The Hurd

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Fri Mar 29 03:00:17 UTC 2002

On Fri, Mar 29, 2002 at 03:16:20AM +0100, Frank Heckenbach wrote:
> Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> > On Thu, Mar 28, 2002 at 05:47:23AM +0100, Frank Heckenbach wrote:
> > > Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> > > 
> > > > And, the past has showed that we are achieving our goals.  For example,
> > > > nobody uses libc5 anymore,
> > > 
> > > Apparently you missed Alessandro's mail recently ...
> > 
> > I don't evenknow who Alessandro is.  A quick web search shows that you
> > might mean that etlinux is still using libc5, but will swotch to multi
> > libc5 in version 2.  And it will bring multi-platform support to it.
> > Sure, libc5 might stil have some isolated uses (prprietary binary only
> > programs that are not updated anymore, anyone?), I mean, that's why I
> > updated the libc5 package for Debian potato before we released and libc5
> > development finally died.  Every software has a time where it is used
> > even after it is dead, this time has long appeared for libc5.
> > 
> > > Mind you, when you make such statements, don't be surprised when
> > > others claim that nobody needs the Hurd. Both statements are true
> > > ... for certain values of nobody ...
> > 
> > Well, feel free to tell me more about libc5.  But please be a bit more
> > elaborate.  As far as I can see, the market for libc5 is pretty tight
> > with glibc on the one side and dietlibc et al on the other.
> Well, if you like to talk about "nobody" and "dead" and "markets"
> for software, that's your choice. I don't like to see such terms in
> connection with free software. But to say it in your words, there's
> no market for the Hurd because nobody uses it. Maybe I'll try it
> when it will be born.
I use the Hurd and some people I know also use the Hurd. It's still
under development.

> > > > I don't want a graphics driver in the kernel.  I don't want any driver in
> > > > the kernel, to be honest ;)  But having said that, I don't want a webserver
> > > > in the kernel either.  But see, there is a webserver in Linux.  Does that
> > > > make you wonder?  It should.
> > > 
> > > Actually, it did make me wonder when I read about it. The only
> > > reason seems to be performance, and from the benchmarks it seems to
> > > be much faster than any user-space webserver under certain
> > > conditions.
> > 
> > Indeed.  The same logic makes you add an SQL server to the kernel.
> > And graphic rendering software.  And just about anything because people
> > want everything to be as fast as possible if you ask them.
> As I said, many such requests are bogus because the performance
> gains are marginal. But in this case (from what I've read -- I
> haven't tried it myself because I have no need for it), the main
> overhead in this case is shuffling the data from and to the ethernet
> card (or whatever) through the network stack (provided most pages
> are cached in memory so disk I/O isn't the main issue). This isn't
> the case for an SQL server (where the disk I/O is often the
> bottleneck which is limited by hardware speed), leave alone graphic
> rendering (which is mostly CPU work with little I/O at all).

Doing everything in user-space with very fast IPC should give you
about the same performance, I think it could be even faster. Read the
papers on the tu dresden, L4KA and sawmill websites for more info.
Jeroen Dekkers
Jabber supporter - Jabber ID: jdekkers at
Debian GNU supporter -
IRC: jeroen at openprojects
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