Chapter 3. Contrasts

Comparing the Unix Philosophy with Others

Table of Contents

The Elements of Operating-System Style
What Is the Operating System's Unifying Idea?
Multitasking Capability
Cooperating Processes
Internal Boundaries
File Attributes and Record Structures
Binary File Formats
Preferred User Interface Style
Intended Audience
Entry Barriers to Development
Operating-System Comparisons
Windows NT
What Goes Around, Comes Around

If you have any trouble sounding condescending, find a Unix user to show you how it's done.

-- Scott Adams Dilbert newsletter 3.0, 1994

The design of operating systems conditions the style of software development under them in many ways both obvious and subtle. Much of this book traces connections between the design of the Unix operating system and the philosophy of program design that has evolved around it. For contrast, it will therefore be instructive to compare the classic Unix way with the styles of design and programming native to other major operating systems.