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Re: upstream GNU Hurd vs Debian GNU Hurd?

From: Justus Winter
Subject: Re: upstream GNU Hurd vs Debian GNU Hurd?
Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 12:13:42 +0200
User-agent: alot/0.3.4

Hi :)

Quoting Samuel Thibault (2013-09-09 10:04:55)
> Putting a proper subject and explicitly Cc-ing maintainers, otherwise
> people will not notice the question under technical details :)

Noted >,<

> Justus Winter, le Thu 05 Sep 2013 13:04:35 +0200, a écrit :
> > Turns out it was only because my /hurd/init contained the
> > proc_set_init_task patches while the /hurd/proc I built on top of hurd
> > upstream did not :/ and this was even though I wrote those patches.
> > 
> > So I'd like to restate these questions:
> > 
> > 1. Who is "upstream GNU"?
> Well, it's actually us too :)

Cool! Let's upstream all those debian/patches then.

> > 2. If I shall continue working on the Hurd, how suspectible is
> >    "upstream GNU" to my patches?
> It depends on the patches.
> AIUI, the difference between upstream GNU Hurd and Debian GNU Hurd is
> whether we want to build a GNU system or a Debian system.  The GNU
> system will probably want to have its own startup system, while on
> Debian, we prefer to use the Debian startup system, to avoid maintenance
> burden on the Debian side.  As another example, in Debian GNU Hurd we
> have abandoned the idea of keeping /usr a symlink to /, because it was
> posing too many problems, that we don't have time to fix (and they are
> not interesting).  This also brings a divergence.
> > I ask this because I see the difference between "Hurd with Debian
> > patches" and "upstream Hurd" as a burden not only for the Debian
> > maintainers but also for any potential developer.
> Yes, this poses problems indeed.  I'd tend to think that upstream Hurd
> should integrate what is useful for downstreams like Debian to adapt the
> Hurd to its own purpose.  The problem comes when this would make the
> upstream Hurd have to work a downstream way, and not be able to choose
> its own GNU way.

At the cost of someone compiling a upstream Hurd component that does
not work on Debian? Afaiui I can take any version (well, almost, if I
don't pick an *too* oldish one) of an unmodified Linux kernel and boot
my Debian system with it.

> > Also, according to [0] Debian/Hurd is the only "working" Hurd
> > distribution (whatever that means, let's say not in "early stages of
> > development" and not "defunct" as used on that page). In particular,
> > the "GNU" distribution is marked as "defunct" and according to [1]
> > there has not been a release for seven years. So from my point of view
> > they are *not* using /hurd/init as reaper, so they might as well *not*
> > use sysvinit (or any other established init system) as reaper.
> Actually Guix is on its way to become a GNU distribution, and some
> preliminary work has already been done on the Nix side, it does work a
> bit.  AIUI, there are people motivated on working on that distribution,
> which would become a GNU system using the Hurd.

I don't buy it ;)

/hurd/init is not an init system, it barely does anything any other
init system does. From my point of view its name is the only thing
that it has in common with other init systems, and it should really be
named /hurd/startup or /hurd/bootstrap or something as it really
mostly bootstraps a couple of processes running atop of mach into
something resembling a POSIX system. If GNU wants a sysvinit
replacement, they will have to write one.

Out of curiousity I browsed the GUIX package list, and I couldn't find
an init system in there. How do they even boot the system? I did find
the linux-libre kernel though, so if GUIX wants to run ontop of both
Linux and Hurd, they will have to find/write an init replacement that
runs on both. Even if /hurd/init was an init system, it surely does
not and never will run on Linux.


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