The Linux Way: Rebuilding The Unix Way for a New Era

Short Form


The development of GNU/Linux has resulted in major parts of the platform evolving away from UNIX's core tenets.


The original UNIX philosophy could be summed up: “Write programs that do one thing and do it well. Write programs to work together. Write programs to handle text streams, because that is a universal interface.”

Linux, as a “UNIX clone”, supports a command line environment that a 1970s-era Unix hacker would find familiar — sed, awk, ps, and the rest are all there. But Linux has not stood still since catching up with proprietary UNIX. Using Linux for new jobs on new categories of computers has led us to extend the platform to suit our needs.

  • Is text still a “universal interface”, or is it now HTML? HTTP? Or JSON?
  • Should programs work together as filters, or via APIs?
  • Do we even need to care about portability any more?

This talk will cover some of the ways the Linux platform has moved away from the Unix philosophy, while still holding true to some fundamental values, and how we users and hackers are defining a new Linux Way, distinct from the Unix Way.

Speaking experience

Andy has spoken at two previous OSBs, as well as Linux Plumbers Conf, Linuxcon, and the Linux Kernel Summit.