Plan 9 from Bell Labs is still very much alive. They just got an updated website, with easier access to nightly builds. “Plan 9 from Bell Labs is a research system developed at Bell Labs starting in the late 1980s. Its original designers and authors were Ken Thompson, Rob Pike, Dave Presotto, and Phil Winterbottom. They were joined by many others as development continued throughout the 1990s to the present. Plan 9 demonstrates a new and often cleaner way to solve most systems problems. The system as a whole is likely to feel tantalizingly familiar to Unix users but at the same time quite foreign.”
Plan 9 Still Alive
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2006-01-28 6:38 pmDevL
The proper link should be -> http://plan9.bell-labs.com
2006-01-28 6:43 pmThom Holwerda
Err, I linked to the announcement of the new website, as that is actually the news. I’ll let it make a bit more sense, wait there. .. …
Edited 2006-01-28 18:46
From the one and only screenshot on their site, Plan9 looks old, not organised (the GUI)…
Looks worst than Windows 3.1 !!
And the thing is alive since 1980… Not much progress.
2006-01-28 6:52 pmBryanFeeney
The GUI is not the focus of their work. It’s kernel how user-space interacts with it.
2006-01-28 7:04 pmFlipmodePlaya
Are there ports of any major free software DEs to Plan9? KDE, Gnome, XFCE, Enlightenment? Even more simple ones such as Blackbox?
Also, I noticed that screenshot was in 8bit colour. Is that incidental, or are there functionality problems with the available graphics drivers in Plan9?
2006-01-28 8:34 pmjohndaly
Plan9 doesn’t use X, and it doesn’t use a GUI. What you see in the screenshots is called a textual user interface. It combines some of the advantages of a GUI with the CLI. Sure it’s not sexy and colorful but that was never the idea behind it. If you want eye candy Plan9 is not for you.
2006-01-29 11:29 pmTuishimi
It says right on the plan 9 site that it also runs in 16 and 32 bit color modes.
2006-01-30 12:06 pmpac7
DE is a windozish crap, IMHO. Sorry. Linux has been cluttered with ideas transferred from Windows, thus departing from Unix philosophy. Plan 9 is a clean, elegant paradigm with no need to import such things.
I’ve always been a big fan of Plan 9. The core ideas behind it are obviously well thought-out and fairly elegant. Now if only someone ported more of these core ideas to linux.
2006-01-28 11:50 pmabraxas
There actually has been some porting to Linux. I believe there is a kernel option called “Plan9 resource sharing” or something of that nature.
2006-01-30 12:15 pmpac7
Why to bother with porting plan9 stuff to linux, when plan9 is openSource?? Why dont’t you like to switch to plan9 instead? I did so, and I profit from that step.
2006-01-29 5:25 pmdsmogor
I believe that the current submount and v9fs works are directly influenced by p9.
hmm, I go to this forum and expected that some of you will say “Yes, Plan 9 cool, I am using it for some aplications in business or education”…
But I can`t find post like that
I never used plan 9 and I don`t ever tested it so I wated to read some posts from users of plan 9
hmmmm… maybe later
Edited 2006-01-28 20:06
2006-01-28 8:40 pmjohndaly
I’ve played a bit with Plan9 and I don’t think you will ever see it used in business, but you will see it in research (that qualifies as education if you stretch it). So far there is one research OS based on Plan9 that I know of called PlanB, it was featured on OSNews twice before. Here is link:
2006-01-30 12:10 pmpac7
Yes, Plan 9 cool, I am using it for EVERYTHING — it is my primary OS. And, well, I am not a CS, rather a biologist, however, never seen a cleaner and slim design. Highly recommend you to ry it out. Maybe it is not broadly documented, and the learning curve will be steep in the beginning. Hope you’ll like it, afterall.
I read through the Plan 9 docs some time ago and my vague recollection was that it is designed to facilitate internetworking services, permissions, resources much better than the traditional way that *NIX os’s have done it. The developers looked at the problems that larger institutions have managing networked resources and wrote an OS that specifically dealt with those issues. At the kernel level.
Sorry for the lack of details. Their docs are well written and I encourage you to check them out. These guys have a deep knowledge of many useful issues.
I’m a huge fan of Plan 9 and use it to power one of my servers. I’ve always like Plan 9. Glad too see things are moving along.
Plan 9 does support high-color graphics, and most video cards work via the VESA driver. At the time we prepared the screen shot, PNG hadn’t quite taken over the world, so we switched the machine to 8-bit mode to get a good GIF.
The GUI is definitely one of the (many) focuses of Plan 9. It’s not the standard WIMP desktop metaphor, but many people find it quite powerful, enough so that they prefer it to more “modern” do-as-I-click interfaces like KDE or GNOME. Why do people look down their noses at Notepad as compared with vi or emacs and then want the rest of their desktop filled with eye candy? (Presumably to distract themselves from the fact they’re still using vi or emacs.)
http://swtch.com/plan9port is a port of most of the Plan 9 tools to Linux, BSD, SunOS, etc., and a fair number of people use them instead of the more common Unix utilities. If you want to try something completely different, install it and use acme instead of your regular editor for a few days. http://plan9.bell-labs.com/sys/doc/acme.html
2006-01-28 10:43 pmkaiwai
Hi, having had a look at it – I assume that technically, there is nothing stopping someone from port X11 accross to Plan9? are there any good documentation on the site in regards to how the kernel operates, the threading model? etc. etc.
2006-01-28 11:40 pmrsc9
As far as threading, read fork(2) (for rfork) and thread(2).
X11 has been ported before, but it’s big and clunky and unmaintained.
http://plan9.bell-labs.com/plan9/addons.html near the bottom.
2006-01-29 1:06 amkaiwai
*strokes chin* interesting
I’ve always wondered, given the vision – whether someone has ever sat down and thought, “lets turn this into something more than just an experimental operating system” – it has alot of UNIX good points, and fixes up where it lacks, and hence, the curiosity that if we’re going to replace Windows with another operating system, wouldn’t it be best to use something that addresses the failures as well as bringing new features?
Oh well, a nice little pipe dream of mine
2006-01-30 12:13 pmpac7
X11 is an outdated thing, neither needed, nor wanted on plan9, IMHO. Sorry
2006-01-29 2:29 pmJed
Yeah, I totally agree with rsc9. All my linux boxes have now for quite some time used the Plan9 port.
Now, Lucent Public License Version 1.02 is really aproved by OSI, that mean, is’t really OpenSource.
Old problems disappear.
On qemu is much faster than Knoppix running in runlevel 3 (without XWindow).
I’ve wanted to tinker with Plan 9 earlier, and downloaded an installation cd of the 4th edition. However I was under the impression you needed to install it on at least 2 machines, so that 1 machine could act as the fileserver. Any one know if this is correct?
2006-01-29 1:59 pmZarathustra
No, Plan 9 can be used in standalone systems(I for example run it on my laptop when I’m on the road, and it’s used also in embedded systems where it’s real time scheduler, low resource usage and great portability are very useful) but where it really shines is in a networked environment where it makes much easier to access and manage resources transparently over the network.
Want to play audio from your laptop thru the speakers in your desktop? No problem, just import /dev/audio from your desktop. Want to debug a program a user is running a few thousand km away? Just import their /proc filesystem.
All done transparently without need of any kind of special ad-hoc protocols, everything is a file, and no file is special, no stinking ioctls either.
Read the papers for more info: http://plan9.bell-labs.com/sys/doc/
The logo confuses me, shouldn’t that be the death star?
Is it possible to have filepaths that are actually the result of some evaluation (in userspace) like 1060 NetKernel?
2006-01-30 3:30 amZarathustra
File servers handle path evaluation(inside their own file tree), and they often run in user space, so they are free to do path resolution any way they see fit.
Also the per process namespaces mean that each process can manipulate it’s own view of the whole namespace thru mount and bind operations.
2006-01-30 3:38 amJohn Nilsson
I’m not sure I understand you correct. I think my wording of file path wasn’t the best way to describe what I meant.
What I meant was that if a process opens a file, can the content of the file be calculated on the fly?
So ‘cat /a/file’ would spawn a process whos output would be regarded by cat as the content of the file.
2006-01-30 7:01 amratatask
>What I meant was that if a process opens a file, can the content of the file be calculated on the fly?
This is the way of most fileservers in plan 9.
There’s an ftp filesystem that fetches the files on the fly as you cat/cp/etc. them.
There’s a mail fs that fetches mail, but presents the
mail as files.
There’s the window system which has control files you read/write to control files to manipulate (runs in userspace).
You can also import files from remote hosts, e.g. it’s easy to make your /dev/audio really be the audio device of a remote host, and application running locally won’t notice.
Has anyone succeeded in getting it running in VMware yet?
Mine starts up, but the screen seems scrambled and isn’t useable.
2006-01-30 7:06 amratatask
if you’re lucky enough, you know your way around the plan 9 system and can run the
echo hwaccel off >/dev/vgactl
Requires that you: right click outside existing
windows, select ‘New’ (the default the first time)
sweep a new window(hold the right mouse button),
and enter the above command.
Then resize existing windows so they redraw and display properly.
This may take some practice if you’re unfamiliar with rio, and the screen is garbled enough that you don’t see much 🙂
(this could be made permanent in some startu script, but it isn’t easy to change that, booting from an iso/CD … )
2006-01-30 1:58 pmZarathustra
From the Plan 9 FAQ:
* Does Plan 9 run under VMware, qemu or Xen?
Plan 9 is ported to Xen and runs well under recent versions of qemu.
VMware used to be suported, but was always problematic and the
latest versions just wont work, VMware wont release the information
necessary to make Plan 9 run properly on VMware, and thanks to Xen
and qemu this days there is no reason to use VMware anymore.
My browser returns: Object not cound when I type in http://plan9.bell-labs.com/ Other URL’s have also not worked, although 1 or 2 have.
2006-01-30 5:25 pmrsc9
The site is accessible again.
So, they moved their site to google groups?