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CragStar 04-23-2002 09:58 AM

April ramblings
I've been thinking, a dangerous thing on a tuesday I know, but still, i've been thinking.

One of my thoughts was that LFS is great becuase you can install from scratch only the software that you want to install, nothing new there, but one thing that is quite difficult is remembering what you have actually installed after the base system. I mean, I have been trying to get galeon to compile, and I must have installed at least 20 new librarys, programs, to get through the configure phase of galeon. Not that I mind, its just that I can't remember half the things I have installed, and if I was to install more software I know my memory would just collapse! :)

Is there a way of simplifying this process? What I don't like is the rpm system, because it has caused so much trouble for myself. So my LFS comp is going to be rpm free! But if there was a way to re-call everything installed, that would be great.

Another thing that I thought about was that all I did during the installation was to copy and paste the commands from the book. This lead me to think that maybe it would be possible to automate the installation process. I realise that most ppl who use LFS are going to be mostly wanting to configure individual packages for their machines, but there may be some who just want a from scratch machine, and an automatic installation would be the way for them.

It is just a thought, but maybe something for the far distant future.

lfslinux 04-23-2002 10:40 AM

In effect you are looking for a package manager and an automated installation. Both are available in various ways.

Package manager: Very shortly now, will be added to the book (as soon as version 1.0 of it is ready). It's primary goal is checking installations against an installation log file to make sure that you have all the right files in the right places (provided you're not straying from the suggested installation methods used in the book, prefixes, and so on).

That package also contains the log-install script that I use to create those installation logs. It's a very simple bash script that touches a temporary file, tells you to go install the package, then it will basically run "find / -cnewer tmpfile" to collect all the files and directories that were modified after that tempfile was created. It's not 100% fool proof, but it works well enough for most people's purposes.

If you use log-install for every package installation, you'll have a bunch of files in /usr/share/checklfs/install-logs. You get to name the files yourself, so you'd use package-version as the fileformat.

The checklfs package also has a pkgdel script that parses a log file and removes the files therein. Be careful here, sometimes a package may update some other packages file so you need to edit that installation log file before you blindly trust it's contents.

There are other package managing tools out there. See and

Second point, automated installations. We're working on it already, see

Mik 04-24-2002 05:44 AM

I'm not too fond of package managers so what I did is keep a log of what I installed. I also added comments on any exotic things I needed to change to get the package installed or running the way I wanted. The log is just a bunch of plain text ascii files. Nothing automatic but at least it will help me if I ever want to recreate the complete system again from scratch.

CragStar 04-24-2002 09:55 AM

Thanks for the replies. As for the package management I like the idea of recording what is installed. That is basically what I want, nothing which will stop me from installing packages because I don't have one pre-requirement already installed.

I didn't realise that the automated install was under way! :) I think that it would be a great thing to complete and look forward to the end result. Adding on to that, do you ever think that it would be possible to install from a cd one day? I mean, I know you need linux already installed, but couldn't a linux system be installed to RAM, then the LFS process could take over? It is just a thought mind you, I still don't understand fully what is/isn't possible.

Cheers again.

lfslinux 04-24-2002 03:20 PM

Installating from CD is actually possible and it's not hard.

Basically what you need to do if you were to create your own cdrom is this:

1) Build and LFS system according to chapter 5.

2) Add a few more utilities that you need such as mount (from util-linux), mke2fs (e2fsprogs), mkreiserfs (reiserfsprogs), fdisk (util-linux again) and so forth

3) burn whatever is in /mnt/lfs to a cdrom and make that cdrom a bootable one (so you have to craete a bootimage too somewhere). Then you boot from that cdrom and it contains everything you need to build chapter 6, since after chapter 5 you enter chroot and leave your distribution, so it's no different running from a harddrive or cdrom at that point.

Once booted from cdrom you create a partition, format it, mount it and go through chapter 6.

See also and use to search through the online mailinglist archives. There are quite a few people who are working on these kind of cdrom's.

CragStar 04-24-2002 08:25 PM

That is something that I have been looking into. The hints are excellent. I shall be trying out some the boot stuff in the near future. Thanks!

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