La Salle Debain

Open Source @ Consolidated Braincells Inc.

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About La Salle Debain

This is a weblog I'm keeping about my work on Debian and any other useful Debian related info I come across. It is not meant to compete with other news sources like Debian Weekly News or Debian Planet. Mostly it is just a way for me to classify and remember all the random bits of information that I have floating around me. I thought maybe by using a blog it could be of some use to others too. Btw. "I" refers to Jaldhar H. Vyas, Debian developer for over 8 years. If you want to know more about me, my home page is here.

The name? Debain is a very common misspelling of Debian and la salle de bains means bathroom in French.

If you have a comment to make on something you read here, feel free to write to me at

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Sunday, January 1 2006

The Preventa Project FAQ

1. What is Preventa?
Preventa is a port of the Debian and GNU userland to the Minix 3 kernel and libc. Hence an alternate name is Debian GNU/Minix (but I won't use that unless it becomes an official Debian port. See below.)

2a. Why is it called Preventa?
It's a riff on the last attempt at porting Debian to a non-Linux kernel which was called Nexenta.

2b. Why is it called Preventa?
Because if it becomes an official Debian port, it is probable that the sheer number of release critical bugs caused will prevent Debian from ever releasing again.

3. Is this an official Debian port?
Currently Preventa has no official connection to the Debian project. In the future? Perhaps if there is some interest. I'm not persuing that angle right now.

4. Does Preventa suffer from licensing problems like Nexenta?
No, the Minix kernel and libc are BSD licensed.

5. So why are you doing this?
Like many people, I used Minix when I studied operating systems in college. I am interested in trying the new version but I am more comfortable with a GNUish environment rather than the BSDish one that Minix provides. This led me to wonder how hard it would be to port Debian and in general, how much work goes into a new Debian port. Maybe I might be able to write some articles about the experience. Other than that there is no practical reason really.

6. How can I help?
At the moment I am just doing this for my own edification so I'm not looking for help. This will undoubtedly change if I get stuck.

7. What does the port entail?
I will attempt to port dpkg, apt, and the Debian base system plus a few other odds and ends I feel I need. I will use the Minix kernel and libc (unless GNU libc turn out to be easy to port which I suspect it won't.) Basically Preventa will have the same kind of features as the official Minix3 distribution. If I have to patch anything I will offer it back to the Minix and/or Debian maintainers if they want it.

8. Where can I keep abreast of your progress?
I will blog about it. As soon as it is somewhat usable, I will release the results (including source of course) to the public for people to use as they wish.

9. what does ast and the Minix community think about this?
I haven't told them yet. I should do that soonish.

10a. Hi, I'm from OSNews and I don't like Preventas' green on black theme. And the file manager is totally unintuitive.
Uh, that's the command line. Minix doesn't support the X window system yet.

10b. Then I dub thee "not ready for the desktop."

posted at: 15:27:33 | #