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The history of Plan9 at SDF

Plan9 initially showed up on Ted Uhlemann's (iczer) 386dx25 in 1994
thanks to a gift of install media from Aaron Schmeidel (aaron) of
uucp!sdf!kesher.  This 386dx25 had previously ran as sdf.lonestar.org
from 1990-1992 after replacing the original Apple ][e BBS.

SDF circa 1991
(l to r): Apple ][e, bootes and sdf (underneath)
(note: ][e was answering the 1st line reporting 'system in maintenace mode')

Known as 'bootes' it was used locally for experimenting with 'plan9'
with the idea that SDF was going to move off of UNIX System Vr3.2.3 to
it.  However, it was pretty quickly discovered that the real advantage
to moving to Plan9 would require all SDF users to also move to Plan9
at home.  The 386dx25 then became known as 'kickme', a Slackware Linux
firewall for the SDF 3b2/400 systems to sit behind.

Plan9 install media and manuals for the 2nd edition

In 1996 aaron donated a Plan9 2nd edition manual and disk set with
the idea amongst users Daniel Finster (df) and Stephen Jones (smj) that
an effort to try and make plan9 work for SDF users once again.  At this
point, SDF had moved an AT&T 3B2 model 500 and smj had acquired a
Teletype 5620 Dot Mapped Display terminal.  The DMD or 'blit' is very
much the predecessor to Plan9 and in fact were used on Research UNIX
up to the very end.

Plan9 2nd Edition distribution CD in a Earthlink sleeve

The Teletype 5620 Dot Mapped Display Terminal

Vita Nuova inferno / Plan9 4th edition

Plan9 running under Xen on vps2.sdf.org In 1998 SDF had fully retired all of its 3B2 System V3.2.3 systems briefly moved to Linux slackware on x86 and then quickly onto 64bit NetBSD where it has remained ever since. However, with the continued efforts on Plan9 outside of Bell Laboratories there was ongoing interest in having some aspect of Plan9 available to SDF users. In Plan9 4th edition installation media and manuals were purchased as well as some SDFer participation in the International Workshop on Plan9. Drawterm was now available allowing Windows users to use a tiny Plan9 terminal to connect to remote cpu servers along with Richard Miller work to port Plan9 to Xen. Since SDF was already running Xen DOM0 servers this made things very easy.

SDF Plan9 Boot Camps

Group photo at the 5th International Workshop on Plan9 A handful of SDF members attended the 5th IWP9 2010 in Seattle WA and had the idea that Plan9 Boot Camps should be run annually to give non-commital tire kickers a chance to experience Plan9 in a communal setting without having to do a full install on their local machines. They could just install drawterm and ssh to an SDF Xen VPS server where they could spin up a pre-gen'ed image or walk themselves through the install proceedure. These Boot Camps have continued annually and were based on Richard's i386 PAE 9xen work.

SDF 9front "parity" attempts

Modified "Space Glenda" for 9xen 9front parody / plan9front achieved With the demise of Bell Labs, at least as it was once known - it still exists, kind of, and google cherry pick(l)ing brains and talent Plan9 lost its face. The front fell off and 9front became a very interesting, community driven fork of Plan9. Initially, SDF attempted parity by bringing in some of the work that 9front had done into the i386 PAE 9xen port. Bad idea right? Well, it worked for many things and it allowed SDF to continue many Plan9 instances with limited resources. However, it was clear that 9front had become an amazing community bringing a lot of ideas to Plan9 that might never had happened. SDF had moved Boot Camps to a quarterly schedule and in 2020 completely moved off of 9xen (though it is still available) and onto plan9front for the Boot Camps.

9p.sdf.org - The ETERNAL Boot Camp

In addition to providing 9front instances under Xen for the quarterly Boot Camps, SDF also has a dedicated server with permanent account access available. Why Plan9? Because Plan9 wants a community. Yes, if you just want to 'try it out' you can do that in your basement, all alone .. single user, but when you're part of a community and a network of machines you can experience what Plan9 is all about. You are welcome here!