it has been more than three years since the last "Bits from the Debian
GNU/Hurd porters", high time for an update on the port.
* Snapshot releases
Three new snapshot releases have been done by Philip Charles, K14, K15
(which was only done as an updated mini CD-ISO, not a full snapshot),
and K16. K16 has been released on December 18th, 2007 featuring four
CDs or two DVDs. Additionally, it also features a ready-to-go
qemu-image for the first time. K16 was also the first snapshot which
included TLS (Thread Local Storage), a requirement for modern glibcs.
New ported packages include Qt3, Qt4, SDL and Emacs22.
* Base and toolchain status
Currently, most base packages are current, with the notable exception of
util-linux, which has been a big problem over the last years. However,
Samuel Thibault got all outstanding issues of util-linux applied
upstream so the version in experimental is mostly working. The
toolchain is in pretty good shape as well since TLS support got
implemented; we are using the current glibc, binutils and gcc Debian
* Xen support
Besides qemu, which can be very slow to run, a Xen DomU port for GNU
Mach has been made available by Samuel Thibault. It requires a non-PAE
hypervisor and some minor manual tweaking, but is otherwise quite
functional and stable already, see its wiki page for further
information. This will make people running the Hurd less dependent on
specific hardware, as a lot of newer computers do not work with the
underlying GNU Mach kernel anymore.
* Autobuilder availability and archive coverage improved
The percentage of packages built for Debian GNU/Hurd has improved from
40% to now nearly 60% since the last Bits from the porters. Further,
the backlog of outdated packages has been greatly reduced. This is due
to the addition of two Xen autobuilders earlier this year, which
made the hurd-i386 autobuilders far more robust and fault-tolerant as
they not need local admin attention anymore in case of problems with the
The remaining 40% of packages are either waiting for other packages to
become available (see  for a (big) graph of those relationships) or
are failing for some reason; a complete list of build failures can be
found at .
* Developer machine
We are currently working on getting a general DD-accessible porter box
setup. In the meantime, interested people can contact
hurd-shel...@gnu.org to get an account on one of the publically
accessible (Debian) GNU/Hurd developer machines. For further details,
* Summer of Code 2008
This year, the GNU Hurd participated as its own organization at Google's
Summer of Code, thanks to the coordination done by Olaf Buddenhagen.
All of the 5 projects were carried out quite successfully. The most
practically relevant project for Debian GNU/Hurd was the implementation
of a procfs translator by Madhusudan C.S., which provides a
traditional Unix-style /proc file system and the subsequent porting of
the procps package, so utilities like pgrep etc. will be available after
lenny, and procps Build-Depends no longer need to be special-cased on
Other GSoC projects were lisp bindings by Flavio Cruz, better system
debugging and tracing by Andrei Barbu, namespace-based translator
selection by Sergiu Ivanov and network virtualization by Zheng Da. More
information on the details and outcome of those projects can be found on
* Still no debian-installer
Unfortunately, the Debian GNU/Hurd port still lacks d-i support. On the
other hand, debootstrap now mostly works, even to cross-debootstrap a
hurd-i386 installation from GNU/Linux, if one works around bug #498731.
A relatively easy solution could be to use the GNU/Linux d-i to
cross-install and setup a Debian GNU/Hurd system. People who have
experience in d-i and possibly Debian GNU/Hurd are more than welcome to
contact us at debia...@lists.debian.org.
for the Debian GNU/Hurd porters,