Starting Minix from MS-DOS

modified: Thu Oct 9 10:25:08 EDT 1997

From: (Al Woodhull)
Subject: Re: Minix on a Notebook without floppy
Date: 9 Oct 97 14:34:16 GMT

On Thu, 09 Oct 1997 14:02:50 -0700 Gunther Schulz
( wrote in comp.os.minix:

> Is there something like the LOADLIN-program deliverd with LINUX?
> That program is able to start a Linux-kernel image (saved on a
> MS-Dos file system).

There isn't anything like LOADLIN in the standard Minix distribution, but
I believe Kees Bot has incorporated a similar capability into Minix-vmd
and that eventually it will be available with standard Minix. A difference
to be aware of, though, is that LOADLIN presumes you have a UMSDOS (?)
file system capability in your Linux system. This makes it possible to
run Linux on an MS-DOS file system. Minix doesn't have any such alternate 
file systems. I believe Kees' plan is to allow you to simulate a Minix
file system within a fixed-size, large MS-DOS file.

Claudio Tantignone developed mloader, a loader to start Minix from
MS-DOS.  It had some limitations, particularly it could not be started
from Virtual86 mode, which is used by various MS-DOS memory
managers. Terry McConnell worked on Claudio's program a bit more, and
posted a note in August 1997 that says, in part:

: By adapting parts of the Loadlin code I believe I now have a version of
: mloader that will run from the DOS command line. I have tested it with
: recent versions of EMM386, and would be interested to hear whether it
: works with other memory managers. If you are interested in trying the
: program, you can get it at or by
: anonymous ftp to in the pub/mcconnell/minix directory. 

I don't recall seeing further posts on this and I haven't had time to try
it myself.  Some feedback would be interesting. 

There have been a number of other inquiries about running Minix on
palmtops and other such machines. I don't know if anyone with such an
interest has actually succeeded. I don't recall seeing any posts to the
newsgroup or mailing list about it. 

| Albert S. Woodhull              |
| Hampshire College, Amherst, MA  |
|         |