Linked by the_randymon on Mon 7th Jan 2013 18:56 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes The mostly-morubund Hurd project is well known for what it's not: the kernel at the heart of the GNU/Linux system. But there's a long and interesting story about what it could have been, too. From Linux User magazine: "The design of the Hurd was an attempt to embody the spirit and promise of the free software movement in code." Those are mighty ambitions, and this story is as much about competing visions as competing kernels. Says Thomas Bushnell: "My first choice was to take the BSD 4.4-Lite release and make a kernel. I knew the code, I knew how to do it. It is now perfectly obvious to me that this would have succeeded splendidly and the world would be a very different place today." This is a well-written and fascinating read.
Thread beginning with comment 547742
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 8th Jan 2013 06:05 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

Seriously, why bother?

Hurd would be in the same pool as Linux, but Linux is light years ahead. Even if Hurd becomes mature enough to be useful, why pick it instead of Linux? I'm afraid Hurd will have more developers than users.

Why not put in the effort in to Linux instead?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Alfman on Tue 8th Jan 2013 06:53 in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

MOS6510,

"Why not put in the effort in to Linux instead?"


I target linux myself because of it's market potential, but I'd be remorseful if we lost alternatives all together.

Linux works because it's got tons of man hours going into it, but that doesn't mean it's always the greatest approach. Plan-9 was an OS designed with much more care going into well designed interfaces. The FreeBSDs are often leading the curb as well. Sometimes it is linux. I like the variety and wouldn't want to end up having only a few mainstream operating systems.

Speaking of hurd specifically, I concede that I'm not familiar with it ;) but that doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't have merit in some way for those who have worked with it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 8th Jan 2013 07:02 in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I'm sure someone somewhere can find some merit for it, but I wonder how many people can and what kind of basis does this merit have.

If it's based on "I like it, just feels nicer, dunno" I don't give this kind of merit much merit.

You listed a couple of valid choices, but it's just hard to imagine Hurd taking up a valid place amongst them. Considering how long it has already taken I seriously doubt anyone could seriously have much faith in a happy marriage when going for Hurd.

I don't know anyone using Minix, but even that is a complete and working system.

If people like to work on Hurd then good for them, but it's a sizable project and I just wonder it the time and energy spend isn't better spend on something like Linux. Linux users are, probably, their target audience anyway, but I don't see Linux users leaving a mature and working system for Hurd.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by moondevil on Tue 8th Jan 2013 08:39 in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Because Hurd is another approach to design micro-kernel operating systems:

- More security
- Not another UNIX clone

These two points alone are worth the further work some people might be willing to invest into Hurd.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 8th Jan 2013 08:52 in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Point one is valid, I guess, even though OpenBSD and even Linux are or can be made pretty secure.

Not sure what value point two has, it sounds more like preference than technical advantage.

An operating system can have its advantages and cool features, but you also need software and hardware support. A game console without games is pretty useless.

Linux, to pick one, has hardware support, software, documentation, "community" and a bunch of qualified experts. A company can implement Linux and be pretty sure it will work and if it breaks can find someone to fix it.

If Hurd comes alive my feeling is it will be much more difficult to make it useful and find experts on it. The ones you can find will probably be pretty expensive.

Is it worth all that trouble for the extra security and not being a UNIX clone? Organizations that require above average security usually have a lot of money. Why spend that on a "hobby" project and not get some hardcore Linux guru's and use Linux, which has proven itself over the years.

Reply Parent Score: 4