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Re: confusion in left frame of the website

From: Robert Millan
Subject: Re: confusion in left frame of the website
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2003 18:28:20 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.4i

On Fri, Aug 22, 2003 at 06:28:36PM +0200, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 22, 2003 at 06:02:38PM +0000, Robert Millan wrote:
> > 
> > I have already some ideas for the "GNU/Hurd" field. It could explain the
> > following points. I think it's clear enough:
> > 
> >  - The latest release of the GNU system is 0.2. It is obsolete, unusable,
> >    ABI incompatible, etc. We don't even provide a link to it.
> >  - What you want is a modern distribution of GNU/Hurd. Currently the only
> >    available distribution is Debian GNU/Hurd (efforts are there on Gentoo
> >    and others)
> > 
> > There's no room for confusion if you explain everything without ambiguity.
> This is basically what the installation page says.  If a user wants to
> install the GNU Hurd, on which link is he going to click?

There's no link for installing the Hurd. For GNU Mach we have some notes [1]
about build dependencies, cross-compiling, etc. But for the Hurd there are
no such notes. What you will find in their place are notes for installing
a Debian GNU/Hurd distribution.

It is not common for a new user to have any interest on installing the Hurd
though. Person would want to install a usable GNU/Hurd system instead having
the information for installing GNU/Hurd under "the Hurd" gives the idea that
"GNU/Hurd" and "the Hurd" are the same thing.

[1] http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/gnumach-install.html

> Can there be
> another choice than the "Installation" link under "The Hurd"?

Well I find a new section for "GNU/Hurd" is missing. It can have things like
"Installation" and "History" [2], for example.

[2] http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-history.html

> You base your suggestion on a mail on Debian GNU/Hurd.  But it is very
> common for people to call the GNU/Hurd, "the Hurd", because that is what
> they are used from elsewhere. They say BSD even if they mean the whole
> distribution,

Actualy this is correct. *BSD are complete OSes [3]. In fact, we just came up
with a new nomenclature for referring to *BSD's kernels. "KFreeBSD" means
"kernel of FreeBSD", etc. Then we have "GNU/KFreeBSD", etc. For details see

[3] I use "OS" as in full system with userland.

> and they do the same for Linux.  Some people even say "how can
> I install Linux 8.2" and they most certainly the distribution.

You know as well I do this is an old confusion the GNU project has been
deeply concerned with for almost a decade.

> So if they look for the Hurd, and mean the distribution, they will find it
> in the current web page.  I am not sure where the problem is.  Do you mean
> that the problem is that the current web page reinforces the lack of
> distinction between GNU Hurd and GNU/Hurd?  I initially thought your concern
> was that a user wouldn't find the install docs.

That's it; I don't doubt that new users will be able to find what they want
in that page. What I put into question is that new users know what they are
actualy installing.

Correct me if i am wrong, but my impression is that most new GNU/Hurd users
think they're installing and using "the Hurd". Whereas this is true in some
way (just like they're installing and using "Coreutils"), it gives a wrong
idea: that "the Hurd" and "GNU/Hurd" are actualy the same thing.

Robert Millan

"[..] but the delight and pride of Aule is in the deed of making, and in the
thing made, and neither in possession nor in his own mastery; wherefore he
gives and hoards not, and is free from care, passing ever on to some new work."

 -- J.R.R.T, Ainulindale (Silmarillion)

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