Over on the GNU.org Hurd news page
is a status update for the GNU Hurd operating system for Q2'2011.
The Q2'2011 update for the long-in-development GNU Hurd operating system says that Java is coming to Hurd this summer as part of Google Summer of Code, but in the process of porting Java, the student is also filling in some parts of Hurd's componentry in order to handle the Java run-time.
Additionally, the first Debian GNU/Hurd spins with a graphical installer is now available. It's publicly available here
. Debian GNU/Hurd can run within a KVM/QEMU virtualized environment, but it's hardware support is still shoddy (the network adapter support is limited to what was found in the Linux 2.0 kernel, for instance).
Debian also plans to release an official Debian GNU/Hurd variant with the "Wheezy" release. There's still quite a bit of time left as Debian Wheezy isn't scheduled to be released until late 2012 or early 2013.
Lastly, there's monetary bounties being offered to work on GNU Hurd. Among the "open issues" for GNU Hurd bounties include supporting the Google Go and ADA programming languages, libc variant selection, and improving GNU Mach memory management.
For those that might not be familiar with the Hurd, it's a free software GPL-licensed kernel that's been in development since 1990. GNU Hurd runs on the GNU Mach micro-kernel rather than a traditional monolithic kernel design. GNU Hurd hasn't advanced nearly as much as the Linux kernel has over the past 21 years, but there's still people working on it as an alternative. The Debian GNU/Hurd port is to be similar to the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port that pairs the GNU user-land from Debian with the FreeBSD kernel, except it will be with the Hurd kernel and Debian user-land. Similarly, there's been Arch Hurd and Gentoo Hurd efforts in the past.