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Hurd Traffic #49 For 24 May 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 37 posts in 133K.

There were 13 different contributors. 8 posted more than once. 5 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:


1. Hurd Wish-List
9 May 2000 - 17 May 2000 (24 posts) Subject: "Contributing to the Hurd"
Topics: POSIX
People: Mark KettenisTomasz Wegrzanowski

In the course of discussion, folks started talking about their "Hurd wishlists". Mark Kettenis said he'd like to see the following in the Hurd:

  • A POSIX shared memory implementation. Shouldn't be too difficult using Mach's memory objects.
  • POSIX clocks & timers. Involves added support for these things to GNU Mach (looks like there's something in CMU's MK84 release).
  • The infamous shadowfs (nifty union mount done in a Hurdish way).
  • Redesigning the console. Having something really basic in the kernel (perhaps only a framebuffer with some basic functionality for printing kernel messages, i.e. simple ASCII strings) and provide a server that implements the actual terminal device in user space on top of that.

Tomasz Wegrzanowski added to that list:

  • Porting pppd. In *theory* only knowledge about pfinet internals is needed (to modify it), because pppd is quite portable itself.
  • Providing way for exporting PCI config data, DMAs, IRQs and IO ports from GNU Mach to user level programs. Providing this, sound support would be semi-ready I even did some mini sound-making user level program (for SB-compat), but it only makes a lot of noise due to lack of sync due to lack of dma Better try to port ALSA

He replied to himself later, adding:

  • perl/c++/objc/python/smalltalk/your_favaurite_language wrappers around hurd libraries, or at least higher level C wrappers (that hello world fs is less than 1kB of code)


2. Hurd Headers Surprisingly Large
17 May 2000 (2 posts) Subject: "Enormous sizes of Hurd *.h headers"
Topics: FS: ext2
People: Marcus BrinkmannTomasz Wegrzanowski

Tomasz Wegrzanowski was disturbed by the comparatively large size of hurd headers, as compared with standard library headers. Hurd headers seemed to be about ten times the size of the others, and he felt this made it much harder to learn from them. Marcus Brinkmann explained:

You shouldn't read the headers, but the info manual, and, more important, the source. If you want to write a translator based on trivfs or diskfs, you really better start with an existing translator that is similar to the one you need and modify it.

For example, for the fatfs 0.1 translator I used almost all of isofs/* For the next version, I use much of the ext2fs code.

Marcus also pointed out that the large size of the hurd headers was due to the rich interfaces they described. He added that they were much higher level than the standard libraries, and provided much greater functionality.


3. Looking For Docs
18 May 2000 (2 posts) Subject: "documentation"
People: Ognyan Kulev

Gregory Pecheret asked where to find documentation. He felt the overviews were too elementary, while the reference manual was to advanced. He wanted something inbetween; Ognyan Kulev replied:

The documentation for HURD is not much. See (warning: the page doesn't look good on IE5 and Communicator4 - the important links are hidden and they are and I have a personal page for links about hurd too (it's like the above):

For any deeper understanding read sources, examples, and mailing lists archives.

That was it.


4. PPP: Saga Continues
19 May 2000 - 20 May 2000 (2 posts) Subject: "POSIX shared memory or pppd"
Topics: POSIX
People: Tomasz WegrzanowskiDaniel E. Baumann

Daniel E. Baumann was anxious to start helping, and asked whether he should implement POSIX shared memory or port 'pppd'. Tomasz Wegrzanowski recommended 'pppd', since there was already a partial implementation of POSIX shared memory.

The problem of getting 'ppp' working under the Hurd was first covered in Issue #26, Section #3  (28 Nov 1999: PPP Under The Hurd) , then came up again in Issue #28, Section #3  (13 Dec 1999: FTP And PPP On The Hurd) . A serious look at porting was covered in Issue #34, Section #1  (21 Jan 2000: Porting PPP) and continued in Issue #38, Section #6  (4 Mar 2000: PPP Saga Continues) and then Issue #39, Section #2  (4 Mar 2000: PPP/pfinet Saga Continues) . Issue #45, Section #1  (16 Apr 2000: PPP: Saga Continues) saw more progress, and some examination of alternative solutions, but by all accounts we are still nowhere near a working 'ppp' implementation for the 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.