VT Switching for GNU Hurd
While XFree86 was first ported to the Hurd more than a decade ago, and there are updates now and then to make newer versions of Xorg run as well, the support is quite rudimentary: in particular, there is no support for switching back to the text console while X is running.
Implementing this requires creating an interface between the X server and the Hurd console, and implementing the necessary code on both sides.
The goal of this project is to get console switching fully working on the Hurd. Some Hurd-specific and X-specific knowlegde will need to be obtained, but the task should be quite doable without previous experience with either. It requires implementing some pieces of code that are not quite trivial, but shouldn't be terribly hard either.
Exercise: Try fixing http://savannah.gnu.org/bugs/?21000, or perhaps some other minor issue with X on the Hurd.
Initial work on porting DRM to GNU Hurd
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) is a kernel driver component taking care of graphics hardware access. Originally, it only took care of the 3D acceleration unit, and was used mostly by the DRI (Direct Rendering Infrastructure) in Mesa.
A few years ago, the developers came to the conclusion that a more robust and functional graphics stack requires the kernel driver to take care of other graphics access as well: mode setting in particular. (Essentially what the old KGI project proposed, see http://www.kgi-project.org.) Also, with the new GEM interface, the DRM now takes care of graphics memory management as well.
With the new responsibilities, the DRM is no longer an optional addon for fast 3D support, but a central component of the graphics stack. It needs to be implemented by any operating system that wants good Xorg driver support in the future. (Moreover, it is now also useful outside the context of Xorg.)
The Hurd implementation of DRM will be somewhat special, as -- following the microkernel idea -- we want to run the drivers as priviledged user space server processes, rather than actual kernel modules.
This task is about doing the first steps for porting the DRM to the Hurd. This can be done by taking one of the existing DRM modesetting drivers (Intel, Nouveau (Nvidia), or Radeon), trying to get parts of it running as a Hurd server, and porting/implementing necessary pieces of the general DRM framework as needed along the way.
It is probably not realistic to get the driver fully working over the summer. The goal however is to get at least some parts going.
This task will require obtaining a considerable amount of knowledge about the Hurd and Mach (especially things like virtual memory management) -- it goes deep into system internals. Previous experience with operating system and/or graphics driver development would definitely be helpful.
Exercise: Try to get some part of the driver compiling on the Hurd, using stubs for any system-specific functionality.