More MacMinix hints

modified: Fri Jun 12 1998

[The author's web site,, has additional information related to MacMinix. -- asw]

From: (Andrew J Erickson)
Subject: Re: mac minix
Date: 12 Jun 1998 15:03:55 GMT

Q: I've got a Mac Performa 640 CD (66MHz MC680LC40, 32MB RAM, System 7.6.1) - can I run Mac Minix on it?

A: You should be able to; see below.

Q: What do I need to do to get started?

A: You need to download the stuff from (I think that's all spelled correctly) and install as any other mac thing. You can feel free to toss the folder of patches--they have already been applied to the system given.

Before actually booting minix, a few things need to be done. Virtual memory, if any, needs to be turned off (including RAM doubler). 32 bit addressing needs to be turned off. (If that isn't possible, launch a program first which takes up all but 8 MB of your memory. Since MacOS assigns processes memory starting at high locations and working down, this is more or less equivalent.) The '040 cache needs to be disabled (although there is a patch around to fix that, I think).

To start MacMinix, start the MacBoot application. The password for root is not too hard to find on the web. (I don't remember it off the top of my head, though; on my system, I've changed it to something rather less than secure but easy to remember. I rely on security by physically preventing access.)

There are a few little nasties lurking in the distribution: there are no manual pages (I have some approximately correct ones on my web page, at, and the macread and macwrite files (which are actually links to macfile) are outdated--they should be deleted and relinked. The old versions choked when transferring a $00 byte (and, I think, were somewhat slower than the current version.) Since the source code is up to date, this is not at all obvious. Protections on a bunch of files are, well, non-optimal, allowing much more access than is sane.

Q:It looked to me like Mac MINIX runs as an app rather than a native OS, is that right?

A: Yes, at least for the reasonably near future.

--Andrew Erickson,

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