2019-01: hurd revisited

How far has HURD gotten? from hurd


Debian supporting Hurd kernel? GO DEBIAN GO! 🙂

grab an iso here: https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/ports/current-hurd-i386/

There are several different ways to run a GNU/Hurd system:

requirements: will run in VirtualBox on host CentOS7 64Bit

  • disk controller IDE or AHCI
    • Neither RAID nor SCSI are supported.
  • network controller PCnet-PCI II or PCNet-FAST III for instance.
    • INTEL PRO or Paravirtualized Network do not work.
  • make sure you have enough harddisk space… 😀

You can also get a pre-installed image and run it in qemu:

$ wget http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/ports/current-hurd-i386/debian-hurd.img.tar.gz
$ tar xzf debian-hurd.img.tar.gz
$ kvm -m 1G -drive file=$(echo debian-hurd*.img),cache=writeback

or convert it to the VDI format for virtualbox:

$ VBoxManage convertfromraw debian-hurd-*.img debian-hurd.vdi --format vdi



selecting 64bit works as well… it automatically sets hd controller as IDE

and network controller as the recommended PCnet Fast 3

nothing a bit has changed on the boot screen in the last 2 years X-D

setup is straight forward as any debian setup 🙂 GOOD JOB! (netherlands seem to have the monopoly on debian hurd repositories).

the no gui setup worked flawlessly… while not using 100% of the harddisk space of 1TB.

now i am trying to setup hurd with LXDE… wish me luck.



In December 1991 the primary architect of the Hurd described the name as a mutually recursive acronym:[7]

It’s time [to] explain the meaning of „Hurd“. „Hurd“ stands for „Hird of Unix-Replacing Daemons“. And, then, „Hird“ stands for „Hurd of Interfaces Representing Depth“. We have here, to my knowledge, the first software to be named by a pair of mutually recursive acronyms.


„1984 i started developing a free replacement for unix“

„in 1992 we had almost the entire GNU system but one essential important component was missing – the kernel“

„in 1992 linus liberated it – so the incomplete GNU system and the linux kernel combined gave a full system – so it’s the GNU+Linux system… so please call it GNU-Linux not just Linux – treat us right.“

GNU/Hurd builds upon many of the Unix concepts and extends them to either add new functionality or to fix what has been perceived as flaws in the original design. The most noticeable difference is translators, user space programs which interact with the VFS. These filesystems do not live in the kernel nor do they need to be run as root; they only need access to the backing store and the

mount point

. Another difference is that processes, rather than having a single user identity fixed at creation time, have identity tokens which are disjoint from the process, i.e. they may be added with the appropriate permission from an authority or destroyed.

Being familiar with the Unix environment (and especially GNU userland, found in popular variants such as GNU/Linux) is an imperative for feeling at ease in GNU. Having experience with the Debian tools will also prove invaluable to the configuration and maintenance of a GNU/Hurd box.

This guide endeavors to make installing GNU/Hurd as painless a process as possible.

If there are errors, they are most certainly the author’s. Please report them, along with any other suggestions or criticisms, to him; all are gladly accepted. (src)


You can simply use the Debian installer, see the prepared CD images. Then the following steps will be needed for proper configuration.



try the DVD version: http://ftp.ports.debian.org/debian-ports-cd/hurd-i386/current/debian-hurd-2017-i386-DVD-1.iso

and try to run it as VM in Hyper-V 😀

of course there are no non-free drivers for ms virtual network cards 😀

detecting two harddisks where there should be only one… maybe one is virtual…



… but i really don’t know how to setup networking, LXDE, ifconfig and so on 😀

What is it about?

„The mission of the Hurd project is: to create a general-purpose kernel suitable for the GNU operating system, which is viable for everyday use, and gives users and programs as much control over their computing environment as possible.“

„I didn’t mention that it must be entirely free software, as this should be obvious to anyone familiar with GNU.“ (src)

I am not Stallman but i would add:

Malcolm Douglas McIlroy: „Everything was small… and my heart sinks for Linux when I see the size of it. […]“ (src)

in other words: complexity is death – break it down in fixable (micro) parts!