Testing the Debian Gnu/Hurd OS

Gnu Hurd is the initial planned replacement for the proprietary UNIX kernel. It has been under development since 1990 by the GNU Project of the Free Software Foundation and released as free software under the GNU General Public License.

Long before Linux came out this was the main targeted kernel to couple with GNU tools, the GCC compiler, X-Windows, perl, emacs, etc.

The newest version can be tested by downloading the iso or the pre-installed image for virtualbox/kvm/qemu (http://wiki.qemu.org/KVM):

To give Debian GNU/Hurd a try, it is probably easier to simply run the
preinstalled image, which is provided here:

$ wget http://ftp.debian-ports.org/debian-cd/hurd-i386/current/debian-hurd.img.tar.gz
$ tar xzf debian-hurd.img.tar.gz

It can be run directly in qemu/kvm:

$ qemu-kvm -no-kvm-irqchip -drive file=debian-hurd*.img,cache=writeback -m 1G

The -no-kvm-irqchip option, is only needed when running this on Linux
kernels 2.6.37 and 2.6.38, which do not emulate irq chips that correctly
(see Debian bug #612105, fixed by 2.6.39)

It can also be run in virtualbox, by first converting to VDI format :

$ VBoxManage convertfromraw debian-hurd.img debian-hurd.vdi --format vdi

You can then just log in as root without a password.
The qemu/kvm -curses option can be used to run it in text mode, which can help
with the keyboard layout, but it's better to simply reconfigure the layout by
running

dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

Please make sure to read
http://www.debian.org/ports/hurd/hurd-install
for other configuration information as well as the FAQ:
http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/faq.html
and known open issues
http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/open_issues.html

* ISO Download:

$ wget http://ftp.debian-ports.org/debian-cd/hurd-i386/current/debian-hurd-2013-i386-DVD-1.iso

Enjoy digital freedom!