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9vx is an implementation of the simple x86 virtual machine vx32 specifically designed for running real Plan9 on other host systems.


A minimal recent build of 9vx can be found in the AUR.

A short tutorial

After installing 9vx:

  • Extract a Plan9 root file system (ISOs from official plan9, 9atom or 9front all should work) into your directory of choice "/path/to/plan9" (9vx defaults to the directory /usr/local/plan9vx)
  • make sure that /opt/vx32/bin is in your PATH
  • invoke "9vx -r /path/to/plan9 -u glenda" to start as user Glenda, a local system administrator user account which can be used for installing programs and changing system settings. If you run the official Plan9 root file system, you will here also get a small tutorial about how to use rio and acme.
  • invoke "9vx -r /path/to/plan9" to start as your user (at first run, write /sys/lib/newuser at the rc prompt to set up your environment).


Running Plan9 from a directory can be very handy, especially since you easily can move files into your virtual system from your host system. It does however come with a cost, which is related to user permissions. You will most likely run into issues where directories can not be created since the virtual Plan9 system lacks write permissions.

Installing Plan9 on a disk image

One alternative to overcome this is to install a Plan9 according to these instructions.

Putting the Plan9 root file system on a FAT partition or disk image

A simpler but less secure way to solve the issue can be to utilize the lack of user permission information on a FAT formatted disk by making a disk image or a partition and mount (/mnt/Plan9) it for all users in /etc/fstab. This way, files can easily be moved from the host system to the virtualized Plan9 system while still being able to work with Plan9 the way it is intended to.