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Re: upstream GNU Hurd vs Debian GNU Hurd?

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: upstream GNU Hurd vs Debian GNU Hurd?
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2013 11:48:07 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.130007 (Ma Gnus v0.7) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)


Justus Winter <4winter@informatik.uni-hamburg.de> skribis:

> Quoting Samuel Thibault (2013-09-09 10:04:55)


>> > 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.

More precisely: by the end of the year, we’ll have the GNU system on top
of Linux-Libre.

The goal has always been to support the Hurd in addition to Linux-Libre.
However, we have the policy of only packaging upstream releases, and
there is none for the Hurd (hint, hint!).

> 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.

Granted, the Hurd’s rc.sh is minimalist, and probably lacking some
features.  But the beauty of GNU/Hurd is that typical startup
configuration (networking, system services, etc.) is stored in a
distributed fashion in the file system, as passive translator settings.
So rc.sh or anything equivalent can remain very simple.

Interestingly, an acclaimed feature of systemd is its “automount units”,
which allow a service to be started upon access to a mount point–does
that ring a bell?  :-)

> 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.

GNU will be using dmd as its init system
(cf. <https://gitorious.org/guix/dmd/>).  Of course we have yet to gain
more experience with that, so time will tell what additional
developments need to be done to overcome any limitations.  However, the
overall design of dmd is well-documented and sound, AFAICS.

Anyway, this is all work-in-progress, and it would be great to see
active discussion about these topics on gnu-system-discuss@gnu.org.  So
please join in and speak up!  :-)


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