Brief Introduction to the Plan-9 Operating System

Plan 9 is a distributed operating system made by Bell Labs. The OS is free and open source. Plan 9 is similar to Unix in some ways, but Plan 9 is meant to be an improvement to Unix and POSIX.

FUN FACT: The mascot for Plan 9 is a rabbit named “Glenda”.

Plan 9 has some features familiar to Unix users. For instance, Plan 9 uses ProcFS and applies the “everything is a file” concept. However, applications from Unix, Linux, and other systems do not work on Plan 9. Some Linux software works on the Linux emulator (linuxemu). Although, the emulator is not yet complete.

The default shell is “rc”. Many of the usual Unix commands (like ls, cp, rm, etc.) can be used. However, despite the same names, the code used to make these commands are entirely different. Plan 9 does not use any GNU software, neither will any work with help from linuxemu. rc is similar to Bash. However, there are some differences. While Bash’s syntax is ALGOL-like, rc uses C-like syntax.

A GUI is also available to Plan 9 named “rio”. rio is a windowing system. rio does not rely on display servers (such as X11). In fact, rio functions as a display server and window manager. rio supports the alpha bit (transparency).

Plan 9 uses a hybrid kernel which has attributes of both monolithic kernels and microkernels. The kernel supports a variety of platforms such as x86, x86-64, MIPS, SPARC, etc.. Plan 9 has also been ported to ARM platforms such as the Raspberry Pi motherboard.

A hybrid kernel has characteristics of both microkernels and monolithic kernels. Inter-Process Communication (IPC), thread management, filesystems, and drivers reside in the kernel space.

Plan 9 is best known for its 9P network protocol. 9P (also called Styx or “Plan 9 Filesystem Protocol”) also serves as a communications protocol between the internal components of the system. The fourth edition of Plan 9 introduced a modified 9P protocol called 9P2000.

FUN FACT: The Styx protocol used in the Inferno operating system is a variant of 9P.

To avoid confusion, it may help to know a little about the Inferno operating system, which is sometimes mistaken as some form of Plan 9. Inferno is a distributed operating system originally made by Bell Labs (like Plan 9), but is now maintained by Vita Nuova. Inferno is neither Unix or POSIX and its primary use is to be a programming environment for the Limbo programming language. Inferno is not a typical operating system. Rather, its kernel is a virtual machine called “dis” that runs on a pre-existing OS (such as Linux, Windows, Plan 9, FreeBSD, etc.).

Understanding Linux Filesystems & Linux Filesystem Types – Linux System Admin Training – Run Ubuntu

The Default Linux File Systems (Filesystems)

The default filesystems that are recognized by Linux are specified in the text file named filesystems in the /proc directory.

Four of the filesystems that are commonly found on a Linux system are: ext2 (old and less common), ext3 (very common), iso9660 and swap.

Some Linux distributions also use other filesystems.

For example, instead of the ext3 filesystem, the SUSE and openSUSE distributions use the reiserfs filesystem by default.

In addition to the above filesystems, by default Linux can also recognize a partition that is a “swap” partition.

Depending on the documentation that you are reading and the command or utility that you are using, “swap” is not typically considered to be a filesystem type. It is a type of partition that is treated by the OS as virtual memory (where hard disk storage space works as though it is RAM memory).

The following is a description of some of the commonly used Linux filesystems.

ext2 (second extended filesystem) supports UNIX/Linux files and directories and allows for long file names (up to 255 characters).

ext3 (third extended filesystem) is the current default filesystem for Red Hat, Fedora and many other Linux distributions. The ext3 filesystem is on the way to becoming the de facto standard for Linux.

ext3 is based on the previous ext2 filesystem. It is basically the same as ext2, with the main difference being that ext3 supports a feature called “journalling”. The greatest benefit of this feature is that it provides a quicker recovery when a filesystem “crash” occurs and a system goes “down” (and stops working).

If files are corrupted on a partition using ext2, then the Linux fsck (filesystem check) utility is run to check the filesystem and repair it and this can take a very long time.

When the files on an ext3 filesystem become corrupted, then the fsck utility is still run to check and repair the filesystem, but this takes much less time due to the journalling feature of ext3.

vfat is the Linux filesystem that is compatible with DOS file names and Windows long file names. In some Linux utilities, “vfat” appears as “fat” or “fat32”.

iso9660 is the filesystem used on a CD-ROM.

swap (a.k.a. Linux swap partition, swap drive, swap space) is a disk partition that is used by the Linux OS as “virtual memory”. Linux uses the disk space that you have specified for the swap drive as though it were RAM (memory chips in your system).

The Linux filesystem type concepts and definitions covered here apply to: Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, Fedora, SUSE, Slackware, openSUSE – and ALL other Linux distributions.

Being Hospitable and Using Managed File Transfers to Manage Hotels

One of the biggest areas of concern for hotel chains is how to manage files over a diverse set of locations. Whether these locations are geographically spread across one city or the world is irrelevant, as managed file transfer can take some of the time and work out of both automation and secure sharing with ease and security.

Understanding the diverse needs of a hotelier

Imagine running just one hotel – gaining the best deals for everything from your laundry to your fresh flower service? Imagine managing five, and still trying to keep the deals that you’re negotiating fresh and value filled deals, without needing a centralised team to manage it. MFT can help support it at that scale or larger with ease.

Whether you need to exchange new menus or information between two hotels, or across the whole group, MFT is designed to support the growing needs of a hotelier’s group, without stifling the underlying needs of the individual hotel itself, allowing for dynamic growth within each individual unit.

Five ways hotels can use MFT

There are five key areas that hotels can use MFT to increase productivity and support security and financing with ease.

  • Decentralisation of orders, paperwork and bookings – allowing teams to work via MFT can allow hotels to work with decentralised resources, with all of the benefits of having a dedicated head office.
  • Easier ordering and booking – with a centralisation protocol that distributes to each of the hotels in a chain, it’s easier to share information and work within the needs of running a hotel, whether that’s booking a room or restocking the kitchen.
  • Compliance with financial needs – as financial data is an integral part of the hotelier’s business, being able to protect any data that would be shared is a huge area of need – MFT provides encryption and decryption as standard, based on settings.
  • Integration with systems – MFT automatically integrates with email systems such as Outlook and provides a one click file sharing solution in most cases – this solution uploads the document to the secure area, encrypting or decrypting it, then produces the link in the email without intervention from the sender. This cuts down on file sending mistakes and allows for confidence and ease of transfer.
  • Finally, managed file transfer can help streamline functions and tasks that could be automated, such as file sharing or auditing, ordering or booking. Each of these can cut down on costs and free up staff to focus on the running of the hotel itself, instead of administration.

Understanding how managed file transfer can support your hotel can be as simple as looking at where your file system needs to be upgraded, and how that upgrade can be managed efficiently.