I often feel the need to refer to both systems "Unix and Linux", with the single word. I am not sure if such word exist?

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  • Possible dup - unix.stackexchange.com/questions/4091/is-linux-a-unix – slm Jul 30 '18 at 13:49
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    should this be a meta question instead? – Jeff Schaller Jul 30 '18 at 13:52
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    Note that Unix is family of complete operating systems, while Linux is the kernel (a small though essential part of an operating system) found in a number of Unix-like and non-Unix-like operating systems, so it makes little sense to use them in the same sentence. That's only why Unix & Linux is quite confusing as the name of a SE site. – Stéphane Chazelas Jul 30 '18 at 13:52
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    Possible duplicate of Euphemisms for unix – muru Aug 1 '18 at 11:17
  • There are various OS-es and "OS standards", with partial overlapping. The lack of uniqueness was always the greatest weakness and the greatest strength of the.... unixes. What you really want to hear, is most likely: POSIX. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Aug 1 '18 at 16:16
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    @Rob - my comment was from before it was migrated, I'll delete it now that it's been migrated to meta. I believe one of the other mods migrated it, seems better over here, IMO. – slm Aug 4 '18 at 15:54

You'll typically see Unix & Linux referred to as described in this U&L Q&A titled: Is Linux a Unix?.

Often times you'll see them combined and referred to as *nix but even this isn't that popular. Linux & Unix aren't the same thing, and so typically they're referred to independently, hence why this site is called Unix & Linux.

This probably covers the topic the best on Wikipedia: Unix-like.


The Open Group owns the UNIX trademark and administers the Single UNIX Specification, with the "UNIX" name being used as a certification mark. They do not approve of the construction "Unix-like", and consider it a misuse of their trademark. Their guidelines require "UNIX" to be presented in uppercase or otherwise distinguished from the surrounding text, strongly encourage using it as a branding adjective for a generic word such as "system", and discourage its use in hyphenated phrases.1

Other parties frequently treat "Unix" as a genericized trademark. Some add a wildcard character to the name to make an abbreviation like "Un*x"[2] or "*nix", since Unix-like systems often have Unix-like names such as AIX, A/UX, HP-UX, IRIX, Linux, Minix, Ultrix, Xenix, Xinu, and XNU. These patterns do not literally match many system names, but are still generally recognized to refer to any UNIX descendant or work-alike system, even those with completely dissimilar names such as Darwin/macOS, illumos/Solaris or FreeBSD.

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    To further add a complication, I question why BSD isn't in the title. – Rob Jul 30 '18 at 13:52
  • @Rob - you meant the title of the site, not the Q? I took your comment to mean the latter. – slm Jul 30 '18 at 14:02
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    Yes, I meant the title of the site. – Rob Jul 30 '18 at 14:02
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    I like the Unix-like word. – prosti Jul 30 '18 at 14:20

No because they aren't the same. UNIX is a trademarked name that is associated with operating systems that pass qualifications in order to obtain that name. Linux is a work-alike system but not the same thing and was derived from Minix which also isn't UNIX.

Similarly, perhaps, one cannot call "soft serve dairy deserts" ice cream just because they are smooth frozen deserts.

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  • Really good observation. Of course they are not the same, but they are similar. Unfortunately, mentioning Unix and Linux together in the same sentence can sometimes be like stepping into a political minefield. – prosti Jul 30 '18 at 14:23

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