||06-27-2013 01:36 PM
Debian has released the first usable snapshot of its port to the GNU Hurd kernel
More at LWN...
Debian has released the first usable snapshot of its port to the GNU Hurd kernel (or, technically speaking, a microkernel and its servers). The snapshot is still very much a work-in-progress, and the announcement makes it clear that the system is not to be taken as an "official Debian release," but it still makes for an interesting look at the microkernel-based Hurd. A significant portion of the Debian archive runs on the snapshot, which provides a convenient way to test drive a Hurd system, although those using it should be ready for a few problems.
The release was announced on May 22. Officially dubbed Debian GNU/Hurd 2013, the system is based on a snapshot of Debian Sid at the time when the stable Debian 7.0 ("Wheezy") release was made, so most of the software packages are based on the same source as their Wheezy counterparts. Three forms of installation media are available for downloading from Debian Ports: CD images, DVD images, and Debian network install (netinst) images. There are also disk images available with the release pre-installed, which can be run on compatible hardware or in virtual machines.
It's Debian, but not as we know it
"Compatible hardware" is a bit of a tricky subject. The Hurd port of Debian is in most ways the same operating system as Debian GNU/Linux, albeit without the Linux kernel underneath. But Hurd itself is not as mature as Linux, nor does it support as wide a range of hardware, so there are limitations. Debian GNU/Hurd 2013 is available for the 32-bit x86 architecture only, and Hurd can currently only make use of one CPU (or CPU core). That is to say, it will still run on multi-core and SMP machines, but only utilizing a single processor. There are plans in the works for a 64-bit Hurd system layer that would support a 32-bit user space, but that appears to be a ways off. Addressing the single-processor limitation is also on the roadmap, but considerably further out.