Review of Minix 3.1.2a IDE build2
Minix is an operating system designed for "resource limited" or embedded computer systems. Versions 1 and 2 were teaching operating systems upon which the famous book, Operating Systems Design and Implementation, by Andrew S Tanenbaum and Albert S Woodhull, is based and also was the inspiration for Linux. With this latest release, version 3, Minix aims to be a complete, stable, secure desktop operating system for everyday use. Does it live up to those claims?
Minix 3 Hardware Requirements
PC driven by a 386, 486, or Pentium CPU or compatible. The standard configuration requires 16 MB of RAM. An 8-MB version is also available, but it is slower due to a smaller buffer cache. Since the distribution comes on a live CD, you can test it without allocating any hard disk space, but for a hard disk installation, 50 MB is needed as a minimum, 600 MB minimum if you want all the sources.
Under the hood, this release of Minix is only loosely based on the previous versions. The kernel is based on a microkernel design and is only 4,000 lines of code, as compared to 100x that many lines of code in the Linux kernel. The developers of Minix believe that there's no way to keep millions of lines of code bug free, and thus they believe that a microkernel can be made to be more stable due to it's smaller, more managable code size.