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Yeah, But It's Real Unix

Can someone explain this for me? Honestly, I'm lost, and I don't understand the basis for the argument.

When attending my local university about 4 years ago, I was discussing with another student about the advantages of having a Solaris Unix computer lab. We had one in our Computer Science department building, but the faculty were not taking advantage of it. The discussion was about replacing the Solaris lab with Windows XP machines running Linux in a VM. The other student argued against this saying it was a bad idea. When I queried as to why, I was given the response "Because Solaris is real Unix".

Move forward in time about 2 years later, to a job site at a previous employer. Everything they were running was IBM AIX Unix. It was in their mainframe, servers, and even on a number of workstations scattered throughout the building. Hundreds, if not thousands, of dumb terminals throughout the company, were also connecting to these AIX machines in corporate. I was discussing the infrastructure of the company with another coworker from the IT department, and he started complaining about the licensing burdens of AIX, and how is was costing the company a pretty penny. I mentioned making a slow migration transition to Linux, and it was shot down with the argument "Yeah, but AIX is real Unix".

Now, just recently, I got into an email conversation with an old friend that I haven't seen in a long time (I was 10, the last time I saw him). We began discussing what has been happening in our lives, where our careers are taking us and what lay ahead in the future. I found out that he has gone into software development, and he is doing contract work for the military. I also found out that he is using FreeBSD as his main operating system at home. When I asked him about it, how he likes it, and that I was running Ubuntu Linux on all my machines. He replied mentioning that "FreeBSD is real Unix".

So, I present the question: What does it mean to be running "real Unix"? Is there something magical under the hood, that I am unaware exists? From what I can tell, Linux contains most, if not all plus a lot more, tools that the old Unix operating systems contain. It holds the same file structure, minus a few differences, that exist even between Unix variants themselves. Interaction is the same, and albeit, superior to Unix. From what I gather, Linux administration and experience is no different than Unix administration and experience. So maybe we should start by defining what "real Unix" is to begin with? Because I am failing to see the difference.

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