Installing MiNT – Chapter 01: Quick & Dirty method to install Atari Mint

Quick & Dirty method to install Atari Mint

You have choosen the bold path to run MINT on your Atari but have read from several forums that it’s difficult to install, no fear this small how-to is for you. MINT is a lean multitasking Atari OS that consist of a new Kernel and a new AES. It provides a pre-emptive multi tasking system with networking and new filesystems. It also provides a Unix like environment for those who care for it (and who installs it that way).

The information here is aimed to setup a simple MINT system and will not include steps for the Unix like environment. To exploit the potential of MINT, the Unix like environment should be setup. MINT is workable on a 8 MHz ST with 4MB but for it to be useful it should be on a machine with a 16MHz 68030 and greater than 4 MB of RAM. An automated way of installing MINT is via EasyMint, which installs the entire MINT beast.

The method shown here will install only a minimal system with basic functionality. Hopefully this will get you heading in the right direction.

Steps to manually installing MINT

By following the few steps below, you will achieve the following: MiNT running 2 lines programs and a clock program. The desktop here is Teradesk.

Prepare the hard disk

The hard disk should be already made auto boot – meaning that the drivers for hard disk is already installed to a working condition. Follow the instructions in Jookie’s site to install the driver for the hard disk.If a new hard disk is used, create a TOS partiton as large as your system allows ( 1GB for Falcon, 512MB for TT030) for booting up, and divide the rest of the space to 2 or more partition. This allows for expansion using the new MINT filesystem that a Unix like environment requires…. that’s if you care for it.

You need around 1.5MB of free space for this minimal MINT system.

Prepare the MINT related files

Download the following MINT files from the SpareMint archive and XaAES archives.

  1. freemint-1.16.1-beta.tar.gz — This is the main archive containing the kernel, AES and other supporting files needed by MINT.
  2. — Teradesk: This is the desktop for MINT.MINT doesn’t come with a desktop so you will need this.
  3. — This is the text editor to edit & customise MINT. In actual fact, any text editor will do.

The freemint-1.16.1-beta.tar.gz itself pose several problems. Unless you downloaded the file on the Atari, the size means that you cannot easily transfer it from PC to Atari via a floppy; you need to have an network. As the extension suggested is a gzipped tar ball, tools on MINT can work on this type of archive but GEM/TOS tools to work on this file are hard to find. Lastly, long folder names are used in the tar, which means TOS will difficultly with it.

Chicken & Egg problem, you need MINT to unarchive the gzip tar file that contains long folder names. But you don’t have MINT until you can unarchive that very file!!

To solve this issue, do everything on the Darkside – that’s Windoze and with the tool WinZIP. WinZIP understands both gzip and tar, so we can extract out everything onto a folder on Windows. While at it, unZip also both the Teradesk and QED zip files.

Prepare the TOS environment

Well, not prepare but actually tweak TOS so that none of the AUTO programs starts and none of the desk accessories ACC and CPX start or get loaded. This is because TOS applications can sometime hinder the bootup of MINT or cause some problem during bootup.

To stop AUTO programs, desktop accessory and CPX from starting, just rename the extension.
i.e. PRG to PRX, ACC to ACX and CPX to CPZ.

If your system needs some special PRG to boot the graphic card (emulate.prg or redirect.prg) or you need NVDI to speed up the screen updates, you can enable them. But make sure they run before MINTxxx.PRG.

Copy of MINT files to the hard disk

From the unarchived MINT gzip tar file; copy from the folder \freemint-1.16.1-beta:

Root of Drive C: contains: MiNT folder TOOLS folder DESKTOP folder QED folder

  1. MINTxxx.PRG in the AUTO to the AUTO folder of the boot hard disk — This is the file in the gzip tar AUTO folder, you need to copy only 1 file. Decide which one to copy, suggest the MINT030.PRG for Falcon/TT030. Make sure it’s the last PRG in your AUTO folder.
  2. The entire mint folder to the root of the boot hard disk — The folder contains another folder 1-16-1, in which contains the VDI and extended devices, filesystems and other system related files.
  3. The entire tools folder to the root of the boot hard disk — This contains tools & utilities which you need later to make MINT run better.

For Teradesk desktop:

  1. create a folder called desktop at the root of the boot hard disk.
  2. copy the unzipped Teradesk files into the folder desktop.

For QED Editor:

    1. create a folder called QED at the root of the boot hard disk.
    2. copy the unzipped QED files into the folder QED.

Configure the MINT environment

Please save your files in Unix newline otherwise MINT will not read in the configurations correctly. Do not edit in other OS and copy onto your Atari. This normally introduce the wrong newline characters. Best is to edit in QED and save in Unix newlines.
Follow this url to learn how to force for Unix newline in QED.
  1. Configure where to load MINT from:
    Run QED ( if you unZip from above or use any editor of your choice) and load the file
    C:\MINT\1-16-1\MINT.CNFFind the line


    and modify the folder part so that it points to the correct folder


    Save and close the file.

Configure graphic mode for MINT/XAAES:
Next load the file
C:\MINT\1-16-1\XAAES\XAAES.CNFFind the lines

   #video = <mode>

and uncomment it by removing the # sign and enter the video mode

    video = 26

video = 26 will select 640*480*16 colour VGA mode (falcon).
video = 27 will select 640*480*256 colour VGA mode (falcon).
video = 2 will select 320*200*16 colour (ST-Low)
video = 3 will select 640*200*4 colour (ST-Medium)
video = 4 will select 640*400*2 colour (ST-High)
video = 6 will select 640*480*16 colour (TT Medium)
video = 8 will select 1280*960*2 colour (TT High)
video = 9 will select 320*480*256 colour (TT Low)

For CTPCI resolutions, use the following.
The hexidecimal is the modecode for that resolution
video = 0x4265 will select 320 x 200 x 32bit @ 70Hz
video = 0x4263 will select 320 x 200 x 8bit @ 70Hz
video = 0x143D will select 1024 x 768 x 16M colours
video = 0x143C will select 1024 x 768 x 64K colours
video = 0x40A5 will select 1280 x 1024 x 16M

For other resolutions, please follow this guide to obtain your modecode.

Configure the desktop for MINT:
Still in XAAES.CNF, find the lines

#--------- Teradesk ---------
#shell = c:\desktop\

and uncomment it by removing the # sign and correct the desktop extension to PRG

#--------- Teradesk ---------
shell = c:\desktop\desktop.prg

Configure TOS to run in a GEM window:
Still in XAAES.CNF, find the line

#launcher  = u:\opt\toswin2\tw-call.prg

and uncomment and modify it to the correct pathname for TosWin2

launcher  = C:\TOOLS\TOSWIN2\

Next find the line

    #setenv NAME value

And add the following below it

setenv ACCPATH		C:\
setenv TOSRUN		C:\tools\toswin2\

Next find the line

#run <path>\<application>

And add the following below it

run c:\tools\toswin2\

Save and close the file.

Wouldn’t it be easier if I just gave you these files modified?
Sure it is, but that means you will not have known of these two important files that configures MINT and XaAES. By now, you should at least have a hint on how to switch the desktop to the one you like and also run other programs along when MINT boots up.

Reboot to MINT

You’re good to go. Reboot and cross your fingers.

For starters, it may be needed to set MINT to NO MEMORY PROTECTION for it to proceed.
To do this, press <left shift> as MINT boots up at the splash screen and toggle NO MEMORY PROTECTION by pressing the number 5 key. Press <ENTER> to accept and continue to boot.

You will see some drivers not able to load as they are for different type of machine, and you can stop them from loading by renaming them from XDD to XDX.

Teradesk may complain that it is unable to read/save the INF file, that’s because it is not there yet! So just click OK to continue. You may force a save by press <CTRL-S> on the desktop.

Once you see the desktop, you have succesfully running MINT.

Testing Mint MultiTasking

Download the following file MintTest.ZIP. It contains 3 programs – clock.prg, lines.prg and xferrate.ttp.

Both clock.prg and lines.prg are from Atari MTOS distribution disk. Clock.prg display a clock face with second hand while lines.prg draws lines in a GEM window. You may need to resize the gem windows to see the desktop and other programs running. Xferrate.ttp is from Anondyne Software and display the speed of your HDD on a TOS screen. This can demostrate the redirection of output to a GEM window nicely.

Just run these programs in any order, without closing any one of them to see MINT multitask. Don’t forget to read the xferrate.txt on how to use it, while clock and lines are running…. ahhh the beauty of multitasking.

What’s next….?

For one, you should be customising the look and feel of your Teradesk desktop. Test your old applications if they are working on MINT or download newer version or alternative Further customise MINT and XaAES, like changing the fileselector, installing a taskbar, installing hyper view etc. Of course, get networking on MINT and get to the Internet with CAB, Highwire, Chat…. Don’t forget to get that Unix part of MINT up with the new filesystem and all those Unix goodies. Tons to do now that you’re on MINT.