An OS question

While waiting for assorted software updates to install today I found myself wondering... Mac OS and Windows usually need to reboot your machine to install updates. Yet I have, several times, seen Unix machines that I believe were being maintained with uptimes of more than a year. What's the deal? Is Unix just better able to support hot-fixes, or are Unix updates that rare? (Or am I wrong about the maintenance of those machines?) And if it's that Unix is better at updating, why does Mac OS, which is Unix-based, need to reboot so often? Mind, it's definitely better in this regard than when I was running Windows; this is a puzzle, not a rant.

Edit: Thanks for the comments thus far. I now understand more about how Unix is put together, and why Windows is different. Still not sure about Mac OS but comments suggest it could be UI-related (that is, the GUI might be more tied into the OS than is the case on Unix).


The comments have lots of interesting discussion, and for extra safety lest Dreamwith become unavailable, I've archived the page on the Wayback Machine.