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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.


Install the vx32-gitAUR package.

A short tutorial

After installing 9vx:

  • Extract a Plan9 root file system (ISOs from historical releases (official Plan 9 website is archived), 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 in an insecure directory

A simpler but less secure way to solve the issue can be to utilize

chmod -R 777 /path/to/plan9/root/

This way, both user and glenda will be able to write to the plan9 root system and add directories.


Recent advances in 9front and possibly 9atom makes those distributions possible to install and boot under virtualbox. Things that may be needed to make them work:

  • Use the PIIX3 IDE controller
  • install support for USB v2.

Also, for the CWFS of 9front, you need to make a disk image of at least 12 GiB.