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Re: Central Hurd web (Was: question about booting hurd)

On Mon, Dec 03, 2001 at 10:50:51PM +0100, Ondrej Hurt wrote:
> This points to a more general problem: I think that we should make
> one "official" Hurd web site with all important information.

There is, http://hurd.gnu.org/.  From this page, under "Installation"
it mentions that it is possible to compile Hurd from source but not
recommended.  From there, it refers to a binary Hurd distribution.  But
since GNU doesn't do that project, it refers to here:


> Now all the information is spread across the web.

Pick a random topic of interest.  Look across the web.  You'll find
lots of information "spread across the web".  That's life.

Now, the reality of the situation is that GNU tries its best to
collect Hurd-specific stuff on hurd.gnu.org while Debian tries to
collect Debian GNU/Hurd stuff (such as the installation guide)
on the aforementioned Debian site.  But the developers of both these
projects are really quite taxed out actually developing the Hurd to
keep their pages up to date with the latest documents, guides and

> There are several more or
> less useful webs with different Hurd texts, links, with more or less
> up-to-date installation guides. Why should people interested in Hurd
> surf these hidden sites for the best installation instructions and
> other Hurd info or even dig it from google (like I did year ago) ?

"Hidden"?  These are works in progress by some of the contributers
to both the Hurd and Debian GNU/Hurd projects.  These guides were
always intended to end up on the appropriate web sites.  Only time and
energy to maintain them in multiple places prevents that.  Consider

- the author of a guide for installing Debian GNU/Hurd may not be a
  Debian maintainer, or if he is, may have his hands full already with
  his present duties and have no time/energy for maintaining it in
  two places
- maintaining a guide both on one's home page *and* on the Debian
  site now introduces overhead, so if the author himself is not
  up to the task, someone else in Debian needs to keep the guide in
  synch with "upstream"
- the upstream guide may be changing from week to week as the design
  of the Hurd is still fluid, so this additional overhead may be
  deemed a waste of effort
- both upstream and Debian might then agree that until things have
  "settled down" it is not worth the duplication of effort

So, I'm sorry if this division of labour, and consequently division
of work into several websites offends you, but I think all things
considered, Hurd contributors do their best with what resources they

> Wouldn't it be nice if _most_ of the information spread across web
> was at ONE CENRAL PLACE known to everyone ? Shouldn't we make _one_
> "official" instalation guide which is up-to-date rather than to have
> several personal (sometimes unmaintained) texts ? If anybody has
> something to say he or she could contribute it to the "official" site
> rather that keeping it at his/her personal site hidden to the world.

Last I checked, nobody is filtering walfield.org.  And it is commonly
known both on irc and on this list (and others) that Neal's guide is
the best.  You use "hidden" in a strange sense.

> I would make one big site from most of the stuff that is now
> scattered. And all updates of materials used would take place there.

[ snip ]

> I would mix all the individual sites together.

Why?  GNU cannot and will not encompass all the things you envision
should go into such a site, as not all of them align with their ideals.
Debian, while more permissive about which sites it will link to and
which information it will carry on its official web site is still
narrowly focused on the Debian GNU/Hurd port, and therefore engaging
in the construction of such a site will diffuse energies away from
the porting effort itself.

So this leaves us with "so who will make this site if it isn't GNU
and it isn't Debian"?  So far, nobody has stepped to the plate.

> It would be useful especially for newcomers and all the people that
> are interested in the Hurd in general.

If Hurd had reached maturity by this point, I'd be tend to be more
in agreement with you, but the fact remains that major hurdles in
design are yet to be overcome.  Now is not the time for a big
publicity push to reach new audiences.  The information you say
is "hidden" is not.  It is merely inconveniently placed at the moment.
Be patient please, and this will soon be fixed.

> If nobody should want to I could take care of it but I don't run any
> web server.

On which web server, then?  No group that I know of has the high profile
regarding Hurd that either GNU or Debian do.  I cannot think of another
appropriate place to host an "official, central" web site about Hurd.

I think you'll find as the Debian GNU/Hurd port matures, more useful
stuff will materialize on the Debian site, and it will be kept up-to-date
as well.  But with things in as much flux as they are now, you'll just
have to weather through the inconvenience of access to multiple web sites
(which is a very small inconvenience, when measured against the other
inconveniences of actually running a Hurd box or developing for it at
the moment).

    nSLUG       http://www.nslug.ns.ca      synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
    Debian      http://www.debian.org       synrg@debian.org
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