Wed 24 September 2014
Minix 3.3.0 and building up to that
A little over a week ago, Minix 3.3.0 was announced. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work over the past 1.5 year or so.
Notable is that in that period we took the tough decision to break the userland ABI. This is a big no-no in OS circles of course. Nevertheless it was decided the tradeoff was positive. We could make a lot of changes to make the userland more like NetBSD without worrying about compatability - often the source of a lot of work and complexity. We broke a lot of things in once so the pain is felt just once. As a result many things are cleaner and more like NetBSD now, and more future-proof; things like bigger C types (off_t, time_t, and several others) and a bigger IPC message (64 bytes instead of 36 bytes).
There are many more improvements in 3.3.0, such as the first good multi-architecture release - x86 and ARM. All in all a huge leap from where we were 1.5 years ago and I'm proud of it.
Something supernatural happened - we are unforking from NetBSD
Something very unusual happened in this Minix release. It was another huge leap in adopting the NetBSD code and infrastructure. The imported code is so clean w.r.t. NetBSD now that we have adopted the NetBSD hierarchy completely with the exception of a top-level minix/ directory. So in a way, we are merging with NetBSD. The opposite of forking. So we are challenging not only the common movement in open source, which is to fork, but also the second law of thermodynamics. Admittedly we are putting in a lot of energy to make this happen, but still. We are unforking.
Not only in source but also in real life: EuroBSDcon 2014
Not only are we meeting in source, we are also meeting in real life at EuroBSDcon 2014. AST is giving a talk with technical updates on our journey in BSD land. Myself and Lionel are there. In fact I am typing this while about to board my flight to Sofia.
I'm looking forward greatly to the conference, attending talks and meeting BSD folks. See you all there!