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MINIX
Minix3.png
The MINIX 3.1.2a boot screen
The MINIX 3.1.2a boot screen
Company / developer Andrew S. Tanenbaum
Programmed in C
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source (originally COSS, now FOSS)
Latest stable release 3.1.6 / February 9, 2010; 37 day(s) ago (2010-02-09)
Marketing target Teaching (v1, v2), embedded systems (v3)
Available language(s) English
Available programming languages(s) C, Perl, Python
Supported platforms PC, PC/AT, PS/2, Motorola 68000, SPARC, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Macintosh, SPARCstation, Intel 386, PC compatibles, NS32532, ARM and INMOS transputer
Kernel type Microkernel
Default user interface Command line interface (ash)
License Originally Proprietary, BSD license since 2000
Official Website www.minix3.org

MINIX is a Unix-like computer operating system based on a microkernel architecture. Andrew S. Tanenbaum wrote the operating system to be used for educational purposes; MINIX also inspired the creation of the Linux kernel. Its name is a portmanteau of the words minimal and Unix.

MINIX has been free and open source software since it was released under the BSD license in April 2000.

Contents

History

Andrew S. Tanenbaum created MINIX at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam to exemplify the principles conveyed in his textbook, Operating Systems Design and Implementation (1987). An abridged 12,000 lines of the C source code of the kernel, memory manager, and file system of MINIX 1.0 are printed in the book. Prentice-Hall also released MINIX source code and binaries on floppy disk with a reference manual. MINIX 1 was system-call compatible with Seventh Edition Unix.[1]

Tanenbaum originally developed MINIX for compatibility with the IBM PC and IBM PC/AT microcomputers available at the time. MINIX 1.5, released in 1991, included support for MicroChannel IBM PS/2 systems and was also ported to the Motorola 68000 and SPARC architectures, supporting the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Apple Macintosh and Sun SPARCstation computer platforms. There were also unofficial ports to Intel 386 PC compatibles (in 32-bit protected mode), National Semiconductor NS32532, ARM and INMOS transputer processors. Meiko Scientific used an early version of MINIX as the basis for the MeikOS operating system for its transputer-based Computing Surface parallel computers. A version of MINIX running as a user process under SunOS and Solaris was also available, a simulator called SMX.

Demand for the 68k-based architectures waned, however, and MINIX 2.0, released in 1997, was only available for the x86 and Solaris-hosted SPARC architectures. It was the subject of the second edition of Tanenbaum's textbook, co-written with Albert Woodhull and was distributed on a CD-ROM included with the book. MINIX 2.0 added POSIX.1 compliance, support for 386 and later processors in 32-bit mode and replaced the Amoeba network protocols included in MINIX 1.5 with a TCP/IP stack. Unofficial ports of MINIX 2.0.2 to the 68020-based ISICAD Prisma 700 workstation[2] and the Hitachi SH3-based HP Jornada 680/690 PDA[3] were also developed.

Minix-vmd is a variant of MINIX 2 for Intel IA-32-compatible processors, created by two Vrije Universiteit researchers, which adds virtual memory and support for the X Window System.

MINIX 3

MINIX 3 was publicly announced on 24 October 2005 by Andrew Tanenbaum during his keynote speech on top of the ACM Symposium Operating Systems Principles conference. Although it still serves as an example for the new edition of Tanenbaum and Woodhull's textbook, it is comprehensively redesigned to be "usable as a serious system on resource-limited and embedded computers and for applications requiring high reliability." MINIX 3 currently supports only IA-32 architecture PC compatible systems. It is available in a Live CD format that allows it to be used on a computer without installing it on the hard drive, and in versions compatible with hardware emulation/virtualization systems, including Bochs, Qemu, VMware Workstation/Fusion, and Microsoft Virtual PC.

Version 3.1.5 was released 5 Nov 2009. It contains X11, emacs, vi, cc, gcc, perl, python, ash, bash, zsh, ftp, ssh, telnet, pine, and over 400 other common UNIX utility programs. With the addition of X11, this version marks the transition away from a text-only system. Another feature of this version, which will be improved in future releases, is the ability of the system to withstand device driver crashes, and in many cases having them automatically replaced without affecting running processes. In this way, MINIX is self-healing and can be used in applications demanding high reliability.

MINIX and Linux

The design principles Tanenbaum applied to MINIX greatly influenced the design decisions Linus Torvalds applied in the creation of the Linux kernel. Torvalds used and appreciated MINIX, but his design deviated from the MINIX architecture in significant ways, most notably by employing a monolithic kernel instead of a microkernel. This was famously disapproved of by Tanenbaum in the Tanenbaum-Torvalds debate. Tanenbaum explained again his rationale for using a microkernel in May 2006.[4] Early Linux kernel development was done on a MINIX host system, which led to Linux inheriting various features from MINIX, such as the MINIX file system. MINIX was not the only Unix source code available to copy as Lions' Commentary on UNIX 6th Edition, with Source Code by John Lions (1976) was available.

In May 2004, Kenneth Brown of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution raised the accusation that major parts of the Linux kernel had been copied from the MINIX codebase, in a book called Samizdat[5]. These accusations were rebutted universally - most prominently by Andrew Tanenbaum himself, who strongly criticised Kenneth Brown and published a long rebuttal on his own personal website.[6][7]

Licensing

At the time of its original development, the license for MINIX was considered to be rather liberal. Its licensing fee was very small ($69) compared to those of other operating systems. Although Tanenbaum wished for MINIX to be as accessible as possible to students, his publisher was not prepared to offer material (such as the source code) that could be copied freely, so a restrictive license requiring a nominal fee (included in the price of Tanenbaum's book) was applied as a compromise. This prevented the use of MINIX as the basis for a freely distributed software system.

When free and open source Unix-like operating systems such as Linux and 386BSD became available in the early 1990s many volunteer software developers abandoned MINIX in favor of these. In April 2000, MINIX became free/open source software under a permissive free software licence,[8] but by this time other operating systems had surpassed its capabilities, and it remained primarily an operating system for students and hobbyists.

See also

References

External links

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Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Minix 3 article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Infobox/Minix 3
Minix 3/Print version

Minix 3.png

MINIX 3 is a new open-source operating system designed as highly reliable, flexible, and secure. It is loosely based somewhat on previous versions of MINIX, but is fundamentally different in many key ways. This is an attempt at creating a book about MINIX 3.

Minix 3.png


Simple English

MINIX
File:MINIX
The MINIX 3.1.2a user interface
Company / developer Andrew S. Tanenbaum
Programmed in C
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Latest stable release

3.1.2a

/ May 29, 2006
Marketing target Teaching (v1, v2), embedded systems (v3)
Available language(s) English
Available programming languages(s) C, Perl, Python
Supported platforms PC, PC/AT, PS/2, Motorola 68000, SPARC, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Macintosh, SPARCstation, Intel 386, PC compatibles, NS32532, ARM and INMOS transputer
Kernel type Microkernel
Default user interface Command line interface (ash)
License BSD license
Website www.minix3.org

MINIX is a Unix-like computer operating system based on a microkernel architecture. Andrew S. Tanenbaum wrote the operating system so it could be used for educational purposes; MINIX also helped Linus Torvalds design the Linux kernel. Its name comes from the words minimal and Unix.

Released under the BSD license, MINIX is free and open source.

Contents

History

Andrew S. Tanenbaum created MINIX at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

MINIX 3

MINIX 3 was announced to the public on 24 October 2005 by Andrew Tanenbaum during his speech on top of the ACM Symposium Operating System Principles conference. MINIX 3 currently supports only IA-32 architecture PC systems. It has a Live CD format that lets it be used on a computer without installing it. Version 3.1.2 was released 8 May 2006. It contains X11, emacs, vi, cc, gcc, perl, python, ash, bash, zsh, ftp, ssh, telnet, pine, and over 400 other common UNIX programs. With the addition of X11, this version starts the change from a Text-Only System.

MINIX and Linux

The design principles Tanenbaum applied to MINIX had influenced the design decisions Linus Torvalds applied in the creation of the Linux kernel. Torvalds used and appreciated MINIX, but his design was different from the MINIX architecture in significant ways, most notably by employing a monolithic kernel instead of a microkernel. This was famously disapproved by Tanenbaum in the Tanenbaum-Torvalds debate. (Tanenbaum explained again his rationale for using a microkernel in May 2006.)

Linux being copied from MINIX

In May 2004 Kenneth Brown of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution raised the accusation [1] that major parts of the Linux kernel had been copied from MINIX, in a book called Samizdat.

These accusations were refused by almost everyone - in particular by Andrew Tanenbaum, who strongly felt that Kenneth Brown was very wrong and published a long rebuttal on his own personal website. [2][3]

Licensing

Its licensing fee was very small ($69) compared to the ones of other operating systems. Although Tanenbaum wished for MINIX to be as easily available to students, his publisher would not allow it.

When free/open source Unix-like operating systems such as Linux became available in the early 1990s, many volunteer software developers stopped using MINIX for Linux. In April 2000, MINIX became free/open source software under a permissive free software licence[4], but by this time other operating systems were much better, and it was mostly used as an operating system for students and hobbyists.

Other pages

References

  1. Alexis de Tocqueville Institution/Kenneth Brown, 'Samizdat's critics... Brown replies', http://www.adti.net/samizdat/brown.reply.june.04.html
  2. Tanenbaum, Andrew S. 'Some Notes on the "Who wrote Linux" Kerfuffle', http://www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/brown/
  3. Tanenbaum, Andrew S. 'MINIX 3 FAQ', http://www.MINIX3.org/doc/faq.html#legal
  4. "The Minix licence". http://www.minix3.org/license.html. 

Other Websites

The English Wikibooks has more about this subject:


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