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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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).

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