Minix becomes commercial


General questions
License information
Technical questions
Operate MINIX 3 in a simulator or in a virtual machine


What is MINIX?

MINIX 3 is a small and free UNIX clone that was specially developed for high reliability. MINIX is particularly suitable for low-end PCs, systems with limited resources and embedded applications. In addition to the binary data, the source code is also available - MINIX is therefore ideal for teaching or for people who want to learn how an operating system works.

What hardware is required to operate MINIX?

For operation you need an Intel 386 processor (or higher) with at least 4 MB RAM, an IDE hard drive with 100 MB free memory and an IDE CD-ROM drive for booting. Unfortunately, booting from USB CD-ROM drives is not yet supported.

Where can I get MINIX?

MINIX 3 Version 3.1 is supplied on CD-ROM together with Operating Systems Design and Implementation, 3rd Edition by Andrew S. Tanenbaum and Albert S. Woodhull. Newer versions can be downloaded free of charge from the MINIX 3 download page.

Where can I get help?

There is a USENET newgroup that deals with the topic. There you can ask your question. There is also a mailing list.

As a beginner, where can I learn about MINIX programming?

To get started, try this guide.

Somebody must have had the same problem as me. Will the newsgroup be archived?

Yes. Look in the archive.

A page that I once found has disappeared. Is there a way to find it again?

Maybe. Try the wayback machine.

Where can I find information about teaching with MINIX?

Try this website.

Can I become a MINIX 3 developer?

If you have enough time, interest and know-how, you are welcome to become a member of the MINIX 3 community. Visit this website to get started.


What is the MINIX 3 license?

The MINIX 3 license is a clone of the BSD license (BSD license). The license states that you can do whatever you want with the system as long as you (1) do not sue us under any circumstances, and (2) the previous developers are mentioned in the source code files, in the documentation, and in the public, unless otherwise Agreement was made. In particular, you may change the source code, redistribute it and use it in commercial projects as long as the above restrictions are observed.

Why wasn't the GPL used?

We think the GPL is too restrictive. Companies that invest a lot of money in the further development of open source projects do not necessarily want to pass their software on to their competitors. MINIX 3 is also used in embedded systems, which was another reason for our decision.

What is the connection between MINIX and Linux?

MINIX was released in 1987 as a small and easy-to-understand UNIX clone for use in courses on operating systems. Linus Torvalds, then a student at the University of Helsinki, dealt with MINIX in a course on operating systems. He used it as a platform, guide and inspiration to develop a MINIX clone called Linux, which was released in 1991. Here is the announcement from Linux.

Linus was accused of stealing MINIX code. Is that true?

No. Absolutely not!. Ken Brown of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution wrote a report, partially funded by Microsoft, alleging that Linus stole MINIX code. Brown concluded that companies shouldn't use Linux because the issue of intellectual property remains unresolved. This is complete bullshit. Although it is usually unlikely that a 21 year old student would be able to write his own operating system if he did not have the full source code of a similar operating system, Linus wrote the first version of the Linux kernel himself. The Brown report and a response from the MINIX inventor are discussed in detail at Slashdot.


MINIX is POSIX compatible. What is POSIX?

For more information, see this POSIX document.

How can I learn to program in the MINIX 3 environment?

Take a look at this document on MINIX programming.

How can I create a RAM disk that is larger than 8 Mbytes?

Check out this document on RAM disks.

How can I install multiple operating systems on my computer?

Use a multiboot loader. For more information, see this document on Multiboot Loaders.

How can I avoid problems with the vol command regarding floppy disks?

Check out this document on vol.

Why does the elle editor not behave as described in the man pages?

For help with the elle editor, read this document on elle.

Is it possible to exchange data between file systems of different operating systems?

Yes. Read this document about data exchange.

How can I view draft man pages that are not yet installed?

use nroff -man file | more

How high is MINIX?

We took some measurements regarding the performance differences between MINIX 3 and MINIX 2. MINIX 3 is 5-10% slower. So far we have not carried out any comparison measurements with other operating systems because there are so many differences (for example the current disk driver does not even support DMA, the ACK compiler is faster than GCC but the code produced is worse, there are differences in the file systems, etc. .). The biggest difference is that up to now MINIX 3 stands for one person's work for one year and thousands of developers work on other operating systems. In addition, when developing MINIX 3, a lot of emphasis was placed on reliability and less on performance.


How can I run MINIX 3 with VMWare?

Check out this document about MINIX and VMWare. You can also download a VM with preinstalled MINIX 3 for VMWare. On the main page you will find a link under the item 'VM installed with MINIX 3'. You can run the VM with the freely available VMWare Player.

Can I exchange data between a MINIX 3 guest system and a Windows host system?

This copy-and-paste tool makes it possible. If you select the LANCHE Ethernet chip when installing MINIX 3, you can also use FTP in MINIX 3.

Can I use the Bochs emulator on a Mac to get MINIX running?

Yes. Check out this document on MINIX and Bochs.

Can I use MINIX 3 with Windows and Virtual PC?

Yes. Check out this document on MINIX and Virtual PC.

- Translation by Andi Drebes