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What is MINUX?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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MINUX is a form of operating system that was designed to be an open source type. Envisioned and created by Andrew Tanenbaum, a professor with Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, the original intent of this open source operating system was to function as a learning resource within an academic environment. The general line of thought is that learning MINUX provides a foundation for understanding the structure and function of Unix-based systems with a greater ease.

Sometimes known as MINIX, the MINUX operating system format has gone through several versions since the first release in the late 1980’s. Version 1.5, which was released in 1991, expanded on the compatibility of the first release with various systems that were already on the market at the time. The first version was specifically configured to be compatible with IBM personal computers and the IBM/PC microcomputers of the day. The 1991 release added compatibility with the newer Commodore Amiga system, as well as the Atari ST, and the latest release of Apple’s Macintosh computer platform.

The earliest versions of MINUX also helped to serve as the inspiration and to some extent the programming associated with several other operating systems. The Sun operating system, generally known as SunOS, owed a great deal to the functionality of the first MINUX releases. Another operating system, the MeikOS that was released by Meiko Scientific, also employed the use of one of the earliest releases of MINUX for its basic design and function.

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Later versions of MINUX continued to be released throughout the decade of the 1990’s, as well as into the 21st century. One of the most recent new releases is Version 3.1.2, which was made available on 8 May 2006. This latest MINUX release continued to draw on the advances made over the years, particularly with Unix-based systems. All told, this version of MINUX could make use of more than four hundred of the most common utility programs that are utilized by Unix systems. This version also included newer and more powerful protocols to help manage and limit driver crashes, with the intent being to have the situation corrected so quickly that any processes currently running are not delayed or forced to close.

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