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Instead of attempting a [[history/port_to_another_microkernel]], or writing an
own one, an implementation of a Hurd system could use another existing
operating system/kernel, like [[UNIX]], for example, the Linux kernel. This is
not a [[microkernel]], but that is not an inherent hindrance; depending on what
the goals are.
There has been an attempt for building a [[Mach_on_top_of_POSIX]].
# IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-02-08
Richard's X-15 Mach re-implementation:
<braunr> and in case you didn't notice, it's stalled
<braunr> actually i don't intend to work on it for the time being
<braunr> i'd rather do as neal suggested: take linux, strip it, and give it
a mach interface
<braunr> (if your goal really is to get something usable for real world
<antrik> braunr: why would you want to strip down Linux? I think one of the
major benefits of building a Linux-Frankenmach would be the ability to
use standard Linux functionality alongside Hurd...
<braunr> we could have a linux x86_64 based mach replacement in "little"
time, with a compatible i386 interface for the hurd
<braunr> antrik: well, many of the vfs and network subsystems would be hard
<antrik> BTW, one of the talks at FOSDEM was about the possibility of using
different kernels for Genode, and pariticularily focused on the
possibilities with using Linux... unfortunately, I wasn't able to follow
the whole talk; but they mentioned similar possibilities to what I'm
envisioning here :-)
## IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-03-28
<mel__> is there currently any work going on with respect to
<antrik> mel__: no
<antrik> we have other priorities to take care of :-)
<braunr> antrik: i still intend to try giving linux a "mach personality" :)
<braunr> antrik: but i don't have much time for development currently :(
<mel__> antrik: which means that the hope is that Mach can be turned into
something really well working (i.e. secure/scalable/etc.)?
<antrik> mel__: yes, that's the venue we are pursuing
<antrik> (and IMHO the right one... though the Linux layer mentioned by
braunr is also one of my favourite projects, that we should pursue *in
parallel* to the existing Mach-based implementation)
<mel__> what is this Linux Layer exactly?
<mel__> a Linux instance running on top of Mach in parallel to Hurd
<braunr> mel__: not exactly
<braunr> mel__: it would involve adding a mach layer on top of linux
<braunr> mel__: so that linux can be used as a mach kernel
<mel__> Running Hurd on top of Linux
<braunr> ironic, yes
<braunr> but very pragmatic
<mel__> and THEN
<antrik> yeah. I most like the name: Hurd Emulation Layer on
Linux... i.e. HELL :-)
<mel__> we use a device driver framework something so that we can use Linux
device drivers in Hurd!
<mel__> on top of Linux....
<braunr> i guess a transition phase would include using in kernel drivers
directly for a while
<mel__> and somebody is working on that?
<antrik> mel__: well, for using Linux drivers we are persuing DDE, which
allows us doing that with Mach as well
<braunr> then grabbing them out of the kernel and into dde
<braunr> not yet
<antrik> (in fact we have been using Linux drivers since forever... they
just haven't been updated for ages)
<mel__> I would _guess_ that it is not that hard.
<braunr> it's not
<mel__> Basically one would need to implement the message passing interface
thing in linux I guess.
<braunr> and many exported kernel objects like tasks, threads, etc..
<braunr> and implement all the RPCs normally implemented by the kernel
<braunr> but it's doable
<antrik> mel__: the IPC aspect is one part, but probably the less tricky
one. the external pager interface is really the crucial element
<mel__> hooking into linux virtual memory stuff
<mel__> sounds delicate
<braunr> it's true that some interactions between the linux VM and file
systems (the linux equivalent of our pagers) is synchronous
<braunr> but i don't think it would be that hard considering the amount of
facilities available in linux
<braunr> it's just work, takes time, needs debugging, reviewing, testing,
<lcc> hurd on top of linux. how would that work?
<braunr> 15:30 < braunr> antrik: i still intend to try giving linux a "mach
<braunr> lcc: 7 system calls and a few hundreds of RPCs on top, the
internal magic of course, and voila ..
<antrik> of course porting Mach still requires work
<mel__> that would then be GNU/Hurd/Linux
<antrik> braunr: BTW, are you more thinking of a userspace solution on top
of standard Linux mechanisms, or additions to Linux itself?...
<antrik> (we probably talked about it already, but I don't remember all the
<braunr> antrik: adding to linux
<antrik> do you think a pure userspace solution would be realistic at all?
(at the expense of some performance of course)
<mel__> it's probably comparable to the qemu vs. qemu/kvm thing
<antrik> yeah, I guess that pretty much sums it up...
<braunr> antrik: i don't know :/
<lcc> how challenging is it to port mach?
<antrik> lcc: it requires good low-level knowledge of the platform in
question. having that, I guess it shouldn't be too hard to add the
necessary code in Mach...
<antrik> TBH I'm not sure how much knowledge of Mach internals is required
<braunr> the pmap module is the main thing to port
<antrik> braunr: well, sartakov seemed to have most trouble with the
scheduler when he attempted the ARM port...
<braunr> that's strange
<antrik> at least there was quite a long thread where he asked about how
task switching works in Mach
<braunr> that would be interesting
<braunr> i thought intereacting with the hardclock was enough
## IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-04-05
<braunr> antrik: don't you think HELL is worth a try for the GSoC btw ?
<antrik> braunr: definitely. I haven't managed to rework the project ideas
list at all this year... but it's something I wanted there for a long
<youngrw> just out of curiousity, what is HELL ?
<antrik> Hurd Emulation Layer on Linux
<braunr> youngrw: it can be described in several ways
<braunr> youngrw: basically, it's a mach interface on top of linux
<youngrw> implementing I suppose both the IPC mechanism and memory
<mel__> youngrw: basically that. more generally: implement everything in
order to let Hurd run on that layer.
<antrik> well, it's slightly more complicated in my view... it's basically
anything that allows running a Hurdish environment on top of
GNU/Linux. it might be simply an implementation/emulation of Mach
mechanisms; but it also *might* work on a slightly higher level...
<youngrw> antrik: how might HELL operate at the slighty higher level like
<antrik> let's call it low-level HELL and high-level HELL ;-)
<antrik> (a more descriptive name would be hurdenv... but HELL is so much
more catchy :-) )
<antrik> so, high-level HELL... basically, the idea would be not to emulate
the kernel facilities and run all the real Hurd servers; but instead to
use special servers implementing the Hurd interfaces, but on top of
standard Linux facilities
<antrik> hurdish programs could run in such an environment, as long as they
aren't too low-level
<antrik> I wonder whether generic RPC interfaces could be implemented with
some side channel tunneled though the ordinary Linux FS interfaces...
<antrik> so translators would be loaded as FUSE modules for example, but
could still present generic interfaces
<youngrw> That's actually pretty different from what I was expecting
<antrik> what were you expecting?
<youngrw> maybe something where the entire kernel interface is emulated by
a running user process, like a kind of virtual machine
<youngrw> I hope that makes sense--I may be using my words incorrectly.
<antrik> youngrw: that would be in the low-level HELL category
<youngrw> antrik: right; I had the misconception that the level was defined
by how it made use of the underlying linux system
<youngrw> and that different HELL designs would always implement the mach
## IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-04-06
<braunr> antrik: i think we have diverging ideas about how to use linux for
<braunr> antrik: what you seem to want are really emulation componants,
like e.g. ext2fs and pfinet actually using the linux implementation
<braunr> (correct me if i'm mistaken)
<braunr> whereas my project is to make linux behave as a mach clone
<antrik> braunr: as I said, I consider both variants -- either a high-level
HELL or a low-level HELL
<antrik> (or perhaps a mix of both)
<braunr> a mix would be best imho
<antrik> yeah, probably
<braunr> so we have the real hurd, the real mach interface, and a set of
native translators (e.g. ext2fs) along some emulating their functionality
using linux code (e.g. a hypothetical ext4fs)
<antrik> I don't think we would have emulation servers for individual Linux
filesystems. rather, a generic server interfacing with the Linux VFS
<antrik> braunr: BTW, I think I mentioned a couple of years ago that the
most realistic route towards a modern Mach in my opinion would be taking
a modern BSD (or Linux), and redo what the original Mach developers did
-- i.e. add the Mach-specific features, and drop the unnecessary UNIX
<braunr> antrik: :)
<braunr> we had discussions about it some time ago yes
<antrik> later I realised that it's better *not* to drop the UNIX
interfaces, but rather to keep them in parallel :-)
<braunr> antrik: for what purpose ?
<braunr> (i can imagine a few, but i'd like to know your idea)
<antrik> for the purpose of HELL :-)
<braunr> well hell would be the implementation, but what do you keep these
unix interfaces for ?
<antrik> i.e. people being able to play around with a Hurd environment
while staying with their existing system
<braunr> yes, i see
<braunr> i was considering doing that for development, yes
<braunr> uml first, and then i realized i wouldn't need it :)
<braunr> then i remembed netbsd and its syscall emulation layer
<antrik> also we might leverage some "foreign" userspace infrastructure
that way, such as udev
<antrik> (in the case of Linux that is... not sure whether NetBSD has
something similar at all ;-) )
<braunr> i'll have to check, it's been a long time since i've really used
<braunr> they must use a pure devfs instance now
# IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2014-02-23
<desrt> so crazy idea: would it be possible to have mach as a linux kernel
<desrt> ie: some new binfmt type thing that could load mach binaries and
implement the required kernel ABI for them
<desrt> and then run the entire hurd under that....
<braunr> desrt: that's an idea, yes
<braunr> and not a new one
* desrt did a bit of googling but didn't find any information about it
<braunr> desrt: but why are you thinking of it ?
<braunr> we talked about it here, informally
<desrt> braunr: mostly because running hurd in a VM sucks
<desrt> if we had mach-via-linux, we'd have:
<desrt> - no vm overhead
<desrt> - no device virtualisation
<desrt> - 64bit (physical at least) memory support
<desrt> - SMP
<desrt> - access to the linux drivers, natively
<desrt> and maybe some other nice things
<braunr> yes we talkbed about all this
<braunr> but i still consider that to be an incomplete solution
<desrt> i don't consider it to be running "the hurd" as your OS... but it
would be a nice solution for development and virtualisation
<braunr> we probably don't want to use drivers natively, since we want them
to run in their own address space, with their own namespace context
<braunr> it would, certainly
<braunr> but it would require a lot of effort anyway