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Hurd state

From: jemarch
Subject: Hurd state
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2005 07:31:30 +0100


First of all, i would like to introduce myself. My name is Jose
Marchesi. I am from Spain (a country located on Europe. Not important
at all).

I am a GNU activist (or GNUdist :). Really, i am. Some years ago i got
flashed by the GNU project. As most of the people, i was curious about
"another operating system" (circa beginning 1995, i think). Soon, i
was seduced by the underlying idea about all these good "free" (as in
free beer) software: it was free as in free speech. I quickly
researched for that idea, and i found the GNU project ("what is such
damned strange word on "GNU/Linux"?). I promptly learned many things:
the origin of the project and its goals, the underlying organization
and the need for a stable, complete, efficent, good free operating
system. Hey, please understand me: there was many free software
projects when i became familiar with free software. There was the
"Linux approach" (just for fun), the ESR approach (the bazar
vs. cathedral a.k.a GNU project) and even the XEmacs way (technical
advantages of "open source software").

My election was the GNU Project and its ideals. It was a very personal
decition. Since then, i actively contributed to GNU starting and
coordinating GNU Spain and maintaining several GNU packages. I am very
happy with my decition, by the way.

But lets go for the on-topic stuff: the Hurd kernel. I have been
reading this mailing list for several years (i think i subscribed
myself at 2001). I even tried to contribute writing hush (an extension
for the bash shell supporting translators) and installing and testing
GNU/Hurd on several machines.

I have to admit i am lost about the actual Hurd state. I know mach has
been deprecated in order to take the advantages of a (supposely)
cleaner microkernel design: L4. I know this will require deep changes
on the Hurd, and that it will take time. But i am unable to find
proper documentation/guidelines for the task. Now that the convenience
of a new release is under discussion on this mailing list, i would
like to formulate some questions:

- There are some official (commonly accepted) strategy for the Hurd

- If so... where is such strategy documented? (Not in the Hurd
  webpages, certainly).

I think the Hurd would be a huge advantage for the GNU project in
technical terms. But RMS has been starting to talk about the Hurd as a
"not essential" GNU package, since there is another Free kernel
(namely Linux). The Hurd is starging being considered by the free
software community (and even the FSF) as a "curiosity" rather than a
serious project. How sadly.

What is the problem with the Hurd? Lack of proper direction? Lack of
hackers? Lack of documentation? Lack of ...? What is the problem,
really? We need to know it in order to fix it.

I am ready to hack, but i should know what to hack.

José E. Marchesi <jemarch@[es.]gnu.org>

GNU No es Unix!                  http://www.gnu.org
GNU España                       http://es.gnu.org

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