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Re: Porting KGI to the HURD

On Thu, Sep 30, 1999 at 09:19:48PM +0200, Steffen Seeger wrote:
> My name is Steffen Seeger and I am new to this list.

Hello Steffen,

it's great that you find your way over here!

> Brent Fulgram (I hope I spelled the name right) posted a message on the
> GGI development list about people working on the HURD OS investigating 
> possibilites to port the KGI framework to HURD and looking for support 
> regarding the technical details of it. 

Yes. Let me summarize the current situation. We are using the Hurd servers
on top of the GNU Mach microkernel. The Hurd is a multi-server OS, and thus
quite different from the usual single-server or monolithic kernel OS you
can find around every corner.

The Mach has a simple built in console, and some simple built in mouse
drivers. In this regard, the mach is not very different to the Linux kernel,
for example (except that the Mach console is much more primitive).

The similarity is so strong that we are able to use Linux character devices
in GNU Mach with just a little bit of glue code and small changes here and
there.  (I have spend a few days porting the Linux console to GNU Mach, and
it works, but there are still some small problems. It's definitely doable,
though). But this situation is contrary to the design goal of the Hurd.

To fix this, we want to have the console code outside the (micro)kernel.
Kalle Olavi Niemitalo <tosi@ees2.oulu.fi> started a simple colortext console
server that fits better in the Hurd design. It writes directly into the
video memory by memory mapping and will receive the scan codes from the
keyboard by event mode of the mach keyboard driver. I hope that this server
will be completed and gives us a small implementation of a console server
for the Hurd soon, and maybe serves as an entry point for further efforts
in this direction.

This is where KGI comes in. It sounds as if KGI could provide a full
featured terminal server (multihead/multiinput, virtualization of mouse,
hooks for libggi library, hence providing a svgalib emulation layer and a X
server, I am partly guessing here, please correct me if I am wrong).
It also looks as if KGI could be hooked in the Hurd design rather
flawlessly, considering that it had to be developed as an independent
project from the Linux main stream kernel right from the beginning.
I think the first step is for either of us to get a picture of the other
projects field of operation, so we have a better picture of where the areas
of contact exactly are.

> Well, I am the main author of kgi-0.9 and will be available for any
> questions you may have regarding it. I have not much background about
> HURD yet, except it is a microkernel OS, and a very interesting project.

I think the same is true for us: We have not much background about KGI/GGI
(yet), except that it does some nifty console and graphic stuff, and that it
is a very interesting project :)
> I managed to install HURD on my machine, I had a look at the relevant source,
> but had not yet a chance to dive into the details of it. But I am willing
> to learn about HURD, helping a bit getting KGI ported if you think this
> would be worth it.

That would be great. 
> I have some introductory articles I can post on request. I just don't 
> want to flood you with stuff you don't want to read...

If the introductory articles are available on the web, posting a link may be
a good compromise. If not, and they are reasonable small (a few kb), you can
post them directly here without anybody complaining. If they are big, send
them to me and I can put them on the Hurd web page.

Beside the link Brent provided to you, you can simply ask your questions
here. There is further information available on the web, but it's not at all
obvious and well organized currently, so don't spend your time searching for


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