Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Inferno Raspberry Pi image – beta release (lynxline.com)
95 points by neverm0re on May 3, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments

2014, year of the Plan 9 desktop ;)

Can someone explain the main differences between Plan 9 OS and Inferno? Why should I use one of them?

Answering the second question: you won't want to use it in production, but if you have ever been intrigued by one of those Unix philosophy preaches, you should definitely take a look at it. It takes the tool philosophy (build simple tools that are easy to combine) and filesystem metaphor much further, besides addressing some (albeit not all) long-standing Unix WTFs.

Plan 9 is not the most elegant design of OSes, but its simple ways of combing primitives are pretty amazing. Simplicity is underappreciated nowadays.

"you won't want to use it in production"

Would you mind saying why? It isn't unstable or anything, just unfamiliar, in that you can't write C programs on it. But people do use it in production.

Well, it's always safer to use widely used solutions in production. That way you encounter fewer bugs, and it's much easier to find a workaround in case you do encounter one.

this smells like "I don't have a technical reason"

It's slow and doesn't run any software people usually want to run in production. If your "production" needs are something Plan 9 is actually tailored to, sure, go ahead.

I run it as my primary development environment, but what I do is pretty specific, 99.9% people need something else out of their development systems.

plan 9 is the earlier effort of re-engineering Unix and runs on hardware. It was meant to replace Unix, but it never did.

With inferno they went the VM route (the dis VM) and built it so that it runs on myriad platforms, from Unix and ActiveX. It still runs on hardware though. The intension was that you can run a network of hosted and native inferno installations, making it easier to adopt. Unfortunately, inferno saw no widespread adoption either.

The underlying filesystem concept is basically the same (the latest version of 9p and Styx are identical), but the programming environment changed a lot (you write limbo to run on dis). Also the user space programs were rewritten and get overhauled a bit. The community never get divergent enough though; inferno people tend to identify themselves as part of the plan 9 community.

With most of the inferno team working for Google; I wonder why android hasn't adopted any of inferno's technology.

Most of the team? I only know that Rob Pike and Russ Cox are Google employers. And I have the impression that they are working mostly on Golang and some distributed infrastructures. Did they employ any other inferno developers?

About eleven people who once worked on Plan 9 and Inferno are now at Google: http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/alumni.html

Thompson, Pressotto, Weinberger, I think (?). Not sure they'd want to work on Infernoogle anyways after so long...

Most likely, because at the beginning the Android team got a few well known Sun/JVM expatriates on their architecture team, like Chet Haase and Romain Guy among others.

Does anyone from Plan 9/Inferno work on the Android team at all?

Well, Rob Pike created Go based on Limbo. This language becomes more and more popular. It is not in Android, but Google actively use it (probably in Google Play too).

fun to see. inferno is an impressive system.

be sure to click to the repository, it has an overview of the 26 steps (so far) to get to the point where it is now.

also congrats to the author for getting to this stage, with steady improvements.

Tried it, seems there's something wrong with the image: https://code.google.com/p/inferno-rpi/issues/detail?id=1 (gonna try a second SD card anyway)

I have high hopes for this, though, since Inferno is a lot of fun to tinker with.

A compressed image of a bootable plan9 SD card for the Raspberry Pi is available from this link:


Hello i would like to try that in virtualbox since I don't have a RPI. How one would go to load an .img file in virtualbox ? Should I try to convert it to some .iso and boot with it ?

Are you very specifically interested in running an ARM port targeted at the Raspberry Pi? If you just want to try Inferno or Plan 9 generally, try:



VirtualBox is for x86 CPUs only. It doesn't support ARM. You need something like qemu instead.

Great news! This will finally bring Amoeba into the mainstream!

Why would I want to run this on my Pi?

Why would you have a Pi instead of a MacBook Pro?

Rhetorical question is rhetorical.

Why is that a rhetorical question? It's a perfectly valid question.

Because the Raspberry Pi is basically an experimentation/testbed platform. It's meant to do basically anything which is why one might install Inferno, or any other OS on it.

Furthermore, it's backed by an SD card, so it's not as if any OS you choose completely monopolizes the platform. You don't need to choose just one when dealing with it.

If your Raspberry Pi is your only computer, then yeah, maybe this isn't for you, it does clearly say beta release on the page.

Yes, as you say.

The beauty of the Pi is the fact you can have a variety of SD cards with different OS/Configurations and easily swap between them and play with them.

It is a very cheap educational tool. I have 4 of them, and they also make great network storage tools. Add a HDD, the transmission software and you can easily download TV shows and stream them to you 1080p TV for example. £27 in the UK, absolute bargain.

Except for the price, you can have the same flexibility with any other computer. Well any other non Apple device actually, i run Linux on my hp touchpad tablet...

It's a cheap platform to play with. The hardware is sure to be supported (as you can see from the guide).

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact