Painless Minix 3 Install

I decided to install Minix 3 on one of my older hard drives this afternoon. The thing has been churning away as the 16x CDROM fills up whatever space is actually usable on the hard drive. A note about that briefly.

First, let me explain that the process is painlessly smooth. The CD is bootable, but not particularly impressive since it’s basically a shell. The installation process is very well explained in the notes available from the Minix3 site as well as the documentation given throughout the install. While it may not be to the liking of those drawn to certain Linux distros, anyone who’s installed a BSD or Slackware will think it’s a breeze.

Everything just came to a halt as I was typing this, so I went ahead and started xdm. My aged monitor went through a series of hiccups before prompting me for Login and Password; the crummy old mouse even works. I put up the camera so you’ll have to take my word for it. I also apologize for the crappy shot of the screen. Fortunately it’s dark outside or you’d only see glare. You’re not missing much since it was slowly installing GCC.blurry, but so SMOOTH

I originally was only going to install a base system and see how well it would piece together, but I decided to go ahead and kill it all at once since this hard drive is on its last leg. I’m doing this on a spare hard drive using my old NT workstation — 200mhz PII, 64MB RAM. I didn’t precisely time the installation, but the full install took less than two hours. Not bad for a pokey 13 year-old computer addled by a buggy spare hard drive.

Much of that time was taken up by the block check during partitioning, which is something which has caused other operating systems to grind to a halt. The hard drive is freaking toast. It has a couple large areas of blocks that were ruined when using a certain little experimental operating system I wish I’d never heard of, much less installed. Yes, your hardware can bite the dust even when you read the manual. That’s why they don’t make warranties about how fit it is to use.

I tried the CD on most of my computers. Each was able to boot it without any trouble. That was a pleasant surprise since so many things hang up on one of them in particular (because it’s very quirky in its hardware configuration). I haven’t decided yet if I’ll install it on more computers (driver support is an issue for at least two of them), but I’ll least try to at least see how well the self-repairing microkernel compares to Linux with respect to uptime.

Not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon. My little old computer is humming along happily, and so am I.


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