mintCast 178 – We Tried Hurd To Like It!

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  • Cinnamon 2.0 feature-freeze – The new DE will be featured in the end of November within Linux Mint 16 Petra, and later backported to Linux Mint 13 Maya LTS and LMDE. (
  • Ubuntu 13.10 Desktop Will Not Use XMir By Default – While the Ubuntu 13.10 desktop was expected to ship with Mir/XMir by default for supported configurations, this is no longer going to happen. (
  • After switching 37,000 PCs to Ubuntu, French Armed Forces says open source cuts costs 40 percent – The French Gendarmerie, a branch of the French Armed Forces in charge of public safety, has been a leader in moving away from proprietary software in recent years. (

Main Topic: The GNU Hurd (

  • The GNU Hurd is the GNU project’s replacement for the Unix kernel. It is a collection of servers that run on the Mach microkernel to implement file systems, network protocols, file access control, and other features that are implemented by the Unix kernel or similar kernels.
  • Advantages of the Hurd (
  • Mach is a first-generation microkernel. A microkernel implements a minimal number of abstractions that facilitate the realization of operating system services. (gnumach)
  • The Mach Interface Generator (MIG) is an IDL compiler. It hides the details of Mach’s IPC and port machinery and make it easy to implement and use Mach interfaces. (gnu_mig)
  • Translators – A translator is simply a normal program acting as an object server and participating in the Hurd’s distributed virtual file system. (translator)

Website:  GNU Hurd Distibutions

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Podcast Entry and exit music provided by Mark Blasco ( The podcast bumpers were provided by Oscar.

4 Replies to “mintCast 178 – We Tried Hurd To Like It!”

  1. Kerry

    I’ve began listening to your podcast since around Easter time of this year as I bought a new PC (without wasting money on Windows) and installed Mint KDE. Firefox was pre-installed and on the bookmarks bar was a link to the Mint podcast and hey presto since then I’ve listened (usually not live however as I’m in the UK). Anyway to get to the point of this reply I wanted to tell you how I got GNU Hurd up and running in Virtualbox in less than 30 minutes. I’m not sure if you tried it this way or were trying to install from an installation CD but this worked for me:

    1. As detailed on the Debian ports page ( there is a link to the current version ftp site. (
    2. On that ftp site there is a link to YES_REALLY_README.txt ( which I looked at and this details how to get a pre-installed image for GNU Hurd.
    3. In the section title ‘Pre-installed images’ of the above YES_REALLY_README.txt I followed the istructions to ‘wget’ the GNU Hurd .img file and to convert it to .vdi format.
    4. Next I started up the VirtualBox Manager GUI. And created a new Virtual machine. I titled it GNU Hurd and made the OS ‘Other’ and Version ‘Other/Unknown’. Click next
    4. I just accepted the default Memory option on the next dialogue. Click next.
    5. Now on the next dialogue it asks about the Virtual Hard Disk. This is where I selected ‘Use existing hard disk’ and used the File browser button (that becomes enabled when existing disk is selected’ to navigate to my .vdi image created in step 3.
    6. Click ‘Next’ and then on the final dialogue click ‘Create’. This creates the machine ready for use.
    7. In my list of virtual machines, started GNU Hurd where it booted up and got to the login prompt. Entered ‘root’ as the user and it logged in ok.

    I’m running a fairly modern i7 with an NVidia graphics GT640 card and you may be also interested in knowing I have had experience in using QNX, a commercial Real-Time OS which is *nix like but is based on the same micro-kernel philosophy so I was particularly interested in this current podcast of yours. I’ve also set up QNX virtual machine but not without a few issues.

    Hope the above was useful.

  2. mockturtl

    39:00 — OS X is Darwin.

    In the context of inter-process communication, port means one end of a socket. (Hey, isn’t that like networking?) It’s an address; a source or sink for a message stream; a thing you read from and write to. (Hey, isn’t that a file?)

    In the context of BSD (OS X, Gentoo), port means software package, as in “porting an application to a new platform.”

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