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qoth 2012 q1/q2, as text

From: Arne Babenhauserheide
Subject: qoth 2012 q1/q2, as text
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 01:32:03 +0200
User-agent: KMail/4.9.2 (Linux/3.3.8-gentoo; KDE/4.9.2; x86_64; ; )


I included the changes and finally managed to turn the qoth into prose - a
real news item instead of a bullet list.

Additionally to this mail, I also pushed it to a repo on github, just to make
sure that it’s available:


Please comment on it here, though! (github is a closed platform. I only use it
because I already had an account and because my “creative batteries” are
stretched far enough that I don’t want to change stuff which works at the
moment. That’s why I use the repo, but I don’t want it as anything more than
data exchange).

Now finally onwards to the qoth-2012-q2 (it did grow quite long…):

    A quarter of the Hurd, Q2 of 2012: *GSoC*, *POSIX*,
              *reduced barrier of entry* and *porting*.

This quarter Jeremie Koenig released the final [report]
on his GSoC project Java on Hurd along with a summary of his changes
and the
he bested. In a similar track, Samuel Thibault
[merged the slab branch](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
finishing Maksym Planetas GSoC work on a better memory allocator.

Also Pino Toscano improved the POSIX compliance of the Hurd
[for nanosleep](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
making it easier to port POSIX programs, and Samuel Thibault
[added Thread Local support (TLS)](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
further improving the standards conformance of the Hurd and paving the
way for C++11x.

Samuel Thibault, Ludovic Courtès and Thomas Schwinge reduced the
barrier of entry into hacking the Hurd.

As part of this, Samuel prepared
[dde in incubator](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
making about half the Linux network drivers compile on the Hurd. Also
he added the
[netdde debian package and testing notes]

Ludovic added
[a continuous testing framework](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
using a Nix-based GNU QEMU image. Since Hurd can now be built using
„Nix“ (german for nothing), how about asking a colleague to revise his
image of the Hurd as vaporware and showing him vapor chugging away on
a compile of your favorite free program? If you don’t want to install
the Hurd yourself, you can also check the
[automatic tests on hydra](http://hydra.nixos.org/jobset/gnu/hurd-master)

Thomas on the other hand
the translators
into the incubator git repository, as well as
reducing the barrier of entry to improving them, so integrating cvs
and samba in the filesystem and using FUSE translators can be
stabilized more easily. Also he
[improved the Hurd build system](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
making it easier to get in: “running autoreconf is all you need”.

Additionally Roland McGrath
[merged many libc changes](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
for upstream inclusion, reducing the maintenance load for getting
recent improvements of libc.

Ludovic Courtes, Maksym Planeta, Samuel Thibault and Richard Braun
took a dive into the core of the Hurd. Ludovic
[fixed invalid port deallocation in `symlink']
[made console-run resilient against missing /dev/console]
(http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-hurd/2012-03/msg00002.html). Maksym
[tested the performance of tmpfs](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
showing a speedup from 22s with ramfs and ext2fs to 16s with tmpfs for
apt-get calls, showing the possible wins due to going deep. An obvious
usecase for tmpfs are
[faster Hurd LiveCDs](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
hurd/2012-03/msg00050.html). Samuel
made it easier to dive in by
[improving debugging in GNU Mach](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
hurd/2012-03/msg00032.html). The
debugger is now aware of the difference between kernel space and user
space. This should substantially reduce the development time for
features in Mach by giving
[nicer stack traces](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
hurd/2012-03/msg00047.html). And
in the deepest core of the Mach, Richard improved memory mapping
[with a red-black tree](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
which should speed up memory access.

As in the previous quarters, we also saw lots of ported packages,
including Richards work on
which brought wireshark and
for easier network testing,
thanks to Samuel Thibault and Peter O'Gorman,
by Svante Signell for basics of ADA support (a language used in many
mission-critical applications such as automotive and aerospace,
offering features like strong typing, modularity, run-time checking
and parallel processing), and
thanks to Samuel Thibault, which fullfills a requirement of tests for
many packages, among them glib - and allowed Svante Signell to port
the literate programming language noweb and ifupdown. Also Thomas
the cthreads to pthreads patch and
[added a branch for it](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
to make it easier to work on getting Hurd to use the more current
pthreads. For details, see Richards report about running
[Hurd without dependency on cthreads](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
hurd/2012-08/msg00062.html). And
Roland McGrath
[merged many libc changes](http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-
for upstream inclusion, reducing the maintenance load for getting
recent improvements of libc.

And now, as a final note, we want to share a story about real-life
debugging with the Hurd; IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-03-02:

    <youpi> yay GNU/Hurd
    <youpi> I have added i_translator check in e2fsck, it was missing
    <youpi> I had a volume that was keeping making ext2fs crash
    <youpi> with a reproductible scenario
    <youpi> could easily work out it was i_translator, then add a
      check to e2fsck, run it, which indeed fixed, them, and voilà,
      ext2fs was working again
    <youpi> all that on the same machine with *no* system reboot
    <youpi> just ext2fs restart :)

So if you want to experience enjoyable debugging of code deep in the core of
your system,
please [[get in contact|contact_us]] -- and maybe already grab the [[source


The **GNU Hurd** is the GNU project's replacement for the Unix kernel.  It is
collection of servers that run on the Mach microkernel to implement file
systems, network protocols, file access control, and other features that are
implemented by the Unix kernel or similar kernels (such as Linux).  [[More

**GNU Mach** is the microkernel upon which a GNU Hurd system is based.  It
provides an Inter Process Communication (IPC) mechanism that the Hurd uses to
define interfaces for implementing in a distributed multi-server fashion the
services a traditional operating system kernel provides.  [[More

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