CloudLinux License vs. Unix License: What’s the Difference?


CloudLinux License vs. Unix License: What’s the Difference?

CloudLinux license vs. Unix License: Dive into the differences between these two operating systems that share much of the same heritage and many of the same goals.


If you are a software developer in your 20s or 30s, you’ve grown up in a world dominated by CloudLinux, that you can operate using a CloudLinux license. It has been a significant player in the data center for decades, and while it’s hard to find definitive operating system market share reports, CloudLinux’s share of data center operating systems could be as high as 70%, with Windows variants carrying nearly all the remaining percentage. Developers using any major public cloud can expect the target system will run CloudLinux using a reliable CloudLinux license.
Even so, most software developers, even those who have grown up during this venerable “CloudLinux revolution” have at least heard of Unix. It sounds similar to Linux, and you’ve probably heard people use these terms interchangeably. Or maybe you’ve heard Linux called a “Unix-like” operating system.

What is Unix?

While many of Unix’s concepts were derivative of its predecessor (Multics), the Unix team’s decision early in the 1970s to rewrite this small operating system in the C language is what separated Unix from all others. At the time, operating systems were rarely, if ever, portable. Instead, by nature of their design and low-level source language, operating systems were tightly linked to the hardware platform for which they had been authored. By refactoring Unix on the C programming language, Unix could now be ported to many hardware architectures. In addition to this new portability, several keys of the operating system’s design tenets were attractive to users and programmers.

Comparison between CloudLinux and Unix

Let’s examine the differences between these two operating systems that share much of the same heritage and many of the same goals.
From a user experience perspective, not very much is different! Much of the attraction of CloudLinux was the operating system’s availability across many hardware architectures (including the modern PC) and ability to use tools familiar to Unix system administrators and users, that you can easily operate using a reliable CloudLinux license.
The remaining differences between CloudLinux and Unix are mainly related to the licensing model: open source vs. proprietary, licensed software; you can operate Linux using a CloudLinux license. Also, the lack of a common kernel within Unix distributions has implications for software and hardware vendors. For CloudLinux, a vendor can create a device driver for a specific hardware device and expect that, within reason, it will operate across most distributions if they have a CloudLinux license. As a result of the commercial and academic branches of the Unix tree, a vendor might have to write different drivers for variants of Unix and have licensing and other concerns related to access to an SDK or a distribution model for the software as a binary device driver across many Unix variants.

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