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GNU Hurd To Develop SATA, USB, Audio Support 274

Posted by timothy
from the ear-to-the-ground-gets-you-trampled dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Hurd, the GNU micro-kernel project that was founded by Richard Stallman in 1983, may finally be catching up with Linux on the desktop... Plans were shared by its developers to finally bring in some modern functionality by working on support for Serial ATA drives, USB support, and sound cards. There are also ambitions to provide x86-64 CPU architecture support. GNU Hurd developers will be doing an unofficial Debian GNU/Hurd 'Wheezy' release this year but they hope for the Debian 'Jessie' release their micro-kernel in Debian will make it as part of some official CDs."
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GNU Hurd To Develop SATA, USB, Audio Support

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  • Absurd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @11:32AM (#42850135)

    Its fucking absurd that USB support and sound cards and SATA support is news in an operating system today.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @11:33AM (#42850137)

    Why should I bother to use this kernel? What benefit would it give me over using just the regular Linux kernel or *BSD?

  • Really, who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NReitzel (77941) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @11:33AM (#42850141) Homepage

    I think Poor Richard has lived in an ivory tower far too long. Ideals are laudable, but the world moves on and reality trumps pedantry every time. Bill Gates didn't get to be, well, Bill Gates - by trumpeting Basic and DOS until people started saying, "Who?" He cut corners and compromised and, ahem, borrowed good ideas. It made him a gazillion dollars. And Richard, for all I agree with your ideals, and for better or worse, Bill Gates influenced the course of development of the personal computer more than you ever will.

    -- Norm Reitzel

  • Re:Misguided (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @11:59AM (#42850287)

    Being able to run on a somewhat modern computer (they all come with SATA drives and USB ports nowadays - no support for those two basic technologies means your kernel just won't work on any hardware that's not totally obsolete by now), and being able to actually use all the hardware in that computer, is a fairly important feature of a useable OS, imho.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:08PM (#42850337)

    GNU/Slow down, first we need the year of GNU/Hurd on any GNU/hardware from this GNU/century...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:11PM (#42850345)

    It's a microkernel, check Wikipedia.
    Basically you will get clearly slower performance, but possibly much more reliability/stability, security, and all the benefits that go with modularity.
    The point is that
    a) computers will get so fast that the performance hit doesn't matter in standard programs
    b) people hope to find ways of improving performance somewhat more into the direction of monolithic designs (=all the major platforms in use)
    c) some application areas simply put additional stability over performance, so if we had a working microkernel... (no, Minix isn't good enough)

    For now, best take it as a research project.

  • Re:Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:18PM (#42850375)

    Any user oriented system in development (as HURD clearly is) has to add support for USB, sound cards and SATA at some point. That is no reason for ridicule.
    This particular project does development in an openly visible way, so you can see the daily progress. That is still no reason for ridicule.
    This particular project progresses ... "very" ... slowly. That may or may not be a reason for ridicule, depending on your character.

  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:19PM (#42850379) Homepage

    mr reizel: if you've ever sat down and thought out a set of principles, then decided to stick to them no matter what happens, then you will understand. forget that it's about "software freedom" for a moment: just sit down and think, "have i ever actually come up with some principles, and am i prepared to dedicate my life to those principles and ethics"?

    if the answer is "no" then for fuck's sake please stop criticising people who *have* decided that their principles are more important to them than any amount of money. because what you are saying is that we should not respect people who stick to their principles if there is money to be made. or obtained. or received. and i'm very alarmed that you clearly do not see that that's what you've said, otherwise you probably wouldn't have said it.

    there's a little-known story that the linux kernel was first conceived by a small group of individuals in a military environment. they sat down, just after the "Unix Wars" and when Windows 3.1 came out, and they went [in summary], "shit. if this continues, windows - which we can see is a pile of shit even without the NSA or GCHQ looking at it, because we know about things like virtual memory - is going to be taken up in our secure environments merely because it's $100 not $10,000 and then foreigners will be able to go for a stroll through any of our government files".

    [fast-forward btw to a recent complaint a few years back from a U.S. Senator about why the NSA punishes microsoft by not allowing windows to be installed on any of its office machines....]

    back to the story: one of the individuals, a norweigan major, was then tasked to go off and "groom" any individual that he could find who had the potential to create a full "Free" operating system. the person he found: Linus Torvalds. you should be able to work out the rest of the picture.

    now, i don't know if you're aware of this but many of the fears that that small group had have in fact already come true. i worked at NC3A (NATO Research) a few years ago: i was shocked to find that *every* single desktop system ran Windows NT (XP). which is absolutely insane - and that's in a military research environment. the reason: they were sold on a minor item - $USD 5m and MS "Office" licenses thrown in for free.

    and this was just around the time when that Sony BMG "root kit" was doing the rounds. U.S. Military staff, bored of staring at nothing, would put a CD into the computer, and a complete list of classified files on that machine would be shipped over the internet to a server run by Sony.

    i'm mentioning "military" because it should have obvious immediate ramifications where money should *not* be a deciding factor in the equation, but you can see clearly that it quite obviously has been, and the consequences of various Military instituations around the world *not* sticking to their principles - out of sheer ignorance or monetary over-ride - are very serious.

    but the point being made applies just as equally to everyone else in a *non* military environment: you really really cannot trust proprietary software. you've seen enough dilbert cartoons to know why.

    so that's the software freedom aspect dealt with. i'd best do the other bit in another post.

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:21PM (#42850391) Homepage

    I think Poor Richard has lived in an ivory tower far too long.

    I hate to interrupt your Stallman bashing, but RMS isn't involved in Hurd development. He has been content to use Linux for many years now. Hurd development is driven mainly by other developers who are in it purely as a hobby, a way to play around with microkernel design, and they are not striving to reach a mass market.

  • Re:Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smash (1351) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:35PM (#42850489) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, but "some point" is usually fairly promptly. HURD has been in development for decades. USB has been out for over a decade. SATA has been out for about 8 years?

    They can't expect people to support/develop/test it if it won't run on anything.

  • Re:Absurd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:40PM (#42850527)

    Any user oriented system in development (as HURD clearly is) has to add support for USB, sound cards and SATA at some point. That is no reason for ridicule.

    Yes, and for a system that's been in development as long as HURD has, that point was over five years ago. The fact that they're only doing it now is very much a reason for ridicule.

  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:40PM (#42850539)

    Bill Gates didn't get to be, well, Bill Gates - by trumpeting Basic and DOS until people started saying, "Who?" He cut corners and compromised and, ahem, borrowed good ideas. It made him a gazillion dollars. And Richard, for all I agree with your ideals, and for better or worse, Bill Gates influenced the course of development of the personal computer more than you ever will.

    What a shallow comparison! There are people whose main motivation does not come from how much money they can make or how much power they can gain over others. RMS's motivation does not even remotely have anything to do with Bill Gates' motives or 'comparing of penis length' type rituals such as 'Who has had most influence on PCs?'

    People who are mainly motivated by power and greed tend to ridiculde and diminish the achievements of these people. But in the long run, their rantings doen't count. In two hundred years from now people will very likely still read the novels of Thomas Pynchon, but absolutely nobody will give a fuck about the iPhone 5. (Apple and Microsoft will probably not even exist any longer in 200 years. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that the free software movement will be alive and well in 200 years from now, even if it might have been outlawed by then.)

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @12:50PM (#42850611) Homepage

    Stallman preaches benevolent communism, but he doesn't practice it. He prefers to be the one who talks, while OTHERS do the work. Ill never listen to anyone who chooses their job to be the easy one.

    Stallman is an eccentric personality who finds it difficult to relate to people and feels most comfortable around computers. I'd imagine that for him coding would be "the easy job", while taking on the role of public speaker and advocate for Free Software is probably a cross to bear rather than an escape from the hard work.

  • GCC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skiron (735617) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @02:13PM (#42851241) Homepage
    RMS coded GCC by himself - it was only later others got on board:

    GCC history [gnu.org]

    And. of course, if it wasn't for RMS and GCC. Linus would not have been able to get a 'free' compiler for his project.

    RMS is the seed of all of this. Don't knock him or his values. It is why we have a great 'free' OS (in all it's varieties) today.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @02:29PM (#42851361)

    Just to get things straight:
    XNU (the Darwin kernel) utilises modules and message passing (signals), which is indeed a feature first pioneered in microkernels (by design). The current WinNT kernels do the same, and also call themselves "hybrid". Linux is almost there with modules and IPC signals.
    All of this is, starting from a monolithic approach, 3% of the distance towards a microkernel (the 3% is arbitrarily thrown out, but you get the point: they are basically monolithic), and calling them "hybrid" is just trying to one-up everyone else.

    And yep, OSX is nicely geared towards realtime, while in raw performance usually Linux is on top.

    QNX is a real microkernel, but ad-hoc benchmarks ("real" benchmarks were never published) have shown its performance to be a fraction of modern operating systems. That's no problem though, as it has very low realtime latency, and that's what matters in its application area.
    One of the most promising current microkernels is Fiaso.OC, a L4 fork I've been dabbling a bit with. It reaches 5%-50% of the Linux performance throughput in some classical applications, but can be faster in certain realtime scenarios.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @03:14PM (#42851717)

    Catching up to the last in the race is no achievement.

    Wrong - catching up with the last in the race is a great achievement - you've just managed to bypass the rules of logic.

    Or you're a whole lap ahead!

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @03:58PM (#42852097) Homepage
    So if you're reading a guys post, and it shows that he created a Slashdot account in the 1990s, but since then, he hasn't been able to add even a basic amount of value to a modern thread, do you reply to him?
  • Re:Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @04:03PM (#42852131)
    I think it's fair game for ridicule. Hurd is the Duke Nuke'em Forever of kernels. It's incredible to think that it has been in development for 23 years. On the plus side the glacial pace of development, the lack of pragmatism, and the large dose of politics did have the positive benefit of motivating Linux into existence.
  • No kidding (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @04:22PM (#42852301)

    Seriously, the Hurd guys either need to get with it, or just quit. It is stupid to have something this completely out of date and keep pretending like it'll be relevant. No, if you want your kernel to have any chance at relevance it needs to support modern features. Yes, that means SATA, x64, and so on. None of these are new things, by any stretch of the imagination.

    If they lack the resources or drive to get this kind of thing done in a timely fashion, then just let it go. There is no point to releasing a kernel 10+ years out of date (as the parent points out, SATA hit in 2003) particularly when there are plenty of options that ARE up to date.

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