Made in Netherlands by Andrew S. Tanenbaum in 1987
Originally intended as a learning tool to understand how UNIX-like OSes work. Minix 3 & later, however, are also intended to be of practical use.
Minix is designed and developed by Andrew S. Tanenbaum and released minix 3 under the BSD license (fully free/opensource). Minix 1 & 2 are not free, being fully copyrighted yet costing a relatively inexpensive $69 for the unix-like OS, source code and a text book. minix 1 and 2 were object lessons for Tanenbaum's text book Operating Systems Design and Implementation. Originally the OS was compatible with IBM PC & IBM PC/AT microcomputers. Version 1.5 was compatible with the IBM PS/2 and was ported to m68k and sparc. MINIX 2.0 is POSIX compliant. Minix 3 is intended to be "usable as a serious system on resource-limited and embedded computers and for applications requiring high reliability."; but is still used as a learning tool distributed with Tanenbaum's new edition of his textbook. The Minix 3 distro comes with a x11 display manager and most expect it to be come a fully GUI based OS with only specialty uses for command-line or headless minix (servers & embedded systems). While Minix is has a UNIX look-and-feel in both interface and 'under the hood', it is not code-related to UNIX and will not run UNIX binaries. Minix is also based on a microkernal archetechture rather than the more common monolithic kernel model. However, the original MINIX 1 was system-call compatible 7th edition Unix. Minix and Linux were never compatible except for using the same file system.

Minix 3, because of its microkernel architecture, can continue running in the face of upgrades, memory faults, and driver crashes, never needing to reboot.

Minix is probably most famous for being the operating system that Linus Torvalds used to build the Linux kernel. Torvalds developed Linux on a minix system and based some design aspects on minix. However, there was no source code taken from minix itself (as this would be illegal). Accusations that Linux uses code from minix are strongly refuted by all parties who know, including Tanenbaum himself. After Torvalds had done everything he felt like doing to the kernel, he presented his monolithic results to the minix community who contributed much to the design until Linux developed a community of its own.
MeikOS also has its origins in Minix.

At this time, minix remains primarily an operating system for students and hobbyists.

System list:
  • IBM PC
  • IBM PC/AT*
  • Atari ST*
  • Commodore Amiga*
  • Apple Macintosh*
  • Sun SPARCstation*
  • Intel 386 PC compatibles
  • National Semiconductor NS32532
  • ARM transputers
  • INMOS transputers
  • ISICAD Prisma 700 workstation
  • HP Jornada 680/690 PDA
    *officially supported

Minix can be run with cooperative kerneling and this was used to run minix as a process under SunOS and Solaris.

Minix is superior to Linux because this is how you mount a floppy in Linux:
find / -type f -name fstab
cat /path_to_fstab/fstab

mkfs -t ext3 /dev/fd0 1440
ls -l /mnt
mkdir floppy
mount /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy

And this is the same task in Minux:
M 0