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POSIX Distributions Part 2 : List of Closed Source(Proprietary) Operating Systems

In Part 1 of these series, we covered some of the popular, highly successful,  non-Linux open source distributions. In this part, lets look at some POSIX distros which have been success not just technically, but also commercially. Some of these are home grown , forks of open source distributions, while other developed from nothing but the kernel.

AIX : Advanced Interactive eXecutive, were a set of UNIX-based proprietary Operating Systems developed by IBM for the PowerPC family of processors. It was derived from the BSD Unix codebase, but modified to suit IBM’s product portfolio. In fact, IBM later used one version of AIX to run on their mainframes, System/370. AIX and IBM also became famous for the lawsuit by the SCO group, the last owners of the unforked Unix code. The latest version of AIX offered by IBM is Enterprise ready scalable, open-standards based and supports Virtualization.

MAC OS : The only Operating System that comes close to the popularity of Windows and Linux, is the ultra-cool Mac OS by Apple Computers. Apple likes to call it the “smartest operating system in the world” and all those who have laid their hands on a MAC would agree. The modern version of this OS, MAC OS X, or Mac OS 10, is derived from a company Nextstep’s NeXT OS. The new OS broke the tradition of Apple’s tight integration with the PowerPC processors and was available on Intel’s x86 architecture. Even today, MAC OS outnumbers Linux in terms of Desktop deployments and potentially in the number of fanatics. And as if that was not enough, Apple has now ported an embedded version on the OS on it’s highly successful iPhone mobile phone.

HP-UX : HP Unix, is HP’s home grown proprietary implementation of the Unix OS. It has been developed and sold by HP from since 1983 and. It powers a lot of data-centres and other mission critical server deployments Banks, Railway systems, etc. Like modern OSes it now has a support for Virtualization and runs on a gamut of HP’s hardware products.

VxWorks : It is the world’s most popular Real Time Operating System used in Embedded Systems for hard mission-critical time constraints. It is sold by WindRiver which claims to have taken the numero uno position in Embedded Linux. VxWorks recieved a minor setback when a problem known as Priority Inversion was experienced on the Mars’ Pathfinder mission,  jeopardizing the whole mission. It is however, still the top player in this field and is used in all kinds of systems from Boeing aircrafts to Military operations to the Robots.

Solaris : This list started with OpenSolaris and will be concluded by it’s parentage, Sun’s Solaris OS. Solaris was originally derived from SunOS. This family of OS was developed naturally, for Sun’s own Sparc family of processors but like any modern successful operating system has been ported to the x86 architecture. Sun claims that it has “more applications than any other OS”. Solaris uses the Common Desktop Environment and easily one of Sun’s most successful software products.

A lot of other interesting, older operating system like VAX’s VMS or  Apple’s open source Darwin or the QNX RTOS or Cisco’s IOS, have not been covered here, but that’s only to maintain the brevity of the posts. Also, the OSes mentioned in these two parts have been more successful than most others.

But still, do you know any other open source or closed source operating systems that have had as much impact ?

Or, here’s food for thought … is there scope for any new Operating Systems that may have features missed by these OSes ?

Profile photo of Ashish Sinha
Ashish Sinha is founder and CEO of NextBigWhat, the tech and startup community platform . He can be reached at: ashish (at) nextbigwhat.com.

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