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What is POSIX?

POSIX stands for Portable Operating System Interface, and is an IEEE standard designed to facilitate application portability. POSIX is an attempt by a consortium of vendors to create a single standard version of UNIX. If they are successful, it will make it easier to port applications between hardware platforms. Hewlett-Packard is incorporating POSIX into version 5.0 of its MPE/iX proprietary operating system and into version 10.0 of HP/UX (its UNIX).

There are more than ten parts to the POSIX standard, but two are widely available. POSIX.1 defines C programming interfaces (that is, a library of system calls) for files, processes, and terminal I/O. To support the library, a POSIX system must implement a Hierarchical File System (HFS). POSIX.2 defines a "shell" command interpreter and utilities (e.g., ls to list files). Certain important standards are not covered by POSIX (for example, spooling, batch processing, and NLS -- Native Language Support). NLS is defined by the X/Open standard.

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