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GNU/Hurd Plans For A Future With USB, SATA, 64-Bit

Free Software

Published on 10 February 2013 01:12 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
22 Comments

While GNU/Hurd isn't on par yet with GNU/Linux in terms of kernel functionality and hardware support, the developers do have plans for the future and a surprising number of user-space packages are now building on a GNU/Hurd platform.

The current state of GNU/Hurd when it comes to hardware support is that the kernel is i686 capable, there is a ported Linux 2.6.32 drivers layer for network adapters, basic support for IDE / SCSI / PCMCIA / Xorg, and Xen PV DomU support. Among the major lacking features though is no support at all right now for USB, sound, and Serial ATA drives.

When it comes to software support that's compatible with Richard Stallman's kernel, it's considered "quite stable", the OS can run for quite a while before needing any reboots (there are some memory leaks remaining), about 78% of the Debian archive builds out of the tree, there is a Debian GNU/Hurd installation CD, there will be unofficial Debian "Wheezy" CDs with the Hurd kernel, and there is a Nix-based distribution that uses the Hurd kernel.

The KVM / Xen support is deemed as "not satisfactory, even if good support" and the DDE layer for device drivers will continue to leverage Linux drivers but still needs to be maintained and more code needs to be ported from the Linux kernel.

GNU/Hurd Plans For A Future With USB, SATA, 64-Bit


Future work being planned by Hurd developers includes doing the actual Debian GNU/Hurd Wheezy release, providing Xen PVH support, write a Serial ATA (SATA) driver, x86_64/64-bit support, language bindings support for translators, read-ahead capabilities, HDD/Sound/USB support, and a possible official Debian GNU/Hurd release in time for the "Jessie" release that will succeed Wheezy.

The status update and bits of future plans for the Hurd micro-kernel were shared last weekend at FOSDEM 2013 in a presentation by Samuel Thibault. Slides for the presentation with more information about Hurd can be found here (PDF). For more details on the Hurd version of Debian, read Test Driving GNU Hurd, With Benchmarks Against Linux.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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