Getting started with Minix 2.0.2.


Keywords : Minix, users, security.

The propose of this article is to give a short introduction to the do’s and don’ts of Minix. This article is a follow-up to the article "Minix 2.0.2 in VirtualPC 3".

Alright, by now you have probably looked a bit on the system. Time to make a user that you will normally use, it is generally a very bad idea to log in as root when you are not recompiling the kernel or like, it is very easy to delete something vital or in other ways damage the system when loged in as root.


Log in as root and make your self a user. Start by wiewing the manual for the command ‘adduser’. Type "man adduser" after having viewed this mnual type ‘q’ to quit the manual pages. Now make your self as a user, in the example underneath I'm making 'asger' as a user.

adduser asger other /usr/asger

For now the others group is good enough for me, as I’m the only person using the system I will not type a password for myself nor for the root. Its radically easier to remember no password instead of something cryptic.

now type exit to get the login prompt, log in as your new user profile. You will automatically start out in you home directory.


Try to make a directory listing using the standard Unix command "ls" there is not many files… yet. An operating system is not worth much without a text editor, and no wonder Minix has one too. This is called ‘ELLE’ which is short for ‘ELLE Looks Like Emacs’ Damn I like the fantasy of Unix programmers.

Try typing the following command "man elle", this is the manual for ELLE. But being a Macintosh user I hate that ELLE’s shortcut keys is totally messed up. So…

Let’s modify the keybindings of the text editor ELLE. Now from the manual we know that one can modify a file named ".ellepro.e" which is in your home directory. But wait… we just made a listing of the directory and there was no files at all!!! That is not entirely true, try typing the ‘ls’ command again but with the parameter ‘-a’, that is "ls -a" (se manual for ls to see all the possible parameters). This shows all files in the directory also the hidden (the ones starting with a ‘.’) remember this command it will come in handy.

Well back to the elle program, right now the file ‘.ellepro.b1’ make elle behave as emacs (so any Unix hackers out there, you properly wanna keep it like zhat). The rest of us would want to edit the file ‘.ellepro.e’ and recompile the keybindings, so…

elle .ellepro.e

This opens the keybindings in the ELLE editor, now find the bindings for CTRL. I made the following changes.

(keybind ^Q "Return to Superior"); 'Quit' on CTRL Q
(keybind ^S "Save File"); 'Save' on CTRL S
(keybind ^W "Write File"); 'Save As...' on CTRL W

Save this file by pressing ‘CTRL W’ quit elle by pressing ‘CTRL X X’ and y at the dialog (bottom line). Now it is time to compile the keybindings write the folowing command on command line.

ellec -Profile

It everything is typed correctly it will have compiled the keybindings, try to open ELLE and test the result. Please note that these changes only take place for your current user, if you want these settings for an other user copy the ‘.ellepro.b1’ file to his/hers directory. Remember that root is another user, therefore login as you when writing code and normal programs, only log in as root when compiling the kernel or other critical system programs.