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Re: simple instructions

On Thu, Sep 16, 1999 at 02:31:48AM -0400, Kevin Egan was heard to say:
> Hello, I'm a college student majoring in CS who wants to install the 
> GNU/Hurd platform on my machine.  I am not computer shy but I am not 
> familiar at all with Unix.

  Hello, Kevin.

  You probably to try installing a Debian GNU/Linux system before going for the
Hurd.  The Hurd is trickier to install and less stable (due to being under
development).  Also, as far as I know, the current install requires some Linux
system to be available to boostrap from.  And of course Linux is a good way to
pick up Unix skills.

  btw, how did you manage to get that far through the CS department [ie, to
the point where you're majoring] without coming into contact with Unix? :-)
(speaking as someone who has not yet even declared a major..)

> First is the partitioning process kind of dangerous?  And once the 
> partition is made is it easy to get off, and is there no way the GNU/Hurd 
> platform will mess up the rest of my hard drive?

  The main problem, assuming you're familiar with partitions, is that there's
no simple way to add a new partition if your disk is completely full -- it
normally requires deleting an existing partition first.  Luckily there are
utilities (such as PartitionMagic or..fips) which can resize an existing
partition and make more free space.  I suggest more than I used, which was
128MB (an old swap partition), but that's enough for a base system.  Really,
this depends on how much space you have.

  Once the partition is made it can easily be deleted.  To use the space, you'll
have to either create a new partition in it or else resize the original
partition again to include the now-blank space.

  Unless you mount your other partitions under the Hurd (I don't even know if
it supports fat, but I definitely don't see a fatfs server in /hurd)

> I was wondering if there were fairly straightforward instructions to:
> 	partition the hard drive (including where to get software)
> 	install GNU/Hurd (including where to get software)
> 	run basic programs

  There's lots of information on partitioning; unfortunately, I don't know
where any of it is. :)  However, you can get fips, a free utility for
splitting FAT and FAT32 partitions, from
ftp://ftp1.us.debian.org/debian/tools/fips20.zip .  PartitionMagic, if you want
to go the non-free route, is available from most computer stores.  The Brown
Bookstore might even carry it if you don't mind spending twice as much as
it's worth..

  I recommend first installing a Debian GNU/Linux system -- in fact, you'll
*have* to install at least the base system of some Linux distribution in order
to bootstrap the Hurd. (unless the boot disks are ready?  Marcus?)  Instructions
for the Linux system are at http://www.debian.org/releases/slink#new-inst ;
information about the Hurd end is available from
  You'll probably need to make one partition for Linux, one partition for the
Hurd, and a (shared) swap partition.  I recommend making the swap 128MB, but the
sizes of the other two will depend on how much you want to use each system (for
example, if you only want to use Linux for as long as it takes to bootstrap
the Hurd, you probably need less than 50MB.  On the other hand, I'd recommend
*at least* 500MB for a full Debian installation)

> Also how would I then look at the source code for the Hurd kernel?

  I'm not sure -- it comes up a lot on the list but since I don't have time to
examine the sources I haven't downloaded them yet..

  The source for the Debian packages can be downloaded with the command
'apt-get source hurd' and 'apt-get source gnumach' once you have a system up.
However, the latest development sources are probably in CVS (a revision control
system) and I don't know where that's stored.  I'm sure someone will tell you
where the canonical sources are. :)


  Believe in the Great God Om or be stricken with thunderbolts?
  Is that the way it always has to be?

             -- Terry Pratchett, _Small Gods_

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