"Unlike the sci-fi dud of the same name, this star vehicle is
back! On June 7th, Bell Labs released its Third Edition of Plan 9,
an Operating System based on network computing principles, while
running on inexpensive PCs. The project started in the late 1980's,
when mainframe and centralized computing systems were becoming
outdated by personal computers, or PCs. Plan 9 was started "as an
attempt to have it both ways: to build a system that was centrally
administered and cost-effective using cheap modern microcomputers
as its computing elements." In essence, Plan 9 is very similar to
the Distributed Computing concept of sharing processor power and
resources; but instead of generic computing tasks, each system has
a different computing role...."
"The third release of the Plan 9 operating system from Bell Labs
is something of a snapshot of the current system. This differs from
the previous, 1995 release, which was a more coordinated,
well-defined release of an already-out-of-date system. Also, the
previous releases were distributed on fixed media, while this
release is being done over the web. The other major difference is
that the third release is licensed under an open source agreement,
which we hope will encourage people to experiment with it."
"Plan 9 is distributed under the Plan 9 License, which is
basically an Open Source license. It states that Plan 9 is
distributed to the licensee with the right to "use, reproduce,
modify, execute, display, perform, distribute and sublicense, the
Original Software (with or without Modifications) in Source Code
form and/or Object Code form for commercial and/or non-commercial
purposes." This allows you to modify the source code and
redistribute your own versions, in addition to having many of the
other benefits of Open Source. The Plan 9 License is very similar
to the LGPL, or the Lesser General Public License, in that it does
not require free distribution of the product."
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