We hope to show the operating system Plan 9 from Bell Labs at the NLUUG spring conference 2005.

We intend to give an impression of what Plan 9 is, and what (in our opinion) its strong points (and maybe also its less strong points) are. In accordance with the theme of the spring conference, we hope to be able to give an overview of how Plan 9 ``does'' email, but we do not intend to limit ourselves to that. :-) We will bring some machines for demo, and some papers to browse, and maybe some demo/install cd's for those interested enough to give it a try.

Those interested enough to give it a ``test drive'' may do so by firing up a ``live cd'' (image downloadable from the Plan 9 page, link below), or by requesting an account on one or more of the public access Plan 9 installations, and downloading the Plan 9 remote desktop tool ``drawterm(8)'' for graphical access.

Developed by the people who devised UNIX and C at Bell Labs, Plan 9 takes OS development back into the realm of research. While UNIX can be said to be a research tool the OS principles remain largely the same throughout all developments. Plan 9 is an attempt to work on the operating system concepts from the ground up, reworking the whole idea using modern technology.

It is difficult to say in only a few words what Plan 9 offers over Unix. For me, the main feature is _integration_, on many levels, giving us an integrated, distributed system, potentially on heterogeneous hardware, in which we have unified and transparent access to the resources available on the machines in the system. For example (in more or less random order):

Integration of maintenance.

Integrated access to the past.

Integrated/unified access to resources, both local and remote.

Integration of heterogenous hardware.

Integrated single-signon.

More information can be found at:

Plan 9 ideas are being brought to Unix variants (Solaris, *BSD, Linux, ...) for example in the following projects:

Inferno is a spin-off project that provides a compact operating system designed for building distributed and networked systems on a wide variety of devices and platforms based on the same concepts and technologies as Plan 9. Inferno can be run ``hosted'' on top of Windows and many Unix variants, or even as plug-in in some webbrowser, or ``natively'' on the bare hardware.

One application of the Plan 9 ideas worth mentioning here is the 9grid where one uses the distributed nature of Plan 9 to do grid computing without needing specific grid toolkits - the basic features already present in Plan 9 suffice.

This page is linked from the NLUUG Voorjaarsconferentie 2005 page.