Administering a UNIX essay

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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.

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 in this way, 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).

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).

Open Source Code

Source code for UNIX’s key variants, not just the executable code, is made available to UNIX users and programmers. Because of this, many people have been able to use UNIX in various ways. This openness has led to the introduction of different new features and versions that are tailored to meet a user’s different needs. It is especially easy for developers to become accustomed to UNIX because the machine’s code for UNIX is usually easy, modular, and compact. This is what has created the evolution of UNIX. New features are constantly developed for various versions of UNIX, with most of these features compatible with earlier versions (Rosen, 2006).

Cooperative Tools and Utilities

UNIX accords users with varied utilities and tools that can be used to execute amazing variety of jobs. I realized that some of these tools are just but simple commands that can be used to carry out specific tasks. Other utilities and tools are really small programming languages that you can use build own scripts to solve your own problems. Most important, the tools like machines parts are meant to work together like building blocks. Many utilities and tools are however included with UNIX while others are found as add-ons some of which that are available from internet archives (Rosen, 2006).

Multitasking and Multiuser Abilities

The UNIX OS is a multiuser system and therefore it is used for computers with a single user or with several users. It is also a multitasking OS due to the fact that a single user can work out several tasks at once. For instance one can read an electronic email while another program is running in the background (Rosen, 2006).

Excellent Networking Environment

The UNIX operating system provides an excellent environment for people who love networking. UNIX offers utilities and programs that can be used to build networked applications which are basically the basis for scattered networked computing. With this type of scattered computing, information and processing is shared among different machines across the world that are connected to the internet. The UNIX system is a useful especially in client/server computing in which case machines connected on the internet can be used as both servers and clients simultaneously.  UNIX is the base system in the development of and growth of the internet. This is because it provides an excellent platform for web servers. This has seen the growth the internet (Rosen, 2006).      


It is easier to harbor UNIX to new machines tha other OS’s. It is easier to adapt a UNIX OS machine to a new hardware than when using other OS’s. This is because the UNIX OS is made in C-program language which makes it achievable to budge applications from system to system (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.  

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.

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.

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