Ben Gras made a ready-to-use Minix 3.1.1 virtual machine for use with
VMWare, including use with the free VMWare player. It is available on
the site. I just began to experiment with this today. I
have a few notes and a query.

Basically, it worked easily and painlessly on the system I am using
for this, which is moderately fast (W2K on a 1.5 Ghz AMD Athlon CPU,
with lots of disk space and 1 GB of RAM). I was a little perplexed to
discover that it did not seem to have access to the floppy drive, but
it turns out that by editing the dos.vmx configuration file, changing
floppy0.present from FALSE to TRUE, the floppy drive becomes available.
I had expected that the configuration of the free player would not be
alterable, but it is. I also took advantage of this to change the
sound.present value to FALSE, since I don't have a sound card on my
host system and I was seeing an annoying message about not finding the
sound card every time I started the virtual machine.

There is one thing that is strange about VMWare operation. This is the
handling of the time obtained from the CMOS clock at startup. I had noted
this a while ago when I wrote up some notes about using Minix 2.0.4 on
VMWare ( At that time I
hypothesized that VMWare assumed the CMOS clock kept California time
instead of UTC. However, when I started the Minix 3 virtual machine I
found it was interpreting the CMOS clock as if it kept Amsterdam time.

I found a document on the VMWare site that partially explains this.
It states that the CMOS clock provides both the time in UTC and an
offset to the local time zone. Apparently VMWare reads the UTC time
from the CMOS hardware, but stores the offset in its .nvram file.
So the virtual machine that Ben created in Amsterdam is preconfigured
to interpret what it reads from the CMOS as his time zone. I don't know
why the Minix 2.0.4 virtual machines I created last year started out
reading the CMOS time as Pacific time, since I live in the US Eastern
time zone.

So... the solution I have found that works with the Minix 3 virtual
machine from the website is to comment out the lines that
set the timezone in /etc/rc before the call to readclock, and add a
line "export TZ='CET-1'" so Minix will expect the CMOS time to be
Amsterdam time. Then in the normal way I edit /etc/rc.timezone to
set my own timezone when a user logs in.

I suspect there must be a better way, a way to change the timezone
stored in the .nvram file. If anyone knows how to do this, please post
a reply.

- Al

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| Albert S. Woodhull |
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