FQA INDEX | FQA 0 - Introduction To Plan 9 | FQA 2 - Getting To Know 9front

FQA 1 - Introduction to 9front

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1.1 - What is 9front?

Plan9front (or 9front) is a fork of the Plan 9 from Bell Labs operating system. The project was started to remedy a perceived lack of devoted development resources inside Bell Labs,[citation needed] and has accumulated various fixes and improvements.

This FQA specifically covers only the most recent release of 9front.

1.1.1 - Cirno

At some point, Cirno became associated with 9front. Details are sketchy, but this image has been in the wiki since the Google Code days, so I’m leaving it in.



1.2 - On what systems does 9front run?

9front runs on the following platforms:

Read: FQA 3.2 - Selecting Hardware

1.3 - Why might I want to use 9front?

It is very likely that you do not.

New users frequently want to know whether 9front is superior to some other free UNIX-like operating system. Consider: The question is largely unanswerable. What are your criteria? Why are you even using computers in the first place? Exploring these questions and the implications that derive therefrom may help you sharpen your perceptions and eventually come to some sort of conclusion about which operating system you prefer to use for daily tasks.

Ultimately, whether or not 9front is for you is a question only you can answer.

Note: The above text is lightly plagiarized from the OpenBSD FAQ. Ironically, OpenBSD may have more of the features you’re looking for.

1.3.0 - Why might I not want to use 9front?

Hold up. Before you get too excited, consider the following possibilities:

Okay, carry on. - Why did 9front stop making fun of Nazis?

Because you asked us to.

Read: Appendix L - Ruby

Possibly related: Der Anbräuner

Definitely relevant: They Live and the secret history of the Mozilla logo

This poor guy: Anselm Kiefer

1.3.1 - New Features

The following list is probably not exhaustive: - New Programs - Why do some new program names begin with hj?

Date: Wed,  8 Mar 2006 15:10:14 +1100

From: "Bruce Ellis" <bruce.ellis@gmail.com>

To: "Fans of the OS Plan 9 from Bell Labs" <9fans@cse.psu.edu>

Subject: Re: [9fans] structure allocation.

i still like hjdicks  it is obscure enough that no-one would think

it’s a feature (or guess it).  it was required because we had a

large slab of 3rd-party code that assumed it could read packets off

the wire (assuming correct endian) and do no marshaling.

#pragam pack

looks like a feature.

i was there when it happened (after a nice italian meal).

ken asked "Do i really have to do this?"

P: Yes, there’s buckets of code that rely on it.

K: *some expression of disbelief*

P: well hj are just dicks

done deal

it also turned out to be important for inferno on machines with

greater than 32 bit alignment requirements.  the 64 bit mips

is an example.  took but a recompile with hjdicks in the right

place (it takes an optional alignment parameter).  same with

the ps2 which has 128 bit issues.

thanks for telling me that it has been changed.


On 3/8/06, geoff@collyer.net <geoff@collyer.net> wrote:

> I was implicitly referring to C compilers.  Heck, Pascal had

> packed data in the early 1970s, possibly even the late 1960s. - New Hardware Support







SD Card

Read: FQA 3.2 - Known Working Hardware for a list of complete machines known to work.

1.4 - Is 9front really free?


Read: FQA 0.2.4 - What is the deal with Plan 9’s weird license?

1.5 - How can I help support 9front?

We are greatly indebted to the people and organizations that have contributed to the 9front project. That said, the topic is complicated: The main developers refuse to accept donations (except when they do accept donations), and the people who do offer to make donations often disappear without further explanation, or make strange demands that nobody feels like capitulating to. This complex, fluid, and at times contentious dynamic can best be navigated by joining #cat-v on irc.oftc.net and asking strangers how to donate to the project.

When this fails, donations that help pay for the hosting of 9front.org and cat-v.org (including fqa.9front.org, the document you are reading right now) can be made at: http://patreon.com/stanleylieber

You can also buy a print copy of the 9front dash1 manual (the print edition of the document you are reading right now), and/or the man pages at: http://9front.org/propaganda/books

1.6 - Who maintains 9front?

9front is maintained by an East German intelligence officer who never sleeps, but instead logs periods of inactivity staring straight into the soulless eyes of games/catclock. Occasional contributions are made by a diverse team of malcontents that is spread somewhat thinly across many different timezones and Internet providers. Most of them have dayjobs, and in fact are not concerned with your demands. Subsidized or not.

1.7 - When is the next release of 9front?


The 9front team makes new releases on a regular, but unscheduled, basis. More information on the development cycle can be found on the 9front mailing list, while historical release announcements are archived at 9front.org/releases.

1.8 - What is included with 9front?

Some useful programs included with the operating system are:

1.9 - Can I use 9front as a desktop system?

This question is often asked in exactly this manner—with no explanation of what the asker means by "desktop". The only person who can answer that question is you, as it depends on what your needs and expectations are.

Read: FQA 1.3 - Why might I want to use 9front?

1.10 - Why is/isn’t ProductX included?

Two potential reasons:

Many "features" and programs are missing from Plan 9 for a very good reason: They are terrible ideas expressed as terrible software. Other features are missing simply because no one has yet written the code to implement them. It is left as an exercise for the reader to determine which is which, and to apply the appropriate remedy.

Read: FQA 8.8 - Additional Software

1.11 - Fine, where can I get 9front?

If you simply cannot be dissuaded from trying 9front for yourself, obtain installation media from the mirrors mentioned in the following section.

1.11.1 - Mirrors - 9front.iso - git repository

Good luck, you may need it.

FQA INDEX | FQA 0 - Introduction To Plan 9 | FQA 2 - Getting To Know 9front