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Re: How best to contribute to the Hurd?

Hi Clemmitt,

I suspect there are other people just like you wondering the same thing.

* Clemmitt Sigler <siglercm@jrt.me.vt.edu> [021010 15:01]:
> I've recently been doing more with the Hurd, and I'm wondering how
> I can best contribute to the effort.  I have very little kernel/driver
> hacking experience, I'm afraid.  However, I don't mind writing
> documentation, and (as you can tell :^) I've been building some
> packages recently that I'm interested in.
> Is this a good way to help out?  

There's no centralized person or document to answer this.

> If so, what docs need to be worked
> on most (out-of-date or incomplete)?  And what packages would it be
> productive to fix up so they build?  

There are plenty of things to work on and the status changes.

> I'm probably not the best person
> do to a large porting effort or to fix really low-level problems, but
> I'm glad to help if I can.  I suppose I'm asking if there's a central
> docs coordinator or working list, and a list of most-requested packages.

There are several.  I created the http://hurd.gnufans.org wiki to try to
be a place where people can collaborate on just such items.  Anyone can
help to create this site for their own and other people's benefit.

Recent packages that I feel are important to further acceptance of
Debian GNU/Hurd systems include:

        * umpppd
        * one of several dhcp clients

Both of these may be hindered since both the tarball & CD installs still
use GNU Mach 1.3 instead of GNU Mach 2.0.  GNU Mach 2.0 will allow the
user of new drivers through the use of oskit.  The problem with using
GNU Mach 2.0 has been the lack of a console driver.  This is now quickly
stabilizing thanks to Marcus' hard work.

> I've been thinking to myself that an end-user HOWTO/FAQ would be
> helpful.  I just discovered this doc-in-progress today:
>    http://seinfeld.arrowstreet.com/docs/using_the_hurd.html

Oh, that's very interesting.  I don't think I've seen that before.

> which is along these lines.  The current install doc by Neal Walfield is
> super, but IMHO it could be expanded on with more topics and more
> in-depth explanations and step-by-step instructions, which are really
> important for new users.

I and some others have added some notes to supplement Neal's guide at
http://hurd.gnufans.org/bin/view/Hurd/InstallNotes as well as
supplements for notes on the current tarball and CD set.


> It's been my experience that the Hurd is suitable now for basic
> day-to-day use by hobbyists that want a system to tinker with and
> run as a small-scale server.  

I wouldn't trust it as a server unless the tasks were clearly defined or
there was some other compelling reason to run a GNU/Hurd system.  With
pthreads now getting stabilizied this is much more feasable.

> If we can help people like these get the
> Hurd running -- get the system installed and configured, get networking
> and X working, and get a dial-up PPP interface working -- it may be
> possible to get more people contributing to the effort(?)

I couldn't agree with you more.  I already touched on ppp and dhcp
above.  I think your work on Xfree86 is great.

> I've found several old lists of links (some links outdated and some
> dead), some newer lists, and have only recently discovered the
> Hurd Building Guide (www.nongnu.org/hbg/hbg.html) and the Hurd
> Twiki (hurd.gnufans.org).  Would a meta-list of lists of links
> be useful?  Just thinking out loud here....

Sounds like fun.  I've been actively trying to get all links into some
coherent way into the wiki for everyone to use and edit.  What are your
ideas on implementing this?


-- Grant Bowman                                <grantbow@grantbow.com>

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