Minix file system
Developer(s)Open Source Community
Full nameMINIX file system version 3
Introduced1987; 37 years ago (1987) with Minix 1.0
Partition IDs0x81 (MBR)
Dates recordedlast metadata change, last file change, last file access
Date resolution1s
File system
No (provided at the block device level)
operating systems
Minix 3, Linux, MiNT and HelenOS

The Minix file system is the native file system of the Minix operating system. It was written from scratch by Andrew S. Tanenbaum in the 1980s and aimed to replicate the structure of the Unix File System while omitting complex features, and was intended to be a teaching aid. It largely fell out of favour among Linux users by 1994 due to the popularity of other filesystems - most notably ext2 - and its lack of features, including limited partition sizes and filename length limits.


MINIX was written from scratch by Andrew S. Tanenbaum in the 1980s, as a Unix-like operating system whose source code could be used freely in education. The MINIX file system was designed for use with MINIX; it copies the basic structure of the Unix File System but avoids any complex features in the interest of keeping the source code clean, clear and simple, to meet the overall goal of MINIX to be a useful teaching aid.[1]

When Linus Torvalds first started writing his Linux operating system kernel (1991), he was working on a machine running MINIX, and adopted its file system layout. This soon proved problematic, since MINIX restricted filename lengths to 14 characters (30 in later versions), it limited partitions to 64 megabytes,[2] and the file system was designed for teaching purposes, not performance.[3] The Linux implementation of the MINIX fs was multi-threaded, whereas the MINIX implementation of the fs was single-threaded.[4] The extended file system (ext; April 1992) was developed to replace MINIX's, but it was only with the second version of this, ext2, that Linux obtained a commercial-grade file system.[3] As of 1994, the MINIX file system was "scarcely in use" among Linux users.[2]

Design and implementation

A MINIX file system has six components:[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Tanenbaum, Andrew S; Albert S. Woodhull (14 January 2006). Operating Systems: Design and Implementation (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-142938-8.
  2. ^ a b Strobel, Stefan; Uhl, Thomas (1994). Linux—Unleashing the Workstation in Your PC. Springer-Verlag. p. 54.
  3. ^ a b Mauerer, Wolfgang (2010). Professional Linux Kernel Architecture. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118079911.
  4. ^ "linux release 0.01 - refs/tags/v0.01 - pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/nico/archive - Git at Google". Retrieved 2024-03-29.