In some articles I see the word Unix written as "Unix", while in other articles I see the word Unix written as "UNIX".

Does "Unix" and "UNIX" represent the same thing?

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    Are you asking this question of a sane writer of the English language, or of a trademark lawyer? – another-dave Mar 27 at 11:54
  • @another-dave ROTFL you nailed it:) (BTW, by being a name, it's the same issue in (next to) any language) – Raffzahn Mar 27 at 12:28
  • You will really enjoy reading about NeXTSTEP. (-: – JdeBP Mar 28 at 13:46

UNIX (in upper case) is a trade mark, currently owned by the Open Group, which is a group of companies and organizations like NASA, the US DOD, IBM, HP, and others (not all American).

On the other hand, like some other trademarks (e.g. "Hoover") the word "unix" or "Unix" is often used as a generic name for "computer software similar to UNIX".

Some writers use "*nix" or "*NIX," presumably to avoid a possible legal challenge over trademark violation, however unlikely that would be.

It's worth noting that companies which market (or used to market) their own variants of UNIX identify them by different names - e.g. HP-UX (Hewlett-Packard), AIX (IBM), IRIX (Silicon Graphics), UNICOS (Cray Research), etc.

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    I think that most people who use "*nix" or "*n?x" which I've seen sometimes, use it to include linux, minix and others, even though they can be said to not really be a proper unix – Wilson Mar 27 at 12:18
  • @Wilson Maybe that's the majority nowadays, but the *(n)ix notation already started way before - in an age when next to all manufacturer renamed whatever they delivered with their machines with some *ix name. Even when using generic versions in vanilla configuration. It was a total marketing hype confusing customers, so writers adopted the *ix notation to mark that their paper cover a wider range than just one brand. – Raffzahn Mar 27 at 12:32
  • @Wilson, Re, "linux...not really a proper unix." In the case of Linux, specifically, It would be more accurate to say, "...not legally unix." The main biggest why a major Linux distro isn't "proper unix" usually is that the maintainers don't want to pay the certification and licensing fees that would allow them to use the Unix trade mark. The Linux kernel committers, and most of the big distros try very hard to track the Unix specification and conform to it. – Solomon Slow Mar 27 at 14:40
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    @SolomonSlow Well yes, but maybe you don't mean "...not legally unix", you mean "...not legally UNIX™". But then my guess is if someone's going to use a term like "*n?x", that person's going to be lax enough not to care about silly details like trademark law. And justifiably so! Either way, it's getting a little off topic since the question is about "Unix" vs. "UNIX". – Wilson Mar 27 at 14:46
  • @SolomonSlow There are differences between official Unixes (Unices?) and Linux on a technical level that mean that Linux probably wouldn't pass certification as it stands. That's not to say it is inferior but that it is different. – JeremyP Mar 27 at 16:40

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