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MINIX 3.2 Released With Some Major Changes 120

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the still-waiting-for-coyotos-hurd dept.
An anonymous reader writes "MINIX 3.2.0 was released today (alternative announcement). Lots of code has been pulled in from NetBSD, replacing libc, much of the userspace and the bootloader. This should allow much more software to be ported easily (using the pkgsrc infrastructure which was previously adopted) while retaining the microkernel architecture. Also Clang is now used as a default compiler and ELF as the default binary format, which should allow MINIX to be ported to other architectures in the near future (in fact, they are currently looking to hire someone with embedded systems experience to port MINIX to ARM). A live CD is available." The big highlight is the new NetBSD based userland — it replaces the incredibly old fashioned and limited Minix userland. There's even experimental SMP support. Topping it all off, the project switched over to git which would make getting involved in development a bit easier for the casual hacker.
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MINIX 3.2 Released With Some Major Changes

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  • Git? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ledow (319597) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:14AM (#39197457) Homepage

    Git? Seriously? So the system developed by the primary "enemy" (or so it's portrayed) of the designer of MINIX (and most vocal opponent of the way MINIX operates) is used to develop MINIX itself now, presumably because "it works" even if it's not architecturally perfect?

    I can't decide if that's incredibly ironic, or a wonderfully beautiful illustration of Open Source.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think it's ironic, I don't judge a hammer by who created it, and git is just a hammer in a different context.

    • by j-pimp (177072)
      Well Andrew S. Tanenbaum is not predisposed to feel strongly about version control systems. Operating systems on the other hand . . .
    • Re:Git? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Noryungi (70322) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:24AM (#39197599) Homepage Journal

      That was in 1992. Get a life.

      Seriously, though, Torvalds vs Tanenbaum is so 20th century.

    • Not to mention the adoption of BSD userland and Clang compiler. Minix always felt a little bit Oberon-like to me, all tools small and clean. Now it's more like Mini-OS-X than Minix. :-)
    • by renoX (11677)

      Git is a userspace application, Tanenbaum and Torvalds disagree about the best way to design a kernel, that's a totally different topic..

      > I can't decide if that's incredibly ironic, or a wonderfully beautiful illustration of Open Source.

      Neither, just a pragmatic decision very similar to MINIX's reuse of NetBSD's userland.

      • Re:Git? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:50AM (#39197883)

        Git is a userspace application, Tanenbaum and Torvalds disagree about the best way to design a kernel, that's a totally different topic..

        That's 20th century thinking, you dinosaur. In the 21st century, you cannot disagree with someone without hating them and everything they stand for. I am now obliged to call you an idiot for disagreeing with me, or in modern parlance: "being wrong". w0t??? U iz a bag of FAIL!!!! I bet you're a communist who votes for pinkos!!!

        Welcome to the Century of the Misanthrope.

    • by gox (1595435)

      To me, git feels more like minix than linux.

    • by sg_oneill (159032)

      Since when are Tanenbaum and Linus enemies? Seriously, a lot of folks get riled up by a ridiculous debate nearly 20 years ago between an old professor and a young student over theoretically correct vs practically preferable (do the drivers live in ring zero. yeah, thats pretty much the crux of it)

    • by Errtu76 (776778)

      I don't think Git is used to _develop_ MINIX. If anything, it's used to keep track of code changes.

      But I understand your point though. I think it's just using the right tools to get the job done, no matter who developed them.

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Is minix open source? I thought it still cost money for any productive use?

      That may have been in the 90s...

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        Open source & costing money are by no means mutually exclusive, as OSI will tell you. Even the FSF would argue that 'Free Software' doesn't mean that money can't be charged for it.

        Anyway, in the 90s, Minix was something that you got if you purchased Andy Tanenbaum's book 'Operating Systems: Design & Implementation' for whatever the book cost. The CD came in the book. So essentially, it cost one the price of that book. Today, it can be downloaded from the Minix3 website [minix3.org].

        As far as the licensin

  • Neat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by laffer1 (701823) <luke&foolishgames,com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:18AM (#39197519) Homepage Journal

    I see an interesting convergence of some technologies happening. clang is on the roadmap for several BSDs and now is default on Minix. NetBSD tools were pulled in which are also used in part on several other systems. The Minix folks will probably upstream fixes to NetBSD as well as make improvements to llvm.

    It's great to see alternatives to GNU tools gaining ground. It's the only logical choice for embedded systems due to licensing. We're going to need to step up our game and make our own tools with threats like Wayland coming.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sodki (621717)

      >It's great to see alternatives to GNU tools gaining ground. It's the only logical choice for embedded systems due to licensing. We're going to need to step up our game and make our own tools with threats like Wayland coming.

      What threat does Wayland poses? It's MIT licensed. And X.org isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Chrisq (894406)

        What threat does Wayland poses?

        Let's put it this way - if you pass Smithers in a dark narrow alleyway keep your back to the wall.

      • by laffer1 (701823)

        Fair question. The problem with Wayland isn't the license, it's the forcefulness of the Linux community to kill off all GUI systems that aren't theirs. The entire point of Wayland (and newer X.org work to a lesser degree) is to kill backward compatibility in the name of progress. The rest of us don't have IBM money to reinvent half the kernel every few years when a new idea crops up.

    • For those of us that don't know what Wayland could be, might you freshen our feeble minds with it's definition?

      You'll have to forgive us peons.

      • Re:Neat (Score:5, Informative)

        by laffer1 (701823) <luke&foolishgames,com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:06PM (#39198085) Homepage Journal
      • Re:Neat (Score:4, Interesting)

        by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:24PM (#39198273) Journal

        For those of us that don't know what Wayland could be, might you freshen our feeble minds with it's definition?

        It's a massive FUD attack designed to replace Xorg with a less featureful but shinier replacement which also makes a number of the same mistakes that were made by OSX and Windows, rather than keeping the better design of parts of Xorg. On the other hand, it's something new which will keep the developers who have got bored with Xorg happy.

        Wayland won't feature remote windowing. The best we can hope for is a pixel-scraper which dumps compressed bitmaps over the network.

        Wayland seems to feature client side decorations. This has the advantage that every toolkit will give subtly different window decorations, hung applications will have immovable windows and it will be difficult to imlement global policies such as snap-to-window or snap to edge etc.

        Wayland also solves a host of completely unrelated problems (apparently). See, one problem with Xorg is tearing in video. I don't have this problem on any of the intel chipsets I have, so it's clearly not an Xorg problm but a problem with drivers for other chipsets. Wayland people claim that wayland will solve this, apparently by magically dealing with the undocumented chips and proprietary blobs from other vendors.

        Wayland does reduce the latency for compositing windowmanagers by removing a number of program->xorg->WM->xorg messages. Given that these are coming at a rate of positively 10s per second from your mouse, this is terribly important since Linux can't deal with high data rate, low latency messages.

        About the only use-case for wayland is so that you can have a nice graphical transition butween multiple X servers running on a single monitor on a computer. I think that's definitely giving up network transparency for!

        Wayland also seems to incite blatantly disengenuous claims from people who should know better like "oh you will be able to run Xorg on top of wayland". This completely ignores the fact that new wayland only programs won't have remote networking and secondly on every other system which does this, X11 is very much a second class citizen and the programs don't integrate properly with the native system.

        Oh, apparently the BEST thing about Wayland is that it no longer has the 1980's style graphic primitives. This means that X is old and unfashionable. It also means that the Wayland developers have apparently never heard of software modularity where a bunch of rarely used function calls can sit somewhere on the side in a different source file and not clutter up the main body of code.

        • by Flammon (4726)

          Excellent post! I would love to see a reply with equal quality so if there's anyone out there with some Wayland answers, please post!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by canistel (1103079)

          Wayland won't feature remote windowing. The best we can hope for is a pixel-scraper which dumps compressed bitmaps over the network.

          You people need to get over your whole "x11 can run over the network" thing... I don't care what the theory is, nothing beats RDP (windows remote desktop) for running applications. I've used them all: rdp, vnc, ssh -X, nx... nothing comes close to rdp, and if you guys took of the "windows sucks" blinders you would admit that too. Whatever advantages Xorg might have, running appliations remotely is absolutely NOT one of them.

          • by jdunn14 (455930)

            I've used them all as well, and I usually prefer ssh -X. Of course, I'm working within a fast internal network and over given more latency other tools may be better suited. On a daily basis I run my email client on my Linux laptop and pipe the display to a rootless X display running under cygwin on my Windows desktop. I commonly forget that the app is not just another windows program.

            Can RDP be set to mix remote applications with locally running ones? I like the idea of switching with just an alt-tab an

            • Can RDP be set to mix remote applications with locally running ones?

              Windows (with either a terminal server or the newer Remote Desktop Services) can do this beautify. I use it all the time for various programs and forget that they're running in a data center far away. Lots of times they run faster if I'm on a slower laptop or working remotely. For example a line-of-business app that needs to hit a data base server that's in the data center. It's pretty nice.

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            Meh. The plural of anecdote is not data. Nothing beats X11 over a LAN, and the proper integration bewtween local and remote windows is simply fantastic. IME, nx handily beats RDP over the internet. Perhaps if you took off your X11 sucks blinders, you would see that too.

            Whatever advantages Xorg might have, running appliations remotely is absolutely NOT one of them.

            For you maybe not. For me it is very much an advantage.

            Your attidude seems to typify the whole Wayland debate: "I don't use that feature so you mu

            • by Flammon (4726)

              +1 for mentioning NX and the tone was totally appropriate for the comment that it responded to so I don't know why the Troll moderation.

        • Re:Neat (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Cid Highwind (9258) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:57PM (#39199637) Homepage

          Wayland won't feature remote windowing. The best we can hope for is a pixel-scraper which dumps compressed bitmaps over the network.

          Which is what we've got now with Xorg + any non-trivial widget set, no?

          • Which is what we've got now with Xorg + any non-trivial widget set, no?

            No, not exactly. The x server has been extended with porter duff compositing, and fonts are usually uploaded as pixmaps. Once uploaded, they can be pasted down into a printout of a string by effectively sending a list of pixmap IDs. That's much faster.

            Also, GLX is capable of serializing the OpenGL stream and sending that over the network.

        • by renoX (11677)

          > Wayland does reduce the latency for compositing windowmanagers by removing a number of program->xorg->WM->xorg messages

          Only with the current implementation: nothing in X protocol prevents from having an X server with a compositor and a window manager in the same process, if the performance cost of X.org's modular design is really an issue..
          Also with client-side decoration, I think that Wayland *increases* the number of messages between the client and server when you move a window.

          Above all, wh

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          Wayland seems to feature client side decorations. This has the advantage that every toolkit will give subtly different window decorations, hung applications will have immovable windows and it will be difficult to imlement global policies such as snap-to-window or snap to edge etc.

          So then are you calling Mac OS X more like X windows, even though the 'server' runs on the same machine?

          If an app hangs, you can still move the windows. (In the vast majority of cases. Very old legacy apps don't have movable wind

        • by DusterBar (881355)
          Great post, but there are things that X11 needs to fix. The whole "visuals" bit and the capturing of the mouse? xlib is a mess to program to and the GUI toolkits try to hide that but the overhead still exists.

          Now, having said all of that, I would rather have a push to streamline X11 while keeping a strong window manager separation (this is actually important for security in addition to usability) and the remotable constructs. X11 has drawing primitives that are better than bitmaps (wayland) but not re
    • Re:Neat (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:56AM (#39197971) Journal

      clang is on the roadmap for several BSDs and now is default on Minix.

      It will be nice if people start to realize that their code needs to compile on things other than GCC. These days you can't even compile a lot of software if you have a different version of GCC than the author did.

      • by vlm (69642)

        These days you can't even compile a lot of software if you have a different version of GCC than the author did.

        These days? For C++, "these days" go back to the 90s, based on personal experience. C++? never again.

      • These days you can't even compile a lot of software if you have a different version of GCC than the author did.

        This is a very disengenuous statement and you should be ashamed of it. You make it sound like GCC is somehow unique in this regard.

        If you use experimental vendor extensions, then you will have a hard job getting your code compiled elsewhere. All compilers have nonstandard extensions and GCC is no exception.

        • Well, GCC started out life as a victim of that stuff, and it claimed for a long time to be the universal solution to that problem. Does GCC still not flag all nonstandard extensions when the -pedantic switch is turned on? It used to have that problem, which made it a code trap. "Write it for GCC but it won't build anywhere else."

      • by macshit (157376)

        Note that clang is quite gcc-compatible (by design), so a lot of "gcc only" code works fine with it. Thus it's probably not going to do so much to reduce the popularity of gcc extensions.

        Howevery, although it largely implements the same interface as gcc, because it's an entirely separate implementation, it's is very useful as a way to detect inadvertent dependencies on gcc quirks / bugs (compile and test your project with both gcc and clang).

    • Why is Wayland a 'threat'? Open source is evolution. Let Wayland come - if users go for it, they go for it and it becomes the new thing. If not, it was a try and I'm sure some good ideas can be harvested from it still. Where's the love, brah?
      • by TeXMaster (593524)

        Why is Wayland a 'threat'? Open source is evolution. Let Wayland come - if users go for it, they go for it and it becomes the new thing

        The problem is not "if the users go for it". The problem is "if every major distribution tries to cram it down everybody's throat", with no alternatives or making it very hard to choose an alternative.

        • If that happens, open-source will route around it - it does that. Something else will come out on the other side that discontent people will like and gravitate towards. Or, Linux will wither away and die. Which outcome do you think is more likely?
        • by sjames (1099)

          Inevitably, most of the distros would be promptly forked with an identical distro except that Xorg stays.

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Is there any particular reason why Wayland couldn't be ported to run on the Minix 3.x microkernel? Yeah, it would run in user space, but is there anything that would stop it from running on Minix, when X already runs well? That way, Minix 3.x could also have KDE5 at least running on it, when it's available.
    • by peppepz (1311345)

      It's great to see alternatives to GNU tools gaining ground.

      Great for whom? What do users gain with the alternatives to the GNU tools? I like being able to fix bugs in the software running on my routers, or to upgrade my Android phone even after its manufacturer stopped supporting it, and it's only possible because of the GPL.

      It's the only logical choice for embedded systems due to licensing.

      The vast majority of the embedded systems around me are running GPL code (Linux, busybox) and they seem to be doin

  • After this I am sure it is safe to say that the year 2012 will be the year of Minix on the desktop!
  • by xonen (774419) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:05PM (#39198061) Journal

    I wonder, how is real-world useability state of microkernels? As i know of only 3 serious open source projects developing an actual useable microkernel for pc-ish hardware (namely: minix, hurd and -shoot me- reactos), how does minix compare to hurd. Which of those 2 projects would be likely to be a serious (`production`-ready) alternative for linux?

    On first sight, it seems Hurd is a few steps further - debian delivers an experimental distro around a Hurd kernel (comparable to the debian/freebsd project) for a few years now, whereas minix just implemented netBSD's userland with this release. On the other hand, news on Hurd has been steadily stale for a decade or 2.

    If our future would be easy selectable kernels (linux/hurd/minix) and userland (gnu/*bsd), in any combination of our liking and/or most suited for the goals, then i'd welcome it, but i'm quite sure this is an oversimplification of current reality, and probably future, especially seen current *bsd vs linux development (partly caused by licensing issues). Maybe some expert on the matter could enlighten us with enduser-understandable technical details, and a comparison on those projects, please.

    • by anonymov (1768712)

      Here [wikipedia.org]'s one real-world microkernel OS, for example.

      Though most real-world is neither pure micro- nor pure macro-kernel, Win NT, OS X and Linux are stuck somewhere inbetween with varying degree of user-space/kernel-space separation.

      • by Dog-Cow (21281)

        Linux is pure macrokernel, in the sense that it isn't even slightly micro-kernelish. Of course, FUSE might confuse the issue a little bit. I am not sure where such facilities fall on the macro/microkernel debate.

        • by anonymov (1768712)

          They do. Filesystems and device drivers are on the kernel side in monolithic OSes, FUSE/CUPS/SANE/graphics drivers with minimal kernel mode parts/etc. muddy the difference.

          It's easy to declare an OS as microkernel or _not_ microkernel, but "monolithic" is pretty much meaningless term, unless you just define anything non-microkernel to be monolithic.

        • Linux is pure macrokernel, in the sense that it isn't even slightly micro-kernelish.

          As well as FUSE it also has userland USB drivers, userland graphics drivers and much of the sound functionality is in userland. Of couurse it ALSO has in kernel versions of those things too...

      • by xonen (774419)

        commercial Unix-like real-time operating system, aimed primarily at the embedded systems market

        That's exactly what i ment.. Commercial, not open-source, and secondly, aimed at embedded systems.

        And indeed, most current kernels will be some hybrid between monolithic and micro. That's what makes Hurd and Minix so interesting: pure userland drivers/servers/ or whatever you call it; sshfs and fuse just faints by it. From a programmer stance of view, it narrows the gap between database (in the broad sense) / filesystem / IO, allowing way more efficient approaches of dealing with data and information servic

  • Serious answers only. What does Minix offer that GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, et. al. offer?
    • by LizardKing (5245)
      A full featured kernel and userland that allows you to tinker with a micro-kernel based system. Linux and the BSD's are all monolithic kernels, even where they offer modules support (Darwin, the core of OS X, isn't a true micro-kernel based system either).
    • Minix has a textbook written around it. It's by design a pedagogical learning OS. People can adapt Linux and the BSDs for that purpose but it's not their original and central function.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Here let me give you the link
      http://www.minix3.org/other/read-more.html [minix3.org]

      Actually Minix is trying to make advancements in a few areas.
      1. Embedded. Minix is trying to be smaller, lighters, and more modular than Linux which to be honest is pretty dang good.
      2. Security. Being a microkernel and having drivers running in user space it is the goal that a security exploit in a driver will not lead to a global aka root level exploit.
      3. Reliability. With the microkernel if a driver crashes then instead of all of Minix

  • Topping it all off, the project switched over to git which would make getting involved in development a bit easier for the casual hacker.

    ...So git involved!

  • Since I'm assuming somebody on the MINIX team posted this article:

    Are there any plans to add real-time extensions to MINIX? I know that ARM support is in the works - with that and hard (or even soft) real-time extensions, it could sweep the embedded world in a big way.

  • Minix is cool (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @02:16PM (#39199913)

    I respect Minix for its attempt at doing something different from the monolithic OSs we almost invariably use.

    Linux and its ilk are very powerful, but they're not the only way to solve problems. Keep up the good work!

    ...laura

  • A few days ago, DragonFlyBSD was announced. The download site didn't include a torrent.

    Today, MINIX is announced, and again no torrent.

    From now on, if you want to post an OS release on slashdot (and in doing so encourage a large number of people to download an .iso), you must include a torrent.

    (grumble common grumble effing grumble sense grumble)

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