CPU Architecture

GNU Mach current only supports the x86 (alias ia32 or i386) architecture.

amd64/ix64 should work in 32-bit compatibility mode. However, in practice amd64 systems seem to be troublesome more often than not. This is probably related to the same (chipset-related) problems we often see with recent machines; but it seems that amd64 ones use problematic chipsets particularily often. So far we haven't heard of similar problems with Intel's equivalent ix64 (or EM64T as it used to be called) -- but maybe that just means fewer people tried running the Hurd on such machines :-)

Support for running GNU Mach (and a complete GNU/Hurd system) in a Xen domU (again on x86 only) is being worked on.

Read about further ports.


GNU Mach will use a maximum of 1.7 GiB of RAM. If your system has more, the surplus will silently be ignored. (In past times, this would hinder GNU Mach from booting at all, but this has been fixed, so you no longer need to apply GRUB's uppermem directive.)

Video Cards

Debian distributes a version of X.org. If your video card driver depends on a special kernel interface such as that provided by the agpgart kernel module for the Linux kernel, then your video card will only be supported by the VESA driver.

Using an internal i815 videocard won't work (at least when using the specialized driver), because of missing AGP GART support in GNU Mach.


No sound cards are supported at this time.

USB 1.1/2.0

USB is not supported at this time.

However, USB-type keyboards and mice may (and have been reported to) work nevertheless, given that the hardware / BIOS is doing emulation to the supported legacy interfaces.

IEEE 1394 (Firewire)

IEEE 1394 is not supported at this time


All common IDE drives should work. Some drive geometries do not work, e.g. drives with hundreds of GiB of storage space, see GNU Savannah bug #26425.


SATA drives can work in IDE compatibility mode or in AHCI mode.

This is how booting a GNU/Hurd system will typically fail if GNU Mach couldn't connect to the hard disk, e.g., in a SATA system without IDE or AHCI compatibility mode:

start (hd0,3)/hurd/ext2fs.static: (hd0,3)/hurd/ext2fs.static
device:hd0s4: No such device or address

There should be an option in the system's BIOS setup to configure enabling at least the AHCI compatibility mode.

Device Drivers

GNU Mach Reference Manual, Configuration contains a list of device drivers that are included in GNU Mach and elaborates on the hardware devices they support.


DDE provides more up-to-date network device drivers, based on Linux 2.6.29 code, running as user-space processes.

BIOS32 Service Directory

GNU Mach is not yet compatible with mmconfig, and PCI access requires the presence of the BIOS32 Service Directory. You can check for its presence by running a Linux 32 bits kernel with the kernel parameter "pci=bios" and checking if PCI devices work.

User Success Reports

These boards are known to work. Gnumach/Hurd has been installed and run on these board successfully.

  • ASUS P2B motherboard with an Intel PII 450MHz CPU with Intel Pro/100 NIC in PCI slot
  • Intel SE-440BX motherboard
  • VIA EPIA-M Mini-ITX motherboard with VIA Nehemiah C3 1Ghz processor. Onboard NIC (VIA Rhine) works good.
  • Compaq Deskpro ENS, Pentium3 (666 MHz upgraded to 1 GHz), Intel i815 chipset, chipset integrated NIC (detected twice, but works fine with eth0; trying to access eth1 confuses the driver and makes the system unusable), Matrox Mystique 220 (PCI) graphics card. Also works with rtl8029 (NE2000 PCI) NIC when onboard NIC disabled in BIOS setup.
  • Abit BX6 Rev. 2.0 with Celeron 400, after disabling "memory hole at 15MB" option in BIOS setup. (Otherwise, Mach detects only 15MiB of RAM, making Hurd run extremely slow and instable.) Should also work with PentiumII or Pentium3.
  • IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2013-08-26:

    < stargater> have anyone gnu/hurd running on real hw ? 
    < youpi> my latitude e6420 laptop, for instance

User Failure Reports

Some people couldn't get these hardware combinations to work with Hurd.

The present Debian GNU/Hurd installer itself runs on Hurd, so failure on the installer may mean that the hardware is uncompatible with Hurd.

  • ASUS P5A motherboard and AMD K6-2 333MHz CPU - doesn't boot
  • ASUS P2B-LS motherboard with an Intel PII-MMX 400 MHz CPU - this board had a defective onboard NIC (that could not be disable in BIOS) and working 3COM Etherlink III NIC in a PCI bus slot. This combination worked with GNU/Linux. The 3COM NIC is known to work with the Hurd. However, while gnumach/Hurd will boot on this system, it is confused by the defective onboard NIC and unable to use the 3COM NIC. Attempting to start networking generates a continuous stream of eth0 and eth1 reset messages on the console that renders the system unusable.
  • ASrock 775Twins-HDTV with a Pentium D 810 (533 MGz FSB/2600GHz core -- information no longer present on intel's site). Doesn't boot.