Hurd Traffic #54 For 12 Jul 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 34 posts in 142K.

There were 23 different contributors. 4 posted more than once. 3 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:

1. Hurd Documentation Repository Coalesces

26 Jun 2000 - 28 Jun 2000 (5 posts) Subject: "Re: site rollout!"

People: Jeff BaileyMatthew Vernon

Jeff Bailey gave a link to ( , and announced, "It has hit a point where it should be useful for the average beginner, and possibly as a jump point for more experienced folks." Matthew Vernon suggested linking to the Easy Guide from there, and Jeff agreed, saying:

I hadn't just linked it because it's not clear in my head how I should do with external documents that don't conform to the style guides.

I guess I should put the question to you first: Do you mind if I rework the document to fit the style, or do you want it linked as is?

The styles are not set it stone right now and are (IMNSHO) quite bad. However, I've been chewing the cud for a while and I think I've got some ideas for link buttons etc. that will work.

Matthew suggested migrating to stylesheets, so the Easy Guide could be the same on hurddocs and, but would display properly on each site according to the respective stylesheet.

2. Problems With Providing A Standard Installation Proceedure

28 Jun 2000 - 29 Jun 2000 (5 posts) Subject: "hurd native install"

People: Marcus Brinkmann

Niklas Lunger asked if anyone was working on a way to install the Hurd without needing any other operating system. Marcus Brinkmann replied:

I did some work in the past. Here are the issues:

  1. Extend libstore to pass on disk geometry parameters to the application and port fdisk to the Hurd. Without fdisk, no selfcontained installation.
  2. Fetch the script from John and create boot disks. Those are able to boot a root filesystem of a second disk.
  3. Fetch my script to create minimalized shared libraries from pic-libraries (I can provide the last version).
  4. Try to create a bootable root filesystem that contains all needed Hurd servers, libraries and applications to get a minimal functional system that can run an installer. This file system must fit on a single floppy when compressed with gzip or bzip2. You can use the script mentioned in 3. to strip the libraries from unneeded symbols to make them smaller. Do that.
  5. See if the boot disk in 2. really can boot the disk made in 4. Fix all remaining bugs that are in the way (there will be bugs).
  6. You will see that everything barely fits on the disk, and you have no room for all the stuff we need for the installer that isn't on it yet. Go and port ash, so we can leave bash and ncurses from the bootdisk.
  7. Only then we can even think about porting the Debian installation programs to the Hurd.

If all this sounds too complicated, you can try only to solve parts of the problem. For example, port ash (and all packages you need to build it, for example pmake, IIRC, which has PATH_MAX issues). Or fdisk (a real showstopper. Several people looked at it so far, but nobody had the "guts" to mess with libstore). Assuming those two problems are solved, I might take a look at it myself again.

3. Status Of PCMCIA

29 Jun 2000 - 1 Jul 2000 (2 posts) Subject: "State of PCMCIA?"

People: Neal H Walfield

Bryan K. Walton asked if there were any implementation of PCMCIA for the Hurd, and Neal H Walfield replied, "None at the moment." End Of Thread (tm).

4. SVGATextMode Success And Instructions

3 Jul 2000 (1 post) Subject: "SVGATextMode and HURD."

People: Arkadi E. Shishlov

Arkadi E. Shishlov announced, "If you are interested in using SVGATextMode in HURD, you may start here -" There was no reply.

5. 'gnumach' 1.2-3 And Hurd 20000703 Announced

4 Jul 2000 (1 post) Subject: "New gnumach and hurd packages"

People: Marcus Brinkmann

Marcus Brinkmann announced:

Find gnumach 1.2-3 and hurd-20000703 in the archive. They have been installed a few minutes ago, so your mirror might not have them yet.

The Hurd package is basically the current CVS version, with a small bug fix by Kalle in the exec server.

The GNU Mach package is the current CVS (nobody told me that it wasn't before!) and contains an addition by Kalle (0xE0 scancodes) and Stefans patch to make it compile with gcc 2.95.x.

Have fun and give them some testing.

There was no reply.

6. Installation Instructions To Go With The Easy Guide

5 Jul 2000 (1 post) Subject: "The easy guide to installing Hurd..."

People: Eduardo Nahum Ochs

Eduardo Nahum Ochs gave a link to the series of steps ( he'd gone through to install the Hurd from the Easy Guide. He added, "NOTE TO BEGINNERS LIKE ME: to install the Hurd from a Potato system one just needs a free partition, 17MB of downloads (explained in the "script") and a bit of patience to follow the instructions in .../easy.html. I hope that with my, hm, "scripts", the bit of patience can be cut by half, at least if people can overcome my idiosincrasies and zshisms and understand how the Emacs Lisp hyperlinks work. :-)" There was no reply.

7. X Success And Instructions!!!

5 Jul 2000 - 8 Jul 2000 (4 posts) Subject: "X for the impatient in 8 steps"

Topics: Logo

People: Marcus BrinkmannMichail Issakov

Marcus Brinkmann explained how to get X working:

getting X to run on the hurd is really easy, because UCHIYAMA Yasushi <> did such a wonderful work on it (except that he messed up the configuration file in the X source :)

You need the following stuff:

  1. The X packages from, notably things like xbase-clients, xlib6g, xfree86-common, twm, etc. Use your common sense. Don't install the xbase package, but everything else should be a fair game.
  2. The attached startx. There are some spaces in the file in the package which break it. Put it in /X11R6/bin.
  3. The attached files rgb.txt and SecurityPolicy. (those are usually part of xserver-common Debian package). Place them in /X11R6/lib/X11/rgb.txt resp. /X11R6/lib/X11/xserver/SecurityPolicy Empty files will do, too.
  4. Font packages from the Debian ftp archive. To your liking, but at least xfonts-base, xfonts-100dpi (or 75dpi), xfonts-scalable. If there is trouble installing them (I didn't check), just copy the /X11R6/lib/X11/fonts directory from some machine.
  5. A /etc/X11/XF86Config file. Copy the Linux file, but change the Mouse and Keyboard section to read like this:

    Section "Keyboard"
    Protocol "Standard"
    XkbKeymap "xfree86(us)"

    Section "Pointer"
    Protocol "osmouse"
    Device "/dev/mouse/index.html"

  6. The mouse and kbd translator by Yasushi. Get them as a binary from (or similar). You don't need pfinet.

    Install those translators like following (taken from Yasushis web page):

    # settrans -cg /dev/kbd
    # chown root /dev/kbd
    # chmod 444 /dev/kbd
    # settrans /dev/kbd /hurd/kbd /dev/kbd

    Serial Mouse:

    # cd /dev
    # MAKEDEV com0
    # settrans -cg /dev/mouse
    # chown root /dev/mouse
    # chmod 444 /dev/mouse
    # settrans /dev/mouse /hurd/mouse --protocol=microsoft --device=com0

    PS/2 Mouse:

    # settrans -cg /dev/mouse
    # chown root /dev/mouse
    # chmod 444 /dev/mouse
    # settrans /dev/mouse /hurd/mouse --protocol=ps/2

  7. Start it with "startx". That's all!
  8. Note that on my recent Hurd system, the xterm in the Debian package segfaults, so you won't get any terminals. Either try the xterm in Yasushis binary package, or recompile xterm, or try some other terminal emulator. I will try to compile the Debian package of rxvt or so. Someone who got Yasushis xterm please put it on a web page and provide a link, so people can grab it without getting the full package (which is 28MB) (if you are without a terminal, try adding "xlogo & the end of /etc/X11/Xsession, before the final exec command, to see that it works)
  9. Please report if it worked for or not, and which steps above are out of order or incomplete. I did not verify the above, but I wrote it from memory, and I only did it couple of minutes ago.
  10. Have fun.
  11. Now go and compile all those nifty X software for the Hurd.
  12. Still here?
  13. Compiled your favourite window manager already?

Later, he replied to himself with more instructions, saying, "I forgot the most important step, you need to install your X server. Get the binary from the X site or from (in the tar ball). Put it somewhere, and link to it from /X11R6/bin/X." He also posted a problem of his own:

BTW, I have trouble with the keyboard and terminal emulation. xvt and xterm both don't start up all the way, they get stuck before the shell prompt appears. If I try to enter a new window name in blackbox, the keyboard events are recognized in a funny way:

Typing "a" it shows: "4 q6aa4 9a" (as far as I could recognize the font)

I hope somebody can help here, because I know nothing about X and keyboard events. But maybe it is a problem in the kbd translator.

There was no reply to this, but Michail Issakov replied to the initial announcement with a report and further instructions, saying, "My xterm binary is working (from XFree site). I use blackbox as windows manager and tkdesk as file manager (tkdesk_1.2.orig.tar.gz and itcl3.0.1.tar.gz compiles without problems). Qt examples from Yasushi's sites are working also well, but qtscape binary not."







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.