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.
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RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 8th Jan 2013 08:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
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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

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by Alfman on Tue 8th Jan 2013 10:06 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
Alfman Member since:


"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."

Yes, the majority do choose that path, which reinforces the linux platform. Isn't it true that your criticisms of hurd would apply equally to any independent projects as well? Let me ask you, why does anyone bother building something different when there's already technology on the market that's been proven for years?

For me, the answer is that a technology landscape with the same players infinitum is boring... This is more of a mind exercise than a serious proposal, but I'd be extremely interested to see what we could build next if everyone just dropped linux and started from scratch with the benefit of the past 20 years of computers under our belts. What would be different?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 8th Jan 2013 10:28 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:

Well, it's okay to come up with new stuff, sure. But this is a kernel, meaning it's very complex and when it's done it's supposed to power an operating system. To have hardware drivers, software running well on it, having people know how to use and support it takes a lot of time and effort, making me wonder if that will ever happen.

Linux started like this too, but I guess it was a bit lucky. It provided a cheap UNIX alternative to the expensive real UNIX systems while BSD was off the map for a while.

It seems to me the audience for Hurd is the Linux crowd. For one, only the Linux crowd ever mentions Hurd.

Of course it would be nice to see what an operating system/kernel would be if one didn't make a UNIX clone and tried to make something that doesn't reproduce the flaws, problems or odd things UNIX/Linux systems have.

But would it be enough to take the crown? AS/400 is different, users swear by it, but it's nowhere as popular as Linux.

UNIX and the UNIX reincarnation Linux have been around for so many years, it must be a good way of doing things.

Apart from Hurd there are a number of small operating systems around. Yesterday I installed Icaros and I liked it a lot (mostly for nostalgic reasons being a former Amiga user), but I'd take OS X, Linux and Windows over it (in that order). I'm afraid Hurd will also become a member of that "fun to play around with, but not to actually use for real" category.

Reply Parent Score: 3