In celebration of the GNU System's 30th birthday, this past weekend saw a flurry of activity from the GNU Project as its developers released long-awaited version updates of many GNU packages. Not to be out-done, the kernel developers were "hurd from" on Friday when they upgraded the latest version of the Hurd microkernel/protocols/server set to version 0.5.
GNU Hurd is a collection of protocols and daemons that provide basic communication and other services defining how various components of the GNU system may interact. Together with GNU Mach (also upgraded, now at version 1.4) Hurd forms what most think of as a "kernel" for the GNU system.
Hurd has been in development for almost two decades and was the original design template "borrowed" by Apple to create Mac OS X. Both use a modified version of the Mach microkernel running a Unix-like base system with a modified OpenStep graphical user interface (when GNU is used with the GNUstep interface). However, possibly due to the economic handicap of being a non-profit organization whose software is largely built by volunteers, GNU was never able to complete its kernel (or the GNUstep interface) while Apple has gone on to garner a huge chunk of the computing market with Mac OS X and its mobile offshoot iOS.
According to the developer's release statement:
This new release bundles bug fixes and enhancements done since the release of version 0.2, 16 years ago; really too many (both years and improvements) to list them individually, but please see the NEWS file.
Its not an overstatement to say that the world would be a much better place if GNU were winning the race with Apple. If you'd like to contribute to the future success of the project, you can learn more, at the Hurd homepage.