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Re: design goals vs mechanisms (was: Re: Let's do some coding :-)

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: design goals vs mechanisms (was: Re: Let's do some coding :-)
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 20:06:09 -0400

On Thu, 2005-10-27 at 01:06 +0200, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>    Furthermore, doesn't really explain why GNU/Linux is not
>    sufficient.
> Because the goal of the GNU project is to create the GNU system, which
> doesn't use Linux as its kernel.

Why?  [Wait! This is a serious question!]

In the past several weeks, we have spent a great deal of time talking
about what Hurd should *not* be. We have started to identify some
low-level goals that would make the Hurd something different from what
has gone before in a very basic and fundamental way. Some of you think
that these are good, and some of you think that they are debatable.

What I want to ask now is: what *should* Hurd be? *How* (concretely!)
should it be different from Linux? In what way should the user have an
experience that is not the conventional UNIX/Linux experience? What are
the user experience goals we want that do not fit well as enhancements
to some existing system?

I do not intend to advocate Linux with this question. On the contrary, I
am hoping that a serious set of interesting goals will emerge for Hurd,
and that we will be able to capture them.

In my opinion, "because Linux sucks" is not a good enough answer. The
amount of work that it takes to build an operating system is
overwhelming. I have put 15 years of my life and several million dollars
of my personal funds into such an effort.[1] The reason to do it needs
to be something better than "because those other guys are idiots."

It should be something positive, not something negative. There should be
something at the end that you can point to and say "That thing is what
we did, and it changed something important, and it mattered." Perhaps
there is more than one something.

So: what is the vision for Hurd?


[1] Yes, my money actually *is* where my mouth is. But I must say that
money does not taste very good, and I would prefer a normal meal.

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