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MacMinix - MINIX 1.5 source for Apple's 68k Macs

macminix minix unix *nix vintage source code

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#1 macminix

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 08:16 PM

I spent some time recently playing with an old PowerBook 150, my daily routine involves working on Unix-like systems. I remembered that Prentice Hall had worked on a 68k MINIX 1.5 port in the 90's, sadly only the Amiga really saw continued community/developer interest and there was no public 1.6 or 2.0 port.


It is perhaps a novelty, but, many Apple models lack sufficient RAM to boot or run NetBSD or Linux, so this is an interesting hobby project to attempt to revive, perhaps for learning the Motorola 68k ISA or to explore the classic MacOS environment. The MacMinix kernel cooperates in such a way that allows for examining the system with a conventional set of Unix utilities.


The greatest challenge was obtaining the source code, this is part of the MacMinix and was contained inside a Minix filesystem image. So, I put on my digital archaeologist cap and attempted to recover it.


So, here is the complete source code for MacMinix on GitHub! Also included is some associated documentation and patches previously contributed by volunteers over the years, originally hosted by Brad Pliner.





#2 macminix

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 11:23 PM

I mistakenly said Amiga above. There was a 68k port of Minix to the Atari ST.


The source above compiles on the Mac itself, it has not been tested to compile using a cross-compiler. There is an existing effort to compile the Atari version with a GNU toolchain. It seems to be very promising. There may also be binary compatibility (Minix a.out), however, the Atari port is at 1.6.




Edited by macminix, 08 August 2014 - 11:24 PM.

#3 rolandg

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  • LocationHampshire, UK

Posted 08 August 2014 - 11:37 PM

Reminds me that back in the 90s I used to play with Minix on the Atari ST. Bought the original 68K port and then dealt with a UK company called IIRC "The Minix Centre". They supplied updated kernels (G-Kernel. M-Kernel) and I remember struggling to compile various GNU sources for it in 4MB with GCC :-)


My ST (and Atari TT) are long gone along with all the Minix disks and docs - but I've just got a Mac SE working so maybe its an option again.


Talking about archaeology - if I can find any of my old Atari SCSI disks - I may well try and dump them using the SE (or the Powerbook 520c I also got at the same time - 2 weeks ago). Its been quite a while since I've had any operational SCSI disks in the house.





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