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Re: Improving Hurd

From: Jeroen Dekkers
Subject: Re: Improving Hurd
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 22:35:21 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On Sat, Apr 20, 2002 at 06:46:17PM +0200, Jan Atle Ramsli wrote:
> Ognyan Kulev wrote:
> > I wonder why so many people talk that Hurd will not be able to do
> > anything sensible soon instead of improving it.
> I think you may find that this will improve with the change from Mach to
> L4.

What will improve? I don't think that the change to L4 will improve
anything, at least not in the beginning. Don't expect that the Hurd
just turns in something magically superior when it runs on 

> But imagine if the first year had been used to analyze and specify it.

The first year of what? And to analyze and specify what? If you want
to give critic, give good constructive critic instead of some 

> I don't think anyone really doubts that the Hurd sooner (?) or later
> (??) will produce superior functionality.

This is just starting to happen at the moment.

> It is just such a shame to see so many be put off by the lack of
> justification behind design decisions.

> That, and an attitude that someone who hasn't plowed through the entire
> source tree isn't worth talking too, creates a circle that scares off
> potential recruits.

Where do you get this nonsense from?
> I have read this list for several years now, the first two weeks I tried
> to find the way through the code, and asked a question about a flag or
> variable that I couldn't find any reference to.
> It seems it was something that was part of the system, but nobody dared
> touch it or try it, for fear of what might happen.

The Hurd has a lot of code which will be dropped out sooner or later,
it's not worth understanding of fixing it. For example libthreads will
be removed as soon as my pthreads work is finished, it isn't worth
putting much energy in it if it will be removed anyway.
> What I wanted to do, was remove this 1Gb limit, that would be a simple
> thing to do if I would know which tools were available to me, what I
> could do in the strategy section, and what I could no in the interrupt
> section.

The tools available to you? That's simple: emacs, gcc, gdb etc all
available on the GNU ftp site.

And what are the "strategy and interrupt sections" you are talking
> I spoke to Neal about it, and he is one of the few who is really
> knowledgeable about the Hurd.
> He told me I would not be able to do it: 'It is non-trivial'.

Rewriting one of the important servers in the Hurd isn't an easy
task. You think it's just changing a few lines of code.

> So, after 10 years, the system is still being built.
> If it was a car, it would start to rust at the back where the tailfins
> are while you were replacing the V8 with a more powerful and economic
> V6.
> If it were a house, it would be in need of repair in the areas that
> didn't have a roof yet.

These are old things. We already know the problems of the past.

> If today it was decided to throw away every line of code, delete it all
> and use the gained experience to specify a new Hurd, write down
> everything, and when finished, spend 6 months building a specification
> documents, oulining the system as a whole, what modules it consisted of,
> what the pupose of each module was to be, and specify each modules'
> functionality as an ADT, the Hurd would probably be in beta one year
> after the ducument was published.

Please stop talking such nonsense.

> The next year if would probably push Linux back, then Solaris, and who
> knows, we might all conquer the Kingdom of Redmond, dethrone the Evil
> reign and see the dawn of a new Era.

This will probably already be possible next year.
> The i386 is getting old, too.

This is true. I think the Hurd is one of the most portable cores of an
OS in existance 

> Me? I'm having fun with 64 bits at 600GBP ...

I'm having fun hacking the Hurd. A register size of 32-bit is fine for
me, also I don't need much more than 10 or 100 mbit.
> Wasn't I on about this a couple of years back, too?

Don't know, I wasn't here a couple of years back.

Jeroen Dekkers
Jabber supporter - Jabber ID:
Debian GNU supporter -
IRC: jeroen@openprojects

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