How to use Plan9 in Linux


#1

As a few people may know, Plan9 is an amazing, uber-geek operating system that lacked recognition due to its too-far-on-its-time revolutionary concepts, allowing new ways of working.

Made in 1992, it had unique and uncommon features, a good amount of them were later introduced in Linux like the /proc filesystem, it is definitively a very worth operating system to study, play, and discover

Some unique features of Plan9

  • runs on 32 MB of ram (for a real machine install, this howto is about using it directly inside your linux system)
  • everything-is-a-file, even remote machines in the network
  • there’s no root, everything runs in user-space
  • write an application and everybody can run it in their machines, no need to compile or share since its not network-aware, just run it like /net/Thanatermesis/bin/myapplication
  • there’s not exactly a graphical system, everything is text, this means that a menu can contain a structure like ‘File | Edit | View’ and you can modify it, if you write ‘Cut’ it is directly becomes a functional button, click to it to cut a text!

Elive includes an extremely easy way to use it without losing time creating virtual environments or messing with configurations, but even better:

  • just launch the system in your desktop, like a normal application
  • the system is interpreted, not emulated, this means that runs optimally fast
  • no need to create partitions, or to boot in another system
  • the system is shared, as real files in your system, you can access and edit the files directly

How to run it:

Elive:

Install the package by running this command from a terminal:

api plan9-vx32

Then it will appear directly in your menus:

The tool creates a directory in your home and copies on it the full system on it, you can see on it all the files which you can manipulate

~/.local/share/9vx-0.12/

The next time you launch it you will be surprised how fast the OS starts!

Other Debian-based systems:

Same as above, but installing the package by yourself from:

http://repository.elivecd.org/pool/main/p/plan9-vx32/

You should not have any dependencies problems since the debian control files made are pretty clean for that

Other Linux systems:

Use the ar x command to unpack the contents and move them to your / filesystem as root


That’s it, enjoy!

Now, it’s up to you investigate what you can do with it and see what fun things you discover!

:furrydance: :boogie: :furrydance: