GNU Hurd information

The GNU Hurd is the GNU project's replacement for the architecture-independent services provided by the Unix kernel. The Hurd is a collection of servers that run on top of a microkernel (such as Mach) to implement file systems, network protocols, file access control, and other features.

NOTE: the Hurd still lacks many of the features you would expect in a usable kernel, so please don't try using it unless you are helping us to develop it. We will announce to the world when GNU 1.0 is ready, and at that point the Hurd will be a viable alternative to Unix-like kernels such as Linux or the BSD kernel.

The current release of the Hurd is 0.2, released on June 12, 1997. See the NEWS file for a list of changes and improvements.

In addition, we have a separate distribution of the Hurd's current microkernel, derived from the "Mach 4" distributions made by the University of Utah. Our distribution is called GNU Mach, the latest version is 1.1.3. See the NEWS file for a list of changes and improvements.

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Binary Distributions

In June 1997, we released GNU 0.2, a complete system image for PC AT compatibles with 386 or later compatible processors. This image corresponded to version 0.2 of the Hurd. Unfortunately, GNU 0.2 did not have a package management system, and so it was difficult to install and upgrade.

As of July 1998, we have joined forces with the Debian Project in order to create a new binary distribution. GNU 0.3 will look like a Debian GNU/Linux system, but will be called Debian GNU/Hurd to reflect the fact that it uses the Hurd running on Mach instead of Linux.

In the future, we plan on porting the Hurd to other kernels besides GNU Mach. One possibility would be to modify Linux so that it is capable of hosting the Hurd.


Copyright (C) 1996, 1997, 1998 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA