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AIX is an open operating system from IBM that is based on a version of UNIX. AIX/ESA was designed for IBM's System/390 or large server hardware platform. AIX/6000 is an operating system that runs on IBM's workstation platform, the RISC System/6000.
The generality and portability of the UNIX system are achieved at some cost in optimum use of the underlying hardware. We had decided to start with the UNIX system as a base. In view of our requirements, however, we were faced with the question of how best to provide the required enhancements. Two strategies could be followed. One was to rewrite the entire kernel. Although theoretically possible, because of the amount of UNIX knowledge available in IBM at the time, it was unlikely that such an approach would achieve upward compatibility with the standard UNIX system. The other was to provide a set of software services for the kernel and modify the kernel and other functions to exploit the facilities provided by that layer.