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MINIX is a Unix-like computer operating system based on a microkernel architecture created by Andrew S. Tanenbaum for educational purposes; MINIX also inspired the creation of the Linux kernel.

MINIX (from "mini-Unix") was first released in 1987, with its complete source code made available to universities for study in courses and research. It has been free and open source software since it was re-licensed under the BSD license in April 2000.




Andrew S. Tanenbaum created MINIX at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam to exemplify the principles conveyed in his textbook, Operating Systems: Design and Implementation (1987).

An abridged 12,000 lines of the C source code of the kernel, memory manager, and file system of MINIX 1.0 are printed in the book. Prentice-Hall also released MINIX source code and binaries on floppy disk with a reference manual. MINIX 1 was system-call compatible with Seventh Edition Unix.[1]

Tanenbaum originally developed MINIX for compatibility with the IBM PC and IBM PC/AT microcomputers available at the time.


MINIX 1.5, released in 1991, included support for MicroChannel IBM PS/2 systems and was also ported to the Motorola 68000 and SPARC architectures, supporting the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Apple Macintosh and Sun SPARCstation computer platforms. There were also unofficial ports to Intel 386 PC compatibles (in 32-bit protected mode), National Semiconductor NS32532, ARM and INMOS transputer processors. Meiko Scientific used an early version of MINIX as the basis for the MeikOS operating system for its transputer-based Computing Surface parallel computers. A version of MINIX running as a user process under SunOS and Solaris was also available, a simulator called SMX[2][3].

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