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GNU Hurd

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The GNU Hurd logo

The Hurd is a multi-server kernel by the GNU project with the intent to replace the UNIX kernel. The Hurd is free software under the GNU General Public License. The Hurd is a collection of servers that run on top of the Mach microkernel to implement multiple protocols, such as filesystems and authentification.[1] The Hurd has an object-oriented structure, and is designed to be easily extended.[2]


Development for the Hurd started in 1990 once the GNU project had finished all major software components.[3][4] However a few years later, Linus Torvalds released version 1.0 of the Linux kernel under the GPL.[5] The GNU project didn't discontinue the Hurd project, as development continues today, but the rest of the GNU operating system was ported to the Linux kernel, and overall focus of the Hurd has been lost. [Citation needed] Today, very few developers are working on the Hurd. The FSF tried to pay developers at one point to promote the Hurd, however it hasn't proved to be competitive enough.[6]


  • The Debian project currently maintains the Debian GNU/Hurd distribution. The Debian project has actually been pretty helpful for Hurd development.
  • The Arch Hurd distribution is a port of Arch Linux to the GNU Hurd kernel. The Arch Hurd project consists of a very small team, and the front page contains multiple announcements about the project seeming dead.[7][8] The last git commit they've made on their github page was over two years ago.[9]
  • The upcoming GNU Guix system will have support for GNU Hurd. Guix will be the first system you can actually simply call The GNU System.