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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
MINIX 3.2.1 released
Posted Feb 25, 2013 14:04 UTC (Mon) by ledow (guest, #11753)
But, to be honest, when I see things like "AHCI support", "USB keyboard support", having to restart network services, not getting to partition SCSI disks by default, etc. on that same page, it puts me off even trying.
I know that we can't just suddenly arrive at the cutting edge of technology with something like this but it's still confined to the technology of the 90's and tasks which don't run on "real" computers, as far as I can see. Even the X-server is still quite old and there's no working autoconfig from what I can see (the days of me fiddling with X modelines are long gone, I'm afraid) - certainly the "how to install in a VM" article suggests you get down and dirty with modelines, lose 6 pixel columns, and all sorts of other nastiness just to get a graphical screen.
Though I happen to believe there's nothing *wrong* with MINIX - I'm even sure the kernel design is more secure if the same effort were to go into it as into, say, Linux - I don't see quite what it provides in real life yet. It's still just a toy.
FreeDOS took years to get there but is a viable DOS alternative that's present in the real world (I know of several IT resellers who will give you FreeDOS if you specify "No OS", just so you can verify it works and is what you were given, not to mention the number of BIOS update disks that rely on it and you can pretty much run any DOS program ever on it and have it work just as well as it would under MS-DOS).
But MINIX is still stuck in the dark ages in terms of actual physical hardware support, and user-friendliness, it seems. And if you can't boot it (AHCI support only in this release!) then you can't use it. Hell, Windows XP was the last OS that wouldn't boot from AHCI drives directly and even that had ways to make it happen (usually involving switching to IDE mode first and installing the AHCI driver, then rebooting and putting it back into AHCI mode). Nowadays, computers don't even tend to come with an option to put things back into IDE mode.
I think we do need MINIX in the world, but I'd be much happier if it was a world where it worked on even quite old physical hardware without needing a lot of faffing about.
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