Inferno Operating System

457 words [ 9 Screenshots ] [ 5 Versions ] [ 2 Weblinks ] - Last update: 2023-12-22 Page created: 2004-09-20 [SB]



Inferno was developed as a successor of the operating system Plan 9 with the help of Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson as well as different one employees in the Bell Labs computing Sciences research centre in New Jersey, USA starting in 1995. Before Plan 9, D. Ritchie and K. Thompson have already developed the UNIX operating system. Inferno is an independent, standalone and scaling capable network operating system but can also be used on Host operating systems like Windows NT/2000/XP, FreeBSD, Irix, Linux, MacOSX, Plan9 and Solaris. Supported architectures are Intel x86 (386 or higher), Intel XScale, IBM PowerPC, ARM StrongARM (ARM and Thumb) as well as Sun SPARC. The system software needs at least 1 mb RAM and ROM, supports dynamic modules, unicode and is available with source code and an licensing agreement. Applications can easy access hardware devices like Audio, Ethernet, Graphic, touch screen, USB and also WLAN (802.11 b). Inferno is available as a plug-in for Internet Explorer 4.x or higher too.

Inferno is optimally suitable for distributed, architecture independent network applications e.g. Internet terminals. The Kernel with a preemptive scheduler was programmed in C, the higher layers and shared dynamic libraries for applications are written in Limbo. A complete development environment with programmable Shell, UNIX similar tools and a Web browser is enclosed. The programming under Limbo is syntactically similar to C. With specialization on the construction of network applications the Limbo compiler makes an independent source code for all sorts of architectures. This source code is interpreted during the runtime of the Inferno Virtual Machine or JIT (just in time) compiled for performance reasons before.

The Styx protocol shows all resources as a file over protected communication in the file system, no matter whether this resource are locally or remote. Part of this are storage drives, processes, services and network connections. With namespaces all resources and services are stored in a unique addressed name for applications. These pass on to the real resource names. The defined namespace is useable from every network client or also transferable to several servers. Safety is realized by the level of data connections, the control of resources and system integrity over different mechanisms. Supported algorithms are IDEA, 56 bit DES, 40-, 128- and 256 bit RC4 encoding as well as MD4, MD5 and SHA hash functions.

In 1996 Vita Nuova was founded in York, England of Lucent technology (part of Bell Labs). The name "Vita Nuova" means as much as "new life". The new enterprise cares about the sale, support and the development of the commercial operating system inferno exclusively. In addition, it is the one and only Plan 9 distributor. The change of the firm name in Vita Nuova Holdings Limited was on March 1st, 2000.



Inferno Operating System screenshot 1Inferno Operating System screenshot 2Inferno Operating System screenshot 3Inferno Operating System screenshot 4
4th Edition - Inferno, Installation process4th Edition - Installation on a guest system needs 138 mbyte4th Edition - List with tool programs4th Edition - EMU.EXE represents under the guest system the virtual environment
Inferno Operating System screenshot 5Inferno Operating System screenshot 6Inferno Operating System screenshot 7Inferno Operating System screenshot 8
4th Edition - window manager4th Edition - Assembler and Limbo Tools4th Edition - Limbo source code4th Edition - Charon as internet browser
Inferno Operating System screenshot 9
4th Edition - Charon with another website


Date - Version
1996 Sept. - Inferno Beta
1997 April - Inferno Release 1.0
1999 July - Inferno 2nd Edition
2001 June - Inferno 3th Edition
2004 Oct. - Inferno 4th Edition