Two quarters of the Hurd, Q3 and Q4 of 2012: libpthread conversion, installation CDs, hardware compatibility, porting.

In November 2012, we finished the libthreads (cthreads) to libpthread (POSIX Threads) conversion. Converting the Hurd libraries to the pthread interfaces allows linking them together with other libraries that use this standard threading interface themselves. This project once was begun by Vicente Hernando Ara, and later continued by Barry deFreese, Thomas DiModica, Thomas Schwinge, Samuel Thibault, Pino Toscano, and now brought to completion by Richard Braun, who could not be scared by having to resolve the last remaining tricky issues before the transition could be completed.

Cyril Roelandt shared a patch series to fix double mutex unlocking problems. He found these using a simple script for Coccinelle, which is a static code analysis tool. We hope to see more such changes in the future, and we're always interested in hearing people who have experience with similar tools, for example to resolve other locking issues.

Thomas Schwinge together with Richard Braun and Samuel Thibault debugged and fixed a deadlock related to signal delivery, resulting from a regression due to earlier changes.

Also Samuel Thibault provided new installation CDs and a new QEMU image. Additionally to using pthreads, these now offer keyboard layout configuration.

In glibc, Pino Toscano implemented syncfs which ensures that all data in the filesystem gets written to disk, as well as support in procfs for statfs.

Thomas Schwinge improved the hardware compatibility of the Hurd by identifying and backporting some changes contained in Linux 2.0.40, which prevents data corruption due to a miscalculation of the size of medium-sized disks reporting 15 heads instead of 16. This fix was part of an effort to get Hurd running using a solid-state disk. Samuel Thibault improved network card detection on busses other than 0 and 2.

Several people ported and fixed packages, further increasing the number of Debian packages that work on the Hurd: Svante Signell ported mlocate-0.25, gnat-gps, libpst, libetpan, spl, dovecot, xplc, parrot, x86info, atlas, rrdtool, gdb, yodl, and fixed ntpdate to work again and improved the error handling in pflocal. Pino Toscano added patches for procfs, ptrace, fsync on stdout, muntrace, ulimit, glibc which among others improve POSIX conformance, making it easier to write programs which work on GNU/Hurd and GNU/Linux. And he made the test pass for FIFO sockets with mknod and added a size parameter to tmpfs and a version suffix option for GNU Mach's configure script. Cyril Roelandt fixed a ps bug, a documentation typo in ps and a missing linker flag in procfs. Matthew Leach fixed a compilation error with older GCC versions due to duplicate type definition. Ole Streicher fixed a bug in the Makefile of ftools-fv which was exposed by testing on Hurd. Samuel Thibault removed the out-of-date floppy-warnings in the debian installer.

So if you want to test if your favorite packages work on the Hurd and contribute towards making the full GNU system usable for a wider range of people, please get in contact -- and maybe already grab the source code.

The GNU Hurd is the GNU project's replacement for the Unix kernel. It is a collection of servers that run on the Mach microkernel to implement file systems, network protocols, file access control, and other features that are implemented by the Unix kernel or similar kernels (such as Linux). More detailed.

GNU Mach is the microkernel upon which a GNU Hurd system is based. It provides an Inter Process Communication (IPC) mechanism that the Hurd uses to define interfaces for implementing in a distributed multi-server fashion the services a traditional operating system kernel provides. More detailed.