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28 April 2009, 14:58

Continued funding for Minix

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The European Research Council will provide an additional 2.5 million euros to fund development of the Minix 3 operating system for a further five years. The funding will bankroll the workPDF of three academics and two developers. The UNIX-like operating system, which emphasises stability and reliability, is the brain child of computer science professor Andrew Tanenbaum. Tanenbaum says that there are fundamental flaws in the design of all current computer systems and that radical change is needed in future designs to achieve necessary levels of stability and security. His goal is to create a system capable of repairing itself in the event of failure.

Unlike the original version of Minix, which Tanenbaum developed in the nineteen-eighties strictly for use as a teaching aid to demonstrate principles of operating systems, Minix 3 is a full-fledged system that can be put to productive use.

Minix is based on a micro-kernel that only has 30 system calls. Each driver runs in its own process exclusively in user space. Services run in a further layer. A reincarnation server periodically queries all processes and re-starts them if necessary. Individual components do not have direct access to either the kernel or the hardware.

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