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Hurd Orientation


From: Neal H Walfield
Subject: Hurd Orientation
Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2002 23:28:02 -0500

                        Welcome to the GNU Hurd
                        =======================

Welcome to the GNU Hurd.  This email is automatically sent at the
begining of each month to the address@hidden and
address@hidden mailing lists.  This message is intended
for a quick orientation to new users.

What is the GNU Hurd?
---------------------

The Hurd is GNU's Multiserver Microkernel operating system.  It is
designed with the intention of fixing many of the flaws in Un*x.  What
are these flaws?  The arbitrary limits that it imposes on the user:
there is not a whole lot that a user can do without special privileges.
Consider an NFS filesystem.  Only root can mount this on a traditional
Un*x system.  Why is this?  It is not that NFS accesses anything
dangerous, at least, it is no more dangerous than ftp.  However, as a
portion of the NFS code lives in the kernel, this presents a potential
security problem.  In the Hurd, a user can transparently mount an NFS
filesystem directly into their home directory without affecting the
security of the system as a whole.  And this is only the tip of the
iceberg.

Getting Started
---------------

Installation Guides can be found at the following locations:

        http://web.walfield.org/papers/hurd-installation-guide/

You can find out about Debian GNU/Hurd ISO images at:

        http://www.debian.org/ports/hurd/hurd-cd

They come with a modified version of the Debian boot floppies making
installation relatively simple.

GNU Mach uses the drivers found in the Linux 2.0.x kernel.  Note,
there is no support for PCMCIA.  Here is an HCL:

        http://www.freesoftware.fsf.org/thug/gnumach_hardware.html

Mailing Lists:

  - address@hidden: All discussion pertaining to Debian
                       GNU/Hurd: both user and porting issues.  To
                       subscribe, send an email to
                       address@hidden with `subscribe'
                       in the body.
  - address@hidden: General GNU/Hurd user questions.  To subscribe, send
                       an email to address@hidden with subscribe
                       in the body.
  - address@hidden:  Hurd and Mach development and bug reports.  To
                       subscribe, send an email to address@hidden
                       with subscribe in the body.
  - address@hidden:   Porting the Hurd to the L4 microkernel.  To
                       subscribe, send an email to address@hidden
                       with `subscribe' in the body.
  - address@hidden:  Maintenance of the GNU/Hurd webpages.  To subscribe,
                       send an email to address@hidden with
                       `subscribe' in the body.

The Hurd FAQ:

        http://web.walfield.org/papers/hurd-faq/

Contributions
-------------

A common question is: How can I contribute?  There are many tasks that
need to be done:

  - Help update the web pages at http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd.
    Contact address@hidden
  - Write documentation.
  - Port applications.  Contact address@hidden
  - Write code.  Contact address@hidden  Look at:
    http://www.debian.org/ports/hurd/hurd-devel,
    http://savannah.gnu.org/cgi-bin/viewcvs/~checkout~/hurd/hurd/tasks,
    http://savannah.gnu.org/cgi-bin/viewcvs/~checkout~/hurd/hurd/TODO,
  - Send feedback.  This is, of course, the most important task of all:
    Help us help others.


Happy Hacking.




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