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The `Soft' Component

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THE Unix operating system (OS) is among the "soft" components in the computer that has a colourful history journey. Although its story started as early as the 1960s, it was only in the 80s that it started to serve as the OS for the real digital world.

At the early stages, AT&T developed the Unix System III as a commercial version and sold the product directly, with the first version being launched in 1982.

In the same year, other companies began to offer commercial versions of the Unix System for their own mini-computers and workstations. Most of these new Unix flavours were developed from the System V base under licence from AT&T.

Some chose BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution, sometimes called Berkeley Unix) instead. One of the leading developers of BSD, Bill Joy, went on to co-found Sun Microsystems in 1982 and created SunOS (now Solaris) for their workstations.

In 1980, Microsoft announced its first Unix for 16-bit microcomputers called Xenix, which the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) ported to the Intel 8086 processor in 1983, and eventually branched Xenix into SCO Unix in 1989.

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