"UNIX was the first operating system designed to run on ‘dissimilar’
computers by converting most hardware specific commands in machine language into
an independent programming language called ‘C,’" Jon Wolfe writes in the

Nashville Business Journal. (Wolfe 29) UNIX was the basis of AT&T’s
telephone system and the government’s wide area network system. Then it became
the basis of communication between engineers and scientists, and eventually the
basis of communication for everyone worldwide (World Wide Web (Web)). It has
held this remarkable spot since 1969. However, in the 1990s there are
competitors in the market, namely, Microsoft Corporation with its Windows NT
product. But UNIX-based software suppliers are not just turning over and letting
the competitors win. UNIX supporters are many, and UNIX remains, and will remain
a major player in the marketplace. The unique advantage of the UNIX operating
system when it was introduced was that it could (and still does) run on
dissimilar machines, unheard of prior to 1969. UNIX also can run more than one
program at a time, store complex graphics and databases, and link to other UNIX
and mainframe computer systems, including DOS since the late 1980s. UNIX-based
systems control various programs written by many companies to distribute
information between multiple computers within the network. This minimizes user
costs and eliminates system-wide hardware crashes. Some of the original UNIX
programs are "still evident today." (Wolfe 29) UNIX was developed at

AT&T in 1969, primarily for controlling the phone network and handling
government communications. Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Systems, other U.S.
companies and international companies now sell versions of UNIX that work best
on their computers. UNIX at first worked over ARPnet, "named after its sponsor
from the Pentagon." (Sembawang 1997). The ARPA network grew throughout the

1970s when computer networks from various organizations, both nationally and
internationally, began to link to ARPAnet, mostly for transferring engineering
and scientific research data. "With the advent of satellite transmissions, the
first international network connection was made with the University of London
(England) and the Royal Radar Establishment of Norway in 1973." (Sembawang

1997) In 1979, the National Science Foundation established the Computer Science

Research Network (CSnet), which connected to ARPAnet through a gateway. This
system was used for e-mail and sharing technical information. (Sembawang 1997)

In the early 1980\'s, the NSF created its own network, NSFnet, which added
educational links for schools and libraries. However, access to NSFnet was
limited to these government or government research organizations. (Sembawang

1997) In 1992, NSF created Advanced Network and Services, Inc. (ANS), used to
manage the NSFnet, which opened up the Internet to everyone. ANS also opened up
the potential for multimedia on the Internet through the World Wide Web. (Sembawang

1997) Once the potential was there, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics
(CERN) began a project to create the international internet. The CERN project
operated on TCP/IP transfer protocols developed inside a Berkeley UNIX system.

The project was started in the mid-1980s and completed in 1990. By 1993, the
internet had become a world-wide phenomenon. (Segal 1995) The Web allows users
to easily browse through hypertext and multimedia located on various computers
and main frame systems around the world. Prior to the CERN project, internet
users had to know UNIX programming language and move around in a cumbersome UNIX
shell environment. (Segal 1995) The Web can best be described as a "global
interactive, dynamic, cross-platform, distributed, graphical hypertext
information system that operates over the internet. (Lemay 4) It operates on
many protocols, including FTP, Gopher, UseNet, WAIS databases, and TELNET. Most
of the text transferred over the internet is written in hypertext markup
language (HTML). Graphics are transferred via standard generalized markup
language (SGML) through the UNIX operating system. No one owns the web, but a
consortium of U.S. and European individuals and organizations who support its
operation, called the World Wide Web (W3) Consortium, established the protocols
and languages that will be supported on the web. (Lemay 12). Popular browsers
include Netscape, NCSA Mosaic, Lyna, MacWeb and WinWeb. A URL (home pages, BBSs,
etc.) is a pointer to a posting on a Gopher, UseNet or FTP. All of these are
currently transferred over the UNIX operating system. "Today, the Internet is
still growing in terms of size and number of connections. It is estimated that
there are now about 50 million Internet users worldwide, from as many as 100
countries." (Sembawang 1997). UNIX has enjoyed a long, exclusive history, but

Microsoft is trying to establish Windows NT as the premier Web server and
replace UNIX’s dominant position as the internet’s operating system.

Although the internet was originally developed around UNIX, some companies who
design software for the