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UKUUG Linux Developers' Conference
Linux 2002
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4 - 7 July 2002
Bristol

Marcus Brinkmann (Germany)

The GNU Hurd

The Hurd is the GNU project's replacement for the UNIX kernel. It is a multi-server system on top of the Mach microkernel. The Hurd servers run as user space programs and use inter-process communication to provide the features of the Hurd. They implement filesystems, authentication, network protocols, and other features commonly found in the UNIX kernel or similar kernels. Breaking up the traditionally monolithical system code into logical components brings advantages like easy extensibility and fault tolerance.

The GNU C library provides a POSIX-compatible API to user applications. It implements the POSIX features partly itself, partly by relying on functionality provided by the Hurd servers. This is the default personality of the Hurd system, so new users should feel immediately at home in this environment. However, whereever possible in the POSIX standard, care has been taken to remove arbitrary limits that restrict the user, in favour of less constraining, scalable solutions. The underlying Hurd server interfaces, while being used to implement the POSIX standard, are not restricted by it.

The opportunity has been taken to redesign UNIX and to fix some of its problems. One example is the security model, which allows users to restrict and extend permissions. Another example is the reduction of system code, which allows users to take advantage of the Hurd's design and extend or replace parts of the system by their own implementations. To cooperate, no mutual trust is necessary between system servers and servers provided by untrusted users.

In my talk I will give an overview of the Hurd's design, its implementation, and how it compares to monolithical kernels such as Linux.


Programme Timetable Dinner Call for Papers
Location Accommodation Booking Form Exhibition


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