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|6||Reading List and Bibliography||507|
|App. A||MINIX Source Code Listing||521|
|App. B||Index to Files||905|
|App. C||Index to Symbols||909|
Posted August 29, 2006
There is a whiff of 'what-might-have-been' about this book, using the benefit of hindsight. Minix is thoroughly described as a small and impressively documented operating system. It is small enough that if you took the time, you could understand every nook and cranny. From a pedagogic standpoint, it is of great help in nailing down abstract design concepts. Amazingly, the kernel spans only 4000 lines. Nothing at all, compared to linux or other operating systems. Tanenbaum criticises those, for a lack of modularity. With millions of lines of code put into one monolithic build running in kernel mode. But you might seriously wonder about this, especially where linux is concerned. In general, it is stable. Yes, with bugs that are inevitable with large code bases. But bugs that are severe enough to crash the OS are rare. Certainly rarer than Microsoft Windows. Anyhow, the book demonstrates the use of a microkernel. While linux uses a monolithic kernel. But the 'what-might-have-been' arises from how linux was inspired by minix. The marketplace has overwhelmingly preferred linux to minix. Industry giants like IBM and HP have now standardised on linux. No major company has done this for minix. It suggests a major design flaw in minix. Not a flaw in terms of not working. But a flaw at a higher level. Perhaps in extensibility or licensing. Tanenbaum must surely wonder that had he taken a different route with minix, it would have become what is linux today. Linus Torvalds is now far better known than him, and there is an entire industry of startups built using linux. Minix is something obscure, even amongst many computer programmers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.