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Administering a UNIX User Environment

I love the features associated with using Microsoft Services for UNIX. This is because it consists of diverse works that can link the gap between a Window based OS and a UNIX based OS that can be run on the same network. I especially love UNIX because it is a multi-user world and due to the fact that it can be used by lots of people at the same time by connecting from remote locations. In administering a UNIX environment, it is important to know about the user called root and any other user because the root is used as the system administrator which gives one all the privileges to change things on the system. Therefore, if another person other than the root logs in and tries to do anything related system administration, the computer will respond with a barrage of ‘permission denied’ messages, hence in a multi-user environment, the computer will not allow anyone to mess around with it. Some of the important features of services for UNIX that I like most are resource sharing that creates a seamless logical network, UNIX services that addresses interoperability requirements, tasks for users under UNIX and Windows are also fairly similar. This means that services for UNIX provide one comprehensive package able to meet interoperability requirements.


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All the above UNIX services have got me interested and I want to pursue the topic further in order to enable me understand more about administering a UNIX user environment. I feel I need to understand more on UNIX services designed to provide a comprehensive set of tools which are designed to bridge the gap between Windows based computer and UNIX based computers, both for administrators and users. I believe that in this way, I will be able to create a logical enterprise network that will enable sharing of resources and that will be determined by enterprise policies and hence my need to pursue the topic further.

As I indicated earlier, I believe that UNIX is one of the most important OS in use today; in fact the most important. UNIX was invented in the 1970s and since then it has been the subject of research and development. UNIX is not popular maybe because it is the best OS but because it is very flexible which is easy to modify. This means that UNIX is the ideal platform for those who want to develop new ideas. I believe that UNIX nurtures talent out of those who want to learn and develop new ideas. Much of the UNIX success can be attributed to its quick pace of development making it efficient at running programs. Unlike other OS’s, UNIX can perform extremely well on large computers that have several processors as well as with the small computers. UNIX has an added advantage of having all the basic mechanisms for a multi-user OS and this has been improved over the years forming the basis of a new like the NT. I have realized this is possible because UNIX places its burden on the computer’s resources due to its ability to run many programs simultaneously (Burgess, 2001).

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The structure of UNIX Operating System

It is vital that before we understand how UNIX works, we understand its structure. The UNIX system is made up of several components including the kernel, the shell, the file system and the user programs. The kernel is carries out the basic operating system functions like handling communication or accessing files while the shell provides the user interface to the kernel.It is possible to use applications built using UNIX commands, programs and tools. Application program carries many different tasks like those that can be used in governments, education or industries (called horizontal applications) (Rosen, et al., 2006). The UNIX shell has a set of environmental variables used to provide information like the type of terminal being used or the current working history (A basic UNIX tutorial).

Unlike other programs like say, DOS or Windows, that have helpful interactive utilities solving every problem, UNIX has a much greater functionality and provides users with the possibility  of making own choice. This helps people who want to learn a language, although harder to many, this is a powerful menu system for learners. UNIX’s flexibility means that it is quiet easy to write programs as well as fetching free software from the internet that can suit one’s needs (Burgess, 2001).

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Open Source Code

I have realized that the source code for key variants of UNIX is available to users and programmers. This has enabled me and many other people to adapt UNIX in many different ways. The openness enabled me to introduce a wide range of new features and versions. The features are customized to meet special needs. I found it really easy to develop and to adapt to UNIX due to the fact that the computer code for UNIX is straightforward, compact and modular. I believe this is what has fostered the evolution of UNIX over the years with new features being developed for the various version of UNIX (Rosen, 2006).

Cooperative Tools and Utilities

The UNIX system provides has many different tools and utilities that can be leveraged to perform amazing jobs. From the simple commands that carries out specific tasks to small tools and utilities that can be used to build scripts in solving one’s problems. It is also amazing to realize that the tools are built to work together; like parts of a machine. It is also refreshing to discover that the tools and utilities are not only included with UNIX but also are available as add-ons while others are available free of charge from the internet archives (Rosen, 2006).

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Multiuser and Multitasking Abilities

I discovered that the UNIX operating system can be used for computers with many users or as a single user courtesy of UNIX’s multiuser system. Further, it is a multitasking operating system as I was able to carry out more than one task at once. I tested this by running a program that checks the spellings of words in a text file while I was reading my electronic mail (Rosen, 2006).

A Good Networking Environment

I also learnt that the UNIX system provides a good environment for networking. The UNIX OS offers programs and utilities that provide the services needed to build a networked application which is the basis for distributed networked computing. With networked computing, I found out that it is possible to share information among the different computers in a network. That is why I consider the UNIX system to be very useful in client-server computing where computers in a network can work both as clients and servers at the same time. It is refreshing to know that UNIX has been the base system for the development of internet services as well as internet growth. UNIX gives an excellent platform for web servers and with the growing importance of distributed computing with that of the internet, I found out that the popularity of UNIX is just but growing every day (Rosen, 2006).

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I found out that it is much easier to port UNIX to other new machines as compared to other operating systems. Practically, I discovered that less work is needed to adapt UNIX to run on a new hardware platform. I learnt that UNIX’s portability is due to it being written almost entirely from the C programming language. This makes it possible to move applications from one computer to another (Rosen, 2006).    

Accessing a Far Away Computer

Most of the UNIX systems are attached to big Mazooma of networks that interconnects several million computers around the globe. Remote login is possible while logged in from another computer. With two different remote-logins available for the great UNIX, telnet and ssh, the ssh can be used to give commands and access other computers. A file transfer of copies of files is possible from one computer to another. I realized that it is possible to copy files from other computers to mine or from my computer to the others. It was breathtaking to use ftp and scp to copy files from my friend’s machine (Levine and Young, 2004). According to Rosen, et al. (2006), says that a UNIX system is able to support remote computer access running on a UNIX system. One needs to connect to the internet and a terminal emulator application that will allow one to interact with the UNIX system.  

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Text Processing

A variety of text editors and formatters are offered by UNIX.


Although it is important that one becomes proficient in the use of at least one editor to be able to manipulate files, I realized that it is also vital to have experience with screen editor. There are some good reasons for this; it involves an enormous deal about how UNIX commands and programs deal with texts, strings or contexts.

Text Formatters

UNIX has its own principal formatters; nroff and troff. I found out that UNIX system often supports other documentation software like TeX.

The shell as we have seen earlier is used to interactively enter commands. Shell is a full command interpreter and a full-fledged programming language. I came to know that a program written in shell language is called shell script. Shell script is a fun language which involves a sequence of commands that can be entered. Writing and executing simple shell scripts with UNIX systems commands is fun. The shell language is a high-level programming language and thus there is no need to worry about complex tasks like memory management.  Shell script is a better choice for writing relatively short tools quickly.

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UNIX Shortfalls

Like any other operating system, UNIX has its own form of shortfalls. UNIX as an OS has evolved over the years without being redesigned and this has resulted to ‘a mess’ that works anyway.  UNIX is an old OS that contains a lot of not useful applications with the slowest user interface (this is despite its faster development). UNIX is not user friendly to many people but only for advanced users. UNIX is especially for the people who understand about computing because it sometimes seems jargon to many. Despite this, UNIX makes things possible.

The Future of UNIX

As we have seen, the UNIX system continues to evolve. One of the reasons I like UNIX is its ability to incorporate new features and technology progresses. It is my believe that many features, utilities, tools and networking capabilities will continue to be developed in the foreseeable future. Community developers will continue to add new features and capabilities like the OpenSolaris, FreeBSD or OpenBSD. I believe that UNIX variants will further be used for desktop computing and portable computing. UNIX will continue to be used for enterprise and transaction intensive applications.


Throughout the time I used the UNIX OS, I have realized that UNIX crystallizes some unifying concepts and ideas and this is what has shaped its culture, design, user interface and indeed its evolution. The important thing here is to realize that in UNIX, everything is in a file. Today, the UNIX OS is no doubt the geek’s choice. This is because of its ease of scripting, ease to configure, wide selection of very powerful tools and powerful command-line interface. UNIX’s ability to be simple, portable, transparent, modified and robust has helped it persist. I believe that UNIX’s idea is to enable users to write few programs exceptionally well than try hundreds that fail. UNIX has greater functionality and provides users a choice helping people who want to learn a language. UNIX is very flexible allowing people to write programs and use its free software off the internet.

Before I started using and appreciating UNIX, I had the misconception that UNIX does not get a virus but after appreciating and started to use UNIX, I realized that the OS can be affected by a virus. This is however when used by a careless user. If used carefully, UNIX rarely does get affected by a virus. It is important to protect UNIX by using original and not illegal or pirated software. Another misconception is that one has to run UNIX on the computer in order to host the site on a UNIX platform. This is not true; UNIX can be used on a computer still running on windows. Furthermore, UNIX is more reliable to use, it is free to obtain and easier and cheaper to maintain than other operating systems.

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I believe that people should embrace and start using UNIX. It enables especially learners to develop necessary skills that can allow them to be experts in using the computer especially in programming using C language. UNIX has the ability to incorporate new features and technology progresses, I totally loved the UNIX experience and I’d love to continue experiencing the same. UNIX has a great and satisfying experience. 



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