Console scrollback

Trying out Minix 3 in VirtualBox lead to a very unpleasant surprise: no console scrollback. What a complete waste of time to use an operating system that comes with a console that doesn’t scroll. This reminds me of NetBSD, where you have to recompile the kernel in order to get a scrolling console. Or use window, tmux or screen to achive such basic funtionality. Hello? We are not in 1970 anymore, at the beginning of the Unix epoch. In 2012 this is a bug, not a feature. Today,  you can run Unix on microcontrollers.

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5 Responses to “Console scrollback”

  1. Cris Says:

    Arguably, you don’t need console scrollback on an embedded system. :-D

  2. ggl Says:

    Minix only runs on x86 hardware, so it hardly qualifies as embedded. Most NetBSD targets aren’t embedded, so it’s not like the default console shouldn’t scroll. When you target an embedded system you strip down functionality anyhow. In fact Linux has better support for useful up-to-date embedded platforms (ARM SBCs, Atheros WiSoCs) than NetBSD. NetBSD supports all sorts of ancient hardware few people rarely even use any more (probably the same guys who don’t need a console with scrollback). I’d much rather use a BSD flavour on embedded hardware that is actually in use today, even NetBSD, because it’s more integrated and also because of the licensing terms. Companies like Mikrotik would rather ship their hardware with Linux in violation of the GPL than ship a BSD licensed OS and sponsor a port to Atheros hardware. The best thing that ever happened to Minix was when it’s author started distributing it under the terms of the BSD license.

  3. Cris Says:

    For the project I’m in at present they use Microchip, but it’s not the PIC32 retroBSD works on. I don’t think anyone wants any BSD inside, or any Linux for that. Needless to say the project is a mess, so adding an O.S. to the app would only make it worse. haha

    If I remember correctly, Minix was the s*** Linus didn’t want when he started wrinting Linux. That probably says it all.

  4. ggl Says:

    I worked with AVR 8 bit MCUs but programming them in assembly takes a lot of time to do trivial tasks like division or substraction. I might give RetroBSD a try because PIC32 boards as cheap as the ones with 8 bit AVR MCUs and I could at least program them in C. Found a manufacturer from neighbouring Bulgaria that has a lot of cool boards for sale.

  5. ggl Says:

    > If I remember correctly, Minix was the s*** Linus didn’t want when he started wrinting Linux. That probably says it all.

    Dunno about Linus, but take look at what Rob Pike has to say: Andy Tanenbaum hasn’t learned anything. At least Plan9 is not only usable but also used and being actively developed.

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