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Is it possible to download and install/configure 'pure' linux, that is not a distro like gentoo or ubuntu etc, but instead the system that they are built on top of, which I understand to be linux.
You might ask why... simply to learn!
If so, any ideas where I could source linux and any good tutorials to install/configure (get started)?
Thanks in advance.
The base of all distros is the Linux kernel. The source code is available here.
The catch 22 is that you need linux to compile it (as far as I know). You should be able to boot up with knoppix, use fdisk to configure your hard drive for a linux setup, and compile the source code that you downloaded from the site above. Then you just have to configure the boot-up files to point to the compiled kernel and you're golden. From there you can download and compile X windows so you can get a nice gui.
Of course I've never done this myself, just guessing from my experiences building gentoo from scratch, so sorry if I missed something.
If you want your own mini distro type thing you might want to try Linux From Scratch, but I would recommend that you go with a nice easy-to-use distro if you are just starting out, Linux can be a nightmare at the best of times when you don't know what you're doing.
EDIT: Went to post when there were no replies...got beaten again :P
Linux From Scratch is not hardcore, especially if you use their release CD or their automated tool like jhalfs - that spares you of version conflicts. I use system built on top of it.
LFS compiles under old system: linux kernel, and also C Library, shell to type commands in, compiler, and some more libraries and tools you really need to build system. Then it does the same with new tools.
Also search TLDP for "from power up to bash prompt".
The term "Linux" is used ambiguously. To the purists, it is only the kernel, and the total OS should be called "GNU Linux". For the masses, Linux means any number of complete OSes which use the Linux kernel.
With only a kernel, you have nothing. There are a minimum set of utilities which must be added to do anything useful.
I have circled this pond often, but never jumped in. If I do, I think the first logical step would be simply learning to configure and compile the kernel. This can be done on any of the current mainstream distros.
Thanks for the replies so far everyone...
I have spent the last couple of weeks setting up a minimal gentoo installation requiring compiling of the kernel - had problems, but resolved them - I think it was harder because I was working on an old machine and was getting segmentation faults!
I suppose what I am looking for is what was described above as GNU linux - it seems to me that the best way to truly learn is to start from scratch.
Have been reading through the 'From Power-Up to Bash Prompt" which is interesting, while downloading the LFS live disk - I think I will start with the live disk and see what I can do with that.