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    9front usage ask unix

On the wake of the recent ‘how do you organize your $HOME directory’ [1], I was reminded that almost a year ago I exchanged a few private messages with another user regarding his use of plan9.

Besides the ‘A Tour of the Acme Editor’ [2], and ‘Plan 9 demo, narrated’ [3], I am not aware of any other examples of how people are currently using the system, or its tools.

I think it would be interesting to have examples of “usage” or workflows to illustrate how people are using the system nowadays. Is there any such collection?

edit: Of course I would invite any of you who wish to share their experiences here to do so :)

Thank you.

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    I set out to write a comprehensive answer to this, but I suspect it comes off as more polemical and less informative than I’d prefer:


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      Thanks for the write up. There is one thing missing and perhaps everybody using a computer would be interested in. How do you do backup?

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        Thank you. I’m starting a series on individual howto topics. This would make a good one. Hint: http://man.9front.org/8/mkfs

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          Excellent! Looking forward to this.

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        Thank you for this (as well as your previous comments). Very informative.

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          Thanks a lot, that was great. I’ve been following your sites for a while and I’ve always wondered what your day-to-day computing experience looked like

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          TL;DR: 9front plays well with other systems with very few setup.

          If you do not want to install 9front on your main disk and boot it by default, you may make use of a virtual machine, either local or hosted on a VPS or some computer at home.

          Then you can connect to it through http://drawterm.9front.org/, which does provide a “plan 9 window” (think of SSH + X11 forwarding + SFTP onto a much simpler protocol).

          It is surprising how well this works in practice since drawterm got resizing support : all the windows inside it will be resized equally well due to how plan9 handles resizes.

          You can start a window in system (rio) in it, or directly one application (acme, sam, other…).

          You can also copy paste from/to it, and have your local filesystem mounted inside 9front for sharing files between the local and remote.

          After a while, you can integrate more of 9front onto your environment (replace a DNS (ndb+cs) / mail (imap,smtp,spamfilter) / VPN (tinc) server with it. It works well.

          Given all of these are filesystems available as 9p streams, you can mount them onto other non-9front systems. Here comes all the fun: use 9p servers so that systems provide services to others. You can mount natively 9p on linux and through FUSE https://github.com/mischief/9pfs

          Then the frontier between 9front systems and other systems tends to blur, and you achieved distribution of your computing through multiple systems. I haven’t been that far due to lack of time (and other project ongoing).

          In this vision, you can use 9front for getting some work done, and make use of other systems for what else good they have and 9front lacks, and the other way around.

          I did not test the other way around: running Linux or alike in 9front. as it has an hypervisor: http://man.9front.org/1/vmx

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            If you use macOS and have a retina display, you can use my fork of drawterm, https://bitbucket.org/j-xy/drawterm/, which has the same metal backend as the one in plan9port devdraw.

            By the way, with the new mailing list host, you can see all the “glory/gory” details about the community at https://9fans.topicbox.com/groups/9fans

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              Nice, have you thought about getting your patches into the drawterm that 9front ships?

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                Sure. I talked to folks on irc, but it didn’t get anywhere, apart from one commit, https://code.9front.org/hg/drawterm/rev/ff43e9bf3cea

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                  post to the 9front mailing list or e-mail cinap directly.

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              You got me to upload the ISO to a VPS on Vultr, and I can connect to its console and get a window manager! Thank you.

              I don’t have a 3-button mouse, though. IIRC that’s pretty essential? Is there some way to emulate middle-click, particularly over the internet?

              I see a terminal window open. How can I open a second?

              I haven’t yet tried drawterm, but I look forward to trying it out next.

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                Thank you for your input. This gradual approach does indeed sound sensible.

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                no time this afternoon but i can post something that speaks to this later this evening. in the meantime: http://fqa.9front.org/fqa8.html

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                  this is a good introduction: https://youtu.be/6m3GuoaxRNM

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                    Connect to Plan 9 from a mobile device: http://helpful.cat-v.org/Blog/2018/03/08/0/

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                  I mostly sit in front of it and type. I mostly write code, deal with emails, and use IRC, as well as other computing.

                  I have little special setup, and most of the local fixes I try to upstream.

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                    I would use acme via plan9port, but my current workstations run fedora silverblue, which is wayland based and Xwayland makes a bunch of features break.

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                      Plan9 noob here: I switched to Acme about a week ago (not 9front, just Acme), and my scroll wheel broke like 2 days later. Too much middle clicking! I think this is the 2nd mouse Acme has killed.

                      First, I tried AcmeSAC.app, which is ok (where are my files?), but cd /usr/local/plan9; ./INSTALL works great on OS X (easy to find files, fonts work..).

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                        Let me say I am in the same boat with AcmeSAC.app! I loved it, and was my introduction to Inferno and Plan 9. Unfortunately, it is not maintained any more, and I have no idea how to update it to the latest Inferno sources. I couldn’t even get it to compile.

                        While using it on Mac, I found that the following worked if you had a trackpad: (copy = b1+b2 and paste = b2+b3 in ACME)

                        • Option + click is middle click (b2)
                        • Command + click is right click (b3)

                        For cut, select text with trackpad, then click option without releasing the click.

                        For paste, click or select text with track pad, then click command without releasing the click

                        For copy, selecting the text, then click and release option first, then click and release the command, which copies the text.

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                          On newer versions of plan9port, a 3-finger tap will simulate button 2, and a 4-finger tap will do the 2-1 chord for a given text selection to send it to another command. Command-x/c/v all work for cut/copy/paste as well.