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Hurd Orientation

From: Neal H Walfield
Subject: Hurd Orientation
Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2001 23:28:02 -0500

                          Welcome to the Hurd

Welcome to the Hurd.  This email is automatically sent at the begining
of each month to the and
mailing lists.  This message is intended for a quick orientation to new

What is the Hurd?

The Hurd is GNU's Multiserver Microkernel operating system.  It is
designed with the intention of fixing many of the flaws in *nix.  What
are these flaws?  The arbitrary limits that it imposes on the user:
there is not a whole lot that a user can do without special privileges.
Consider an NFS filesystem.  Only root can mount this on a traditional
*nix system.  Why is this?  It is not that NFS accesses anything
dangerous, at least, it is no more dangerous than ftp.  However, as a
portion of the NFS code lives in the kernel, this presents a potential
security problem.  In the Hurd, a user can transparently mount a NFS
filesystem directly into their home directory without affecting the
security of the system as a whole.  And this is only the tip of the

Getting Started

Installation Guides can be found at the following locations:

You can find out about ISO images at:

They come with a modified version of the Debian boot floppies making
installation relatively simple.

GNU Mach uses the drivers found in the Linux 2.0.x kernel.  Note, there
is no support for PCMCIA.  Here is a HCL:

Mailing Lists:

  -  Hurd and Mach development.
  - General Hurd questions.
  -  Maintenance of the hurd webpages at
  - All things related to Debian GNU/Hurd
                       (especially porting issues).

Subscribe in the usual fashion.

The Hurd FAQ:


A common question is: how can I contribute?  There are many tasks that
need to be done:

  - Help update the web pages at  Contact
  - Write documentation.
  - Port applications.  Contact  Look at
  - Write code.  Contact  Look at:, <hurd>/tasks
    and <hurd>/TODO
  - Send feedback.  This is, of course, the most important task of all:
    Help us help others.

Happy Hacking.

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