What is IBM AIX (Advance Interactive eXecutive) Operating System ?


A computer consists of many hardware devices that the users of a computer system want to use. For example, they want to print documents or they want to play a game from a CD-ROM. To control these hardware devices and to share them between multiple users an operating system must be loaded during the system startup.

AIX Operating System Basics:

In the case of the AIX operating system, there is one special program which interfaces directly to the hardware devices - the AIX Kernel. The Kernel controls the access to the devices. On the other hand the users start different programs, for example, a program that prints a document or removes a file. These programs that run in AIX processes are also controlled by the AIX Kernel. To say it in easy words: The AIX Kernel is the heart of your operating system.

Also Read:  AIX Basic concepts and commands

Working on AIX:
AIX is a multi-user system. Before a user can work with AIX, an authentication process takes place. The user must log in with his username and password. After a successful authentication AIX starts a certain program for the user, a shell. The shell is a command interpreter that waits for input and executes the commands and programs the user types in. As you will learn in this course, the shell is not only a command
interpreter - it offers great flexibility.

Multiple users can work at the same time on an AIX system or in a network. One of the basic tasks in your daily work is to communicate with other users on a system or in the network. In this course you will learn different commands that allow communication with other users.

AIX offers a wide range of tools and commands. To get help about these commands, AIX offers different possibilities, for example, the man command or the AIX Online.

One of the major tasks of a computer system is to read and write data. In order to do this AIX uses a hierarchical file tree that consists of directories, subdirectories and files. The top level directory is called the root (/) directory that has many subdirectories. Each of these subdirectories can contain files or other subdirectories. Compare a directory with a document folder in which you put certain documents.

The file tree is mounted during the system startup. AIX supports different file system types, which are all mounted to one big file tree. This is shown on the visual. Parts of this file tree reside on a disk, other parts may reside on a CD-ROM or are mounted from another computer in a network.

This course explains how to work with directories and files on a user level. You will learn how to navigate in the file tree and how to manage directories. You will learn how to copy, move, delete and print files, how to edit files using the common UNIX editor vi. Another topic will be how to specify correct file permissions.

The SHELL: User Interface to AIX

When you log in successfully to an AIX system a special program is started for you - the shell. The shell waits for input and executes the commands and programs you type in. In other words the shell is a command interpreter.

The shell offers many features (like wildcards to match filenames, variables, command line editing) that help the user in his daily work. We will discuss all these features in this course. The shell is customizable, that means the user interface may be tailored according to the requirements of each user. Customizing the user environment is another topic in this course.

The shell offers different ways to control processes. In this course we explain how a user can control his processes. Besides all these properties the shell is a programming language. You can write shell scripts to create and tailor commands. Writing simple shell scripts is one additional topic in this course.

Also Read:  AIX Basic concepts and commands

AIX Utilities:
The components that you use on AIX are files and directories. To work with these components AIX offers a wide range of utilities:
  • The find command to search for specific files.
  • The grep command to search for patterns in files. 
  • Commands to compare files and directories. 
  • Commands to compress and uncompress files to save disk space.
Note that this list is not complete. Besides these utilities the course introduces additional tools that are useful for your work.

AIX Graphical User Interfaces:

Modern operating systems are based on graphical desktops. These desktops consist of multiple Windows where you can start different applications, icons that are minimized windows to manage the screen space, and further controls.

To execute certain actions on the desktop, you have to use the mouse attached to the system. AIX offers two different graphical user interfaces:
  • AIXwindows
  • Common Desktop Environment (CDE)
Using and customizing these desktops are major topics in this course. If you install the AIX Toolbox for Linux applications, two more graphical user interfaces are supported. These are the KDE and Gnome desktops.

Also Read: Frequently Asked Interview Questions and Answers 

Summary
  • The AIX KERNEL inerfaces to hardware devices and controlls processes running in the AIX system.
  • The user's inerface to AIX is the SHELL. The shell is a command interpreter that offers a great flexibility.
  • To store data AIX uses a hierarchial FILE TREE that consists of FILES and DIRECTORIES.
  • AIX offers wide range of utilities.




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