[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Reviewing Hurd-on-L4 (and considering its future?)

From: Rick Hodgin
Subject: Re: Reviewing Hurd-on-L4 (and considering its future?)
Date: Wed, 23 May 2018 18:06:21 +0000 (UTC)

Forwarding my two replies sent directly to Paul and RMS to the list.

Rick C. Hodgin

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rick Hodgin <address@hidden>
To: Paul Boddie <address@hidden>
Cc: Richard Stallman <address@hidden>
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 2:03:23 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Reviewing Hurd-on-L4 (and considering its future?)


Here is the part of the original email chain (we had several back-and-forth).
I had written him asking for his advice on replacing the HURD kernel.  I
can't find my original sent emails ... I may have purged or archived them
at some point, only these replies:

-----[ Begin original email ]-----
-------- Original Message --------
From: Richard Stallman <address@hidden>
Sent: Tue, Jun 19, 2012 06:21 PM
To: Rick C. Hodgin <address@hidden>
Subject: Re: Replacement for the HURD

    With either Linux or the HURD (as the HURD stands today) we cannot ever 
    get there.  We cannot ever get to where we have a truly free operating 
    system (kernel and up), even if we have the outward appearance and 
    illusion of it.

I don't think that follows.  Both Linux and Hurd _are_ free kernels.
The problem is that we lack free drivers and firmware for many peripherals.

Replacing the free code of Linux with some other free code won't get
us the drivers or the firmware.  That requires writing drivers and firmware.

I simply don't see how replacing the free code of Linux with other free code
would make progress along that dimension.

    I realized at that time how easily I could write a competitor to 
    Blender, or a 3D CAD system.  I even looked into it a little bit, but 
    saw how many CAD programs there were out there and thought I could not 
    write one sufficiently better than what's available to make it worth the 
    amount of time it would require.

The existing free CAD programs have a license incompatibility with GPLv3,
so it would be very useful to write a replacement.  However, one of them
is trying to eliminate its license incompatibility, and that helping
that project do so would be very useful.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call

-----[ End original email ]-----

Rick C. Hodgin

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 1:54:45 PM EDT, Rick Hodgin <address@hidden> wrote:

I contacted Richard Stallman in 2012 and asked him about continuing
development on the HURD kernel.  He told me that it wasn't really need-
ed anymore because we have Linux.  I tried to convince him that GNU
needed its own kernel and we shouldn't rely upon Linux, but he told
me that instead of spending time working on a GNU kernel, I should
move to work on making a compatible Adobe reader, and other such
practical applications.

I don't think there's any interest from Stallman down on working on a
GNU kernel.  I think that's a mistake, by the way, but to my knowledge
that's where we're at.

I've cc'd Stallman on this email so he can verify his position.

Rick C. Hodgin

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 1:02:55 PM EDT, Paul Boddie <address@hidden> wrote:

The day before yesterday, I found myself editing the L4 page on the Debian

It occurred to me that in the context of the Hurd, very few updates about L4
implementations have been propagated via various channels for probably a
decade or more. This meant that the above page was outdated as well as
inaccurate or incorrect on some matters (and it wasn't exactly a long page,

Reviewing the archives for the l4-hurd list, I see that very little discussion
has taken place since 2010 or so, where Viengoos was once again mentioned. And
the background to all this is, of course, provided on the Hurd site:

What I would like to know is whether more modern L4 implementations might be
reasonable candidates for attempting this kind of work again. It seems to me
that L4 implementations of the early 2000s were considered inappropriate or
insufficient for the design of "Hurd-NG", leading to things like Viengoos.

But then again, L4 implementations have since been widely deployed, albeit
perhaps in very specific roles. Meanwhile, environments like L4Re and Genode
must surely go some of the way towards providing the basis of something like
the Hurd.

The hurd-l4 work that was previously released got as far as running the banner
program, apparently, but surely things like L4Re and Genode go quite a bit
further than that. Obviously, they are merely the foundations of any potential
Hurd-like system, but it would not be unfair to claim that anyone wanting to
implement such a system would start off with a lot more code already written
than was the case fifteen or so years ago.

So, has anyone seriously considered a fresh approach to this endeavour using
more recent L4 implementations and environments? I largely ask because I have
been developing programs to run on certain niche hardware devices using L4Re
and the Fiasco.OC microkernel, and although some aspects of this are
frustrating, it is surprising how much supporting code there is already. I can
envisage building components on top that support a more general computing

Does anyone have any constructive perspectives on this?


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]