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MiNT Basics

by Bohdan Milar

 

Why should a user install MiNT when the original and functioning operating system, TOS, is in ROM? TOS is simple to control and configure, it does not take space on disk and its big advantage is that it cannot be damaged. Unfortunately, TOS is very obsolete in many ways.

MiNT, which is a port of BSD Unix for Atari computers, allows compatibility with other Unix systems including the possibility to port and compile sources of Unix programs from other platforms. In addition there is the possibility to run most TOS and GEM applications (including accessories). Of course, you can still boot your computer into TOS even after MiNT is installed.

The most important advantages of MiNT for an ordinary user

  • Running more programs (Unix, TOS, GEM and X) simultaneously.
  • Switching among several virtual screens (although only one can be graphical), where different program can run on any of them.
  • Using long file names and giving access rights to files.
  • Network support including the internet.
  • Greater adjustability of the whole system and different configurations for different users (logging in protected by password).
  • Process controlg allowing manual termination of most crashed programs.
  • Easy installation, de-installation and update of individual parts of the system (only Debian and SpareMiNT).
  • Source compatibility with other Unix systems and so the possibility of porting programs not directly developed for Atari computers.
  • Unlike, for example, MagiC, MiNT is free so everyone can copy and use it legally. 
 

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MyAtari magazine - Feature #11, August 2002

 
Copyright 2002 MyAtari magazine