It is stated here that:

The Unix operating system introduced the idea of a toolkit. That is, rather than having a few generalized and complex utilities programs, the system contains a toolkit of small and simple programs which the user combines to perform sophisticated tasks and to create custom programs.

The author continues with an example where it mentions cut, egrep and wc utilities.

So my question is:

"What requirements must a computer program meet to be considered as part to the unix toolkit?".


As stated in @Jesse_b's answer the POSIX standard defines a list of standard utilities. This list may change in the future. I would like to know what are the requirements that a utility must cope to be admited in such list.

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    Be written in the 1970s? And useful. – jesse_b Dec 21 '19 at 20:09
  • @Jesse_b According to that criteria (being written in the 1970s) a tool like Miller would not be considered as part of the toolkit. Do you agree? – Paulo Tomé Dec 21 '19 at 20:12
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    Then all you'll get is opinion, which makes this closable in any case. – Thomas Dickey Dec 21 '19 at 20:36
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    @Jesse_b it’s in Debian, Fedora, Gentoo and Arch Linux at least ;-). (I don’t know what distros you use...) – Stephen Kitt Dec 21 '19 at 21:38
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    @StephenKitt: Solaris, SmartOS, Centos, RHEL, and macos – jesse_b Dec 21 '19 at 21:40

This question is kind of broad and possibly opinionated but POSIX is sort of the defacto standard here and they define a list of standard utilities.

  • +1 for the link. – Paulo Tomé Dec 21 '19 at 20:14

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