"Bell Labs, the research and development arm of Lucent
Technologies (NYSE:LU), has made the third release of its Plan 9
computer operating system available on the World Wide Web under an
open-source agreement. Anyone interested in using Plan 9 may
download the system, including source code and documentation, from
"Among the changes in this release of Plan 9 are a revised
kernel, which now has the means to resolve ambiguous file names; an
improved graphics environment; an updated command set; and expanded
libraries. The system's creators also have installed "plumbing," a
new mechanism for passing messages between interactive programs, as
part of the user interface."
"Another change in this release was inspired by a recent
development outside the lab -- the industry's increasing acceptance
of open-source distribution for software such as operating systems
and browsers. "A lot of the ideas in Plan 9 are public
currency now," said Rob Pike, director of Computing Concepts
Research at Bell Labs, who led work on the third release of Plan 9.
"We decided that the actual software should be public currency too.
The open-source agreement allows free, source-level access to the
Plan 9 software and should encourage more people to experiment with