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Re: My Experiences installing the Hurd

Kent West <westk@acu.edu> writes:

> I'm new to the Hurd, and have written my experiences installing it at:
> http://faculty.acu.edu/~westk/A_Beginners_Attempt_to_Install_the_Hurd.html
> and
> http://faculty.acu.edu/~westk/A_Beginners_Second_Attempt_to_Install_the_Hurd.html
> in case anyone's interested. The first document is pretty rambling and
> crooked, but is pretty much a blow-by-blow account of what a newbie
> experienced. The second page is much cleaner, until the bottom, when I
> run into problems again.
> I'll post questions relating to those problems in a separate post, but
> wanted to provide these links as backdrop if needed.

First, thanks very much for making your experiences public.

But if RMS reads debian-hurd and visited your page, he must have gone
right up the wall (again).  I hope I can convince you to revise your
paragraphs about the early history of GNU/Linux so that the younger
people who read your site don't get the wrong idea.

GNU pre-dates Linux by about seven years.  During that time, Stallman
wrote emacs and the gcc compiler.  He and his associates wrote all the
rest of the many utilities which comprise the operating system.
Linus, dissatisfied with Minix and the slow progress being made on the
Hurd decided to write his own kernel for amusement.  Little did he
know!  But he did make the comment that if the Hurd had been out a
little earlier he would not have tried.  And he certainly could not
have done it without gcc and the rest of the GNU code.


Your fifth and sixth paragraphs imply that Linus did his thing, and
then the GNU folks came along and finished it.  But it's exactly the
other way around!  The first GPL was released in 1989, I believe, not
"at about this same time." 

Torvalds would have been 14 when Stallman started his labors.

The GNU Manifesto dates from 1985, six years before Linus started.


It turned out that the Hurd/Mach was much harder to do than expected,
and also slow compared to Linux (because of Mach and extra
indirection).  And the unavailability of Mach as free software delayed
the start of the project.

To quote RMS: "...the multi-threaded servers that send messages to
each other have turned out to be very hard to debug.  Making the HURD
work solidly has stretched out for many years."

But with L4 it is anticipated that these problems will be greatly
diminished, and the flexibility and modern design of the Hurd will
come to be properly appreciated.


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