SunOS is a Unix
-branded operating system
developed by Sun Microsystems
for their workstation
and server computer system
s. The ''SunOS'' name is usually only used to refer to versions 1.0 to 4.1.4, which were based on BSD
, while versions 5.0 and later are based on UNIX System V Release 4
, and are marketed under the brand name
SunOS 1 only supported the Sun-2
series systems, including Sun-1
systems upgraded with Sun-2 (68010
) CPU boards. SunOS 2 supported Sun-2 and Sun-3 (68020
) series systems. SunOS 4 supported Sun-2 (until release 4.0.3), Sun-3 (until 4.1.1), Sun386i
(4.0, 4.0.1 and 4.0.2 only) and Sun-4 (SPARC
) architectures. Although SunOS 4 was intended to be the first release to fully support Sun's new SPARC processor, there was also a SunOS 3.2 release with preliminary support for Sun-4 systems.
SunOS 4.1.2 introduced support for Sun's first sun4m
machines (the SPARCserver
600MP series); since it had only a single lock
for the kernel, only one CPU
at a time could execute in the kernel.
The last release of SunOS 4 was 4.1.4 (Solaris 1.1.2) in 1994. The sun4
architectures were supported in 4.1.4; sun4d
was not supported.
Sun continued to ship SunOS 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 until December 27, 1998; they were supported until September 30, 2003.
"SunOS" and "Solaris"
thumb|SunOS 4.1.1 tape
In 1987, AT&T Corporation
and Sun announced that they were collaborating on a project to merge the most popular Unix flavors on the market at that time: BSD (including many of the features then unique to SunOS), System V
, and Xenix
. This would become System V Release 4
On September 4, 1991, Sun announced that its next major OS release would switch from its BSD-derived source base to one based on SVR4. Although the internal designation of this release would be ''SunOS 5'', from this point Sun began using the marketing name ''Solaris
''. The justification for this new "overbrand" was that it encompassed not only SunOS, but also the OpenWindows
desktop environment and Open Network Computing
Even though the new SVR4-based OS was not expected to ship in volume until the following year, Sun immediately began using the new ''Solaris'' name to refer to the currently shipping SunOS 4 release (also including OpenWindows). Thus SunOS 4.1.1 was rebranded ''Solaris 1.0''; SunOS 5.0 would be considered a part of Solaris 2.0. SunOS 4.1.''x'' micro versions continued to be released through 1994, and each of these was also given a ''Solaris 1.''x equivalent name. In practice, these were often still referred to by customers and even Sun personnel by their SunOS release names. Matching the version numbers was not straightforward:
Today, SunOS 5 is universally known as ''Solaris'', although the ''SunOS'' name is still visible within the OS itself in the startup banner, the output of the uname
command, and man page
footers, among other places.
Matching a SunOS 5.x release to its corresponding Solaris marketing name is simple: each Solaris release name includes its corresponding SunOS 5 minor version number. For example, Solaris 2.4 incorporated SunOS 5.4. There is one small twist: after Solaris 2.6, the "2." was dropped from the Solaris name and the SunOS minor number appears by itself. The latest Solaris release is named ''Solaris 11'' and incorporates SunOS 5.11.
environments bundled with earlier versions of SunOS included SunTools (later SunView
) and NeWS
. In 1989, Sun released OpenWindows
, an OPEN LOOK
-based environment which also supported SunView and NeWS applications. This became the default SunOS GUI in SunOS 4.1.1.
* Comparison of BSD operating systems
* Comparison of operating systems
* Solaris (operating system)
* Unix wars
The Sun Hardware Reference (Overview)
''An Introduction to Solaris'' – a sample chapter from ''Solaris Internals: Core Kernel Architecture'' by Jim Mauro & Richard McDougall, Prentice-Hall, 2000. (PDF)
(last updated February 17, 2002)
Initial Solaris announcement
Category:Berkeley Software Distribution
Category:Discontinued operating systems
Category:Sun Microsystems software
Category:UNIX System V