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Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Path: sparky!uunet!wupost!csus.edu!netcom.com!sjs
From: s...@netcom.com (Stephen Schow)
Subject: Is MINIX much better than LINUX?
Message-ID: <1992Dec12.034538.14723@netcom.com>
Organization: Netcom - Online Communication Services  (408 241-9760 guest) 
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1992 03:45:38 GMT
Lines: 11

I need some reasons for buying minix versus just getting linux for free.
Anyone got any concrete ones.  I won't really be doing any commercial things.
I just want to get through my BSCS, where all of our programming has to be 
on UNIX machines.  
-- 
------------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Schow    | But you don't have to use the claw, if you
s...@netcom.com | pick the pear with the big paw paw......
(415) 354-4908 | Have I given you a clue......?
               |                       - Baloo the Bear
------------------------------------------------------------------

Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Path: sparky!uunet!mcsun!news.funet.fi!hydra!klaava!torvalds
From: torva...@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Torvalds)
Subject: Re: Is MINIX much better than LINUX?
Message-ID: <1992Dec12.090926.28084@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
Organization: University of Helsinki
References: <1992Dec12.034538.14723@netcom.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1992 09:09:26 GMT
Lines: 75

In article <1992Dec12.034538.14...@netcom.com> s...@netcom.com (Stephen Schow) writes:
>I need some reasons for buying minix versus just getting linux for free.
>Anyone got any concrete ones.  I won't really be doing any commercial things.
>I just want to get through my BSCS, where all of our programming has to be 
>on UNIX machines.  

Can't pass on this one... The simple answer is a resounding NO.

There are two circumstances when you may find minix better:

 - studies with the book: minix documentation is better, and if you are
   reading the Tanenbaum book, minix will naturally be closer to what is
   covered in the text. 
 - if linux won't run on your hardware (ie PS/2 or any non-386
   hardware, or <2MB memory).

Linux has all the features that minix has (except minix-specific things
like amoeba support), as well as a lot of features minix doesn't have:

 - a real mm taking advantage of the 386 features.  Virtual memory,
   demand-loading, shared pages, the works.  There seem to be patches
   for some of this to minix as well, but I haven't heard how well they
   work. 
 - multithreading filesystem.  'Nuff said.  Available in a limited form
   for minix as a cludge. 
 - better buffer cache handling. The cache grows/shrinks dynamically
   with memory consumption.
 - virtual filesystem layer: you can have several different fs's active
   at once.  The current standard filesystems are: minix (old 1.5 type),
   extended (255 char filenames, 4GB partitions), msdos, proc (for
   process information), isofs (CDROM filesystem) and NFS client fs.
 - floating point support (ie you can use your coprocessor if you have
   one - the kernel makes sure processes don't mess with each others
   state)
 - coprocessor emulation (so that you can ignore the lack of coprocessor
   if you don't mind the performance hit)
 - netowrking support with tcp/ip and NFS (SLIP is in the works)
 - pretty much 100% POSIX and features from both sysv and bsd worlds:
   porting most stuff is mostly very simple. 
 - X11 and most GNU software, as well as a lot of other free software
   out there.
 - shared libraries, so X11 binaries don't take up all your disk space..
 - Active support (me + probably several thousand activists: c.o.linux
   has been on the top-40 lists of most active newsgroups for the last
   couple of months).

And a lot more...

Linux is lacking in (relative to some other unixes, not minix):

 - No sysv shared memory yet (well, there are patches, but not part of
   the official kernel), and no real mmap(). 
 - Not binary compatible with anything
 - Documentation and "real" support (although the c.o.linux newsgroup is
   pretty good)
 - ...?

Ok, after having beaten my breast about linux, I'd also better mention
that 386bsd is also free, and has about similar features.  Linux is
better in some respects: it seems to work on a wider variety on machines
and is actually stabler on some configurations.  On the other hand,
386bsd has a more mature networking setup, as well as having the
advantage of being "the real McCoy".  Check out both comp.os.linux and
comp.unix.bsd for details. 

Note that both linux and 386bsd are good for people who aren't afraid to
set up the system themselves, and are willing to find documentation from
various sources.  Coherent (USD $99) might be an alternative if you want
good printed manuals and don't care about X11 or features, but just want
a simple working unix that has support and is easy to install.  And
although minix doesn't do as much as linux or 386bsd, and doesn't have
the support of Coherent, it's still a real contender in academic courses
etc. 

		Linus

Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Path: sparky!uunet!mcsun!sun4nl!star.cs.vu.nl!philip
From: phi...@cs.vu.nl (Philip Homburg)
Subject: Re: Is MINIX much better than LINUX?
Message-ID: <Bz76pu.AE0@cs.vu.nl>
Sender: n...@cs.vu.nl
Organization: Fac. Wiskunde & Informatica, VU, Amsterdam
References: <1992Dec12.034538.14723@netcom.com> 
<1992Dec12.090926.28084@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1992 12:29:53 GMT
Lines: 95

In article <1992Dec12.090926.28...@klaava.Helsinki.FI> 
torva...@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Torvalds) writes:
%In article <1992Dec12.034538.14...@netcom.com> s...@netcom.com (Stephen Schow) 
writes:
%>I need some reasons for buying minix versus just getting linux for free.
%>Anyone got any concrete ones.  I won't really be doing any commercial things.
%>I just want to get through my BSCS, where all of our programming has to be 
%>on UNIX machines.  
%
%Can't pass on this one... The simple answer is a resounding NO.

No, there is no simple answer. If I had the chance, I would certainly buy
Minix (of course I got Minix for free).

%There are two circumstances when you may find minix better:
% - studies with the book: minix documentation is better, and if you are
%   reading the Tanenbaum book, minix will naturally be closer to what is
%   covered in the text. 

I agree, if you want to understand an operating system, start with Minix.

% - if linux won't run on your hardware (ie PS/2 or any non-386
%   hardware, or <2MB memory).
%
If your hardware doesn't run linux, linux simply isn't an option.

%Linux has all the features that minix has (except minix-specific things
%like amoeba support), as well as a lot of features minix doesn't have:

Amoeba support is almost removed since Amoeba moved on to a new protocol
which is not implemented under Minix and probably will not be implemented.

% - a real mm taking advantage of the 386 features.  Virtual memory,
%   demand-loading, shared pages, the works.  There seem to be patches
%   for some of this to minix as well, but I haven't heard how well they
%   work. 
% - multithreading filesystem.  'Nuff said.  Available in a limited form
%   for minix as a cludge. 
% - better buffer cache handling. The cache grows/shrinks dynamically
%   with memory consumption.
% - virtual filesystem layer: you can have several different fs's active
%   at once.  The current standard filesystems are: minix (old 1.5 type),
%   extended (255 char filenames, 4GB partitions), msdos, proc (for
%   process information), isofs (CDROM filesystem) and NFS client fs.
% - floating point support (ie you can use your coprocessor if you have
%   one - the kernel makes sure processes don't mess with each others
%   state)
% - coprocessor emulation (so that you can ignore the lack of coprocessor
%   if you don't mind the performance hit)
% - netowrking support with tcp/ip and NFS (SLIP is in the works)
% - pretty much 100% POSIX and features from both sysv and bsd worlds:
%   porting most stuff is mostly very simple. 
% - X11 and most GNU software, as well as a lot of other free software
%   out there.
% - shared libraries, so X11 binaries don't take up all your disk space..
% - Active support (me + probably several thousand activists: c.o.linux
%   has been on the top-40 lists of most active newsgroups for the last
%   couple of months).
%
%And a lot more...

Of course these features are also offered by the Unix that runs on the
computers at your university, and mostlikely, the computers there are
also faster and otherwise better equipped than your computer at home.
(At least the computers at my university are).

Now, if you only want to write programs using existing tools, you should
look for Solaris 2.1 or SVR4 (maybe your university can get a site license,
including machines at home), Linux or 386BSD (or BSDI), and finally
Minix or Coherent.

On the other hand, you are interrested in kernel hacking, Minix is a much
better choice, since it is much smaller and easier to understand. And
most important, since it lacks all the features mentioned by Linus, you
actually do something useful.

For instance, I implemented a VM, TCP/IP, and ported X11R5, other people
contributed symbolic links, longer filenames (60 characters), 386 support,
387 support.

Of course, the fun was in writing these (important) parts of an O.S., 
otherwise I would run SVR3.2.2, or SVR4. The next project would be a
rewrite of Minix into a true distributed OS like Amoeba or Mach :-) :-)

So, in short if you want a simple system you can understand try Minix,
if you want complete system try Linux.



						Philip



Philip Homburg 			   			<phi...@cs.vu.nl>
Vrije Universiteit / Dept. of Math. & Comp. Sci.	+31 20 5483546
Amoeba project / De Boelelaan 1081A
1081 HV Amsterdam / The Netherlands

Path: sparky!uunet!spool.mu.edu!wupost!cs.utexas.edu!natinst.com!hrd769.brooks.af.mil!
hrd769.brooks.af.mil!not-for-mail
From: n...@hrd769.brooks.af.mil (InterNet News)
Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Subject: Re: Is MINIX much better than LINUX?
Date: 13 Dec 1992 21:08:29 -0600
Organization: Armstrong Lab MIS, Brooks AFB TX
Lines: 88
Message-ID: <1ggtrdINN4tb@hrd769.brooks.af.mil>
References: <1992Dec12.034538.14723@netcom.com> 
<1992Dec12.090926.28084@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
NNTP-Posting-Host: hrd769.brooks.af.mil

>
>Can't pass on this one... The simple answer is a resounding NO.
>

Linus,
  How soon they forget.  They leave home and the folks seem like such
bumphins :-).

  You DID cut your operating system teeth on Minix, as I recall.  It was
pretty spiffy at the time, wasn't it?  

>There are two circumstances when you may find minix better:
>
> - studies with the book: minix documentation is better, and if you are
>   reading the Tanenbaum book, minix will naturally be closer to what is
>   covered in the text. 
> - if linux won't run on your hardware (ie PS/2 or any non-386
>   hardware, or <2MB memory).
>

  It seems to me that these are both pretty convincing reasons.  To make the
latter clearer, If you are using less machine than a 386 (like the '286
I am writing this on), then Minix is an EXCELLENT choice.  As the system
becomes more and more POSIX compliant, it is getting steadily better.  It
does COST more than Linux, it is not as good as choice as 386bsd or Linux
for 386 and bigger machines.  

>Linux has all the features that minix has (except minix-specific things
>like amoeba support), as well as a lot of features minix doesn't have:
>
[lots of excellent reasons to get Linux deleted]
>
>And a lot more...
>

and requires a lot more memory, a bigger CPU, and more hard disk space.
Let's see how many processes you can get running on a 8088 and a 20Meg
hard drive using Linux (trick question, Linux is 386 specific).

>Linux is lacking in (relative to some other unixes, not minix):
>
> - No sysv shared memory yet (well, there are patches, but not part of
>   the official kernel), and no real mmap(). 
> - Not binary compatible with anything
> - Documentation and "real" support (although the c.o.linux newsgroup is
>   pretty good)
> - ...?
>

  Minix doesn't have these either.

>386bsd has a more mature networking setup, as well as having the
>advantage of being "the real McCoy".  Check out both comp.os.linux and
>comp.unix.bsd for details. 
>

  386bsd won't run on a 286 either.

>Note that both linux and 386bsd are good for people who aren't afraid to
>set up the system themselves, and are willing to find documentation from
>various sources.  Coherent (USD $99) might be an alternative if you want
                   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ |-X

  If you can't say something nice, don't say anything; so I won't.

  All kidding aside, Minix is the right choice for people who can't afford
to jog out everytime Intel tells us to upgrade.  Glen Overby told me once
that 'you have to get the best computer you can before you're married, because
it has to last you a lifetime.'  I've been married 15 years and can think about
either sending my oldest to college, or a 386.  Decisions, decisions.  With
those kinds of constraints, my el cheapo '286 will support three or four
virtual consoles at a time, and do a lot of the Unix stuff I want to do.  Some
of it is out of range (X for example), but I'll deal with it, and develop
clever ways to work around those problems.
  It is still a compact little OS that uses the features of my 286 rather
smartly.  I like it and will continue to use it (at least until I win the
lottery).
  I just thought I'd jump up to defend this poor beast.  It seems that so many
of the faithful (remember the PDP-11 memory Management debate, or the
efficient vs. effective falmefest?) have departed for sexier waters.  I'll
hang around here as long as there is power in this old '286, and keep on
trying to figure out how the 'nice' patches work :-)

  Just call me one of the old fogeys...

TSgt Dave Burgess
NCOIC AL/MIS
Brooks AFB, TX

Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Path: sparky!uunet!mcsun!news.funet.fi!hydra!klaava!torvalds
From: torva...@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Torvalds)
Subject: Re: Is MINIX much better than LINUX?
Message-ID: <1992Dec14.141659.7045@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
Organization: University of Helsinki
References: <1992Dec12.034538.14723@netcom.com> 
<1992Dec12.090926.28084@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
<1ggtrdINN4tb@hrd769.brooks.af.mil>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1992 14:16:59 GMT
Lines: 37

In article <1ggtrdINN...@hrd769.brooks.af.mil> n...@hrd769.brooks.af.mil 
(InterNet News) writes:
>>
>>Can't pass on this one... The simple answer is a resounding NO.
>>
>
>Linus,
>  How soon they forget.  They leave home and the folks seem like such
>bumphins :-).
>
>  You DID cut your operating system teeth on Minix, as I recall.  It was
>pretty spiffy at the time, wasn't it?  

Well, I used minix for half a year, but why do you think I wrote my
own... 

Seriously, I agree with your points: minix is absolutely better than
nothing, so on older (or non-clone) hardware it's perfectly fine, as
well as for learning about unix.  But the original question (in case
anybody still remembers it instead of the linux-minix flame-war) was
whether minix was much better than linux, with the obvious implication
that he had the hardware to run either.  And I've got enough of an ego
not to let that kind of question go unanswered (besides, the minix group
has been mostly empty lately, so it can't hurt to get some discussion
going anyway). 

Also, Bruce Evans (general good guy and the author of the 386-minix
patches as well as lots of other minix code) pointed out per email that
some of the linux features can be gotten as patches (math support etc),
and that some minix device drivers are better (with patches - mainly
written by him I suspect) than the linux ones (the reverse is also true,
of course).  So it's not a question of linux being perfect, but assuming
you have the hardware linux is generally much nicer to use and hack on
than minix is.  That doesn't detract from the usability of minix on
other hardware (or in special circumstances like university studies
etc). 

		Linus

Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Path: sparky!uunet!mcsun!news.funet.fi!funic!nntp.hut.fi!cs.hut.fi!arl
From: a...@cs.hut.fi (Ari Lemmke)
Subject: Re: Is MINIX much better than LINUX?
In-Reply-To: philip@cs.vu.nl's message of Sun, 13 Dec 1992 12:29:53 GMT
Message-ID: <ARL.92Dec15210739@deathstar.cs.hut.fi>
Lines: 92
Sender: use...@nntp.hut.fi (Usenet pseudouser id)
Nntp-Posting-Host: deathstar.cs.hut.fi
Organization: Helsinki University of Technology, Finland
References: <1992Dec12.034538.14723@netcom.com> 
<1992Dec12.090926.28084@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
	<Bz76pu.AE0@cs.vu.nl>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1992 19:07:42 GMT
Lines: 92


	Yet another Minix/Linux war? I still have "Linux is obsolete"
	ast started. It's compressed 96k ;-) and really fun to read,
	especially ast's false predicitions; newsgroup gets daily
	100-300 articles, 2100 users using mailing list system, 10-20%
	of nic.funet.fi ftp traffic is Linux related (that's monthly n GB).

In article <Bz76pu....@cs.vu.nl> phi...@cs.vu.nl (Philip Homburg) writes:
:   I agree, if you want to understand an operating system, start with Minix.

	I'd suggest starting with Linux. I've teached Minix
	internals to students, and had to comment multiple
	times 'eh, this is kludge' ;-)

:   If your hardware doesn't run linux, linux simply isn't an option.

	You wanted to say 'Linux is not the _only_ option'?
	Or just 'do not use Linux'? (because it's free?)

:   Amoeba support is almost removed since Amoeba moved on to a new protocol
:   which is not implemented under Minix and probably will not be implemented.

	'Amoeba support' was not nicely done. Who needs it?
	Future kludge programmers? ;-)

:   Of course these features are also offered by the Unix that runs on the
:   computers at your university, and mostlikely, the computers there are
:   also faster and otherwise better equipped than your computer at home.
:   (At least the computers at my university are).

	Ha, ha .. Even though I have 9.6k modem to University,
	I need my home computers 2 * 386 boxes, soon I'll
	third one. It's nice to have ethernet, tcp/ip, and
	software to run, like ghostscript printing with
	$60 DEC ln03+  laser. Prices for 386 boards start
	from $75-150 (used) .. [with 2MB].

:   Now, if you only want to write programs using existing tools, you should
:   look for Solaris 2.1 or SVR4 (maybe your university can get a site license,
:   including machines at home), Linux or 386BSD (or BSDI), and finally
:   Minix or Coherent.

	Studying OS using Solaris? How you can get sources to it?
	Can ScumOS be reliable? (must be a joke).

	[Corporation XYZ (name not mentioned) used to release binaries
	if they barely compiled - internal information].

:   On the other hand, you are interrested in kernel hacking, Minix is a much
:   better choice, since it is much smaller and easier to understand. And
:   most important, since it lacks all the features mentioned by Linus, you
:   actually do something useful.

	No way. Minix has been around many years, and not too many
	features have appeared. Linux now has it's first net birthday,
	and net is ful of sources, drivers etc. to it. Minix is
	just too hard to hack. Students returned 30% of their
	exercised back ;-( some of them you can see using FTP at
	sauna.cs.hut.fi:/pub/minix .. for Minix 1.3d (only 3
	exercised there, 11 returned).

:   For instance, I implemented a VM, TCP/IP, and ported X11R5, other people
:   contributed symbolic links, longer filenames (60 characters), 386 support,
:   387 support.

	And you are building yet another Bignix - how many other
	people can joy of that work? I personally got bored with
	system where are 100s of patches lying around. Minix
	in Finland costs $200 at least. That's not inexpensive -
	for students, it's 66% of their montly governmental aid.

:   Of course, the fun was in writing these (important) parts of an O.S., 
:   otherwise I would run SVR3.2.2, or SVR4. The next project would be a
:   rewrite of Minix into a true distributed OS like Amoeba or Mach :-) :-)

	It's fun hacking kernel code, but why rewrite Minix?
	You should write your own OS.

	Good luck, I hope you write good OS ... waiting ...
	nic.funet.fi:/pub/OS is waiting for your contribution ;-)

:   So, in short if you want a simple system you can understand try Minix,
:   if you want complete system try Linux.

	Still today I do not understand Minix simplicity, each
	student needed 10 HD floppies for the stuff. I hope
	you do understand that Linux kernel is quite small
	(kernel != all device drivers).

:						   Philip

	arl

Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Path: sparky!uunet!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!howland.reston.ans.net!
paladin.american.edu!
news.univie.ac.at!hp4at!mcsun!sunic!news.funet.fi!hydra!klaava!torvalds
From: torva...@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Torvalds)
Subject: Re: Is MINIX much better than LINUX?
Message-ID: <1992Dec20.235535.4281@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
Organization: University of Helsinki
References: <  Bz76pu.AE0@cs.vu.nl> < ARL.92Dec15210739@deathstar.cs.hut.fi>
<1992Dec19.162027.1604@frmug.fr.mugnet.org>
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1992 23:55:35 GMT
Lines: 58

In article <1992Dec19.162027.1...@frmug.fr.mugnet.org> arc...@frmug.fr.mugnet.org
(Vincent Archer) writes:
>
>So buy, buy more. I thought that the whole point of Linux was that it was
>free? I'll have to spend $150 to buy a 386 board. Ok. Then what?

No, the whole point of linux isn't that it's free, and never has been. 
It's one of the points that come up most regularly, as it's certainly
something that gets the attention of most people.  It's also one thing I
stressed in the "linux is obsolete" flamewar, as it's one thing I think
minix *should* have had as one of it's main points due to being meant
for studies. 

In fact, if you want to, you can pay for your linux installation: there
are at least two CD-roms available already which contain linux sources,
and a third one seems to be in the making.  Also, SLS in Canada sells
linux on floppies.  I'm not getting any money on them, but that doesn't
mean they are giving linux away for no cost.  And I don't mind, because
'free' wasn't the whole point, just a big plus. 

The *point* with linux is that I didn't have a good OS on my machine (I
had DOS and minix, and my definition of good is obviously different from
ast's), so I wrote one.  Making it freely available was a separate
decision not directly connected with the conception of it, and one that
paid off handsomely: thanks to that it's now a lot better system than it
would otherwise have been.  It resulted both in me getting good feedback
and testing for the system, as well as actual patches to make it run
better: both the SCSI code, the networking code and the new and improved
math-emulator have been totally written by others. 

So while you can get linux for free, the real reason you'd want to
actually *use* (and even pay for it) it is that it's a pretty good
unix-like OS.  After all, even a free program is no better than what it
does or gives you. 

>I've never used a 386. I'll never use one, unless you put a gun on my head
>(then I'll do everything you say. And shoot you in the back at the first
> occasion).

You are missing out on something.  I programmed a 68k machine before
getting a PC, and yes, I was a bit worried about the intel architecture. 
It turned out to be ok, and more importantly: it's the cheapest thing
around.  A 386 in protected mode is in fact a very pleasant processor,
and while it could do with some more registers (at least double the
current number), there are no major problems with it. 

The worst part of a PC-compatible is the BIOS and DOS, and I no longer
have to care about them.  Even the much maligned ISA bus is pretty good:
it may not be technically superior, but it does what a bus is supposed
to do very well: hook up hardware.  A lot of hardware. 

It's not even too hateful to program in assembly, and when you program
it in C, it looks like any other 32-bit computer.  Except for being a
lot cheaper than anything else that fast...  Not to say I wouldn't like
a Mac or an Amiga, but it's certainly a bad idea not to even consider a
386 now that there are good alternatives to MS-DOS around (and no, I'm
not necessarily talking linux). 

		Linus

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