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Re: What do you need from the Hurd for your day-to-day tasks?

From: olafBuddenhagen
Subject: Re: What do you need from the Hurd for your day-to-day tasks?
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2010 04:08:51 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)


On Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 08:41:49AM +0200, Arne Babenhauserheide wrote:

> This message goes to all who (different from Olaf aka antrik) don???t
> yet use the Hurd for their day-to-day tasks (if you do, please write
> anyway that it fullfills your (basic?) needs). 
> What is currently missing in the Hurd distibutions to make it fullfill
> your basic needs for your day-to-day work or hobby? Ideally on real
> hardware, alternatively in qemu/virtualbox/XEN/???

Not sure why you want to exclude me here :-) While I try to use the Hurd
for most of my everyday stuff as a matter of principle, I can only do so
by running a GNU/Linux box in parallel -- so it would be a bit of a
stretch to claim that the Hurd is ready to be my primary system...

So, what's missing? Some of the same things listed by others; but also a
number of more specific issues.

For my desktop:

- PPPoE/routing/NAT/packet filtering. However, I have been planning to
  get an extra router box for quite some time now -- so that is really
  only a temporary consideration. (Holding me back so far is the
  excessive cost of suitable x86-based boxes, and the inconvenience and
  limitations of MIPS-based ones...)

- Sound: I'm not using it often; but often (and sponteanous) enough, to
  make dual-booting -- or powering on an extra box -- not really a
  feasible option. I guess I could buy a USB soundcard for the
  aforementioned router box though, and run a sound server... Not ideal,
  but an acceptable solution -- so not really a show-stopper here.

- USB: This is not critical, as both by mouse and keyboard still do
  PS/2. I only need USB for pluggable devices (printer, memory stick,
  camera etc.) -- I guess I could use the router again for that. Could
  be quite inconvenient in some situations though...

- A full-featured high-resolution console (probably framebuffer-based)

- Non-jerky X. While I prefer avoiding X alltogether, it's not really
  feasible for many applications.

- Switching between console and X

- Firefox (or perhaps some other full-featured browser)

- History in climm with an NFS home. This is not really a Hurd issue: it
  also causes problems with Linux clients -- but it's worse on Hurd. So
  either climm, or Hurd's NFS client need fixing.

- Bookmarking in w3m: I guess I could live without that; but it's really
  an annoyance. Might be another NFS problem -- haven't investigated

- Git with NFS. No idea whether this is Hurd-related, or Git just
  doesn't like NFS in general...

(If I could really use the Hurd box for almost everything, I might not
really need NFS home anymore -- avoiding the problems mentioned above.
I'm rather undecided on this. One of the things I intend to do with the
router box, is permanently running an IRC client on it -- it would be
nice if it could just use the same home. Also, I'd like to access my
home when logging in remotely, while only the router is powered on.
Furthermore, a shared home would still be convenient for some of the
workarounds mentioned above... OTOH, if the home directory is served by
the router box, it most likely would have to be on a 2.5" drive, and
possibly connected with USB -- not an ideal solution either...)

- pinfo: probably just a simple bug to fix; but haven't investigated it
  yet. I don't use info manuals too often anyways, so I might be able to
  live without that...

- "man" also used to fail; but IIRC Samuel fixed it a while back.

- mplayer: I guess it would actually be usable, if the aforementioned X
  jerkiness is fixed... No w32codecs though, which could be a problem.
  Not sure how often I actually need them.

- Flash: While youtube-dl+mplayer covers the by far most important use
  case for Flash, there are still some others that are hard to avoid. So
  Gnash and/or swfdec would have to be available -- and at least Gnash
  would have to work much better in general... (Not sure how well swfdec

I'm pretty sure there are a couple more problems, but I can't remember
them right now. All in all, *if* I get the router box, there is not too
much missing. (Though considering the necessary workarounds, one might
still argue the validity of the "primary system" claim...) The biggest
problem area is probably console and X.

For my notebook:

- First of all, gnumach would have to boot on my T40... (Might actually
  be a GRUB problem though -- haven't checked yet.)

- WLAN: I hate it passionately -- but on the road, it's often the only
  way to get network :-(

- I'm also considering getting wireless WAN as addition/alternative.

- USB: Not as important actually as on the desktop. For the occasional
  use of memory sticks, I guess dual-booting would be acceptable. Might
  be a problem though to get a non-USB WWAN adapter. Also, if USB is
  available, WLAN/WWAN could be handled by a smartphone instead of
  native support...

- Sound is broken on my notebook, so no support needed ;-) Not as
  important as on the desktop anyways.

I'm not sure about the requirements on the software side here. So far, I
have been mostly using the notebook as a terminal to connect to my main
system at home -- so very little requirements; and dual-booting is less
painful. However, this might change over time...


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