UNIX was originally developed at Bell Laboratories as a private research project by a small group of people starting in 1969. This group had experience with a number of different operating systems research efforts in the 1970's. The goals of the group were to design an operating system to satisfy the following objectives:
* Simple and elegant * Written in a high level language rather than assembly language * Allow re-use of code
Typical vendor operating systems of the time were extremely large and all written in assembly language. UNIX had a relatively small amount of code written in assembly language (this is called the kernel) and the remaining code for the operating system was written in a high level language called C.
also see: UN*X