The Minix 2 FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
modified: 7 Sept 2006
For MINIX 3 go to
(Minix 3 released Oct 2005)
Where is the Minix 2 FAQ?
(Short answer: you are looking at it).
Where can I get Minix (or Minix software, or
information about Minix)?
Where can I ask for
help with Minix?
(Short answer: go to the comp.os.minix newsgroup or subscribe to
the Minix-l mailing list).
Somebody must have seen my problem before.
archives of the newsgroup and the mailing list?
The web page I was looking for is gone!
Click here for suggestions about finding lost websites and pages.
replies to really old news posts appearing on comp.os.minix?
Where can I get information about using Minix in teaching?
There is a
Teaching with Minix HowTo
page here which pulls together links that may be relevant to teaching. Also
there is a
list of links to course web sites
that refer to Minix. (These are all the sites known to ASW, please let me
know if one should be added).
I want to learn Operating System principles by studying the OSDI/2e text, but I want to install the most complete and bug-free version
of Minix available. The text describes Minix 2.0.0, will I have difficulty
if I install Minix 2.0.4?
The text describes a subset of Minix. A description of the source code of
Minix compiled with all possible features would have required a much bigger
book. Most of the basic system files
described in the text have not changed much with subsequent releases.
Line-numbered listings printed in the appendix may not correspond exactly
to the text, but the offsets will usually be small.
There are a few parts of the source code that have changed significantly. The
Minix 2.0.4 Changes document
discusses these specifically as they affect study based on
I used Minix 2.0.0 previously, and when I upgraded to 2.0.4 I was confused
by a number of changes in the way Minix works, for instance, the nomenclature
of disk devices has changed, and old shell scripts sometimes fail. Is there
a document to help with this?
The disk nomenclature change occurred between releases 2.0.2 and 2.0.3, and
there were other changes introduced at that time as well, including new tools
for accessing MS-DOS or Windows files, and changes in shell behavior that
affect shell scripts. ASW wrote a
Minix 2.0.3 Upgrade Gotchas
article at the time, which has been updated since the release of Minix 2.0.4,
and it may be helpful.
Another thing you should do: unless you have installed a ready-made Minix 2.0.4
image that has been completely updated with all available fixes and patches
(such as the
Minix 2.0.4 virtual machine for VMWare Player
posted in June 2006), you should check the
Minix 2.0.4 fixes directory
for updates. The
file in that directory is updated every time a new item is posted, read it to
see if it describes a fix for a problem you have encountered.
Questions about this website
Minix 3 is available, why do you continue to support a website primarily
oriented toward Minix 2?
Minix 2 is still useful. Although Minix 3 and the
Operating Systems Design and Implementation, 3rd edition
text are now available, Minix 2 and the OSDI 2nd ed. book are
still in widespread use.
Many professors have course materials based on Minix 2 that they wish
to use, and it may be several years before translations of the new
edition of the text to languages other than English are available.
Why did you split the Hints/FAQ page into two pieces?
It became too big and unwieldy to use and to edit. You are looking at
the new FAQ page, the
hints are now on a separate page.
Actually I split the old Hints/FAQ page into three parts, the
is also now a separate page.
Everything that used to be here is still here, however, and I think I've
added links in the right places so you can still find everything.
How did you decide what to leave in the FAQ and what to put in
the Hints page?
Items in the FAQ are answers to general Questions that really
seem to be
Frequently Asked. I also added a section for questions about
Items on the Hints page are generally technical, and are often
answers to questions that nobody actually asked even once, not to
mention frequently, but that I thought somebody ought to have asked.
In some cases they are answers to questions that I asked.
In fact, I (ASW) am possibly the major user of this site -- I run a
local server with a copy of this site at home and I use these pages
constantly for reference. (And yes, at home it runs on Minix!)
Well, this site looks nicer, but now I can't find some information I know
I saw on this website before you reorganized it.
This one needs a three part answer:
I retained the old, messy top-level page with all of its links just for this.
Click here to see it.
This site is running on a server at a commercial web-hosting service, and
initially I didn't have enough disk space for everything that was on my old
Minix-based site. So at first I just put a subset of the web pages and none
of the download files here. Now I have more space, and I think most of the
original content of my old site has been restored. But, I decided not to
continue serving some things, for instance old versions of Minix (pre-2.0.4)
and some other things that are obtainable elsewhere.
A few things may have been lost or accidentally deleted, as well, see the
next part of this answer ...
If you need something and can't find it let me know. If I used to have it on
line it may be on a retired hard disk in a box in a closet. Also, it's
possible that a link on an older page may need updating. Please
send e-mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
What happened to ASW's minix1.hampshire.edu site?
It was getting cranky and
ASW was too busy to fix it.
More info here.
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