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Old 12-13-2011, 03:33 AM   #1
Mustafa Ismail Mustafa
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Building a server from Red Hat RPMs


Whilst not exactly software to be used by a server, I'm interested in building a leaner linux server from Red Hat/CentOS RPMs from scratch.

Obviously this is a daunting task, but I'd like to take it on for 3 reasons:
  1. I can
  2. Its a PoC for something I'm thinking of doing
  3. It will be open sourced

Try as I might, I couldn't find out what the process for building CentOS (being my preferred example) from RH's rpms.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Last edited by Mustafa Ismail Mustafa; 12-15-2011 at 01:58 AM. Reason: Obviously, I can't count or spell...
 
Old 12-13-2011, 07:29 AM   #2
kbp
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Why aren't you building it from CentOS rpms? .. the CentOS project rebuild all their rpm's from RH source - minus the RH proprietary parts
 
Old 12-14-2011, 12:07 AM   #3
Mustafa Ismail Mustafa
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I did mention CentOS RPMs

See?
Quote:
I'm interested in building a leaner linux server from Red Hat/CentOS RPMs from scratch.
(emphasis mine)

And you are 100% right, CentOS is the better way to go, none of the worries related to branding.

In either case, I'm looking for a tutorial or a how to so I can actually get started with that. I found nothing on the CentOS site.

Any ideas?

TIA
 
Old 12-14-2011, 03:47 PM   #4
kbp
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If the result is a leaner CentOS, then you probably want to use a kickstart script. It depends on how different you want to make it.
 
Old 12-14-2011, 03:49 PM   #5
John VV
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if you want a lean OS you might want to start with "Arch Linux "
that is VERY lean .
 
Old 12-15-2011, 12:18 AM   #6
Mustafa Ismail Mustafa
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Well here, let me describe what I'm looking for and we can take it from there.

I'm trying to build, as a proof of concept for now, a VERY lean linux server capable OS (a la CentOS/Debian) where the result would be used as the platform to build a storage solution, along the lines of NetApp.

I looked at OrangeJeos and that would have been an excellent starting point to then build that storage oriented OS I'm thinking of.

Please bear in mind that what I'm thinking of is not along the lines of OpenFiler or FreeNAS; its a headless server that could be used for enterprise scale storage solutions where HDDs plugged are automatically recognized and then RAID-ed accordingly (assuming some RAID schema is in place).

Actually, I'm basing it all on NetApp.

My two options are OpenBSD and CentOS, but somehow, and I have no concrete evidence of this, I feel that with the exception of ZFS, Linux generally has better handling of file systems. Again, I can easily be wrong in this regard.

If for nothing, I'd like to have a go at this and see if I can build this for my sake, for the sake of "I can". Call it a learning experience and if its stable and successful enough, it'll be open sourced.

Having said all that, what do you guys think my next step should be?

I was thinking of as follows:
  1. Create a very LEAN CentOS
  2. Work at the scripts that control the disks, including automatic "recognition" if a new one is plugged in
  3. work on the CLI, possibly customizing a shell
  4. release as alpha

Suggestions and constructive criticism are certainly welcome
 
Old 12-15-2011, 02:37 AM   #7
Mustafa Ismail Mustafa
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Well, I've found these as a starting point:

Now its a matter of spinning my own and experimenting I guess.
 
Old 12-15-2011, 06:18 AM   #8
kbp
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You may as well start with OrangeJeos as a base and customise it ... no point reinventing the wheel
 
Old 12-15-2011, 10:00 AM   #9
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbp View Post
no point reinventing the wheel
If everyone thought this way then there wouldn't be so many Linux distros!
 
Old 12-15-2011, 11:38 AM   #10
Mustafa Ismail Mustafa
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Well, I'm not after re-inventing the wheel.

In the end, Vanilla CentOS or OrangeJeos, it doesn't matter so long as the end result is achieved I suppose. But that still doesn't point me in the right direction. Are the links that I posted earlier appear to be a valid starting point?
 
Old 12-15-2011, 11:44 AM   #11
snowpine
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"How to install CentOS" is very well documented, I suggest you start here:

http://www.centos.org/docs/
http://wiki.centos.org/

Personally I would start with a network install or "netinstall" of the basic system, then build up from there.

Good luck!
 
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:48 AM   #12
Mustafa Ismail Mustafa
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Install?

I guess I'm not clear enough in describing what I'm looking for, my apologies.

I'm after re-spinning a new distro based on a seriously cut down version of CentOS.
 
Old 12-15-2011, 12:02 PM   #13
snowpine
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A netinstall will give you a "seriously cut down version of CentOS" in less than 15 minutes, and then you can get started on:

Quote:
2. Work at the scripts that control the disks, including automatic "recognition" if a new one is plugged in
because this step #2 seems to be the "heart" of your project. You will probably reach a wider audience by sharing your scripts with existing Red Hat/CentOS/Scientific admins, as the installed user base is well-entrenched.
 
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:06 PM   #14
Mustafa Ismail Mustafa
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Insightful.

Added to your reputation

I'll give that way a whirl. I assume that the netinstall is essentially the kernel, file system and networking modules?

I'll have to tackle the packaging of it later, but that's another adventure for another time.

Thanks, I'll give it a whirl right now.
 
Old 12-15-2011, 12:10 PM   #15
zQUEz
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I think this is what you are looking for: http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/

Personally though, for your POC, I would start with a vanilla CentOS install (base install) and then specifically remove additional unneeded packages to make it even slimer. For example, I think even a base install has Bluetooth and cups which baffles me for a server - but i digress.

You could also recompile your own slim kernel, and then focus on building the scripts to utilize whatever you will be using for HDD management (mdraid???). i think that will be the meat-n-potatoes of your work. Once your POC is working, working towards sliming it down even further would be fairly easy to do.

(well snowpine said it before me .... so I agree :-) )

Last edited by zQUEz; 12-15-2011 at 12:11 PM.
 
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