This weekend, while  I was reading my copy of LINUX JOURNAL (July issue) I stumbled upon a wonderful article about Mini – Unix or MINIX as it is commonly called. Although I had an idea of this OS during my college days especially while I was studying Operating Systems, I didn’t got a chance to get a hands-on experience of this wonderful small OS. Before giving you the details about the installation and other things, I will give a small introduction of MINIX’s history.

MINIX is developed by Andrew S Tanenbaum, as a  teaching  tool. This was written in C programming language and is believed to be the inspiration for Linus Torvalds to write Linux Kernel.  Although it started as a teaching tool, MINIX-3 has grown to be a full fledged OS with many features as that of UNIX. Okay enough of theory stuff and let me show you how I installed in my Dell Laptop (Inspiron 1525).

Before installing you need MINIX-3 iso image to be downloaded from this website.

Try for the latest version. MINIX-3 executes the device drivers and other modules in seperate user spaces. So if one module crashes it wont affect the entire OS contrary to the other OSes.

After downloading, You have two options either to create a partition and install MINIX-3 in it or use some Virtual Machines or emulators for installing. Anyway I went for the second one..because I already have four OS in my laptop and I don’t want to burden my lappy with a new one.

So I first installed Qemu in my Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx).. You can get the source of Qemu from the website . But it is better to install using Synaptic package Manager or apt-get


Before installing MINIX-3, we need to configure Qemu for a new Virtual machine configuration. The new configuration specifies how much hard disk space you need to allocate for the new VM, how big your VM should be etc. So in the terminal give this command

# qemu-img create minix.img 2G

This will create a VM of size 2 Giga Byte. This size is not mandatory as 2GB. You can change according to your HDD space and user will. MINIX-3 basic version will only take 64MB. Anyway allocating 2GB is good since you need to install extra softwares.


After creating the image, you can start installing MINIX-3 from the image which you have downloaded.

# qemu -localtime -net user -net nic -m 256 -cdrom <Type here the name of MINIX-3 image file (.iso) which you have downloaded earlier> -hda minix.img -boot d

This will install MINIX-3 into the minix.img file which you have created earlier using Qemu.

Here –boot d command will boot from the cdrom which in turn we have mapped with the iso image of MINIX-3.

After this you can start the installation.. Installation process will be dealt in next posting..till then Happy Programming.