GNU Hurd Hardware Support Remains In Very Rough Shape For 2018

Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 4 February 2018 at 04:12 PM EST. 32 Comments
Yesterday at FOSDEM 2018 Hurd developer Samuel Thibault talked about the work done on this GNU kernel for a PCI arbiter to allow different user-land drivers to access PCI devices concurrently. During this PCI arbiter talk he also went over the current state of the hardware support and recent achievements for GNU Hurd.

Sadly, the hardware state is pretty much the same as what he summarized two years ago at FOSDEM. GNU Hurd remains mainly focused on i686 kernel support, their 64-bit kernel can now boot but overall is in rough shape, their layer for getting network cards working remains based off the Linux 2.6.32 drivers, there is IDE and AHCI driver support for SATA, preliminary sound support through the userland Rump, etc.

But besides not yet having suitable x86-64 support, GNU Hurd also still lacks support for USB devices... in 2018. Hurd development began back in 1990.

In terms of the software support, they are still able to build around 80% of the Debian archive on GNU Hurd with almost GNOME and almost KDE while Xfce seems to be in best shape for Hurd. Some recent work by the Hurd developers include highmem support for handling more than 4GB of RAM, the LwIP TCP/IP stack, distributed system support with netmsg, and various optimizations and stabilization improvements.

The 2018 Hurd details can be found from the PDF slides and the video recording of this FOSDEM 2018 presentation is available via WebM.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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