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This article is about the OS for Atari hardware. For the Linux distribution, see Linux Mint. For other uses, see Mint (disambiguation).
Developer Eric Smith
Written in C
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release June 1993; 22 years ago (1993-06)
Latest release 1.18.0 / 18 March 2013; 2 years ago (2013-03-18)
Marketing target Personal computers
Platforms Atari ST, Firebee
Kernel type Monolithic
Default user interface GEM
License Open Source

MiNT (MiNT is Now TOS) is a free software alternative operating system kernel for the Atari ST system and its successors. Together with the free system components fVDI (device drivers), XaAES (GUI widgets), and TeraDesk (a file manager), MiNT provides a free TOS compatible replacement OS that is capable of multitasking.


Work on MiNT started 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 started as a TOS extension to help the porting task.

MiNT was originally released by Eric Smith as "MiNT is Not TOS" (a play on "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 multi-tasking capabilities, 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 GEM under the name MultiTOS as a floppy 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 classical open-source approach, with the source code hosted on a public CVS repository and development discussed in a public mailing list.

Hardware requirements[edit]

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 software ecosystem[edit]

As FreeMiNT itself just provides a kernel, there are several distributions, most notably the RPM-based SpareMiNT as well as the Debian GNU/MiNT porting effort.

Although FreeMiNT can use the graphical user interface of the TOS (the AES), it is better served with an enhanced AES who can use its multitasking abilities.

Of those the most popular is currently XaAES, which is developed as a FreeMiNT kernel module.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]