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Re: New user

From: Marcus Brinkmann
Subject: Re: New user
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 14:51:26 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.3i

On Wed, May 21, 2003 at 12:02:46AM -0700, Andrej Czapszys wrote:
> Hello.  I'm relatively new to the Hurd.  After building from CVS, I'm 
> rather impressed with the current state.  That being said, I was mildly 
> surprised at the lack of these features:
> * devfs

Arguably a good idea.  Maybe for parts of the devices individual wrappers
could be written, like to generate device files for all partitions on the
disk.  A more complete one, or even a translator covering the whole dev
directory, well, dunno.  Try it out, it should be fairly easy (once you get
into the Hurd way).

> * procfs

Neal once wrote one, but we lack a proper library to make it easy to write
these type of filesystems.  libnetfs needs some reworking (and a new name :)

> * /etc/ld.so.conf

The new Debian packages will use it, as they will use the same linker as
GNU/Linux.  Officially, Alfred gave the right answer.

> * /dev/random, /dev/urandom

David is working on an entroy driver for oskit, and I wrote a translator for
it, so it is almost finished.

> * /sbin/route

Support for several ethernet cards is there, but nobody ever designed a nice
routing RPC interface.  It's probably worthless to attempt to hack this into
pfinet, but there are people writing a new tcp/ip stack, maybe you want to
help them.

> I'd say that /etc/ld.so.conf 
> support is most important to me, since local development based on 
> third-party (oddly placed) libs can become nightmare-ish without it.

People need a good whacking with the ELF standard :)

Now, I realize that RPATH was specified wrong, so I understand what you
mean.  And as I said, for the impatient out there, who can not wait 5 years
for RUNPATH to become available, Jeff put in the hacky linker hack in the

> My professional expertise is with C and perl in that order.  However, I 
> have never done any OS development outside of school (read: XINU).  So, 
> I really need some advice like "look at xyz.c" in order to get started.

if you want to write filesystems (devfs, procfs), the hurd/*.defs files and
trans/*.c files in the Hurd are a good start.  If you want to work on
pragmatic things like ld.so.conf and porting packages, watching out on
debian-hurd and looking out for bugs and missing packages, and if you want
to write new OS features like routing protocol, then you need to read

> On a different note, since I personally find time-oriented goals to be 
> helpful, is there some sort of roadmap or equivalent detailing when we 
> would like certain features to be implemented/fixed/enhanced?  In 
> particular, what is expected of the "1.0" release mentioned on the 
> gnu.org website?

There are so many things to do that even compiling a list is tremendous
work.  The savannah page on the Hurd has a list, but it is only partial.  So
are the TODO and tasks files in CVS.  We are also working on porting the
Hurd to L4, but that is more a long term goal.


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' GNU      http://www.gnu.org    marcus@gnu.org
Marcus Brinkmann              The Hurd http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/

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