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Having read the LFS playbook this question is less tech oriented and more procedural and maybe philosophic.
1. Can someone explain in laymen terms the maybe handful of steps involved. Am aware that within each step there may be tens of dozens of substeps and myriad scripts. There is a reason for my question but first what are the steps?
Start with kernel, add tools, add packages, etc.
2. The purpose is.. why do some distros have drivers and others not? Surely a distro maker does not go searching and d/l video, sound, scanner, printer drivers from all over the net. That is reinventing the wheel. Is there not a central larger repo where these guys go to get all printer drivers in one whack, another for all video in one whack, etc.
One well known distro leaves off Libreoffice in order to leave room for drivers and it shows. It will load on most everything. Conversely, another distro leaves out the wpa-supplicant wireless package. Many common home and business wireless networks are WPA protected but a newbie would never know why he is not connecting. Icon is there, lspci shows device there , dmesg shows it but no connection because something as common as wpa-supplicant package is not installed by default thus wasting a new users time and turning them away from Linux.
3. If I were to build a distro it would be at least 1gb of nothing but drivers and setup tools and then let the user d/l user software. Todays .iso images are already over 1gb, so what's the problem? To the best of my knowldge, many graphics, printer, scanner, camera etc drivers are on the order of kilobytes or much less. A 4.7 gb DVD disc should allow for thousands and thousands of drivers going back 10 years. Many businesses must still use Plll / P4 era hdwr. I understand that newer hdwr presents issues.
4 How many drivers are included in the kernel as compared to how many are loaded by the kernel?
Many drivers are propriety and distributing those drivers is a bit of a grey area in terms of legality because they involve patents, which is why many distros don't include them.
The other problem, perhaps the bigger problem, is that most drivers are designed for windows and the code, being propriety, needs to be reverse-engineered or built from scratch. Not a simple task, I'm sure.
Last edited by Binary Mantis; 01-04-2013 at 12:31 AM.
Reason: Didn't read the thread properly and suggested LFS.
This How To explains how to compile drivers for Linux automation and add them to your Linux image. Compiling drivers for Linux automation can be a daunting task, but once your environment is set up and you've done it a few times, it becomes quite easy.
Is there not a central larger repo where these guys go to get all printer drivers in one whack, another for all video in one whack, etc.
Doubtful. Some companies, such as HP, provide Linux drivers. Other drivers are created by people in the open source community, as Binary Mantis explained. And considering how many pieces of hardware there are, it is unlikely all open source developers and companies submit their drivers to a common repository. I am only guessing, but I am confident my guess is correct.
If I were to build a distro it would be at least 1gb of nothing but drivers and setup tools and then let the user d/l user software. ... A 4.7 gb DVD should allow for thousands and thousands of drivers going back 10 years.
Consider how much space thousands of drivers would need. Then consider all of the applications that most people regard as essential for an operating system. Those 4GB discs do not include everything as it is. So where would the room for more come from? The bottom line is there is a finite amount of space on a disc and the developers of each distribution must decide what to include and what to leave out of their installation discs. Unlike proprietary systems like MS and Apple, Linux systems are designed around the idea that people will install a basic system and down-load whatever else they want. So the installation disc contains what the disto's developers and users consider the essentials upon which to build a full system. Your idea would require two installation DVDs.