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Published by: yuva_sri on Jul 31, 2009
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A computer uses a set of programs, generally called the operating system, to manage itshardware resources (memory, disks, displays, input devices, etc.) on behalf of the user. UNIX is anexample of such a system. It was originally developed as a research project at AT&T Bell Labs in1969. It is a stable, multi-user, multi-tasking system for servers, desktops and laptops. UNIX systemsalso have a graphical user interface (GUI) similar to Microsoft Windows which provides an easy touse environment.
UNIX was designed to be easily ported (moved from one hardware platform to another). Ithas been ported to everything from desktop computers to room-sized supercomputers.
UNIX allows many people to share the resources of a single computer simultaneously.
UNIX allows users to run multiple programs at once. Unlike most desktop operating systems,UNIX imposes strict constraints which keep ill-behaved programs from affecting other  programs and the operating system itself.There are many different versions of UNIX, although they share common similarities. The most popular varieties of UNIX are Sun Solaris, GNU/Linux, and MacOS X. The UNIX operating systemis made up of three parts.
The kernel
The shell
The programs.
The kernel
The core of the UNIX system. It is loaded at system start up (boot). It is a memory-residentcontrol program. It manages the entire resources of the system, presenting them to you and everyother user as a coherent system. It Provides service to user applications such as device management, process scheduling, etc.Example functions performed by the kernel are:
Managing the machine's memory and allocating it to each process.
Scheduling the work done by the CPU so that the work of each user is carried out asefficiently as is possible.
Accomplishing the transfer of data from one part of the machine to other 
interpreting and executing instructions from the shell
Enforcing file access permissions.
The shell
We can interact with UNIX through a special program called the shell. The shell prompts youfor commands and hands these off to the operating system to be executed after you have typed themin. Commands are composed of two parts:
the name of the command itself 
The UNIX shell comes in two major flavors: the Bourne shell, sh , and the C shell, csh. Other  popular shells are derived from these (e.g., ksh, bash, tcsh). Each shell uses a particular character (or string of characters) to prompt the user for commands.The shell acts as an interface between the user and the kernel. When a user logs in, the login program checks the username and password, and then starts another program called the shell. Theshell is a command line interpreter (CLI). It interprets the commands the user types in and arrangesfor them to be carried out. The commands are themselves programs: when they terminate, the shellgives the user another prompt.
Files and processes
Everything in UNIX is either a file or a process. A process is an executing program identified by a unique PID (process identifier). A file is a collection of data. They are created by users usingtext editors, running compilers etc.Examples of files:
a document ,the text of a program written in some high-level programming language
instructions comprehensible directly to the machine and incomprehensible to a casual user,adirectory, containing information about its contents, which may be a mixture of other directories (subdirectories) and ordinary files.
The Directory structure
All the files are grouped together in the directory structure. The file-system is arranged in ahierarchical structure, like an inverted tree. The top of the hierarchy is traditionally called root(written as a slash / )
In the diagram above, we see that the home directory of theundergraduate student "ee51vn" contains two sub-directories
(docs and pics) and a file called report.doc. The full path to thefile report.d
Basic UNIX Commands
The list below presents some examples of basic UNIX commands.
--- lists your files
ls -l
--- lists your files in 'long format', which contains lots of useful information, e.g. theexact size of the file, who owns the file and who has the right to look at it, and when it waslast modified.
ls -a
--- lists all files, including the ones whose filenames begin in a dot, which you do notalways want to see.There are many more options, for example to list files by size, by date, recursively etc.
%lslists all of the files in your current directory, except those beginning with a '.' (period).%ls-alists all the files in your current directory, including those beginning with a period (such as .login)%ls/usr/userslists all the files in the /usr/users directory.
--- shows the first part of a file, just as much as will fit on one screen. Just hitthe space bar to see more or 
to quit. You can use
to search for a pattern.
%moregamma.seqdisplays the gamma.seq file on your terminal, one screen at a time.

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