Posted on Feb 21, 2015 By copyninja under plan9

Now a days I'm more and more attracted towards Plan9, an Operating System meant to be the successor of UNIX and created by same people who created original UNIX. I'm always baffled by the simplicity of Plan9. Sadly Plan9 never took off for whatever reasons.

I've been for a while trying to run Plan9, I ran Plan9 on Raspberry Pi model B using 9pi, but I couldn't experiment with it more due to some restrictions in my home setup.

I installed original Plan9 4th Edition from Bell labs (now part of Alcatel-Lucent), I will write about it in on different post. But running virtual machine on my system is again PITA as system is already old (3 and half year). I came across the 9vx which is port of Plan9 for FreeBSD, Linux and Mac OSX by Russ Cox.

I downloaded original 9vx version 0.9.12 from Russ's page linked above. The archive contains a Plan9 rootfs along with precompiled 9vx binaries for Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X. I ran the Linux binary but it crashed.

./9vx.Linux -u glenda

I was seeing some illegal instruction error in dmesg. I didn't bother to do more investigation.

A bit of googling showed me Arch Linux's wiki page on 9vx. I got errors trying to compile the original vx32 from rsc's repository but later saw that AUR 9vx package is built from different repository forked from rsc's found here.

I cloned the repository to local and compiled it, I don't really remember if I had installed any additional packages. But if you get error you will know what additional thing is required. After compilation the 9vx binary is found inside src/9vx/9vx. I used this newly compiled 9vx to run the the rootfs I downloaded from Russ's website.

9vx -u glenda -r /path/to/extracted/9vx-0.9.12/

This launches Plan9 and allows you to work inside Plan9. The good part is its not resource hungry and still looks like you have a VM running with Plan9 on it.

But there seems to be a better way to do this directly from plan9 iso from bell labs. It can be found on 9fans list. Now I'm going to try that out too :-). And in next post I will share my experience of using Plan9 on Qemu.