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Using Minix


To install Minix on the lab computers, see the document "A Document about Minix on Bocks/Linux by Andrew Wong" on the course website. For information on how to install Minix on a Windows XP computer, see the document titled "A Document about Minix on Bocks/WinXP by S. J. Engle" (alt) on the course website. Most required downloads can be found at


Instructions on how to mount the physical and virtual floppy drives under Minix can be found towards the bottom of the "A Document about Minix on Bocks/Linux by Andrew Wong" document. You must learn how to at least mount the virtual floppy drive to hand in homework. Also, it is highly recommended you back up your files to the virtual floppy. With the modifications you may be making to the Minix kernel, it is likely you may have to reinstall Minix (and thus will lose any files not backed up to a physical or virtual floppy).

Remember, you MUST mount the virtual floppy before saving any files to folder fd1. Otherwise, you are just saving to the fd1 folder under Minix. You may want to add the line:

mount /dev/fd1 /fd1

to your .profile file in Minix. This will mount the virtual floppy for you every time you login to Minix. Also, don't forget to unmount the drive when you are done!

Shutting Down Minix

Several people have already corrupted their Minix installations by not shutting down Minix properly. If you are getting file system checks every time you start Minix, then you are most likely not shutting down properly. This will eventually lead to problems. To shutdown, you first want to type the command:


in Minix, and then hit the power-off button. (Dont forget to unmount any mounted drives first!)

Editors in Minix

The following is a list of editors compiled from the 'Text Editors' post on the newsgroups, and the Minix website.

  • elvis (emulates vi and ex)
  • elle (similar to emacs)
  • mined (minix editor)
  • ed (simple editor)

For more information on these text editors, please refer to the man pages.

Adding a System Call in Minix

You can find a brief guide on how to add a simple system call in Minix here.