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                      Preface to the Fourth (2002) Edition

   Plan 9 continues to grow and adapt. The fourth major release of the system
   incorporates a number of changes, but the most central is the conversion
   to a new version of the 9P file system protocol. This new version was
   motivated by a desire to support files with name elements longer than 27
   bytes (the old NAMELEN), but the opportunity was taken to change a number
   of other things about the protocol, making it more efficient, more
   flexible, and easier to encapsulate. One simple but indispensable new
   feature made possible by the protocol change is that the system now
   records the user who last modified a file; try ls -m to identify the

   Many aspects of system security have been improved. The new security agent
   factotum(4) maintains user passwords, while secstore(8) keeps them safe
   and enables single sign-on to multiple domains and machines using a
   variety of secure protocols and services.

   Throughout the system, components have been rewritten and interfaces
   modified to eliminate restrictions, improve performance, and clarify
   design. The full list is too long to include here, but significant changes
   have occurred in a number of system calls (wait(2), stat(2), mount(2), and
   errstr(2)), the thread library (thread(2)), formatted printing (print(2)
   and fmtinstall(2)), security (many pages in section 2, including auth(2),
   authsrv(2)), and many others.

   The changes are sweeping and are accompanied by many new programs, tools,
   services, and libraries. See the manual pages and the accompanying
   documents for more information.

                                                     Bell Labs
                                                     Computing Science
                                                     Research Center
                                                     Murray Hill NJ
                                                     April, 2002

                                                     Copyright (c) 2002
                                                     Lucent Technologies Inc.
                                                     All rights reserved.