Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Gabriel <egabriel@××.com>
To: gentoo-dev@g.o
Subject: [gentoo-dev] Hurd
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 10:47:36
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-dev] Re: Tom by
> A question -- could you give us a quick overview of the differences between HURD and > the Linux kernel? I'm curious about what new things HURD offers.
This deserves a longer answer and I will post one when I have a bigger block of time, but a few observations: The hardware support is still much worse than linux. There isn't incentive to do too much there for the Hurd team yet (chicken and egg... need a dist before anyone really cares, need drivers to make a dist interesting enough to care about). It supports a modest list of ethernet cards and scsi controllers, and with X can support whatever video cards X can, but it as of now has no sound driver at all. Things are funky because it is a microkernel. For instance, there is a login server, which runs under the 'login' id. You login at a prompt like login> login myusername This is different than the unix 'getty' stuff. A great deal of commands you normally run (mount, ifconfig, etc...) are obviated by a new command, "settrans". This is because ext2fs, cd9660, pf_inet, etc, i are translator daemons, not just devices in the unix sense. This "herd of daemons" is what really makes this different from Linux. The kernel is very minimal. These daemons do sort of what modules do under linux, though the analogy isn't really appropriate. One of the side effects of this is that the daemons are proper programs. You can run them with --help apart from settrans, and they will list their own options. How often I wish I could do that with a module. Another good thing about this is people can develop kernel version independent modules; making the distribution of drivers a lot simpler. Ironically, this will probably encourage the distribution of binary drivers if Hurd does catch on. There are some things that don't work as of now. Irritatingly, one of them is df. Booting from CD is also a problem. Both of these apparently stem from the way inodes are currently handled. These aren't insurmountable, but it doesn't look like a lot of process has been made. It is currently x86 only as far as I know. The limited hardware support is reminiscent of the oldest versions of Linux. BTW, I am not a Hurd developer; just a guy that installed it for kicks, so if my information is not factual, please keep me honest. I am enthusiastic about this because the most recent debian builds are better than I think a lot of people realize, and there is a lot of opportunity to shape the way it evolves, and the Portage system sounds like the right way, the GNU way, to do it. --Gabriel


Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-dev] Hurd drobbins@g.o