Gnu Hurd

The GnuHurd is the GnuProject's replacement for the UnixKernel. The GnuHurd is a collection of servers that run on the MachMicrokernel (soon under the EllFour microkernel too) to implement file systems, network protocols, file access control, and other features that are implemented by the UnixKernel or similar kernels (such as GnuLinux).

Currently, the GnuHurd runs on IA32 machines. The GnuHurd should, and probably will, be ported to other hardware architectures or other MicroKernels in the future. The EllFour subprojects hurd-l4 and fabrica are currently the most active subprojecs of the Hurd on savannah. See and

Look for further informations on

Hurd stands for HirdOfUnixReplacingDaemons. And, then, Hird stands for HurdOfInterfacesRepresentingDepth. Here we probably have the first software to be named by a pair of mutually RecursiveAcronyms.

When doing the first announcement for Linux on 5 October of 1991, Linus wrote in comp.os.minix:
Do you pine for the nice days of Minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers? Are you without a nice project and just dying to cut your teeth on a OS you can try to modify for your needs? Are you finding it frustrating when everything works on Minix? No more all-nighters to get a nifty program working? Then this post might be just for you.
As I mentioned a month ago, I'm working on a free version of a Minix-lookalike for AT-386 computers. It has finally reached the stage where it's even usable (though may not be depending on what you want), and I am willing to put out the sources for wider distribution. It is just version 0.02...but I've successfully run bash, gcc, gnu-make, gnu-sed, compress, etc. under it.
Replace 'Minix' with 'Linux' and you get the idea of the GNU Hurd. ;-) No, the Hurd is really more usable than Linux 0.02 and it is similar, but not that much like a LinuxOperatingSystem. And do not even think about running it on a 386.

The development of the GNU Hurd now collaborates with the DebianProject on DebianGnuHurd.

If you are interested in giving GnuHurd a try, visit and

While GnuHurd was a long time coming, it really is an actual, honest-to-god piece of software that you can run on your computer now. In the intervening years, though, the BSDs and Linux have stolen its thunder, and it's not attracting that much interest.

Until now! I downloaded the tarball today and hope to get it running. I would like a LinuxVsHurd discussion. -- TechnoKid?.

I installed Debian's Hurd distribution without too much trouble, though it doesn't seem to work in VMware. -- LukeGorrie

It boots within Bochs (very slow), but there are random vm errors when I'm running the installation script. -- rc

So it's a Free, Unrestricted C++ Kernel, right? (Wow, that was juvenile. I'm not signing this.)

No, the Hurd is written in C. ...which (fortunately?) keeps the joke intact.

Not particularly related, but when RichardStallman was trying to get gcc started, he wanted to base it on some software called the Free University Compiler Kit(Although it was Dutch, so the joke has to be translated.)

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