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MiNT ("MiNT is Now TOS") is a free software alternative operating system kernel for the Atari ST and its successors. Together with the free system components fVDI (device drivers), XaAES (GUI widgets), and TeraDesk (a file manager), MiNT provides a free TOS compatible replacement OS that is capable of multitasking.

MiNT was originally released by Eric Smith as "MiNT is Not TOS" (a play on "GNU's Not Unix"). Atari adopted MiNT as an official alternative kernel with the release of the Atari Falcon, slightly altering the MiNT acronym into "MiNT is Now TOS". Atari bundled MiNT with AES 4.0 (a multitasking version of GEM) under the name MultiTOS. After Atari left the computer market, MiNT development has been continued by a core of volunteers. Nowadays the official name has been changed to "FreeMiNT" upon request by Eric Smith. The reason for this was to be able to distinguish it from the versions that were released by Atari.

There are several distributions, most notably the RPM-based SpareMiNT as well as the Debian GNU/MiNT porting effort.

Contents

History

MiNT -TOS goes Unix

Even on the models that followed the ST, Atari stayed with the approach to have TOS loaded from ROM. While TOS did progress in many ways it was still a singletasking OS. The AES in TOS was upgraded to handle 3d-objects, colour icons and much more, and the rest of the system also slowly got more modern and robust. But while even the last computer to be produced by Atari (the Falcon 030, 1992) was shipped with a singletasking TOS stored in ROM, disk based solutions had started to appear.

Back in 1990 a Canadian programmer named Eric Smith had released the first version of a program called MiNT, which was a recursive acronym for "MiNT Is Not TOS". Eric had been working on a GNU C library for the ST, and porting GNU software. It soon turned out that porting software originally written for Unix to TOS was difficult since TOS lacked many of the features of Unix. It then occurred to him that it might be easier to add the missing features to TOS rather than patching any Unix program that he wanted to port, and so MiNT was born.

The program's task was to replace larger parts of TOS with a system that could handle pre-emptive multitasking, but that was not all it did. Eric had designed it in a way very similar to Unix, something that ensured that it would be easy to port Unix software from other hardware platforms to MiNT on Atari.

MiNT in the early days was however quite restricted to most end users as it would only allow text based programs (that did not address AES) to multitask, while still only 1 GEM application could run concurrently. But this limitation mostly resided within the AES, GEM. MiNT itself now offered a pre-emptive system that to a large extent provided a Unix compatible environment and at the same time maintained TOS compatibility. Thanks to releasing MiNT on the internet Eric got in touch with developers all over the world who wanted to help him develop MiNT further. Even Atari employees like Allan Pratt got involved and he actually was the one that added support for the Atari TT in MiNT.

TOS goes multitasking - Enter MultiTOS

In the early 90's Atari had realized that multitasking was a necessity for the future and started looking for ways to turn TOS into a multitasking OS. As Allan Pratt was already familiar with MiNT he suggested that it should be used as a base for the new operating system.

While not supposed to replace TOS entirely, MiNT would constitute the kernel of the new OS. In preparation for an official release a lot of things were restructured inside MiNT and memory protection was being added. When Allan Pratt suddenly left Atari, Eric himself was hired to finish the kernel. To manage a multitasking environment Atari also had to develop a replacement for the AES that was not limited to running only 1 application at a time. The new OS thus consisted of MiNT and AES 4.0, and the bundle was called MultiTOS. The MiNT acronym now also was changed into "MiNT Is Now TOS". MultiTOS was released in early 1993 and while finally offering Atari users a multitasking system it also had some serious drawbacks - the system was very slow.

End of TOS

MultiTOS was the last version of TOS ever to be released by Atari. They did release an internal beta version of the long awaited TOS 5.0 which still was a singletasking OS but with some preparations made for going fully multitasking. This beta version contained AES 4.1 and was named TOS 4.92, and while it managed to leak out to some FTP-servers it was naturally not aimed at end users and those who tried it quickly discovered that it was quite buggy and unstable. An updated version of the multitasking GEM replacement in MultiTOS (While also named AES 4.1 it was a newer version of AES than the one distributed with TOS 4.92) was also distributed to developers, but then things came to an abrupt ending.

In the efforts to focus all their resources on the game console Atari Jaguar, Atari had decided to drop all development and support for their computer line. If this would have happened a few years earlier the saga of TOS might have ended here, but two things prevented this from happening. Eric managed to convince his superiors to release the Atari version of MiNT under a less restrictive license, something that made it possible for anyone interested to redistribute their own versions of the OS. Furthermore, MiNT had appeared at a time when internet had started to gain popularity and this had already created a strong MiNT community - the internet provided excellent conditions for coordinating open source developments.

(This chapter is used on Wikipedia with permission from http://xaaes.atariforge.net)

The MiNT community

With Atari out of the game, any further development of the operating system was up to either open source efforts or third party developers. Sources for MiNT, the kernel of the OS, were already available under a generous license but despite repeated calls to release sources for the multitasking AES 4.1, Atari never did. The remaining Atari users now had to wait for someone to create a new multitasking GEM replacement from scratch. While MiNT sources were free for anyone to download and modify, MiNT itself was partly copyright of Atari, and so the project was renamed to "FreeMiNT". Even today, FreeMiNT is however most commonly referred to as "MiNT".

(This chapter is used on Wikipedia with permission from http://xaaes.atariforge.net)

AES for MiNT

Geneva The only known AES project from the US was contributed by programmer Dan Wilga of Gribnif software. The initial aim of Geneva was to provide a multitasking AES for users of TOS, but since TOS itself did not host any multitasking capabilities this only allowed for co-operative multitasking. The first release of Geneva back in June 1993 instead allowed all Atari users to multitask their GEM applications without using up much at all of their precious RAM. It was a commercial product, often bundled with the highly regarded desktop replacement NeoDesk. Geneva could however be run together with MiNT, then offering true pre-emptive multitasking. While this combination initially was not very stable, the last release helped improve that situation a lot.

MiNA Germany had always been an Atari stronghold so it was not surprising that most Atari software development was happening here. One of the projects to create a new AES was initiated by programmer Martin Osieka. He had previously created WINX which was a TOS extension that both provided some bugfixes as well as offered some nice new features, some of which was not yet seen even in the last AES 4.1 from Atari. To cover the need for a new user interface for MiNT, Martin started working on a project called MiNA. Unsurprisingly, this was an acronym for "MiNA Is Not the AES". While enthusiastic Atari magazines had stated that over 50 developers had teamed up helping Osieka with the project, things came to a grinding halt when his Atari machine broke.

N.AES Also located in Germany, in 1994 Jens Hiescher started a similar project that was originally named Signum. This project progressed so nicely that German company Overscan bought it and released it commercially under the name N.AES. N. AES had its final release in the late 90's and at the time it had become a very robust AES for MiNT, and included a number of innovations compared to the ancient AES 4.1 from Atari. To mention a few of them, users now had access to keyboard shortcuts for window gadgets, possibility to hide applications, and optional hiding of the menu bar. The latter saved the user some screen space, as the menu bar would disappear when the mouse was moved outside of its limits.

oAESis Another project was started 1995 in Sweden, by Christer Gustavsson. The project was oAESis, and it did actually progress into a somewhat usable project. Even if this AES looked promising enough, the end product never reached a fully mature and stable state. After some time, the project was incorporated within a bigger plan. OSIS was an effort to create an Atari TOS/GEM compatible environment for Linux, constisting of the subsystems oTOSis (TOS/MiNT replacement), oAESis (AES replacement), oVDIsis (VDI replacement) and oFBis (a framebuffer library). On a funny side note, the name OSIS is also Swedish slang for "bad luck". The project progressed until around year 2000, when it seemed like the involved programmers were losing interest and time to keep things going.

XaAES Also started in 1995, there was XaAES. The UK programmer Craig Graham was frustrated that there was no decent user interface that could take advantage of the power of the pre-emptive multitasking in MiNT.

(This chapter is used on Wikipedia with permission from http://xaaes.atariforge.net)

MyAeS is another AES project born more recently, it was started in May 2003 in France, by Olivier Landemarre. First public version was available in February 2004.

See also

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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English

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

Latin monēta (place for making coins), from the temple of Juno Moneta (named for Monēta mother of the Muses), where coins were made, akin to Danish mønte (spelling before the writing reform of 1948: mynte), German münzen (to mint), and to Russian монета (coin).

Noun

Singular
mint

Plural
mints

mint (plural mints)

  1. A building or institution where money (originally, only coins) is produced under government licence.
  2. (informal) A large amount of money. A vast sum or amount, etc.
    That house is worth a mint
    It must have cost a mint to produce!
Related terms
Translations

Verb

Infinitive
to mint

Third person singular
mints

Simple past
minted

Past participle
minted

Present participle
minting

to mint (third-person singular simple present mints, present participle minting, simple past and past participle minted)

  1. (transitive) To reproduce (coins), usually en masse, under licence.
Translations

Derived terms

Adjective

mint (not comparable)

Positive
mint

Comparative
not comparable

Superlative
none (absolute)

  1. Of condition, as new.
    in mint condition.
  2. (numismatics) In near-perfect condition; uncirculated.
  3. (philately) Unused with original gum; as issued originally.
  4. (slang) Very good.
    that's mint
Translations

See also

Etymology 2

A mint plant.

From Latin menta (the plant) < Ancient Greek μίνθη (minthē), akin to Old Norse minta (mint).

Noun

Singular
mint

Plural
mints

mint (plural mints)

  1. Any of several plants of the family Labiatae, typically aromatic with square stems.
  2. The flavouring of the plant, either a sweet, a jelly or sauce.
  3. (color/colour) a green colour, like that of mint.
    mint colour:    
  4. A mint-flavored candy, often eaten to sweeten the smell of the breath.
Derived terms
Related terms
Translations

Adjective

mint (comparative mintier, superlative mintiest)

  1. (color/colour) Of a green colour, like that of the mint plant.
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
  • Romanian: mentă f. (1)
  • Spanish: menta f. (1)

See also


Dutch

Verb

mint

  1. The second-person singular present tense of minnen.
  2. The third-person singular present tense of minnen.

Hungarian

Pronunciation

  • IPA: /ˈmint/

Conjunction

mint

  1. (comparison) than, as ... as (creates a clause, so a comma is needed)
    A kastély nagyobb, mint a kutyaház. - The castle is bigger than the dog-house.
    Olyan nagy a házam, mint a tiéd. - My house is as big as yours.
  2. as (no new clause, no comma)

Synonyms

Derived terms

See also


Simple English

Mint can mean different things:

  • Mint is the English word for the family of plants called Mentha. It has a strong taste that many people like. It is used to add flavor to lamb, potatoes, chocolate and ice cream. It is also used in toothpaste. It is very easy to grow, and some people keep mint in their gardens to use when they cook. Some well known kinds of mint are spearmint, peppermint and applemint. Mint sauce is made with chopped mint leaves, vinegar and sugar.
  • A mint is a factory that makes money.









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