SunOS from Sun Microsystems (became Solaris)

SunOS was the version of the operating system derived from UNIX and BSD developed by Sun Microsystems for its workstations and servers until the beginning of the 1990s. This was based on the UNIX BSD with some additions of the System V UNIX in later versions.

SunOS is a version of UNIX used in Sun Microsystems workstations which was released in 1982. After releasing SunOS version 4, Sun Microsystems changed the UNIX BSD code they had previously used with the UNIX System V code, after obtaining a license from the UNIX licensee at that time, AT&T. This change made the name change to Solaris version 2, from what SunOS should have been 5. So, indirectly, SunOS was considered as Solaris version 1.x.

SunOS 1.0 was basically based on BSD 4.1 and was published in 1982. SunOS 2.0, which came out in 1985, used BSD 4.2 as a base and introduced a virtual file system (VFS) layer and the NFS protocol. SunOS 3.0 coincided with the launch of the Sun-3 series in 1986 and incorporated several utilities of System V. SunOS 4.0, which came out in 1989, migrated to the base of BSD 4.3, introduced a new virtual memory system, dynamic linking and a System V STREAMS I/O architecture implementation.

SunOS 5.0 and later versions are based on UNIX System V Release 4, and have been known under the trade name of "Solaris". Even in 2010, the core of Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris systems (the free version) internally retains the name "SunOS 5.10" and Solaris 5.11, respectively.

The term SunOS is still used as a term that refers to the core of Solaris. The SunOS core version number is considered the Solaris version 5 (Solaris version number). For example, Solaris 10, can be referred to as SunOS 5.10. The Solaris man page is also named as SunOS, although the term SunOS is no longer used in Sun Microsystems marketing documentation.


SunOS 1 and 2 supported the Sun-2 series. SunOS 3 supported the Sun-2 and Sun-3 series systems, there was a preliminary Sun-4 release of SunOS 3.2. SunOS 4 supported the Sun-2 (until release 4.0.3), Sun-3 (up to 4.1.1), Sun386i (4.0, 4.0.1 and 4.0.2 only) and Sun-4 architectures.

In the early 1990s Sun replaced the SunD 4 BSD derivative with a version of UNIX System V Release 4, which they called Solaris 2. SunOS 4 was then retroactively called "Solaris 1" in the Sun marketing format.

The last release of SunOS 4 was 4.1.4 (Solaris 1.1.2) in 1994. It supported SMP on some machines, but only one CPU at a time could run in the kernel. Sun-4, Sun-4c and Sun-4m architectures are supported in 4.1.4, Sun-4d and Sun-4u are not supported.

GUI environments from the earliest versions of SunOS included SunTools (later SunView) and NeWS. In 1989, Sun released OpenWindows an X11- based environment that also supported SunView and NeWS applications. This became the default SunOS GUI in Solaris & 1.0 (SunOS 4.1.1). Solaris 2.5 introduced the CDE desktop.

Confusingly, the core of the Solaris operating system (Solaris 2 onwards) is identified as SunOS 5.x despite its very different origins compared to previous versions of SunOS.

The minor version of SunOS 5 included in the Solaris versions corresponds to the minor (up to Solaris 2.6) or greater (Solaris 7 onwards) Solaris version number. For example, Solaris 2.4 incorporated SunOS 5.4 and the latest version of Solaris, Solaris 10, runs with SunOS 5.10. For its part, OpenSolaris is SunOS 5.11 (future Solaris 11). Solaris man pages are tagged with SunOS, and the boot sequence shows it on the screen, as well as the kernel version, but the term "SunOS" is no longer used in Sun marketing documents.

SunOS and Solaris

In 1987, AT&T and Sun announced a collaboration on a project to merge the most popular UNIX variants at that time: BSD, System V, and Xenix. The result was to be System V Release 4 (SVR4).

September 4, 1991 Sun announced the transfer of its operating system with the BSD code base to the SVR4 code base. Although inside the Sun the system was called SunOS 5, it was marketed under the Solaris brand.

It was supposed to release a new operating system next year, however, Sun immediately began to apply the name Solaris to the existing SunOS 4 (including OpenWindows). Thus, SunOS 4.1.1 became known as Solaris 1.0, SunOS 5.0 has become part of Solaris 2.0. SunOS 4.1.x releases were released before 1994, each of them had the equivalent name Solaris 1.x.

User Interface

The graphical user interfaces (GUIs) shipped with earlier versions of SunOS included SunTools (later SunView) and NeWS. In 1989, Sun released OpenWindows, an X11- based windowing system that also supported SunView and NeWS applications.


SunOS versionDeparture dateBase codeDescription
Sun UNIX 0.71982UniSoft  UNIX v7 Combined with the 68000 Sun-1 system
SunOS 1.019834.1BSDIncludes support for Sun-1 and Sun-2 systems based on 68010
SunOS 1.1 April 1984
SunOS 1.2 January 1985
SunOS 2.01985 May 4.2BSDHe introduced the VFS layer and the NFS protocol .
SunOS 3.0February 1986 4.2BSD + System V IPCIt coincided with the launch of the Sun-3 series based on 68020 . Optional System V tape with utilities and development libraries.
SunOS 3.2September 1986 SunOS 3.0 with 4.3BSD stuffFirst to have support for the Sun-4 series .
SunOS 3.5January 1988
SunOS 4.0December 19884.3BSD with System V IPCNew virtual memory systems , dynamic linking and STREAMS I / O System V. Support for Sun386i .
SunOS 4.0.11988
SunOS 4.0.2September 1989Sun386i only
SunOS 4.0.3May 1989
SunOS 4.0.3cJune 1989SPARCstation 1 only (Sun-4c)
SunOS 4.1March 1990
SunOS 4.1eApril 1991Only sun-4e
SunOS 4.1.1March 1990Mixed with OpenWindows 2.0
SunOS 4.1.1BFebruary 1991
SunOS 1991
SunOS 4.1.1_U1November 1991Sun-3 / 3x only
SunOS 4.1.2December 1991Support for multiprocessor systems (SPARCserver 600MP); First release only on CD-ROM.
SunOS 4.1.3Aug 1992
SunOS 4.1.3CNovember 1993SPARCclassic / SPARCstation LX only
SunOS 4.1.3_U1December 1993
SunOS 4.1.3_U1BFebruary 1994The oldest version for which patches for the 2000 effect were available .
SunOS 4.1.4November 1994Latest version of SunOS 4
SunOS 5. xJun. 1996 -SVR4See article Solaris and OpenSolaris

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