Hurd Traffic #36 For 23 Feb 2000

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

Mailing List Stats For This Week

We looked at 46 posts in 131K.

There were 23 different contributors. 13 posted more than once. 8 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:


1. Dvorak Keymappings
10 Feb 2000 - 15 Feb 2000 (8 posts) Archive Link: "Dvorak keymap"
People: Tomasz WegrzanowskiMarcus BrinkmannKalle Olavi Niemitalo

Tomasz Wegrzanowski posted a basic dvorak keymapping for; nothing fancy, just basic support. Seth Aaron Nickell gave a cheer and berated himself for not having done it before. Tomasz replied:

Ok, now someone tell me how to have :

  • 4 dynamic modifiers (shift, alt, ctrl, altgr) and
  • 4 switching modifiers (caps, scrool, num, some cosmics w/o good name to swich numerical row to do `!@#$%^&*()' )
  • delete, home, end etc.

Do I have to rewrite Mach terminal controller ?

Marcus Brinkmann replied that this wouldn't be necessary, he would just have to redo the keytable and add a few entries. He added, "the modifier would cause a bit more work, but Kalle (I think) already did this for you." And Kalle replied with a pointer to the patch ( , but added, "But it only gives AltGr and Alt different key codes (in a kludgy way) and adds a keymap column for AltGr+key. 4+4 modifiers would need more work. I was going to have a proper scancode/keycode/keymap system in colortext, but well, I last touched that code on 1999-11-05. :("

Elsewhere, Tomasz asked why the keyboard was controlled in the kernel, since the Mach was a microkernel. Kalle replied:

It can be redirected to user space and read from the "kbd" device. includes some test programs for this feature. After releasing 0.3, I've begun adding keymap support in the colortext program itself, but that isn't complete.

The current GNUmach can't send 0xE0 scancodes to user space. contains a patch for that.


2. Apt Making Progress
11 Feb 2000 - 15 Feb 2000 (8 posts) Archive Link: "Problems booting the hurd"
Topics: Apt, Bootloaders
People: Bruno VoisinMarcus BrinkmannNeal H Walfield

Bruno Voisin decided to give the Hurd a shot, so using the Easy Guide ( he managed to install the system via the 'dpkg'-and-install-scripts method, and again with the tarball method. However, booting with the GRUB floppy would cause a lockup just after the COM ports detection. He posted the system's final words:

# Partition check ( DOS partitions ):
# hd0: hd0s1 hd0s2 < hd0s5 hd0s6 hd0s7 hd0s8 hd0s9 >
# hd2: [PTBL] [585/64/63] hd2s1 hd2s2 hd2s3
# com0: at atbus0, port=3f8, spl=6, pic=4. (DOS COM 1)
# com1: at atbus1, port=2f8, spl=6, pic=3. (DOS COM 2)

Marcus Brinkmann suggested that Bruno probably was using an older version of the Hurd. He recommended grabbing the latest package. Bruno replied, "Many thanks... It just worked fine with the hurd20000130.deb!" However, Bruno then tried to install the 'apt-get' package, and had no luck at all. Neal H Walfield replied that 'apt-get' hadn't been ported yet, and that Bruno should use 'dpkg' and 'deselect', using the FTP method for downloading packages. But Marcus added, "Luckily, I found out how to fix dpkg properly, so we may see apt in the forseeable future, too."


3. Installing From FreeBSD
18 Feb 2000 - 19 Feb 2000 (2 posts) Archive Link: "install from FreeBSD"
Topics: FS: ext2
People: R Joseph WrightMarcus Brinkmann

R Joseph Wright continued the discussion from Issue #34, Section #9  (1 Feb 2000: Installing The Hurd From FreeBSD) . He had successfully installed the Hurd from FreeBSD, and described his method:

I actually used a combination of Linux and FreeBSD. First, I downloaded a one-floppy Linux distribution called tomsrtbt. I booted with that and used it to create the ext2fs filesystem, because I had no luck finding out whether I could do that from FreeBSD, although I suspect it can be done. It's very important to use the " -o hurd" option when creating the filesystem.

Then, I compiled ext2fs support in my BSD kernel by adding "options EXT2FS" and recompiling. This allowed me to mount my newly created hurd partition (mount -t ext2fs /dev/whatever /gnu). I then downloaded the hurd tarball from within FreeBSD, and moved it to the hurd partition, where I then un-tarred it. This created another gnu directory, so I had /gnu/gnu/*. What I did to fix that was "cd /gnu/gnu", then "mv * ..". Now I had /gnu/*, which is what I wanted.

I then booted with grub, and followed the directions from the link on the hurd website on how to get it going in single user mode. From there, I ran the native install script.

And that's it.

Marcus Brinkmann replied to the part about moving everything from /gnu/gnu into /gnu, "you could have untarred it from the root directory to get it in the right place." EOT.







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.