Many programs use special libraries to access certain hardware devices, like libusb, libbluetooth, libraw1394, libiw-dev (though there already is a wireless-tools-gnumach package), etc.
The Hurd presently doesn't support these devices. Nevertheless, all of these programs could still be built -- and most of them would indeed be useful -- without actual support of these hardware devices, kdebase for instance. However, as the libraries are presently not available for Hurd, the programs can't be easily built in Debian GNU/Hurd due to missing dependencies.
This could be avoided by providing dummy libraries, which the programs could link against, but which wouldn't actually do any hardware access: instead, they would simply return appropriate error codes, reporting that no devices were found.
There are two possible approaches for providing such stub libraries: Either implement replacement libraries providing the same API as the real ones; or implement dummy backends for the Hurd in the proper libraries. Which approach to prefer probably depends on the structure of the various libraries.
The goal of this project is to create working dummy libraries/backends for the mentioned devices, and get them into Debian GNU/Hurd. It shouldn't require any special previous knowledge, though some experience with build systems would be helpful. Finishing this task will probably require learning a bit about the hardware devices in question, and about Debian packaging.
Possible mentors: Samuel Thibault (youpi)
Exercise: Get one of the libraries to compile on Debian GNU/Hurd. It doesn't need to report reasonable error codes yet -- just make it build at all for now.