15 Jun 2005 mbanck   » (Journeyer)

High time for some Hurd updates I say.

Since FOSDEM, a lot of things happened, except Marcus finishing SysV shared memory support... However, he intensively studied and discussed kernel capabilities with the L4 people in order to improve the Hurd/L4 framework and recently returned and submitted a patch for proxy memory objects in GNU Mach, which is one of the prerequisites for shared memory, so hopefully this will be sorted out soon.

Neal was incredibly productive, he first finished the second part of his Hurd/L4 virtual memory framework and then took a while off Hurd/L4 in favour of improving Hurd/Mach. He fixed a couple of test-suite failures in libpthread, implemented POSIX semaphores, came up with a Mach alloc tuning patch which improved overall system stability quite a lot and then fixed pflocal so that the orbit test suite passes and gamin does not freeze the whole system on startup. He further hacked a lot on gamin, fixing a couple of bugs and most importantly contributing a native Hurd back-end. He also helped with porting all over the place.

Other upstream hacking included some great work done by Gianluca on unionfs, implementing write support. He also managed to get oskit drivers running on GNU Mach-1.x, which might improve hardware support considerably. Marco did not have much time for Hurd hacking over the last months, but now he appears to be back after he graduated from school and committed to writing a native TCP/IP stack over summer. For Hurd/L4, Mathieu Lemerre ported a simple IDE driver, so that port will probably pick up speed again soon. He is also working on memory allocation.

As for porting, I managed to get GNOME mostly working, although it is quite a bit more sluggish than on Linux and not all applications are ported yet. But Neal's work on the Hurd's pflocal, orbit and gamin made it at least possible to fully start up GNOME (screenshot). The remaining patching I had to do were due to minor portability issues or disabling functionality the Hurd does not yet have (mostly sound/gstreamer). Since the upload of GNOME-2.10 into unstable, we started uploading GNOME packages to ftp.debian.org directly as bugs are now getting fixed rather fast.

I also managed to build Qt packages and run Qt-Designer successfully. I announced their availability, but nothing happened for some time until Oleksandr Shneyder stepped up declaring his intention to port KDE to the Hurd. He had some initial problems but then managed to port kdelibs and then the whole of KDE in a couple of days (screenshot).

Last but not least, Colin Watson started looking into porting Debian-Installer to GNU/Hurd, an area we quite lacked at, as the K-series ISOs are still using potato's boot-floppies and crosshurd is a mere hack (though a very nice one). Hopefully this will mean that it will get increasingly easy to install Debian GNU/Hurd soon. Due to his efforts, we now also got a working OpenSSH again, which even has X11-forwarding fixed.

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