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Plan9 from… Bell Labs

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Plan9 had a bit of coverage on Slashdot, so I thought I’d share with you how to give it a test drive in Windows.

I’ve been busy with various things lately, but now that I have the chance I’m getting back to the blog.

Plan9 is an academic but usable OS from Bell Labs. It is designed to feel similar to Unix, but have differences that make it feel quite foreign. It also extends the ‘everything is a file’ mantra to, well, everything.

To give Plan9 a whirl without even rebooting, you’ll need both QEMU from Windows, and a certain image of Plan9 from oszoo. All it takes is three easy steps:

  1. Download and extract/install QEMU. This guide assumes the binary package, but you can also use the Windows installer version (which comes with the accelerator module).
  2. Download the Plan9 image from this page. Save it either somewhere easy to type, or in a subdirectory of the QEMU folder, eg ‘plan9’.
  3. Start a command prompt, then cd to the QEMU directory. From there, run the command:
    qemu -net nic -net user -L . /plan9/image
    Substituting for the path to plan9 image. Press enter at the first prompt to accept the defaults for root, then use ‘glenda’ as the user in the next prompt. You’ll then be greeted by Rio, acme and the rest of Plan9. Easy!

That’s all there is to it! You should now see a screen like the one below:

Plan9 on initial run in QEMU

Enjoy playing with Plan9.

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