9P (protocol)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

9P (or the Plan 9 Filesystem Protocol or Styx) is a network protocol developed for the Plan 9 from Bell Labs distributed operating system as the means of connecting the components of a Plan 9 system. Files are key objects in Plan 9. They represent windows, network connections, processes, and almost anything else available in the operating system.

9P was revised for the 4th edition of Plan 9 under the name 9P2000, containing various improvements. Some of the improvements made are, the removal of certain filename restrictions, the addition of a 'last modifier' metadata field for directories, and authentication files.[1] The latest version of the Inferno operating system also uses 9P2000. The Inferno file protocol was originally called Styx, but technically it has always been a variant of 9P.

A server implementation of 9P for Unix, called u9fs,[2][3] is included in the Plan 9 distribution. A 9P OS X client kernel extension is provided by Mac9P.[4] A kernel client driver implementing 9p with some extensions for Linux is part of the v9fs project. 9P and its derivatives have also found application in embedded environments, such as the Styx on a Brick project.[5]

Server applications[edit]

Many of Plan 9's applications take the form of 9P file servers. Examples include:

  • acme: a text editor/development environment
  • rio: the Plan 9 windowing system
  • plumber: interprocess communication
  • ftpfs: an FTP client that presents the files and directories on a remote FTP server in the local namespace
  • wikifs: a wiki editing tool that presents a remote wiki as files in the local namespace
  • webfs: a file server that retrieves data from URLs and presents the contents and details of responses as files in the local namespace
  • NixOS: a purely functional and declarative Linux distribution can rebuild itself inside a virtual machine, where the client uses 9P to mount the store directory of the host.
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux: where the subsystem implements 9P as a server and the host Windows operating system acts as a client.[6]


9P sends the following messages between clients and servers.[7] These messages correspond to the entry points in the Plan 9 vfs layer that any 9P server must implement.

Negotiate protocol version[8]
Return an error[9]
Abort a message[10]
auth, attach
Establish a connection[11]
Descend a directory hierarchy[12]
create, open
Prepare a fid for I/O on an existing or new file[13]
read, write
Transfer data from and to a file[14]
Forget about a fid[15]
Remove a file from a server[16]
stat, wstat
Inquire or change file attributes[17]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]