Linked by Andrew Hudson on Wed 19th Jul 2006 18:45 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Plan 9 is an operating system designed by the same people who created the original UNIX. Its development began in the late 1980's and it was a research project intended to address a variety of system scalability issues that the UNIX and LINUX kernels don't do particularly well, namely, distributed computing, distributed name spaces, and distributed file systems. Plan 9 is open source and its current and fourth major release was in 2002. It is available as an install or LiveCD and it can be downloaded here. Note: This is an entry to our Alternative OS Contest.
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v Live OS system nomination
by lilsirecho on Wed 19th Jul 2006 19:26 UTC
v 1980s
by shredder on Wed 19th Jul 2006 20:22 UTC
RE: More Plan 9 Links
by ericvh on Wed 19th Jul 2006 22:24 UTC in reply to "More Plan 9 Links"
ericvh Member since:
2006-07-19

Plan 9 Concepts In Other Operating Systems Links:

Plan 9 from User Space: http://www.plan9.us
v9fs File System for Linux: http://swik.net/v9fs

Reply Score: 2

Fascinating system
by Ronald Vos on Wed 19th Jul 2006 21:57 UTC
Ronald Vos
Member since:
2005-07-06

I put off testing Plan 9 for a long time because I was under the impression you needed at least 2 networked computers to host a working system.

Then I tried it, and it asked me where to load the kernel from. Err..

Could be a bad cd though.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Fascinating system
by adapt on Wed 19th Jul 2006 22:16 UTC in reply to "Fascinating system"
adapt Member since:
2005-07-06

all you have to do is press enter for the default (local). its in case you want to use a kernel from a networked computer.

Reply Score: 4

Plan 9
by siebharinn on Wed 19th Jul 2006 23:00 UTC
siebharinn
Member since:
2005-07-06

I downloaded Plan 9 with the intent of writing an alt OS contest entry, and ended up very put off by the system and never writing the article. It may be very cool under the hood, but the user interaction part was painful. Rio is anything but intuitive, and using Acme is like going back to the old X/Athena apps. It felt like a command line system, but I was constantly reaching for the mouse. Awkward at best.

I would like to install it on a few additional systems and try out some of the distributed features, and see if I can find some positives.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Plan 9
by latte on Wed 19th Jul 2006 23:46 UTC in reply to "Plan 9"
latte Member since:
2006-07-19

I have to agree with siebharinn.....

Don't get me wrong - I ***love*** the clean design of Plan 9, in particular the very clean namespace stuff. Oh - the security too - that is also a BIG plus for it. But sheesh - getting used to the **user interaction** is ***painful***.

I'm not exactly a newbie either - I've used Linux constantly for the last 4-5 years, and I'm a programmer. But the weird Plan 9 user-interaction feels ***really awkward***.

I am ***absolutely certain*** that the only reason that Plan 9 has not taken off (as Linux has) is because of Plan 9's interaction awkwardness.

I would LOVE to see someone do a "newbie front-end" to Plan 9. In other words, at login, you could choose a Linux-style control setup (with easy-to-use interaction), or you could choose the guru-level control-setup ( the setup that Plan 9 now uses by default).

- Latte

Edited 2006-07-19 23:49

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Plan 9
by Cloudy on Thu 20th Jul 2006 00:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Plan 9"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

I am ***absolutely certain*** that the only reason that Plan 9 has not taken off (as Linux has) is because of Plan 9's interaction awkwardness.

There are complications involving AT&T, Bell Labs, licensing deals, Rob Pike, Lucent, and Lucifer.

I wonder if Rob ever wrote about any of that?

Anyway, during the brief period when there was a window of opportunity for Plan 9, back in the mid 90s, AT&T was divesting itself, Pike et al were trying to position Plan 9/Lucifer as the ultimate embedded device OS, too soon, and the then current licensing terms for access to Plan 9 were too restrictive.

Rob did show me a really nice demo on a tiny embedded system that had a full networking stack and was snappy in some small amount of memory I don't recall now, but there was too much missing, it was too idiosyncratic, and for reasons I don't know, Lucent dropped the ball on using it for devices.

That's a pity, because it would have made a great basis for modern handheld wireles devices.

By the time the license issues were resolved, the lack of applications and hardware support made it a novelty item outside of the embedded community, and the lack of a champion made it uninteresting inside.

Now, for all intents, it's just another hobby OS, most notable for the fact that it was the last thing done in OS research at Bell Labs that is in any way related to Unix.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Plan 9
by eosp on Thu 20th Jul 2006 15:21 UTC in reply to "Plan 9"
eosp Member since:
2005-07-07

It's not meant to be intuitive. It's meant to fill its paradigm.

Reply Score: 1

Plan 9 DOES have a browser
by cyber_rigger on Wed 19th Jul 2006 23:42 UTC
cyber_rigger
Member since:
2006-04-06

Mothra has been around for a while now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothra_(web_browser)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Plan 9 DOES have a browser
by monkeyhead on Thu 20th Jul 2006 00:26 UTC in reply to "Plan 9 DOES have a browser"
monkeyhead Member since:
2005-07-11

From Wikipedia:

"Mothra is a web browser for the Plan 9 operating system. It is a very basic graphical browser and does not support ftp, java, javascript, https or CSS."

Sounds awesome... sign me up.

All kidding aside though, I'm glad I saw the links to the virtual machine versions.I'm interested to see what all this fun distributed everythingess is about.

User interaction is the least of my worries going into it. Windows, OS X, and Linux all have a ton of people working on making them idiot... excuse me, user friendly. I don't expect as much out of a research project.

Reply Score: 1

GinoRotormind Member since:
2006-07-17

Just following the links on the wiki, I found this which seems perhaps a more modern option (can't actually say, I am not a plan9 user per say, just been curious about it for a while).

http://freshmeat.net/projects/abaco/

Reply Score: 1

RE: Plan 9 DOES have a browser
by ratatask on Thu 20th Jul 2006 08:21 UTC in reply to "Plan 9 DOES have a browser"
ratatask Member since:
2006-01-28

Abaco hasn't, but it beats mothra.
http://freshmeat.net/projects/abaco/
There's a port og the GUI version of links too.

Reply Score: 2

Plan 9 and VMWare?
by AndrewZ on Thu 20th Jul 2006 01:14 UTC
AndrewZ
Member since:
2005-11-15

I was not able to follow the VMWare link in the first comment. I read in the P9Users (Or something) that VMWare was not and would not be supported for the current version of Plan 9. Does anyone have any info to the contrary?

And When I tried Plan 9 in the now free Microsoft Virtual PC I could not get the install to create a MBR in the filesystem. Has anyone had success here? If so, what is the trick?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Plan 9 and VMWare?
by swzk on Thu 20th Jul 2006 10:05 UTC in reply to "Plan 9 and VMWare?"
swzk Member since:
2006-04-24

vmware5 has graphics issues and you need to remove virtual cdrom device after install. I believe you could still setup a cpu server and use drawterm to connect to your virtual machine. Parallels workstation has networking issues (solution: http://www.tip9ug.jp/who/leimy/parallels.html). Qemu works if you don't use kqemu module. You can grab a preinstalled qemu image from here http://www.oszoo.org/wiki/index.php/Plan9_060327.zip

Reply Score: 2

RE: Plan 9 and VMWare?
by siebharinn on Thu 20th Jul 2006 14:13 UTC in reply to "Plan 9 and VMWare?"
siebharinn Member since:
2005-07-06

And When I tried Plan 9 in the now free Microsoft Virtual PC I could not get the install to create a MBR in the filesystem. Has anyone had success here? If so, what is the trick?
I had it running under VPC. I didn't have to do anything tricky to get it to work; I just used the defaults.

Reply Score: 1

Distributing resources
by nii_ on Thu 20th Jul 2006 01:28 UTC
nii_
Member since:
2005-07-11

Just wondering about Plan 9's implementation.

Regarding the distributed resources, for example, importing the /dev/audio of another computer, if this is already in use (opened by another application), then would the two sound channels be correctly combined if written to?

For example, can multiple applications across multiple computers open and write to the /dev/audio of one machine simulatanuously without distortion and errors, or can only one application be writing to it at any one time ? (Is it blocking or non-blocking on further applications trying to open the /dev/audio)?.

Reply Score: 3

Plan9 Is Awesome.
by Jedd on Thu 20th Jul 2006 01:37 UTC
Jedd
Member since:
2005-07-06

It's so refreshing to be seeing more articles of this quality about Plan9 on OSNews!

I've used Plan9 now for about a year, and I have to say that my most favorite part of Plan9 is the 9P Protocol. The concept of everything being file really makes building a 9 grid and/or a cluster extremely easy and powerful once you get used to how the system acts.

Most UNIX users would feel right at home using Plan9.. well that's how it is for me.

Anyway, my hats off to Andrew Hudson for the killer article.

:)

</opinions>

Reply Score: 1

v Need to be Linux-compatible to take off...
by mgajda on Thu 20th Jul 2006 09:33 UTC
wmii
by swzk on Thu 20th Jul 2006 10:19 UTC
swzk
Member since:
2006-04-24

http://wmii.de/wmii/ a dynamic, 9P speaking window manager for X11.

Reply Score: 1

RE: wmii
by subterrific on Thu 20th Jul 2006 19:53 UTC in reply to "wmii"
subterrific Member since:
2005-07-10

I've been using wmii for about a month now and I really enjoy it. I miss a few features from ion3, but overall I think wmii has a better foundation, in part due to 9P.

Reply Score: 2

emacs
by swzk on Thu 20th Jul 2006 10:41 UTC
swzk
Member since:
2006-04-24

emacs(1) is not GNU emacs http://cm.bell-labs.com/magic/man2html/1/emacs :-)

Reply Score: 1

Limbo is interesting
by renox on Thu 20th Jul 2006 11:20 UTC
renox
Member since:
2005-07-06

The Limbo programming language on Plan9 is an interesting one.

But I've never tried Plan9: its user interface is too ugly to live..

Reply Score: 1

Review
by Tyr. on Thu 20th Jul 2006 15:26 UTC
Tyr.
Member since:
2005-07-06

The review would have been more interesting if on page 2 he actually demonstrated some of the cool stuff he raves about on page 1 instead of wasting it on a "hello world" and a movie quote. And how can he talk about "Rio is small, intuitive, and easy to program." when "the internal NeoMagic VGA was not supported and I couldn't use the Rio window manager" ? That's not a review it's copy-paste from an advocacy page, if you talk from experience and let it show you will be more convincing.

Don't mean to be negative, just offering some hopefully constructive criticism.

Reply Score: 3

Re:Review
by AndrewZ on Thu 20th Jul 2006 16:00 UTC
AndrewZ
Member since:
2005-11-15

The author here. It was my intent to try out some of the cool stuff that Plan 9 is capable of. As I mentioned, I ran into compatibility issues on each of the 5 machines I tried out. I either had no video support or no network capability. What I really wanted to show was the ability to join a Plan 9 grid and actually do some distributed computing. Without both video and network capability I just wasn't able to pull it off. I did submit a second version of the article where I was able to get the trial CD version running in Microsoft Virtual PC, which is now free for the download. Unfortunately the editors of OSNews (God bless their hard working little hearts 8-) ) did not use the newer, up-to-date version of this article that included that experience and included a screen shot.

Yes, there are many amazing things that Plan 9 can do, but the out-of-box whiz-bang experience is not especially strong. A reasonable amount of user effort is required to really get things going with Plan 9.

Like I said in the into, Plan 9 is not really a fun toy OS, it is meant for industrial strength heavy lifting.

Reply Score: 2

my plan 9 review
by Hosiah on Thu 20th Jul 2006 19:05 UTC
Hosiah
Member since:
2006-05-05

Looks like this is another good spot to post a link to my plan 9 review, complete with screen shots:
http://penguinpetes.com/b2evo/index.php?title=plan_9_from_bell_labs...

I have gotten a third machine together in the household, and one of the things I plan doing with the 80G hard drive is put plan9 on one of it's partitions. Eventually (really, REALLY eventually!), I wouldn't mind installing all the stuff ported to it and working on hacking on it a little myself. I'll have to agree with everybody else on the UI: it is awkward and bizarre. Moreover, it feels like half an interface; in fact half a project. It feels like somebody sat down in a manic cycle with all these great ideas and got halfway done before losing interest. It needs to be finished; it needs to have three or four desktops and UIs to choose from like Linux/BSD/Solaris has, it needs a ton more features, it needs to have a live CD release with every stick of software released for it bundled, and this system could then kick some butt.

Reply Score: 3

Yes! They...
by Tuishimi on Thu 20th Jul 2006 19:35 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...slipped mention of BeOS in there! ;) LOL

Sorry... anyway, good article. I would liked to have seen more about the threading support and more talk of failover.

I suspect reams could be written about the file system!

Reply Score: 2

More like these latest entries, please!
by bubbayank on Thu 20th Jul 2006 20:32 UTC
bubbayank
Member since:
2005-07-15

While most of the entries for this contest have dealt with relatively unknown OSes, it's a very nice change to see something not about Linux/Windows/OS-X/*BSD.

Each of these articles has highlighted features unique to these niche projects. Having a repository of knowledge about all this stuff can only help development of mainstream OSes. Take the best from each...

Reply Score: 2

Plan 9 VMWare link that works
by AndrewZ on Thu 20th Jul 2006 21:01 UTC
AndrewZ
Member since:
2005-11-15

OK, here's a link to a VMWare image that just might work. Can someone please try it out and report back?
http://pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~mirtchov/p9/vmware

Does anyone have a working URL for POV download?

Reply Score: 1

More Plan 9 under Virtual PC
by AndrewZ on Sun 23rd Jul 2006 14:06 UTC
AndrewZ
Member since:
2005-11-15

The author here again. It looks like this article has been Slashdotted: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/23/1228225, so here's the missing section on running Plan 9 under Microsoft's now free Virtual PC.

Running Plan 9 under Microsoft Virtual PC

Since Microsoft just decided to release its Virtual PC virtualization product for free I decided to give it a spin and see how Plan 9 worked as a virtualized OS. I downloaded Virtual PC from here (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/downloads/sp1.mspx)and installed it on a Proliant server with a 2.4 GHz Xeon processor, 1.3 GB of RAM, and a 15K SCSI disk, Windows 2000 Server. Virtual PC complained that it was only supported on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. I got on ďinternal errorĒ message during install but everything else seemed ok. One problem with Virtual PC is that you can only allocate memory from RAM. In this case I took the recommended default of 128 MB. This should be fine for Plan 9. I attached the CD drive and the Plan 9 LiveCD installation went fine. I overrode the default window size of 640X480x8 with 800x600x8 and Virtual PC auto-sized the console. I held my breath as Rio populated my virtual console with the default Plan 9 setup displayed below. Everything came up ok but started slowly as Virtual PC started to initialize everything. The process took 25% of the CPU as displayed in the Task Manager so we were not maxing out the host computer resources by any means. I was able to initialize my network card using ip/ipconfig and DHCP worked fine. I wasnít able verify I had connectivity since ping was not installed. Which brings me to the problems.


The problem with the LiveCD is that you donít have access to a lot of the system utilities. You canít add a user in a LiveCD, you canít use ping, and you canít run drawterm to add yourself to someone elseís Plan 9 distributed computing grid (9grid.de), something I wasnít able to try on the laptop which didnít have a network card. When I tried to reinstall Plan 9 under Virtual PC I ran into trouble. At the partdisk prompt I was not able to install a Master Boot Record (mbr) in Virtual PCís virtual disk partition and so the installation stopped dead. Perhaps another reader can post a work-around in the comments section under this article. Running Plan 9 under Virtual PC would eliminate a lot of hardware compatibility headaches and make Plan 9 more accessible to people who donít have the extra hardware to spare. Another option is using Xen virtual machine monitor (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen).

Reply Score: 1