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Developer Eric Smith, various volunteers
Written in C
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release June 1993; 25 years ago (1993-06)
Latest release 1.18.0 / 18 March 2013; 6 years ago (2013-03-18)
Marketing target Personal computers
Platforms Atari ST, Firebee, ARAnyM, Amiga[1]
Kernel type Monolithic
Default user interface GEM
License Various, including GNU General Public License (Free Software)
Official website

MiNT is Now TOS (MiNT) is a free software alternative operating system kernel for the Atari ST system and its successors. It is a multi-tasking alternate to TOS and MagiC. Together with the free system components fVDI device drivers, XaAES graphical user interface widgets, and TeraDesk file manager, MiNT provides a free TOS compatible replacement OS that can multitask.


Work on MiNT began in 1989, as the developer Eric Smith was trying to port the GNU library and related utilities on the Atari ST TOS. It turned out quickly, that it was much easier to add a Unix-like layer to the TOS, than to patch all of the GNU software, and MiNT began as a TOS extension to help in porting.

MiNT was originally released by Eric Smith as "MiNT is Not TOS" (a recursive acronym in the style of "GNU's Not Unix") in May 1990. The new Kernel got traction, with people contributing a port of the MINIX Filesystem and a port to the Atari TT.

At the same time Atari was looking to enhance the TOS with multitasking abilities, they found that MiNT could fulfill the job, and hired Eric Smith. MiNT was adopted as an official alternative kernel with the release of the Atari Falcon, slightly altering the MiNT acronym into "MiNT is Now TOS". Atari bundled MiNT with a multitasking version of the Graphics Environment Manager (GEM) under the name MultiTOS as a floppy disk based installer.

After Atari left the computer market, MiNT development continued under the name FreeMiNT, and is now maintained by a team of volunteers. FreeMiNT development follows a classic open-source approach, with the source code hosted on a public CVS (Concurrent Versions System) repository and development discussed in a public mailing list.[2]

Development has since moved to the publicly browsable FreeMiNT GIT repository on GitHub[3], while the mailing list still maintained on SourceForge, after an earlier (2014) move from AtariForge, where it was maintained for almost 20 years.

Hardware requirements

A minimal install of MiNT will run on an Atari ST with its stock 8 MHz 68000 CPU, with 4 MB RAM and a harddrive. It is highly recommended that an Atari computer with a 16 MHz 68030 CPU and 8 MB of RAM be used.

MiNT can also run inside the emulators Hatari[4] and STEem, and with networking on the 68040 virtual machine Aranym[5].

MiNT software ecosystem

FreeMiNT provides only a kernel, so several Linux distributions support MiNT, most notably the RPM Package Manager or RPM based SpareMiNT and the Debian GNU/MiNT porting effort.

Although FreeMiNT can use the graphical user interface of the TOS (the Graphics Environment Manager GEM and the Application Environment Services or AES), it is better served with an enhanced AES which can use its multi-tasking abilities.

The default one is currently XaAES, which is developed as a FreeMiNT kernel module. The older N.AES also works, however the modern alternative is MyAES[6]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ FreeMiNT Portal
  3. ^ FreeMiNT repository
  4. ^ Minimal multitask configuration for Hatari
  5. ^ ARAnyM Links
  6. ^ Minimal multitask for Hatari (MyAES & 68000)

External links

  • Official website, MyAeS
  • Unofficial XaAES website
  • MiNT is Now TOS—an interview with Mr Eric R. Smith, the creator of MiNT
  • FreeMiNT mailing list
  • FreeMiNT mailing list archives
  • FreeMiNT wiki
  • XaAES source
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