The Hurd

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Mon Mar 18 17:44:49 UTC 2002

On Mon, Mar 18, 2002 at 06:09:08PM +0100, Eneko Lacunza wrote:
> Hi Jeroen,
> El s?b, 16-03-2002 a las 13:56, Jeroen Dekkers escribi?:
> 	Anyway, I think there would have been another Linux 8), but it is of
> course arguable.

I don't think so. Linus wanted to write an operating system. Almost
everything was already there written by GNU. He only had to write a
kernel and a few other things. He misnamed this to "Linux" and didn't
credit GNU.

Now if he only had looked further, he had found that there were
already people making an OS. He could have helped developping the GNU
system. The problem is that there wasn't really much info about the
Hurd nor was its development open. For this fact you can blame the
FSF, but at that time all development was closed. The internet was
just very small.

We will never known if there would have been somebody else developping
a kernel for the GNU system if Linus didn't do it. I think a lot of
the people were waiting for GNU to develop the last piece of the GNU
system. Today still a lot of people are waiting or it, I hope it
doesn't take that long anymore. :)

This was the history lesson for today.

> > > 	The fact is that people wanted:
> > > 	. Reliable systems
> > > 	. Free systems
> > GNU/Hurd is a free system and in theory it can be much more reliable
> > than a system with a monolithic kenrel. (Mail microkernels vs
> > monolithic kernels just to me and not the list, please. We are already
> > offtopic enough)
> 	True. The problem is that even their creators don't recommend it for
> production purposes 8)

Yes, if we did a lot of people would have been disappointed and would
say the Hurd sucks. I still recommend developping things for it. When
the theories are becoming practice I will start recommending it for
active use. :)
> > > 	And Linux and the others gave it to them, "quickly" (faster than The
> > > Hurd could, probably).
> > A reimplementation is always simpler and Linux was indeed faster
> > because it was much easier to do.
> 	This is not the point in this discussion. It's not Linux's fault that
> the Hurd a redesign and not a reimplementation.

No, but it made it easier for Linux to get developers and users in a
short time. The developers the Hurd needs for about 10 years. The Hurd
finally gets them.

> > > 	But I don't think this is a Bad Thing for The Hurd; It is having much
> > > more time for a much better development,
> > No, we don't have more time. We have less time, because we have less developers.
> 	Maybe you wouldn't have neither as much as you now have: anyway this
> again is very arguable.

I think it makes sense. The Hurd could have been much better than
Linux is at the moment because of the OO design. When you've more than
hunderd developers (I don't know the number due to the fractation of
Linux), OO helps a bit. Structure in the development also helps. Linux
lacks this both. And to refer back to the original discussion,
bitkeeper doesn't provide this.
> > > 	But "meantime", I think we have some excelent, free unix derivatives.
> > IMHO Unix is really too old and the last development on its design was
> > back in the 80s. Sure, the current free unix clones are nice, but that
> > doesn't mean we can't improve the situation.
> 	Of course we can and we must develop new design and see if they are
> superior to the current ones. 8)

Are *you* going to help? :-)

Jeroen Dekkers
Jabber supporter - Jabber ID: jdekkers at
Debian GNU supporter -
IRC: jeroen at openprojects
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