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Re: L4-hurd digest, Vol 1 #37 - 2 msgs

From: Zeno Gantner
Subject: Re: L4-hurd digest, Vol 1 #37 - 2 msgs
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 21:17:16 +0200

> From: "Jim Franklin" <address@hidden>
> To: <address@hidden>
> Subject: l4 at the new hurd.gnu.org website
> Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 05:36:25 -0700
> Hi folks,
>  We are in the process of creating a new hurd.gnu.org website. I think Zeno
> was handling creation of your webpages. Would you like them hosted or
> mirrored at hurd.gnu.org
> thx
> Jim Franklin

Here is the newest version. I've sent it to l4-hurd about one month ago
and there were no complaints nor any other comments about it.
I've added information about what must happen to be able to port the
Hurd to the L4 microkernel, and that there is now a SMP version of
L4/Alpha. If everybody involved here (e.g. Okuji, Farid, ...) thinks
it's okay, I would ask somebody with writing permission at the GNU web
server to put it online...
This version won't be changed (except for the correction of spelling
mistakes) until some major developments in other places happen...

btw tomorrow I have a fscking mathematics test, then one week le Midi
(southern France); but after that time I am willing to contribute to the
new hurd.gnu.org pages. Just tell me what to do... (I already did some
research work to enhance the article "History of GNU/Hurd" (or whatever
title was)

cu Zeno

 [image of the Head of a GNU]

Porting GNU Hurd to L4

Table of Contents


Development can't start until some other things have been completed. See Problems.
For further discussion, write to the mailing list.
OKUJI Yoshinori has compiled the differences between L4 and Mach on this page.

Why porting the Hurd to another microkernel?

  • One of the design goals of GNU Hurd was to be platform (architecture, microkernel) independent. This is NOT the case at the moment.
  • GNU Mach runs only on IA32 systems.
  • GNU Mach doesn't support SMP.
  • There are L4 implementations for IA32, ARM, Alpha and MIPS.
  • L4 is being actively developed.
  • L4Ka (Pistachio) will, and L4/Alpha already support SMP.
  • In the future, L4 will run on distributed systems, perhaps the Hurd will benefit from that.
  • GNU Mach is BIG (more than 100 system calls). L4 is fast and small (7 system calls).
  • Mach has built-in device drivers, that means a bug in a driver can crash the whole system.
  • The Hurd hasn't ever been ported to another microkernel. Porting it for the first time will help to be able to do that in the future.
    The first discussions on the mailing list have shown that there it won't be easy to do the port, one suggestion was to rewrite the Hurd servers from scratch.


  • To do before starting the port:
    • A pthreads implementation for both Mach and L4.
    • Hurd must be ported to pthreads (instead of cthreads).
    • A C library for L4.
  • The Hurd is not that microkernel-independent as claimed in the past, it makes use of many Mach-specific features.
  • Mach and L4 are quite different.
  • The L4 interface is not fix yet, there will still be changes in the future.
  • There are no built-in device drivers. An interface for drivers is needed.
  • Platform specs of the GNU toolchain have to be changed. See this message.

Mailing Lists




GNU C Library


  • Farid Haji wrote a patch for using Bochs to boot L4Ka, there is a page containing instructions how to use it.

WWW Links


There is no code yet...

Return to Hurd's home page.

Return to GNU's home page.

Please send FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to address@hidden. There are also other ways to contact the FSF.

Please send comments on these web pages to address@hidden, send other questions to address@hidden.

Copyright (C) 2000-2001 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Updated: 18 March 2001 zeno

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