> It has been under development for 19 years and has only managed to achieve the most basic compatibility with real computers..
Indeed, hardware support in the Hurd is presently extremely poor. This could be fixed in a reasonable amount of time though, if people cared...
(Most do not care at this point, as they prefer running it in VMs anyways.)
This is *not* the biggest challange.
> at which point it was scrapped and started over again with a new Microkernel core. Started off with Mach, then onto L4, then possibly onto Coyotos (too bad Microsoft bought out the developer for that Microkernel) and possibly other L4 variants or Viengoos thingie.
It was *not* scrapped. What did happen is that *some* developers started exploring new designs based on different microkernels.
Hurd/L4 was first, and went all the way up to a half-working prototype (remember the "banner" news?... ;-) ), before the developers realized that L4 is not suitable after all...
Then they mused about some other kernels that seemed more suitable -- mostly Coyotos. But that turned out problematic too, and was abandoned before any code got written. (*Long* before Shapiro gave up on Coyotos and went to Microsoft.)
Finally, they concluded that microkernel design and system design are too closely interlocked to reuse someone else's kernel -- creating a good system architecture requires a microkernel specifically designed for it. Viengoos is essentially the consequence of this realization.
All this time, other people continue to improve the existing Hurd implementation on top of Mach. It is totally unaffected by these experimentations -- aside from many people being confused and incorrectly believing it was abandoned...
> I think that at point we have a better chance that USA will dissolve it's patent system then HURD ever being competitive with Linux.
Nobody in his right mind would seriously expect the Hurd to become "competitive" with Linux in terms of performance, hardware support etc.
It is quite realistic though to become *good enough*, so that interested people can use it without problems, if they are willing to forsake a little performance etc. in favor of other properties. Some might prefer it because of the GPLv3 option. Some might prefer it because of the possibilities offered by the different architecture.
That's all we really hope for -- world domination is *not* a must to make the project worthwhile...