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Hurd Traffic #26 For 8 Dec 1999

By Zack Brown

Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers?
Are you without a nice project and just dying to cut your teeth on an OS you can try to modify for your needs?
Are you finding it frustrating when everything works on minix? No more all-nighters to get a nifty program working?
Then this post might be just for you :-)
-- Linus Torvalds, 1991

Table Of Contents


Thanks go to OKUJI Yoshinori, who pointed out that last issue's announcement of a new GRUB version came from Gordon Matzigkeit, and not Jim Franklin as I had originally written. Thanks a lot, OKUJI!

Mailing List Stats For This Week

We looked at 17 posts in 41K.

There were 10 different contributors. 6 posted more than once. 3 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:

1. SMP; Bootloaders

27 Nov 1999 - 28 Nov 1999 (3 posts) Archive Link: "HURD info"

Topics: Bootloaders

People: Kalle Olavi NiemitaloRoland McGrath

A newcomer to the Hurd asked if SMP was supported, and Kalle Olavi Niemitalo replied:

No. There is some SMP support in GNUmach, but that hasn't been tested for a long time and I've read it doesn't even compile any more. I don't think anyone is trying to fix it.

Yesterday, Roland McGrath announced OSKit-Mach: a GNUmach variant which uses OSKit device drivers. I don't know if those drivers make any difference in SMP support, and it certainly isn't for newbies. But take a look if you're interested. His message was <> on bug-hurd.

The original poster asked if he could use 'loadlin' with the Hurd, and Kalle replied that the Hurd required a bootloader that supported the Multiboot standard. As far as he knew, GRUB was the only one that could handle that, though he added that GRUB and 'loadlin' could co-exist on the same computer.

2. 'df' Under Hurd; Multiple Partition Types; CapsLock

27 Nov 1999 - 29 Nov 1999 (3 posts) Archive Link: "Some newbie questions"

Topics: FS: FTPFS, FS: ext2

People: Kalle Olavi NiemitaloMarcus Brinkmann

Another newcomer gave a pointer to the Easy Guide, adding that he'd followed its instructions but had encountered some problems. The 'df' command gave the error, "cannot read table of mounted filesystems." This happened even when mounting his floppy or any Linux partitions. Marcus Brinkmann suggested giving a path with the 'df' command, as in '/debian-hurd/df_/index.html' or 'df /mnt'.

The original poster also asked how to mount different types of partitions, such as MSDOS, BSD, or CDROM partitions. Kalle Olavi Niemitalo replied, "Each kind of file system is handled by a program in /hurd/. Currently there are ext2fs, ftpfs, isofs, nfs and ufs. There are also special-purpose file systems like firmlink and hostmux."

Marcus added, "msdos is only supported through mtools, which is in its own package (section otherosfs)"

The original poster also pointed out that the CAPSLOCK key didn't seem to work, and Kalle replied, "I'm looking at gnumach/i386/i386at/kd.c and it seems Caps Lock is actually handled as Ctrl. ;-) I can't test it right now, but if that's the case, try adding "#define ORC" and recompiling. If it helps, submit a bug report. (Anyone who *wants* to use Caps Lock as Ctrl can just change the keymap at runtime.)"

3. PPP Under The Hurd

28 Nov 1999 - 29 Nov 1999 (3 posts) Archive Link: "PPP support"

People: John Tobey

Someone asked for help getting the point-to-point protocol to work under the Hurd, but John Tobey replied, "I'm sorry to disappoint you. Porting PPP from Linux is going to require a lot more than a simple recompilation because of the differences in kernel design. If your 'Net connection is PPP, I recommend as a minimal development environment two machines connected by ethernet with one as gateway for the Hurd box."

4. Sources For gnumach And Hurd Servers

28 Nov 1999 (2 posts) Archive Link: "hurd source, and .deb problems..."

People: John Tobey

Colin Walters asked how to get the source code for gnumach and the Hurd servers, and John Tobey walked him through the following procedure:

$ mkdir gnu
$ cd gnu
$ mkdir CVS
$ echo '' >CVS/Root
$ cvs login
(Logging in to
CVS password: <RET>
$ cvs co gnumach
$ cvs co hurd







Sharon And Joy

Kernel Traffic is grateful to be developed on a computer donated by Professor Greg Benson and Professor Allan Cruse in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. This is the same department that invented FlashMob Computing. Kernel Traffic is hosted by the generous folks at All pages on this site are copyright their original authors, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0.