Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016


Always in the shadow: the history of Minix-vmd

Minix-vmd is a fork of MINIX 1.6 developed by Kees Bot and Philip Homburg. The goal of Minix-vmd was to go where MINIX could not go. MINIX was to remain simple enough for students to understand. Features such as virtual memory, job control, virtual filesystems, etc. where out of scope. Minix-vmd was created to see what MINIX would look like with those features.

In this talk I will go over the history of Minix-vmd, highlighting features that sometimes made it into MINIX2, in some cases to be dropped again from MINIX3. Features that never made into any other MINIX version. Features that might be too radical.

I will also briefly touch upon the importance of eating your own dog food. Taking an experimental system into production elevates it beyond that of a toy system. Minix-vmd has been in various forms for production use for over two decades. For me personally, Minix-vmd is my main internet router for the last 15 years, handles my e-mail, usenet, backups, DNS for my domain, and ntp.


Photo of Philip Homburg Philip Homburg