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Operating Systems Education Software Unix Upgrades Technology Linux

Minix 3.2.1 Released 107

kthreadd writes "Minix, originally designed as an example for teaching operating system theory which was both inspiration and cause for the creation of Linux has just been released as version 3.2.1. Major new features include full support for shared libraries and improved support for USB devices such as keyboards, mice and mass storage devices. The system has received many performance improvements and several userland tools have been imported from NetBSD."
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Minix 3.2.1 Released

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  • Afaik, NetBSD and Minix are the two most prominent operating systems that advertise clean source code and architecture, suitable for examination by people learning OS principles, as one of their explicit design goals. NetBSD seems more popular as an actual system to use, and is clean architecture has led it to be famously ported everywhere. Does someone have experience with Minix to compare?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @05:11PM (#42991391)

    MINIX has always been first and foremost a teaching OS. What is exciting is that in recent years, the capability seems to have broken through a wall, and the practical usages has started growing quickly. That means it can now be used for both purposes, which makes it even better at its primary purpose.

    MINIX is not trying to be Linux. MINIX is trying to be MINIX, and the exciting thing is that it is now succeeding! So it is one of a growing multitude of options in the free and open source community.

  • Re:Minix+Laptop (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @07:03PM (#42992071)

    Shared libraries aren't easy to implement and they're not a part of the kernel (Minix is about the kernel). Adding shared libraries adds a lot of complexity and infrastructure. The executables in Minix were kept simple on purpose. Minix resembles a more classic Unix style in many ways.

    Pragmatically, it was not feasible to have shared libraries when Minix was new, most Unix systems of the time were still experimenting with it, and you need specific tools chain support that just wasn't there. Now why it didn't change over the intervening years is undoubtedly due to the reason that it's just not all that important for the purpose of Minix which is education.

  • Minix being ARMed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @08:59PM (#42992699)

    Actually, in the release announcement [minix3.org], they clearly mentioned that

    There are exciting new developments coming in the near future that aren’t part of this release. For example, the MINIX team has been working hard on MINIX/ARM support, of which significant parts have made it to mainline, yet official ARM support is slated for the near future and is not officially part of this release.

    This is a great move on their part, since Minix, w/ its microkernel, is just perfect for embedded systems and aside from routers, those tend to run on ARM based platforms. I recall reading somewhere that they were porting it to the Raspberry Pi, and hopefully, to other ARM platforms as well. In fact, something like Minix is perfect for Raspberry Pi, and once their ARM port is complete, it would be a good kernel on which to base whatever else is needed. In fact, the Raspberry Pi guys would do well to join hands w/ Tannenbaum and offer Minix as the OS of choice w/ Raspberry Pi.

    Regarding the stuff about the drivers, it was just the Virtio and VBFS that seemed to be about VMs - others, like Ext2 support were about real filesystems. (I'm guessing that for an OS targeted at embedded applications, things like Ext4, Btrfs, ZFS, Hammer, et al wouldn't be appropriate file systems to use)

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