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A port of some libraries and programs from Plan9 from User Space to Win32
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LICENSE update info files, add BUGS Apr 3, 2009

Pf9 (package framework 9) is a port of some libraries and programs from Plan9 from User Space to Win32 using the MinGW-w64 environment. A lot of files are used without modification, some need only slight adaptions. The actual porting has been done in lib9/mingw and libthread/mingw.c, with help of ideas from inferno and 9pm.

See LICENSE file for which licenses apply to the source files.

For a list of ported programs see DIRS and TARG definitions in src/cmd/mkfile.

For a list of ported libraries see src/lib*. Status of some libraries:

  • libthread: works mostly, daemonizing works not

  • libdraw: works basically, tested with tcolors, acme and sam. Events have not been ported, so only programs using the thread-based mouse interface will run.

Status of the support of various concepts:

  • Pipes - Implemented using Named Pipes.

  • Unix Sockets
    Implemented using Named Pipes. You can use the same addresses as in plan9port, e.g. unix!/tmp/acme.

  • Internet Sockets
    Implemented using Winsock.

  • Unicode
    All programs get UTF-8 encoded streams on stdin, UTF-8 encoded environment and command line arguments.

  • Console support
    Reading from the console input and writing to the console screen buffer is supported transparently. A cat > file from the Windows console will produce UTF-8 characters, regardless of which codepage is installed.

    You can also use the history feature of the console window without extra support in programs.

Because the mkfile system's structure has been derived from Plan9, you can compile the libs and sources for Linux and MinGW in a similar way: On Linux, to compile for the MinGW, run

cd src

Copy identical files from Plan9port

A lot of files are used without changes from a specific revision of plan9port. They are not distributed along with pf9. This copy of plan9port can be setup using

git clone
cd plan9port
git checkout 1889a257
export PLAN9

If you have, in parallel, a current version of plan9port installed, which has already been added to PATH, these steps should be sufficient. Otherwise you would have to run ./INSTALL in the checked out copy of plan9port, so that some commands like sed, or date get built, that are needed for the pf9 build process.

You can run

mk pop		- to populate the source directory with identical
				source files from p9p

mk rm		... remove identical source files; this undos the
			effect of `mk pop'

mk tkdiff		... to get a list of tkdiff commands you can click at in rc to
			explore the differences between p9p and pf9

mk eqdiff		... like `mk tkdiff`, but this time a list showing on which
			files an ed script has been run.

Some files will be modified slightly after copying from plan9port. This is done using one ed script per file.

How to build for MinGW-w64 (Win32)

The MinGW-w64 compiler and development files for Win32 must be available, which can, for example, be installed on Debian using the gcc-mingw-w64-i686 package.

  1. Set PF9 to the main directory of this distribution. Set cputype and objtype: cputype=lin386 objtype=mingw

    You might just run sh misc/enterpf9 alternatively, which should start an rc shell with these values already set (it won't affect the environment of the calling shell).

  2. Set PATH to include the necessary bin directories $cputype/bin and $cpusys/bin, i.e. lin386/bin and linux/bin. They should come before the PLAN9/bin directory, to avoid conflicts. If you have run misc/enterpf9 in step 1, this has already been done.

  3. You should have run mk pop once to copy identical source files from your plan9port distribution, and to apply changes, where neccessary.

  4. Build libraries and programs:

    cd src
    mk install

    On success you will the programs in mingw/bin.

To get a distribution for windows, e.g. the compiled binaries and additional files like troff fonts from plan9port, look into dist/mingw/mkfile. This needs some further explanation.

Run it


This should be enough to get it work. Now you might generate the lookman index from a shell prompt, which is a good test of some of the functionality:

$ rc
% cd $PF9/sys/man
% ./mkindex


Define FDTDEBUG=2 to get debug output from the file descriptor layer.

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