Minix 3 vs portability - was Re: Looking for a small fast VAX development machine

Doug Ingraham dpi at
Tue Feb 23 10:20:10 CST 2016

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:19 AM, Toby Thain <toby at>

>> Seeing Minix 3 on x86 and ARM is good.  Unless it wants to wither when
>> the world moves beyond x86 and ARM, it will need to be done with enough
>> portability in mind to make porting it easy, yes, but it is hardly a
>> failing that it isn't ported yet.
> Arguably, _only_ porting can fully reveal design issues that might impede
> porting. But if as Liam says their goals are met fully on x86 and ARM then
> I won't argue :)

The C compiler used by Minix 3 is Clang and at the moment Clang only
supports x86 and ARM.  Clang was used for licensing reasons rather than
GCC.  Other than the compiler issues the code to support a particular
processor is pretty small.  Switch compilers to one that supports your
processor, write the few modules needed to support the particular features
(memory management, I/O protection features) and you are done.  Of course
if your particular architecture doesn't have some necessary feature it
would leave a security hole that cannot be worked around other than trust.

When the world moves on from x86 and ARM I am sure Clang will get a backend
for it and if still around Minix 3 will get ported.

Doug Ingraham
PDP-8 SN 1175

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