From: ove...@plains.UUCP (Glen Overby)
Subject: Minix Information Sheet (Last Changed: 2 Feb 1990)
Summary: Everything you ever wanted to know about Minix on the networks,
but never dared to ask!
Keywords: info answers
Message-ID: < InfoSheetMarch90@plains>
Date: 2 Feb 90 18:01:36 GMT
Expires: 1 Mar 90 00:00:00 GMT
Reply-To: ove...@plains.nodak.edu (Glen Overby)
Organization: North Dakota State University, Fargo ND, USA
Posted: Fri Feb 2 19:01:36 1990
/* Changed this month:
Ran everything thru a spelling checker!
New archive site in Australia
Send Compatability List updates to Alan F. Perry, a...@dhw68k.cts.com
Send all other updates to Glen Overby, ove...@plains.nodak.edu
[Most recent change: 2 Feb 1990 by ove...@Plains.nodak.edu (Glen Overby)]
[Original From a...@cs.vu.nl (Andy Tanenbaum ) 88/02/23]
MINIX INFORMATION SHEET
1. WHAT IS MINIX?
MINIX is an operating system that is a subset of UNIX Version 7. It con-
tains nearly all the V7 system calls, and these calls are identical to the
corresponding V7 calls. It also includes a Bourne-compatible shell, and
close to 100 utility programs, including cc, grep, ls, make, etc. To the
average user, it is effectively V7 UNIX. If you dig deep enough, you will,
however, find some differences.
The MINIX kernel has been written from scratch by Andy Tanenbaum
(a...@cs.vu.nl). It does not contain ANY AT&T code at all. The utility
programs have been written by Andy Tanenbaum, his students, and a number of
other people, including people on USENET. None of the utilities contain
any AT&T code either. The shell, the Pascal and C compilers, make, etc.
have all been completely redone. As a result, this code is not covered by
the ATT UNIX license, and it can be made available.
2. HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MINIX?
MINIX is described in detail in the following book:
Title: Operating Systems: Design and Implementation
Author: Andrew S. Tanenbaum
ISBN: 0-13-637406-9 (Hardcover)
0-13-637331-3 (Paperback, outside of U.S. and Canada)
There are also French and Spanish translations of the book available, and a
German version is due out soon. The paperback MINIX Reference Manual is a
subset of the book; It contains only the MINIX specific information, not
the general background stuff on operating systems that the book contains.
The software package does not contain a manual; this is contained in the
appendices to the book, which also contain a complete source code listing
(in C) of the version 1.1 MINIX kernel.
3. HOW CAN I GET MINIX?
MINIX is being sold by:
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
1-800-624-0023 (Software Department)
66 Wood Lane End, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP2 4RG England (+44
The Minix Centre
Forncett End, Norwich, Norfolk, England NR16 1HT (0953-89345)
When ordering it, please specify one of the following versions:
MINIX 1.3 for 640K IBM PC $79.95 (0-13-583444-9)
MINIX 1.3 for 512K IBM PC/AT $79.95 (0-13-583303-5)
MINIX 1.1 sources on mag tape $79.95
MINIX 1.3 code + reference manual (PC) $116 (0-13-584426-6)
MINIX 1.3 code + reference manual (AT) $116 (0-13-584418-5)
MINIX-PC upgrade (1.2 to 1.3) $29.95 (0-13-584723-0)
(Sources *ONLY* -- you will need to already have
a working PC-Minix system to use this)
MINIX 1.1 for the Atari ST $79.95 (0-13-584392-8)
Textbook: Operating Systems: Design and Implementation (0-13-637406-9)
Reference Manual: MINIX for the IBM PC, XT, and AT (0-13-584400-2)
The PC version runs on many IBM-compatible machines, but check the Compati-
bility Report for your machine and hard disk to make sure. The PC version
is distributed on 5.25-inch 360K diskettes, and the AT version is distri-
buted on 5.25 1.2M diskettes. The only other difference in the two is what
hard disk driver they are compiled with (an XT driver for the PC and an AT
for the AT). In both cases you get sources for all available drivers.
The Atari version will run on any Atari ST, from a 512K machine with 1
floppy to a Mega ST with 4M and 16 hard disks. It works better on the
latter. Distribution is on 3.5-inch diskettes.
All full distributions contain executable binaries and the complete source
4. WHAT CPUS DOES MINIX RUN ON?
MINIX was originally written for the IBM PC, XT, and AT. It has since been
ported to the NS 16032 and the 68000 (Atari ST). It will also work on many
386-based machines. A list of clones on which MINIX has been tested is
available in the "Minix Compatibility Report" (see vm1.nodak.edu and other
archive sites for a copy). These tests apply to Version 1.1 and 1.2. It
is thought that 1.3 runs on everything that ran 1.2, and more.
5. IS MINIX PUBLIC DOMAIN?
No. MINIX has been copyrighted by Prentice-Hall. Prentice-Hall has decid-
ed to permit a limited amount of copying of the sources and binaries for
educational use. Professors may make copies for students in their operat-
ing systems classes. Academic researchers may use it for their new experi-
mental machines, and things like that. A small amount of private copying
of diskettes for the use of personal friends is ok, but please do not make
more than 3 copies from each original. Prentice-Hall is trying to be more
reasonable than most software publishers. Please do not abuse this. On-
line repositories of the full source code distribution are not permitted.
All commercial uses of MINIX require written permission from Prentice-Hall;
for the most part, they are willing to grant such permission in return for
a royalty on sales.
6. WHAT PROGRAMS COME WITH MINIX
The list below gives the programs that are distributed with Version 1.3:
animals ar ascii asld ast at atrun badblocks banner basename cal cat cc cdiff
chgrp chmem chmod chown clr cmp comm compress cp cpdir crc cron date dd df
diff diskcheck dosdir dosread doswrite du echo ed elle ellec expr factor
fdisk fgrep file find fix fsck getlf grep gres head help kill libpack
libupack ln login lorder lpr ls make mined mkdir mkfs mknod more mount mv nm
od passwd paste patch pr prep printenv pwd rcp readall readclock readfs rev
rm rmdir roff sed sh shar size sleep sort spell split strings strip stty su
sum sync tail tar tee term termcap test time touch tr traverse treecmp true
tset tsort tty umount uncompress uniq update uudecode uuencode vol wc whereis
which who whoami zcat
Various other programs have been posted to the net, and should be available
from the archives.
7. HOW DO I KEEP UP TO DATE ABOUT MINIX.
If you are on USENET, subscribe to newsgroup comp.os.minix. There are
about 10,000 people in this group, and new software, bug fixes, and general
discussion about MINIX take place here. If you are on BITNET or ARPANET,
you can get this newsgroup via a mailing list by sending a message (either
interactive or mail) to lists...@vm1.nodak.edu or listserv@ndsuvm1 saying:
signup minix-l Your_Full_Name
or by sending a request to the list maintainer at info-minix-
8. HOW MANY VERSIONS OF MINIX ARE THERE AND HOW DO THEY DIFFER?
At present there are three versions for the IBM PC line: 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3.
The IBM V1.3 contains many bug fixes and other improvements over 1.1 and
1.2. In particular, although V1.1 works fine with genuine IBM PCs, it
gives trouble on some clones, especially hard disk problems. In this
respect V1.2 is much better. V1.3 has many enhancements over 1.2, includ-
ing networking and RS232 support. Both V1.1 and V1.2 are obsolete and are
no longer available from Prentice-Hall.
Version 1.5.0 is the most recent version to be released to the network, but
it is not available from Prentice-Hall.
There is one version for the Atari ST line, V1.1 which is equivalent to
9. ARE THE MESSAGES POSTED TO COMP.OS.MINIX SAVED ANYWHERE?
Yes. There are many sites which archive everything from complete copies of
all articles posted, to summaries of the more interesting articles, to use-
ful sources and updates.
The first place to look for archives is on your own (or a nearby) system.
There are many sites which maintain local archives and are not listed here.
If that fails, try an archive site in your area and/or on a network which
you are also on. If you want very large amounts of material from the ar-
chives, talk to one of the maintainers about mailing a tape. Surface mail
Please restrict your use of FTP sites to non-business hours.
Abuse of the archives, especially thru mail, will cause bad carma.
9.1 Internet: Bugs.Nosc.Mil
Bugs.Nosc.Mil archives comp.os.minix news articles of lasting interest and
other Minix material, such as a list of machines reported to be able to run
Minix. Material of widespread interest includes diffs for updating v1.1 to
v1.2 and v1.2 to v1.3, diffs for cross compilation under MS-C and Turbo-C,
the new C compiler, the editor Elle v4.1, and recently a port of C-Kermit.
This material is available by anonymous FTP (during non-business hours) on
bugs.nosc.mil [188.8.131.52] in directory pub/Minix. There are two index
files for the archives, "subjects" and "subjects.ast", the latter being ar-
ticles posted by Minix author, Andrew Tanenbaum. The file names are mostly
just the Message-Id of a news article.
This archive is mantained by Vincent Broman, code 632, Naval Ocean Systems
Center, San Diego, CA 92152, USA Phone: +1 619 553 1641
Internet: bro...@nosc.mil Uucp: sdcsvax!nosc!broman
9.2 Internet: Simtel20.Arpa
A limited archive of MINIX related material is available from wsmr-
simtel20.army.mil [184.108.40.206] in the directory PD3:. These
same files are available to Bitnet from the simtel20 relays on
LISTSERV@RPICICGE or LISTSERV@NDSUVM1 in the same directory.
To get these files from LISTSERV@RPICICGE, use the /pddir and /pdget com-
mands for a directory listing and file retrieval, respectively.
9.3 Internet in Australia: sirius.ucs.adelaide.edu.au
now has a small minix archive in the directory pub/minix that can be accessed
by anonymous ftp. At present the directory contains:
-rw-r--r-- 1 root 535 Jan 25 17:07 FETCHME_FIRST
-rw-r--r-- 1 root 126351 Jan 25 17:07 clam-1.3.3.tar.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 root 147397 Jan 25 17:07 elvis-1.0.1.tar.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 root 33065 Jan 25 17:07 ibm-v1.5.0fixes.tar.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 root 1911343 Jan 25 17:07 ibm-v1.5.0frm1.3.tar.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 root 1608 Jan 25 17:07 st-v1.5.0fixes.tar.Z
-rw-r--r-- 1 root 1812318 Jan 25 17:07 st-v1.5.0frm1.1.tar.Z
Other `significant' postings may be added in the future. Space and time
Could overseas users please avoid accessing this australian site.
It will be *very*much*slower* than any of your `local sites'.
The fetch me first file contains the below...
ibm : ibm only
st : atari st only
N.N.NfrmM.M : upgrade kit from version M.M to version N.N.N
N.N.Nfixes : *UNOFICIAL* comments/notes/patches to version N.N.N
.tar.Z : tar'ed with `pdtar czf'.
- the st upgrade kit includes (I hope) the files needed from the ibm
- the files are compressed -b16. For minix you will need to uncompress
them on a big machine first.
Thanks to Gordon I, Vera M and Mark P for doing a lot of the work.
9.4 Bitnet: NDSUVM1.BITNET / Internet: vm1.NoDak.Edu
Two archives of Minix information are kept here at North Dakota State
University. The largest is an automated log of all messages sent to the
MINIX-L list (the Bitnet side of Info-Minix), and the other is an manually
organized archive of sources sent to the list. Both are accessible by
Anonymous FTP on the Internet, and by making a request by mail from any
other connected network (such as Bitnet or UUCP).
Anonymous FTP users will find two directories: LISTARCH and MINIX, while
users of the LISTSERV will find the directories MINIX-L and MINIX. The
MINIX-L directory is a subset of the LISTARCH directory, the latter of
which contains logs of all the mailing lists we host.
Our machine is:
Internet: lists...@vm1.NoDak.EDU [220.127.116.11]
**NOTE** Many Unix sites have had difficulty contacting this
server because it is VERY stringent about what it accepts as
valid mail. Also, replies to uucp will *not* follow the same
path back as the request was sent on. If you are a UUCP site not
listed in the UUCP maps, listserv will NOT be able to respond to
OBTAINING FILES WITH ANONYMOUS FTP
Our site accepts FTP logins with the user "anonymous" and any password
(network conventions generally say you should use your login name, but that
is not required). We ask that you limit your usage of this to off-peak
hours, such as evenings and weekends.
Be warned that this machine is an IBM 3090 running VM/CMS and uses EBCIDC!
The translation table we use does not seem to cause problems when talking
to native ASCII machines. You should think twice before doing BINARY
transfers, since all the Minix files are stored as text.
A normally up-to-date index of available files in the MINIX directory, with
descriptions, is kept in the file "MINIX INDEX".
REQUESTING A FILE USING THE LISTSERV
If you do not have Internet access, you may request files be sent to you by
our LISTSERV file server by sending it commands in either a file (on Bit-
net) or the body of mail (from anywhere else).
To obtain a list of the files, the INDEX command is used:
where is either MINIX-L or MINIX.
The GET command will instruct LISTSERV to send you a file, such as:
get minix info minix
to get the file "MINIX INFO" from the group "MINIX". That file is a copy
of the monthly "Minix Information Sheet" posting. The Minix Compatibility
list is available in the file "MINIX COMPAT".
Due to the 80-character per line (punched card) limit on Bitnet mail, many
of the files will be shipped using an encoding scheme that allows logical
lines to be split up into many physical lines. On Bitnet, this is normally
the IBM "DISK DUMP" or "NETDATA" format.
The default for other networks is "Listserv Punch". This requires a spe-
cial program to decode the file once it has arrived at your site. Informa-
tion on obtaining a program to decode listserv punch format is sent with
each encoded file.
If you would rather have a file sent to you uuencoded, you may specify that
in your GET command:
get minix info minix f=uuencode
please note that there are many files, such as the 1.3 to 1.5.0 update,
which are stored in uuencoded format.
ACCESSING THE MAILING LIST LOGS WITH LISTSERV
The mailing list logs are kept in the "MINIX-L", or "LISTARCH" section,
with all filenames of the form:
where "yy" is the year, "mm" is the numeric month and "w" is an alphabetic
character from A to E indicating what week of the month. Several months of
log files are kept on-line, the number depending on disk space availabili-
If you are looking for a specific article, or set of articles, you can per-
form searches on this directory using the Database functions of Listserv.
For example, to obtain a "Subject" index of the MINIX-L archives, send the
listserv a file or mail with the following "job" in the message body:
// JOB Echo=No
Database Search DD=Rules
//Rules DD *
search * in minix-l since 89/12/01
and you will be sent a file containing all of the 'Subject:' lines sent to
the mailing list since December 1, 1989. If you wish to request one or
more items, replace the 'index' line in the above job with "print [ref-
num]", where "refnum" is the reference number from the index listing. Do-
cumentation on this and other database functions is available by sending
the command "INFO DATABASE" to the listserv.
To obtain more information on the listserv, send it the command:
This archive is maintained by Glen Overby at North Dakota State University,
Fargo, ND USA
Glen Overby info-minix List Maintainer
uunet!plains!minix (UUCP) minix@plains (Bitnet)
9.5 BBS: The Mars Hotel
For people without a network connection, there is a PC-based
Electronic Bulletin Board System (BBS) that has
carried the traffic of Usenet's Comp.os.minix steadily since August,
1987 as well as a formal
The BBS is not a true gateway to Usenet, like some Fidonet nodes are;
rather it is a "delivery service" whereby new comp.os.minix articles
are gathered daily and posted as messages on the BBS. Long articles
are automatically ARC'ed and posted to the file area for downloading.
Raw traffic is kept for about 2 months.
Once a month the articles of lasting interest from the previous month are
saved into several ARC files, all less than 100k, to make downloading easier.
For any given month, the index of articles is in MNXyymmA.ARC,
and the actual articles start in MNXyymmB.ARC.
You can just download the index, then download the ARC files that contain
articles of interest to you.
A complete index is always in MNXINDEX.ARC.
The Mars Hotel BBS, (301)277-9408 (PC-Pursuitable)
300,1200,2400 baud, 8,n,1.
No registration required, no donations accepted.
Everyone gets 60 minutes/day.
No upload/download ratios (but don't be a jerk!)
Spread the word to those without net access.
This BBS is run by James da Silva.
9.6 England (Janet) uk.ac.ic.doc (icdoc.uucp)
An archive of the worthwhile postings from the comp.os.minix
newsgroup is available from uk.ac.ic.doc either via mail or by GUEST
niftp. For details about how to access this service send a mail
message with NO Subject: field to:
and a message body of:
This will mail you back details of the various ways to obtain the files.
This service is only available inside the UK. We have no funds to
send such mail internationally.
This archive service is run by Lee McLoughlin.
Janet: l...@uk.ac.ukc, l...@uk.ac.ic.doc
Uucp: l...@icdoc.UUCP, ukc!icdoc!lmjm
9.7 Atari ST GNU C Compiler (GCC)
A distribution of Minix AtariST gcc and associated libraries and tools
are available for anonymous FTP from dsrgsun.ces.cwru.edu [18.104.22.168],
directory ~ftp/pub/minix/gcc-1.34* (cd to pub/minix).
9.8 IBM PC (80386) GNU C Compiler (GCC)
A port of the GNU C Compiler is available for Minix from both the Mars Hotel
BBS in the file BRUCECC.TAZ and via anonymous ftp from the
host hobbes.cs.umd.edu (IP address 22.214.171.124), in the minix directory.
This compiler will compile programs that will run in 32-bit mode on an 80386.
10. WHAT PC CLONES HAS MINIX BEEN TESTED ON?
There is a long list of computers which have been verified to work with Minix.
It is posted monthly, along with this Information Sheet and is available from
several archive sites.
uunet!plains!overby (UUCP) overby@plains (Bitnet)