[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Grand Unified System Installer (hurd distro) + my taughts and commen

From: Arne Babenhauserheide
Subject: Re: Grand Unified System Installer (hurd distro) + my taughts and comments - new to hurd contributions, only taking my head out of the sand now.
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2009 10:56:01 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.12.0 (Linux/2.6.30-hh2; KDE/4.2.98; x86_64; ; )

Hi Ivan, 

Welcome to the active writers on the bug-hurd list! 
(since you've been here for a while a simple welcome might be out of place ;) 

Am Freitag, 24. Juli 2009 00:29:19 schrieb Ivan Malone:
> This will be a long post. And I hope I dont bore you. This is my first
> attempt at contributing in a meanfull and full-time way to Hurd and GNU
> in general. Have patience with me :D

I hope you don't mind that I only answer the parts I understand and can 
contribute - even if it's only encouragement :) 

> I've managed to get Hurd built from source many times (and killed it as
> often) and I'm really enjoying migrating from linux to the ideas
> presented in Hurd. Kudos to your work. I find it hard to believe you
> dont have more developers because Hurd seems a natural progression (in
> my opinion) from the current style kernels and I find it hard to
> understand the resistance I get from my friends and co-workers whenever
> I bring up the Hurd. (especially when I mention hurd was around before
> linux.. jeez. even i knew that!)

Well, the Hurd got this damn reputation that it is never going to be 
finished... and I think it's quite undeserved. 

I'm working on slowly killing off that reputation (that's why I started the 
monthly news). 

I think reasons are, that 

* The Hurd has many Linus/Linux fanboys against it (especially since it was 
the earlier kernel). There were many flames on microkernel vs. monolithic 
kernel in the founding time, and I think these still stick for many. 

* The Hurd had a very unaccessible website about 4 years ago (that's when I 
tried to find information on the Hurd for my informatics course at university 
- I didn't even manage to find out *if* the hurd was active - or where to 

* The Hurd didn't manage to get off the ground as fast as Linux in the 
beginning, and it didn't get to a working state fast enough, so people decided 
that Linux was the winning project. 

* The Hurd held high goals, and people always compared it against the 
"ultimate" goal. That way most people where always disappointed. (as they 
would have been, if GNU/Linux had been advertised as windows-alternative for 
your grandma 10 years ago). 

These are just my ideas, though, and other people will definitely know far 
more about the topic. 

> 1) Is the reason for using dpkg on hurd atm to manage packages because
> of the hurds current association with Debian, in that they use it in
> Debian and seen as they are supporting hurd it was a natural
> progression?

Debian decided to explicitely support the Hurd, and today most Hurd releases 
are done via the Debian Hurd CDs. 

> Or just maybe because something was needed and apt was
> there waiting to be used. Or do you find yourself installing your own
> packages by hand and compiling what you need yourselves the majority of
> the time.

I stick to debian packages. 

> 2) Is the GNU Package Management system thats under development realy on
> the right track in your opinion? Do you see it been the final package
> management system on hurd... given some of the ultimate goals and idea's
> that Hurd is attempting to achieve (from what i understand). I wont go
> into specifics but just interested in opinions in the most general
> sense.

I'd love to see a unionmout based package management system :) 

Every user could then just install new programs over previous ones without 
having to use root rights - and without disturbing anyone else. 

No more installing programs to ~/bin and adding that to the PATH. Instead we 
could just unionmount the programs files into /bin or /usr/bin. 

> Apt, Portage (gentoo package management) and the GNU Package Manager are
> all topics I'm looking into. Mikel Olasagisti (excuse if i spelt it
> wrong) was working on Gentoo-Hurd and I too have an interest in using
> portage (or something new based on portage/apt mix) but I believe that
> development has stalled or stopped but I'll be going back over it soon
> and hopefully get his and others taughts. Gentoo is not my distro of
> choice but I like its philosphy of installing from source.

Since Gentoo is my distro of choice, I'd love to see a Gentoo GNU/Hurd. Sadly 
I don't currently have the time to continue the work. 

Should you want to take it up, you can find all files at 

- http://www.mundurat.net/ggh/portage/

> With regard to Package Management and GIT - I think it should be much
> easier and transparent for a developer to commit work to and from GIT,

Did you know that Gentoo plans to move the portage tree to git? :) 

The sole problem is that the tree with full history will require about 1.3 GiB 
of diskspace, so many people will still stick to the rsync version. 

Updates will be much faster, though. 

>I think the role of the operating system will come down
> to just managing the local computer, providing means to communicate with
> devices (weither remote or local) and the actual software the majority
> of people use will either be service based. 

I hope that won't be true for my computer. I don't really like to give other 
people control over my files/programs. 

And since I also don't want to use DRM systems, the administrator of a remote 
machine will always have the option of changing the remote programs, and thus 
any security is moot. 

> Emails, Mailing list, Instant Messengers, VoIP, Web Browsing - they all
> form a means of communication - but what if someone never uses Mailing
> lists or forums, what if your friend isn't using an instant messenger,
> what if this or that - surly there is a better way to some how merge all
> these mediums so that that its irrilevent what the medium is.

You could just clustr your communications around your address book and specify 
the communication medium there. Then sending a message would just mean to 
select your contact and say "send a message". Your address book would then 
choose the best medium. 

Maybe it could even use in-message information to update the information about 
the best way to get in contact. 

> This is grand. And you can type apt-get install lynx and off you go. I'm
> not saying it should be installed by default but I am saying that where
> a known command was not found it should instead do something like this
> ~/lynx http://www.gnu.com
> The 'lynx' interface is not up or the lynx software is not installed on
> your system. Would you like to bring it up/install it now?
> [u=up/i=install/c=cancel] - u (choose to bring it up)

You'd "just" need a database of available progams which can be accessed 

> So far I've a few hundred (ugly) looking scripts and some c code to
> manage dependancies, compiling, downloading, checking, configuration etc
> but obviously this will need to evolve beyond scripting to something
> more real and dependable.

If I understand this correctly, this means, you implemented your own package 

> The Live CD will be universal. In a sense it is not a distro in itself
> but a universal tool. It will ideally be run on Hurd. Hurd will allow
> the user to choose what Linux/BSD Distribution he wants to install or
> configure including the latest Hurd from source.

This sounds like a big task. 

Does it mean I could just say "please install me a Gentoo GNU/Hurd system"? 

So it would be some sort of meta LiveCD? 

> I think its time the Hurd took the spot light. I know its not stable. I
> know its not production ready. But I think in a limited context it can
> be.

You'd first have to improve device support. 

>       * A method to install (and update) a Hurd system (xwindows too)
>         that everyone use. This wont be like Debian Hurd or Gentoo Hurd.
>         I would prefer if this was just GNU/Hurd. 


>         just a Hurd system thats not tied or relying upon another
>         Project but would have good relations with other Hurds.

This would mean, you'd have to manage everything yourself. 

To put that in perspective: Gentoo has about 400 developers working in their 
free time to keep the tree up to date and improving the system. Just for 
keeping a big tree up to date, you'd likely need at least 200 developers. 

So you could either say "we only ship a very limited range of packages" (like 
for example PuppyLinux) or use another distro as base and sync with it. 

Otherwise maintenance is the main cost of the package manager. 

> everyone can get a standard very basic hurd system up and running, we
> dont need GNOME or KDE or fancy effects for production systems.

You severly limit your users that way. KDE is the reason why I stick to a 
GNU/Linux box for production use - as long as the Hurd can't support my KDE, I 
can't use it for my production system but only for testing. 

Maybe I'm a bit too much mainstream user, but I don't really mind that. 
Instead I remember my time as MacUser, and that a GUI for everything is really 
important to most users. 

> Other things, beyond this goal and out of scope I'm looking into along
> the lines of file systems is DragonFly BSD's Hammer file system. I'm
> interested in porting this to Hurd and expect to begin real work on it
> later this year once I get the LiveCD Working.

I don't know much about Hammer, but if you want to port it to Hurd, please go 
for it! 

What are its advantages over ext3? 

> LiveCD Hurd (grand unified system installer) – Gusi.
> Base Hurd System (no name yet, was toying with Ostrix)
> Hurd based Bootable recovery Partition for all our clients machines
> (recovery, backups, cloning, emergency recovery)

Does that mean, you'll use it for in a commercial project? 
(would be great to have commercial Hurd users!)

> Porting Hammer to Hurd.
> Package Manager Specification for Hurd (like portage, gnu, or apt)

> Anyway, taughts, critisims, direction, advice, comments are more than
> welcome.

I can mostly talk about package managers: That's a damn big task, and just 
keeping the software tree up to date takes a huge team, so I wouldn't 
implement something new from scratch. 

But maybe PackageKit can help you managing stuff with different package 

- http://www.packagekit.org/pk-intro.html

> Thank you for reading... I hope it wasn't too painfull

I regularly stumbled over "taught", but else, it simpyl was very long :) 

Oh damn, I just saw that my answer also grew too out of bounds. Well, I hope 
reading the answer wasn't too painful for you, either ;) 

Best wishes, 

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- 
   - singing a part of the history of free software -

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: This is a digitally signed message part.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]