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Re: Fan mail about the Hurd...

From: Ognyan Kulev
Subject: Re: Fan mail about the Hurd...
Date: Thu, 06 Feb 2003 08:50:04 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.2) Gecko/20021205 Debian/1.2.1-0

Wolfgang Jaehrling wrote:
Also keep in mind that there *are* Linux developers (like Alan Cox)
who say quite intelligent and fair things about the Hurd.

I was curious what Alan Cox says about the Hurd and found this one[1]:

emil asks:

While I realize that you might not be completely objective about this question, what do you think of the design of the HURD, as it compares to Linux?

I once asked Linus himself this question and he replied in rather annoyed tones that "the HURD is a great academic design that would never work in practice" (or something along those lines).

Richard Stallman has been steadfast in refusing to endorse Linux as the GNU kernel. Does he raise these objections merely for emotional reasons, or does he see the HURD as having real technical advantages to the current monolithic design?

Alan Answers:

HURD is a great concept. Like most great concepts it isnt efficiently implementable I suspect. Hurd is a GNU vision and every project needs some lofty probably unachievable goal.

The HURD design is more about Richard Stallman's ideas about how a system should work to promote community than about high perfomance OS design. Linux is a bit more pragmatic about things. We took ideas from the microkernel world (like loadable device drivers) but we didn't take the accompanying partitioning and performance loss.

HURD is a rich flexible environment where the user has a lot of power to say "no I don't like that, I'll write my own code and use it" - even for things like filesystems. Right now HURD is a research project. Maybe one day it will become a useful OS.


Ognyan Kulev <>, "\"Programmer\""

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