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Re: A few questions: Libre SoC, website, Rust

From: Samuel Thibault
Subject: Re: A few questions: Libre SoC, website, Rust
Date: Sun, 16 Aug 2020 16:39:12 +0200
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170609 (1.8.3)


Jan Wielkiewicz, le sam. 15 août 2020 18:51:27 +0200, a ecrit:
> I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but there's a compeletely libre
> CPU+GPU OpenPOWER chip in development and I think supporting it in
> the Hurd will be crucial for free software.
> https://libre-soc.org/

That would be interesting indeed.

> The developers are open to contributors and I think it is could be
> possible to get a grant from NLNet foundation for porting the Hurd to
> PowerPC (or whatever the architecture actually is).

More than a grant, it's people that we would need (yes, a grant could
help here but in the end it's people that matter).

> My objective is: x86 processors are really hostile towards user freedom
> due to backdoors like Intel ME or AMD PSP, the ISA itself is
> proprietary, that's why porting the Hurd to x86_64 is even less
> important than porting it to PowerPC.

"Important" is a delicate word to say.

Being able to work on people's hardware is also a very important thing.
You won't attract people to your OS if it can only run on some "obscure"
hardware. Supporting x86 remains some must, and porting to 64bit will be
the most efficient way of fixing the pending year-2038 issue.

Also, we need to port to 64bit at all at some point. It's way easier to
do this from something that works (i386) than from scratch. And then a
powerpc64 port (or whatever 64bit port) will be much easier since the
64bit question will have been solved.

> Do you have anything against if I and my friend modernized the website?
> It looks like abandonware and is really harmful for the project.

It depends what you call "modernization". Putting javascript etc. is
basically a no-go. Redesign the css etc. would probably be useful
indeed. But also we need somebody to keep up with the
quarter-of-the-hurd just to mention on the website what is actually

> The main page would be dedicated to promoting the project and would be
> graphically appealing to convince the visitor the project is not dead.

I will probably never understand the reasoning behind "graphically
appealing => is alive", but I guess that's the world we live in.

> The current page could be moved to a wiki section or somewhere else.

It is already a wiki.

> Do you have anything against Rust contributions into the project? My
> friend is interested in contributing, but unfortunately in Rust, not C.
> I wonder if rump drivers could be written in Rust, thanks
> to the Hurd's modular architecture.

Yes, some things could be done in rust. But rust would need to be ported
first. I did have a look, and the work needed there (basically, explain
rust the API of each and every function provided by libc, while rust
could merely read it from the .h files) discouraged me quite a bit.

That being said, see fsf's concern about the "rust" trademark:


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