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GNU is Not Unix Operating Systems Software Unix Open Source

GNU Hurd 0.7 and GNU Mach 1.6 Released 129

jones_supa writes: Halloween brought us GNU Hurd 0.7, GNU Mach 1.6, and GNU MIG 1.6. The new Hurd comes with filesystem driver improvements, provides a new rpcscan utility, and the Hurd code has been ported to work with newer versions of GCC and GNU C Library. The Mach microkernel has updates for compiler compatibility, improvements to the lock debugging infrastructure, the kernel now lets non-privileged users write to a small amount of memory, timestamps are now kept relative to boot time, and there are various bugfixes. MIG 1.6 is a small update which improves compatibility with newer dialects of C programming language. Specific details on all of the updates can be found in the full release announcement. jrepin adds some more details: The GNU Hurd 0.7 improves the node cache for the EXT2 file-system code (ext2fs), improves the native fakeroot tool, provides a new rpcscan utility, and fixes a long-standing synchronization issue with the file-system translators and other components. The GNU Mach 1.6 microkernel also has updates for compiler compatibility, improvements to the lock debugging infrastructure, the kernel now lets non-privileged users write to a small amount of memory, timestamps are now kept relative to boot time, and there are various bug-fixes.
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GNU Hurd 0.7 and GNU Mach 1.6 Released

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 01, 2015 @09:40AM (#50841987)

    Systemd is ported

    • Lennart Poettering, is that you?
    • You joke, but systemd looks like a better fit for the Hurd, given its microkernel design. Systemd and Linux are both monolithic designs. Systemd could easily become one of the Hurd's Unix Replacing Daemons.
      • You're not supposed to use monolithic things with microkernels. You can, but it defeats the purpose.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Systemd is a nice OS, but let me know when it has a good init system.

  • Hurd.. why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Not a troll here.. really.. I followed Hurd in the beginning when i was really interested in the guts of OSs ( even wrote a couple toy ones ), but lost interest when it was moving at sub-snail pace.

    Other than pure research, why is the project still going at all? Is there a practical value to the rest of us? Couldn't the efforts be focused somewhere that has a tangible benefit ?

    • Re:Hurd.. why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by darthsilun ( 3993753 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @09:56AM (#50842049)
      Probably for much the same reasons that things like Haiku, OpenIndiana, DragonflyBSD, and etc., exist.
      Who are you to question what is interesting to someone? I don't mean that in a rude way, but honestly, something doesn't have to have millions of users to be someone's pet project or interesting to a small niche audience. After all, how do you think Linux got started?
      This might come as a shock, but the World does not revolve around you!
      • Re:Hurd.. why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by fche ( 36607 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @10:22AM (#50842165)

        "This might come as a shock, but the World does not revolve around you!"

        Straw man, no one said it did. You could have simply said "the Hurd guys probably do it for fun." and be done with it. That admission would OTOH arouse the question why this is news for nerds and why it matters.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, 'for fun' is a valid answer to the question i posed. I was just wondering if i was missing a practical reason for it at this point.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            Lemme tell ya... I have, indeed, played with HURD in a VM. Ain't nothing practical about it.

        • Re:Hurd.. why? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @11:02AM (#50842313) Homepage
          It's news for nerds and matters because nerds like obscure difficult to understand projects that will never be popular with "7|-|3 l0$3rs".
        • "This might come as a shock, but the World does not revolve around you!"

          Straw man, no one said it did. You could have simply said "the Hurd guys probably do it for fun." and be done with it. That admission would OTOH arouse the question why this is news for nerds and why it matters.

          I don't think it's a straw man. He wrote:

          ... I lost interest... why is the project still going at all?

          I think there was a pretty strong implication that if it didn't matter to him, it didn't matter; hence, the world revolves around him.

          But that's just my opinion.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            And being the poster, you are incorrect. Just because i dont see why it exists today does not imply in the least that the world revolves around me. Sounds more like you think it revolves around you if others cant ask a simple question from their viewpoint, without being accused of it.

            Check out the mirror sometime, it might surprise you.

      • Re:Hurd.. why? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @10:49AM (#50842271)

        Probably for much the same reasons that things like Haiku, OpenIndiana, DragonflyBSD, and etc., exist. Who are you to question what is interesting to someone? I don't mean that in a rude way, but honestly, something doesn't have to have millions of users to be someone's pet project or interesting to a small niche audience. After all, how do you think Linux got started? This might come as a shock, but the World does not revolve around you!

        But that's the thing. If you look on the homepage, it states it's a complete replacement for Linux as a kernel - but it fails miserably at that. Its application compatibility is extremely low, driver support is absolutly abysmal, and you can't even install it on its own - it depends on the very thing it's supposed to replace!

        It's such a shame too, because I think there's a big potential for a microkernel system nowadays. It'd be more secure than a mono kernel, much more reliable, much easier to extend, and the only cost is the overhead involved. I don't knock it for being a hobby project - but then GNU should stop pretending like it has some Linux killer on its hands and that it's an official and supported project, because it's become very clear over the last 30+ years (!) that no one wants to work on it. Imagine what it could be if it got some real support, though....

        • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @11:13AM (#50842351) Homepage

          I think it's mainly maintained by Stallman fanatics who still bare death grudges against Linus for stealing their thunder, to be honest.

          They gather at the gnarled roots of his wretched toes, surviving on Jolt cola and Stallman's beard fungus as they furiously translate their eldritch acid dreams into holy code all the while gnashing their teeth at any mention of the dread thief Linus.

          LINUS!!! That thief of dreams, murderer of hope, that foul bandit who ran off with their sacred GNU!! His every fetid caress of the GNU corrupts it with corporate appeasance!! HE MUST BE STOPPED!!

          .... and so they chitter in binary under the caressing shade of Stallman's girth, preparing for the day of their triumph... they need not success, the accolades of the masses, those putrid sheeple!... they have their purity..

      • Re:Hurd.. why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @11:56AM (#50842507) Journal

        Probably for much the same reasons that things like Haiku, OpenIndiana, DragonflyBSD, and etc., exist

        Haiku exists because people liked BeOS but BeOS was proprietary and largely abandoned. OpenIndiana exists because the phrase 'Oracle Solaris' just makes people sad. DragonflyBSD exists because Dillon wanted a playground where no one would disagree with him on project direction. But HURD? It had two reasons for existing: to build a microkernel-based OS and to provide a UNIX-like kernel with a license that made it a good fit for the rest of the GNU system. The former objective has been done better by things like Minix 3. The latter by Linux (at least, until GNU moved everything to GPLv3). HURD isn't that interesting as a research OS - the interesting project like L4 HURD died. It's not that interesting as a production OS. The only thing that it really has going for it at this point is the 'GNU' stamp on the top, and that doesn't matter unless you really want to build a complete GNU system (but are happy with X.org not being a GNU project and being more code than the kernel).

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I must admit, I only use MINIX in a VM and then I only started it as a lark. I find it absolutely fascinating. It's really interesting. I've read a whole bunch of the documentation and the methods and reasons. I don't think I've ever really done that (in that way) for an OS before. Sure, I read *some* of the docs for a few things but with MINIX it was just compelling. *shrugs* I don't have any other way to describe it. Then again, I spent a long time in Sun world oh so many years ago.

      • by rasmusbr ( 2186518 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @02:33PM (#50843053)

        I have been browsing the web with Debian Iceweasel on a Hurd VM in Virtualbox for about two hours now (this is the no-joke part of the post, I even watched a couple of clips on youtube) and I've done a little bit of research on the state of the project. About 80% of Debian packages actually run...

        I have not attempted to compile Wine, but I hear it's been working since 2013...

        OpenGL support is being worked on, of course...

        You know what that means.

        Yes. It will happen. As the prophecy foretells.

        Someone will eventually play Duke Nukem Forever on Hurd.

    • by Ramze ( 640788 )

      It exists in part because the Linux kernel is GPL 2, and will never move to GPL3. The FSF wants its own kernel and doesn't really care if it takes them decades to catch up to Linux.

      • Re:Hurd.. why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @10:40AM (#50842229)

        if it takes them decades to catch up to Linux.

        How can you catch up to something that's moving by going slower than it? I mean I appreciate the extreme challenges of what they are doing, but they can utterly write off any idea of "catching up" at the rate they are going.

        • I would think if they can get to a point where it works properly, has a certain ease to be installed on PCs and software can be ported to it with a reasonable amount of work that it would then come down to the communities to supply the rest. Drivers mainly for hardware that it doesn't support. This is how Linux got started where people made drivers to make it work on their systems. The problem now is that Linux has most of the attention of developers working in the open source world so the Hurd's challenge
        • How can you catch up to something that's moving by going slower than it?

          Sounds like some sort of relativistic effect to me. If that actually works, maybe the Perl 6 folks can use it to overtake Perl 5. Likewise, with the Mets down, one game to three, against the Royals, it's still not too late for the Cubs to with the 2015 World Series - if only the GNU folks can finally get that flux capacitor going. I hear they're making great progress and have just completed version 0.7.

          (Note to humor-challenged moderators: the above is satire, not a troll. :-)

        • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

          Catching up? They are still making improvements to ext2 as their primary filesystem. For most modern use cases XFS or ext4 is being used. For high scalability, btrfs or ZFS is, basically, required.

          If I were them I'd push btrfs hard.

        • I mean I appreciate the extreme challenges of what they are doing

          You mean the "extreme challenge" of writing an entire kernel from scratch? Linus Torvalds did that in one summer, by himself; GNU have been working on Hurd for 25 years now. Seems like they've failed that challenge, no?

          Or do you mean the "extreme challenge" of making Hurd seem relevant to anyone? Yeah, that's a tough one. Good luck with that.

        • Easy, it's just a matter of illusion. You see, if you think the opponent is going in the Wrong Direction, limiting their abilities, and that they are finally going to realize that and either restart from scratch or do an awful lot of changes, while you've been moving in the Right, Blessed Direction all that time... Suddenly you will be in the lead! So, speed doesn't matter that much as long as the heathens are following their heretic ways and you stay on the One True Path..

          It makes sense if you buy into tha

          • You see, if you think the opponent is going in the Wrong Direction, limiting their abilities, and that they are finally going to realize that and either restart from scratch or do an awful lot of changes, while you've been moving in the Right, Blessed Direction all that time... Suddenly you will be in the lead!

            That may be so, but at present the direction is as fundamental as things like supporting more than 1.7GB of RAM, support for USB, SATA harddrives etc.
            It's kind of hard to argue that fundamental support for basic hardware is the wrong direction for a kernel.

        • if it takes them decades to catch up to Linux.

          How can you catch up to something that's moving by going slower than it?

          I think we all know the answer to that:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          • Except development hasn't stopped on the Linux kernel and the IT landscape is no in standstill with new technologies continuously being developed and adopted.

      • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

        That well may be the full answer, but is licensing minutiae a really good reason to develop an entirely parallel kernel?

        • by spauldo ( 118058 )

          Get on a GNU mailing list sometime. It will open your eyes.

          A lot of trolls on here call the GNU guys fanatics. This is one of the rare cases where they're right.

          I have a lot of respect for RMS and the GNU people for sticking to their guns and pushing for free software, but yeah, they're kinda nuts.

    • Hurd seems to be an ongoing project to demonstrate that, while interesting in theory, producing a microkernel OS isn't really practical-- it is a software fix to hardware problems that have gone away, and basically no one really needs it. It seems to be "biding its time," waiting for a killer app. Maybe in some new Oracle product? Bwahaha.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        There are several well working micro kernels and they are actually used. QNX for example is widely used when you need hard real-time.

        GNU Hurd is a full demonstration of everything GNU. Perfectionism, Idealism and Bureaucratism bundled into one quadratic stone wheel.

    • I too wonder if there is any use case where it's a good fit? On the desktop Linux obviously has better hardware and software compatibility, but there's a use case for BSD, a use case (or two) for QNX, etc - is their one for Mach or Hurd? Is it super ultra reliable, or extremely fast because it's so small or ...?

      If you're building a firewall machine, you don't care if it can run Gnome or not, and you don't care about video card support . Is there any type of build in which this kernel makes sense?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does 0.7 include support for VESA bus? [wikipedia.org]

    • You're joking but I recall reading that HURD finally supported partition sizes larger than 2gb. This was at a time when drives were pushing 250gb in size.

  • A couple of decades too late, but still sort of welcome.

  • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @01:07PM (#50842719)
    From the release notes:

    >> The code has been updated to work with newer versions of the compiler

    So.... GNU broke their compiler to the point that it wouldn't compile existing code; and then their other projects need to change their sources to work? Doesn't that seem horribly backwards?

    Hurd is billed as being written in "assembly and C", but evidently it wasn't any sort of standardized assembly or C, it was some private variant that only GNU understood, and only GNU could compile. Now that GCC doesn't accept their non-standard code, they had to spend months rewriting everything in standardized form..... bizarre. Great use of the limited resources available.
  • by bytesex ( 112972 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @02:57PM (#50843155) Homepage

    Won't boot in my Virtualbox VM, not as an image, or the installer. Not on IDE, or SATA (got a hint in one of the newsgroups). Never got past the bootloader.

  • Wire, not write (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr Z ( 6791 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @04:14PM (#50843483) Homepage Journal

    According to the release:

    The kernel now allows non-privileged users to wire a small amount of memory.

    This is not a typo. Wiring memory means pinning it in memory so it cannot be paged out. This is potentially important both for security and real-time applications. On the security front, memory containing keys and passwords should be wired to prevent it going to disk. On the real-time front, if you can fit your working set in wired memory, you can be guaranteed you won't suffer a paging fault while you stay within that working set.

    In Linux / POSIX systems, this is what mlock accomplishes.

    Being able to write to memory, in contrast, isn't particularly noteworthy. You've been able to do that since pretty much the beginning...

  • HURD versus Linux is pretty clear; HURD's a microkernel and Linux is not. What makes HURD interesting compared to Genode's L4 kernel? At a glance, they seem to be doing more similar things.

    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      HURD versus Linux is pretty clear; HURD's a microkernel and Linux is not. What makes HURD interesting compared to Genode's L4 kernel? At a glance, they seem to be doing more similar things.

      I can't answer your question, but I just googled "genode" to find out what the heck it is. Holy crap! While Hurd has been masturbating for almost two dog LIFETIMES, Genode/seL4 [genode.org] have been cleaning up.

      Here [genode.org] is VirtualBox running beside the Seoul VMM (virtual machine monitor) on top of Genode/NOVA. Seoul executes Tinycore Lin

  • The most impressive seL4 guys already made a proven unhackable drone for the DARPA, with a separate sandboxed insecure application board and all.
    Just wait a bit and applicability domain will grow exponentially until we finally get a proven Linux replacement.
    They based their system on a microkernel design because it made the proof manageable, but of course as long as it's proven safe anything could be hooked into the kernel, so performance bottlenecks have a road for improvements too.
    It's expensive to prove

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