GPL not encouraging new technology

Marcus Brinkmann Marcus.Brinkmann at
Sun Dec 1 19:20:00 UTC 2002

On Sun, Dec 01, 2002 at 07:54:47PM +0100, Niall Douglas wrote:
> > I personally think the Hurd is innovative, and I don't
> > see your reference to the NT kernel whatsoever (if it is like
> > anything, it is like OS/X in that it [currently] runs on Mach - it is
> > *very much* not like any other OS in terms of the daemonized
> > architecture). 
> Daemons no but plugins yes. The NT kernel is quite extensible eg; it 
> uses a unified namespace of which parts are provided by plugins eg; 
> pipe manager, file system etc. Technically one could do much of what 
> GNU Hurd can in NT - it's just Microsoft have chosen not to and 
> indeed seem to actively have prevented anyone knowing much about it.

So there is your misunderstanding.  The innovation in the Hurd lies in the
fact that users can do this extension, without asking Microsoft, or even the
system administrator, and without compromising the security of the rest of
the system.  The Hurd is user extensible and replacable.  And that is also
why it doesn't matter that the default personality of the Hurd is the POSIX
API (it matters so far as it makes it possible to reuse a lot of existing
software) - users who like another API better can just write that API and
add it to the system, reusing as much of the existing base as possible and
adding whatever is missing.

> Very few people know that file points in NTFS can hold multiple 
> streams or run through a translator eg; reparse points which work 
> like symbolic links, or zip files appear as directories etc. I agree 
> that GNU Hurd is somewhat innovative, but it's been overtaken by time 
> and history and the fault for that, in my opinion, lies squarely with 
> the psychological consequences of free software.

Whatever that means, I disagree ;)


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' GNU    marcus at
Marcus Brinkmann              The Hurd
Marcus.Brinkmann at

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