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Re: GSoC application deadline passed

From: Carl Fredrik Hammar
Subject: Re: GSoC application deadline passed
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 15:08:31 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1 (gnu/linux)

Hello Arne!

> But there is something I direly miss in the HURD, and that doesn't have 
> anything to do with its actual code, but with how it can be accessed and 
> seen. 
> When we had the HURD in my informatics class, one task was to find out 
> information about the HURD, and as I searched for information on the current 
> state of the HURD, it looked quite dead. 
> This wasn't because it was dead, but simply because it doesn't get as much 
> attention as it would deserve - and that has a reason. 

Indeed, under exposure is a problem.  Hopefully, GSoC will give us

> So I added a project idea to fix this: 
> * A release creation framework
> One of the points which keep people from using the HURD is that it never 
> looks 
> like it is in a working state. To get attention from people (and the press, 
> etc.) the HURD needs releases, and doing a release should be as simple as 
> submitting a changelog and release notes and tagging the code, ideally done 
> with only one simple command. 
> A framework for creating HURD releases could give the HURD far more 
> visibility 
> and thus make it more interesting to developers. 
> It should include automatic publishing of the press release to selected 
> weblogs and newssites, as well as preparing and uploading the release to 
> visible servers and creating images of the HURD to be used in free 
> virtualization software and livecds ( an example livecd: 
> http://people.debian.org/~neal/hurd-live-cd/ ), so people can test the 
> features at once. 
> Also it should update a status page with the current release (with date), 
> state and features of the HURD. 
> It could automatically update packages for different distributions, too. 
> The press releases should also by default include pointers to all necessary 
> information to dive into using the HURD, as well as to begin coding at once. 
> And naturally the framework should be easily adaptable to changes inside the 
> HURD project and, if possible, to other projects as well. 
> -> http://www.bddebian.com/~wiki/community/gsoc/project_ideas/ 

First a little nit-picking.  :-)

The Hurd is capitalized ``Hurd'' and not ``HURD'', a common
misconception given by the logo.  

Lines should be manually wrapped when entered in the wiki, while it
doesn't change the presentation it is visible when viewing changes of
viewing it through a normal editor.

Also, please put a comment on every change, however small.

I'll fix it this time, but please keep it in mind the next time you
contribute (which I hope you keep doing :-).  I'll put these as a
start of a new page with instructions on how the wiki should be

Now to a real issue.  While there's nothing wrong with the project as
such (in fact it's quite a good idea), I think most of the project is
more in the domain of distributions, e.g. Debian, rather then the Hurd

The Hurd is only the kernel, and as such it is quite uninteresting to
have a live cd containing only that, what you want is a complete
distribution of packages.  While of course interesting in the context
of the Hurd, it is not technically part of it so I don't think it's
appropriate for GSoC.

It should probably be moved to a different suggestion/task page.  But
I'll let someone with more authority make the decision whether it
stays or not.

> I like the ideas about the HURD, and I want to be able to switch to a HURD 
> system soon (at most a few years), so the progress and state of the HURD must 
> be visible. 
> One example: I see many changes in the commit list. 
> Why don't I see livecds integrating the new changes appearing at once? 
> Why are there no automatically updated images, I can just testdrive? 

Most of the recent changes has been on the L4 branch, which was
originally an attempt to port Hurd to the L4 micro kernel.  That
didn't work out for various reasons, so currently they are
experimenting with their own kernel until something better comes
along.  (Disclaimer: I'm not a 100% sure on any of this.)

Development on the Hurd proper has been slower.  Most of the progress
seems to be temporary fixes that is managed through patches and needs
real solutions in-order to actually get into the Hurd.

There are some important bugs that needs to be properly fixed before a
new release can be made (although I can't seem to locate a list of

> Besides: Is there some other way to update the wiki besides the webinterface? 
> That web interface is horribly slow for me. 

That's what happens when you host stuff on a Hurd machine.  ;-)

You can access the git back-end directly.  Unfortunately there ae no
instructions on how to access it on the wiki (or anywhere else it
seems).  I'll try to fix it once I figure it out myself.  :-)

I'm not sure it's actually faster though, but at least you'd be able
to update multiple changes in one batch (I think).


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