Summary - PCs and UNIX

A J Travis ajt at
Tue Dec 10 17:50:12 EST 1991

In article <9112091913.AA14614 at> DANJ at JHUHYG.bitnet (Dan Jacobson) writes:
>Many thanks to all those who replied to my PC - UNIX post.  It is now time to
>post a summary of the replies.  After reading the replies I have decided not to
>go with MINIX but will instead consider several other options.

[long list of replies deleted ...]


I missed your earlier message:  I'm a computer literate plant
biologist, and I got Minix 1.5.10/386 running with little difficulty. 
I also have the Mini-X VGA graphics package installed.

I use Minix on my PC at home to work on C programs that I use at work
on a Sun workstation and, considering that Minix cost me about 100
pounds sterling, I think it is very good value.

Most of the horror stories you hear about Minix refer to version 1.3
which was about as useful as Coherent ;-) but came with sources!

Version 1.5.10 is what is currently sold by Prentice Hall and it is
true that without Bruce Evans's 386 upgrade the 64K+64K limit cripples
it as a useful OS.  However, the 386 version now has many of the Gnu
titles available including Gcc with floating point support.

Perhaps more interesting is that Linus Torvalds has recently made a
Minix/386 work-alike called Linux freely available (it does not contain
any PH copyrighted code).  Several archive sites have Linux available,
and there is a mailing list "Linux_activists at" or something
like that ... you do need to be a hacker to use Linux though!

I think Minix/386 is a genuinely useful OS, and I recomend you give it
a try.  I *really* can't see the purpose of running DOS under Unix, and
the versions of SCO or Interactive that look inexpensive are the
run-time _only_ and in my own recent experience are no better than
Minix/386 unless you want to run commercial Xenix applications.  If you
want the development system it will cost more than the PC that runs it.

There was a flame war about Coherent vs Minix a while ago on comp.os.minix.
If anyone wants to re-open old wounds about this I suggest they consider
why people want the source (ask the FSF or read alt.religion.emacs).  I want
it so I can avoid re-inventing the wheel and build on the work of others.
This, after all, is the basic philosophy underlying Unix itself.

 Dr. A.J.Travis <ajt at>  | Rowett Research Institute,
                                      | Greenburn Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen,
                                      | AB2 9SB. UK. tel 0224-712751

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