engineering workstations, multiuser
microcomputers, minicomputers, mainframes, and supercomputers, as well
as special-purpose devices. To understand how to use any or all of them
requires one to understand only the basic theoretical model upon which
UNIX is built. Additionally, there are several features common to all UNIX
systems that make them so popular. These include open source code,
cooperative tools and utilities, multiuser and multitasking abilities, excellent
networking environment, and portability.
Open Source Code:
The source code for variants of UNIX has been made available to users
and programmers, which allows for a great range of adaptability. This
openness has led to the introduction of a wide range of new features and
versions that have been customized to meet the special needs of individual
users and programmers. New features are constantly being developed and
added for various versions of UNIX that are compatible with earlier
versions.
Cooperative Tools and Utilities:
The tools and utilities are the simple commands that one can use to carry
out a specific task or small programming languages that can be used to build
scripts to solve problems. Perhaps the most important aspect is that the tools
are intended to work together and are available as add-ons; many of which
are free of charge.
Multiuser and Multitasking Abilities:

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UNIX can be used with many users or a single user and can also carry out
more than one task at a time. For example, a user can run a program that
checks the spelling of words in a text file while also simultaneously reading
an e-mail.
Excellent Networking Environment:
UNIX offers programs and utilities that provide services needed to build
networked applications. It has proved to be useful in client/server
computing where machines on a network can be both clients and servers at
the same time. Additionally, UNIX has been the base system for the
development of Internet services and for the growth of the Internet.
Furthermore, UNIX provides an excellent platform for web servers.
Portability:
UNIX’s portability results from being written almost entirely in the C
programming language. Because of this, it is possible to move applications
from one system to another with little to no effort.
UniForum Association (1995). UNIX: The Real Success Story. Retrieved
September 30, 2010, from http://www.uniforum.org/web/pubs/pubs4.html.

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Discussion Question 2 - Week 3 (Saturday):
How easy is it to modify UNIX?
As mentioned in my first Discussion Question for this week, UNIX’s
open source code gives users the ability to modify it at will, but the user
must adhere to the open standards when doing so. A user can add and delete
new information or use, develop, and improve its technology. New variants
of UNIX are always being created, which just shows how easy it is to keep
certain aspects of the UNIX system and mix it with other aspects of a
different system. For example, XENIX was derived from UNIX in 1980.
XENIX is a variant of UNIX developed by Microsoft that was designed to
run on microcomputers and brought the capabilities of UNIX to desktop
machines. There is no single operating UNIX operating system, but instead
there is a large collection of UNIX variants. All of these variants share a
large number of features. Additionally, porting software between widely
used variants is relatively straightforward with many of the differences being
in the way the variant was developed.
The most significant differences are in the areas of add-ons that help to
make a particular UNIX variant well suited for a particular purpose and task.
Some of the more common and popular variants of UNIX are Linux,
Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) versions (includes FreeBSD, NetBsd,
and OpenBSD), Sun Microsystem’s Solaris, IBM’s Advanced Interactive
eXchange (AIX), and the Santa Cruz Operation’s (also the SCO Group)
UNIXWARE.

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