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Re: Hurd/L4 as a class project

From: Alfred M. Szmidt
Subject: Re: Hurd/L4 as a class project
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 01:09:58 +0100

   Once again mbrewer and Ivan have asked the Frequently Asked
   Question: What can we do to help?

Once again I fail to see how one should answer that question, all
people have different interests, just find something that you consider
is missing/broken and start hacking.  But this isn't releated to
Hurd/L4, the Hurd or anything, but to peoples mentality that they must
be told on what they are "allowed" to hack on.

   The Hurd is simply not the most accessible of projects.

The Hurd is accessible just like any other Free Software project IMHO.
You find something that you dislike, fix it, send a patch.  Could you
explain why you consider this different for the Hurd?

   I'm sure there are lots of us lurking on these lists who do not
   possess the skillsets, experience or time needed to deep dive into
   Hurd hacking, but who have nonetheless grokked the potential of
   this project.  I have never compiled any sort of kernel, and I'm
   not favorably inclined to mucking about with my partitions on a
   regular basis, but I'm still looking for some kind of meaningful
   contribution I can make.

If you have been following the lists for a long time, then you would
know how many times I have atleast urged people to start
writting/fixing documentation, reporting bugs, suggesting features,
and what not.  But in the end, nobody has come forward to do these
things.  Why?  It isn't exactly like Hurd on Mach is dead, there is
still lots of work there, and then there is lots of work to be done on
Hurd on L4, both need love, and both need lots and lots of work.  Is
it _really_ that hard to find _anything_ to hack on?

   What was the one thing that first made Linux accessible to me?
   Knoppix.  A live-CD.

I don't see how that will help anyone to start hacking on things, I
was introduced to GNU/Linux by carrying around 30 floppies in my
rugsack and spent about 3 weeks trying to figure out how to install
the damn thing (I didn't read the manuals!).  But in the end, I
prevailed but I'm not saying that it should be such a terrible
experience nowadays, but it seems that people have been spoiled a bit
to much for their own good...

What would help though is a easy way of creating a image that can be
used in qemu or whatever, and that you can regenerate by doing `make
qemu' which would also start qemu using that image.  Then you can
start hacking directly and not worry about those thing, so when you
have edited a bunch of files and want to test your lovley changes you
just issue `make qemu' once again (and it would recompile everything
too), and of you go to see your hacks working.  Would _you_ like to
work on something like this?  It can be a script or a make target or

   IIRC the idea of a Hurd live-CD has been discussed before.  It's
   been sitting on a back burner for a while, so I'm taking a moment
   to stir it again.

Why stir? Why don't you start working on it?  There is a fellow that
tried to get GNU/Hurd working on a CD and booting from it, maybe you
two can work together (maybe this was you even?).  I can give you his
email address if you wish.

   Maybe it's time to take another look at all this, and try to
   determine what would be involved in getting something like a
   linux-qemu-l4-Hurd stack running on a live-CD.

I do not see what the point of that would be honestly, you can't
change a CD-ROM, so what use would it be for anyone hacking?  Is the
point to just show it to people?  Then screenshots work quite well...

Really, I tend to rambled about this on occasion to occasion, and
seems I'm doing it again, but I really cannot see what the problem is
with: Shutup and hack.

Happy hacking.

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