1. 16
  1. 13

    9front committer here, pointedly ignoring the other thread.

    There are a number of good sources of Plan 9 documentation scattered around the internet, collected in the FQA, or put in to the manpages, but a lot of it is scattered, and there are a number of gaps. The documentation describing how the system fits together or is intended to be used mostly comes in the form of the papers on it, which were put together in the 90s, and are rather out of date.

    Hopefully, there will be a bunch of interesting stuff that makes it in here, either written from scratch or gathered from the blogs here and there (with permission). I’m hoping this ends up with a body of documentation that complements the FQA and the manpages nicely. Time permitting, I’ll probably be trying to write some things and put them here.

    That said, the state of documentation for 9front is actually quite good. The manpages are usually fairly well written, and cover things reasonably comprehensively. The FQA actually covers the most frequent questions, and while outdated and written as research papers, design documents exist. And where the documentation is inadequate, it’s treated as a bug and fixed fairly promptly.

    If you’ve tried the system and feel like there was something that was particularly confusing, I’d be curious to hear what it was.

    Thanks to everyone who complained, and thank you as well to the people who decided to do something!

    1. 4

      I know this is kind of an odd question, but what are some neat filesystems that are still maintained for Plan9 et al.? There was like a wiki file system at one point or another, right?

      1. 6

        Wikifs still exists and is usable, though the people doing this documentation project decided against using it, because editing and browsing on plan 9 is more closely tied to Acme than desired.

        The best known file server that you didn’t realize was a file server is probably Acme, which lets you drive your editor through scripts like the slideshow scripts I adapted from rsc. In a similar vein, Rio does that for the window and text system, allowing scripts inspect history contents trivially, like the (””)[https://code.9front.org/hg/plan9front/file/tip/rc/bin/%22%22] script.

        The plumber is another file server that provides event routing. Think Android intents, or DBUS. The email system, for example, may post a message to its plumb port – an entry in the plumber FS – and everyone that has that plumb port open for read gets a notification.

        The mail system, which presents your email inbox as a file tree, tends to use this fairly heavily for notifying the mail reader of status changes.

        There’s the one I wrote for git, which allows some really easy shell scripts to deal with history, like this implementation of merge.

        There’s hubfs, which we use for chat on the grid. The client I use isn’t public, but I’ll include it inline in this post[1]

        There’s truetypefs, which could use a bit of love and antialiasing, but I tend to use it when I’m giving presentations, and need a big font.

        There’s [unionfs[(http://src.a-b.xyz/unionfs/), which is a nice tool.

        There are a few more interesting ones shipped with the system – you can take a look through the manpages here: http://man.9front.org/4/

        There are also a few others floating around the internet, with the less maintained ones mirrored in this graveyard: https://github.com/Plan9-Archive

        [1] the gridchat client I use:

        # First, create the viewer:
        >/tmp/chatv echo 'cat <<'...'
        label chatv
        cat /n/chat/chat
        # Then, the input window
        >/tmp/chati cat <<'...'
        label chati
        echo JOIN ori to chat >>/n/chat/chat
        	echo -n '→ ' > /dev/text
        	read | sed '1s/^/ori → /' >>/n/chat/chat
        # Then start them
        chmod +x /tmp/chatv
        chmod +x /tmp/chati
        window -r 0 0 700 600 -scroll /tmp/chatv
        window -r 0 600 700 650 -scroll /tmp/chati
      2. 3

        I personally think that the FQA is a really tremendous resource for both 9front and plan9, and I would really like to thank the contributors who put all their time and work into it.

        Getting plan9 (and now 9front) working on real hardware was something I’ve always wanted to do but was never able to follow through with due to scant documentation on the subject, but this guide provides real examples that really motivate me to try again in the future.

      3. -5
        1. 11

          This kind of comment tends to lead to flamewars. If you can’t comment on the technical merit of a posting, at least try and refrain from leaving out the internet equivalent of oily rags.

          1. 10

            Yes, their black lives matter, pro-lgbt, and anti-fascism messaging on the home page seem like very toxic traits to me /s

            1. 2

              I don’t seen any pro lgbt messaging, but come on, surely you have to admit that this large image of a noose would rightly make some people feel uncomfortable: http://9front.org/img/9noose01.png

              The black lives matter imagery is recent, and I applaud it but if they want people to not think they’re toxic, they have to do a lot more than that.

              1. 4

                I don’t seen any pro lgbt messaging

                Well the page icon is a rainbow.

                surely you have to admit that this large image of a noose would rightly make some people feel uncomfortable.

                To me it most likely seems to be a self deprecating joke though. More like use 9front at your own peril. I think that imagery would probably better served by some sort of foot gun apparatus.

                they have to do a lot more than that.

                Like what exactly?

                1. 4

                  Oh nice, didn’t notice the favicon as I’m on mobile.

                  There are many interpretations of this image that are more charitable. But the imagery is poignant and I can understand why people consider it toxic.

                  For a start, they could remove the imagery that makes people feel uncomfortable.

                  I bring this up every time someone brings up 9front because there’s always two camps of people: one group that says “wow, 9front has a lot of really weird imagery that makes me uncomfortable,” and another group that says “I don’t understand, these are just jokes, what’s the problem?”

                  I don’t want to have to comment and explain these things, I’d much rather talk about the technical merits of 9front, which is indeed a very interesting project, and the people behind it are clearly very technically competent and have ideas worth sharing. But the fact of the matter is that I can agree with both groups of people. These are clearly jokes, but they can make people uncomfortable. I personally like 9front, it’s a very interesting project, and I like it because I like plan9.

                  But it’s also very strange to me that people are fundamentally unable to understand why this makes others uncomfortable. from my perspective, that is a form of privilege. It indicates, for example, that you are okay with noose imagery in a project. That’s totally fine, but understand that a lot of people are going to see that image and be extremely uncomfortable. And there’s not a whole lot of context on that page to explain what exactly the joke is.

                  An image on this page uses a Fraktur font which was used pretty heavily in Nazi germany. Again, reading too much into it, but for some people its going to be evocative, and if you go on the way back machine this stuff has been there far longer than the anti fascist banners. And hey, the image I’m describing even says that 9front is in the “trolling business.” Surely it’s understandable that a non zero percent of people look at this image and feel that maybe 9front could be problematic. It’s not each persons responsibility to do enough research into in jokes to be able to understand them, and they might not want such complex jokes being so close to technical discussions.

                  Edit: there is also this photo of the entrance to Auschwitz. Yeah it’s a joke but maybe some people don’t want to see this in a faq? http://fqa.9front.org/rails.jpg

                  Edit 2: when I say “you” above, I’m not referring to the parent comment directly. I don’t want to come off as accusatory as that is not my intention

                  1. 1

                    Thanks for taking the time to comment, you have articulated my feelings about this well.

                    9Front may be a very good project technically, but it’s not worth my time to try to look past the (in my opinion) juvenile and peurile in-jokes to ascertain that. I’m sure the project is fine with this, as it’s not for everyone. But I do honestly believe they are losing possible contributors by having some of these images on their site.

            2. 6

              Some people have a weird sense of humor, but I look past that and see the merit in the code.

              1. 2

                It looks like this is what happen when a bunch of people make too serious jokes: jokes are taken too seriously.

                1. 2

                  Can you please be explicit about what you find toxic about this “propaganda” page? As someone dedicated to nonviolence I don’t love some of the militaristic imagery, but mostly I’m puzzled/baffled by this memery rather than offended.

                  1. 1

                    How about this image of a noose surrounding a nine? http://9front.org/img/9noose01.png

                    1. 4

                      I interpret that as “enough rope to hang yourself,” which is entirely in keeping with the 9front community perspective.

                      1. 2

                        If the plan 9 original authors “left the flying plane”, keeping the plane flying without its pilot could be expressed up this way, but it would be way to far-fetched to look like a realistic interpretation, and absurdity rather than logic emanates from this picture for me too. Was this the point? I probably will never know.

                        1. 0

                          Yeah OK somehow I missed that one when scrolling through, that doesn’t seem great.

                        2. 0
                          1. 11

                            Isn’t the entire point of the last image that the one guy who isn’t saluting is circled, implying that 9front is against Nazis if anything?

                            1. 3

                              Indeed, it seems more like a protest. Wasn’t the Reichstag fire a protest too?

                              1. 4

                                it was at used to strike down against the communists who were blamed for the fire, and may have been staged by the nazis for that purpose, afaik the sources aren’t conclusive.

                        3. 2

                          i clicked on the comments expecting outrage, i wasn’t disappointed. 10/10 would click again.

                          once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down.

                          1. 1

                            I don’t get it, can you explain your comment?

                            1. 2


                              once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down.


                              1. 1

                                Thanks for the link, I’m a fan of Lehrer (who I learned today is still alive, according to Wikipedia).