Advanced Namespace Tools for Plan 9

The Giant ANTS for Plan 9 are a collection of software for making Plan 9 systems more flexible and reliable by leveraging the power of namespaces.

The main component is a modified kernel which needs no root fs at boot. It creates an always available ram/paq rooted namespace accessible by cpu(1) from which the user may launch conventional namespaces. Additional tools allow the user to reroot quickly to different namespaces and create hubs of persistent rc shells shared between all machines on a grid.

ANTS is compatible with existing x86 Plan 9 installations. The ANTS kernel and tools modify startup and create new capabilities, but do not change the standard user environment. You can install the ANTS kernel and tools directly to a fresh install from the 9front or Bell Labs .iso, just add the 9ants or 9pcram.gz kernel and optional tools.tgz to your 9fat partition and edit plan9.ini as needed. Full install/use documentation is also provided.

ANTS is a modular toolkit. Many of the namespace modifying scripts, the hubfs shell multiplexer, and the rio variant "grio", do not depend on the kernel modifications. The kernel modifications for bootup and for writable /proc/*/ns are independent from each other. ANTS can be used as a self-sufficient micro-distribution of Plan 9 around 6mb in size.








The full Attack of the Giant ANTS paper in postscript form

reference PLAN9.INI

Full install documentation, README, and source code

Please browse the full ANTS directory.

Demonstration micro-cpu server VM image

You can check out how ANTS works in a VM image which includes only a small bootable 9fat partition. It was creaed with Qemu and intended for use in that vm although the .raw image may work in other vms also. The 6mb download expands to a 16mb disk image which starts a working cpu server environment with local vga, rio, cpu access, acme, and many other tools. It can tcp root to another root fs to function as a standard cpu server if desired.


After bootup reaches the shell prompt, type "gui" to start rio on the local display. cpu (1) service is also available on port 17060 as user glenda with default password "rootless". If a cdrom is attached, the cd bootup option will use the cd termrc as well as providing an independent namespace available via cpu.

This image is several years out of date relative to the source code on this website.

This site is focused on the core ANTS software. For additional VM images, tutorials and screenshots, older projects, and other Plan 9 related info, head back to the base url.

The ANTS include code from Plan 9 from Bell Labs and 9front. Original portions are copyright Mycroftiv.

Licensed under the Lucent Public License or any other compatible and legal license. recommends the updated Mothra browser for viewing this website.

The ANTS software has been evaluated as "mostly harmless" by the interstellar cat -v patrol force.