According to GNU Hurd Architecture the GNU operating system was originally designed to be used with the GNU Hurd kernel which is a microkernel architecture.

How is it that hobbyists were able to combine the Linux kernel with GNU software to create GNU/Linux systems if Linux is a monolithic design? Does the Linux kernel replace GNU components like application IPC, device drivers, file system, etc. or was there a major effort to bring these GNU user mode utilities into kernel mode? If the latter is true, how difficult was it to do that?

  • 1
    The parts of the "GNU operating system" software that is used in Linux distros (and other operating systems) are userspace programs, not the Hurd servers. None of what you list was somehow ported to the Linux kernel.
    – Mat
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


The article you link goes on to say

The servers collectively implement the POSIX API

Since the applications are "userspace" applications written using the POSIX API, they can run with minimal changes on any POSIX-like operating system.

  • I don't believe this answers my question. My question was about how the GNU system utilities, not applications, were compatible with Linux.
    – Chancelot
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 20:09
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    @Chancelot the GNU utilities use the POSIX API to talk to the kernel. It doesn't really matter what kernel implements the API as long it does so correctly (and completely). Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 20:28

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