Go Go Go!..
UNIX is an operating system - or rather, its a range of operating systems maintained and distributed by numerous venders.
UNIX differs from Windows in many ways. There are, for example, no drive letters - everything is in one single hierarchy, and devices and network shares are "mounted" into directories underneath. The main focus is also on the command line, as opposed to the GUI, although the GUIs are getting better. There are a range of different GUIs available.
Popular UNIX variants include Solaris, FreeBSD and Linux. Linux is actually a complete rewrite of UNIX, released under a licence called GPL that means that the code is open source. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source
Things UNIX does well:
Server stuff like databases, DNS, firewalls, etc.
Things UNIX does not do well:
If you are interested in UNIX, the best way to get into it is to download either Solaris or Linux (probably Linux is best) and install it. You can either a) Install it onto a spare machine, b)Set up a dual boot with Windows (there are many posts on this site on how to do that, or c) Install it as a vmware image using (the free) Vmware Server www.vmware.com
Once you have it installed (most UNIXes have installation processes just like Windows..) then you can start to explore it. Read up on how to use the shell - http://partmaps.org/era/unix/shell.html - as this is how you do just about everything.
wow ook thanks for ur help. so unix is just the classic version of linux?
and why would i want it?
is it layed out completely different to a windows like with the system tray and explorer.exe etc?
Here you go, this is a very easy read and informative, if you have a few minutes you should check it out: http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
It's the other way around; Linux is a variation of the original Unix OS.
Unix / Linux are great server systems, as the path lengths are shorter and they
are more easily mananaged, both locally and remotely over a WAN connection.
GUI systems have their neat features, but computers without GUIs have been
around much longer and somehow the IRS, FBI, State governments and major
corporations have been running systems w/o GUIs.
As an end-user, you would likely enjoy your experience best with a GUI system
designed for end-users, eg: Macintosh OS X, Win/*
If you desire to learn server systems and architecture, then any brand of Linux
will get you started in the right direction.
I've looked around and found Ubuntu to be one of the best (if not the best) linux distribution for beginners. Easy to use and good front-end. I'd recommend it.
It also seems to have one of the best hardware support too, which is important as most hardware manufacturers only release Windows drivers.
Plus, with Gusty Gibbon (the new verson to be released in October) there are some very nice vista-like GUI graphics too
m$ is no longer state of the art. nor with features nor with power..
with compiz-fusion and a capability of handling 64bit systems i have high expectations in linux..
i use gutsy, knoppix and dsl-n
Hehe I'm not sure that Microsoft has ever been state of the art, but simple people seem to rave about the program side-scrolling view (I dont know how to explain it). I've been to PC World and other shops where the demonstrator has shown that effect.
I think its great that Ubuntu is coming with these effects as standard. And yes, the effects are better. My fav is the 3D cube with the 4 desktops on each side.
And, with this built in, things will only get better!