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Linux From Scratch This Forum is for the discussion of LFS.
LFS is a project that provides you with the steps necessary to build your own custom Linux system.

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Old 06-14-2006, 04:33 PM   #1
jon23d
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Registered: May 2006
Location: Kennewick, WA - USA
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curious about switching to LFS


Good morning,

I'm pretty new to linux in general. I've been using it for years on my webserver, but that was the extent of my experience until about two months ago when I made the switch at home. I had tried several different distros until settling on fedora core 5. It's been pretty nice, but (even though this is one of the joys) day-to-day life has been rough as software installation seems somewhat difficult as it appears that this is a somewhat non-standard system. I would like to be able to solve these problems with realtive ease, but find that a lack of general knowledge makes this difficult. I have about two months before this system will have to be a production environment.

I'm a solid programmer who is not afriad of anything. I definately feel comfortable working at a bash prompt and tend to work there more often than not anywaqy. If I want to jump in and learn rapidly would LFS be my best choice? Is two months enough time to learn the intracacies that the book and the installation will take me through?
 
Old 06-16-2006, 06:23 AM   #2
Sargek
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Registered: Jan 2003
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Distribution: Debian testing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jon23d
Good morning,

I'm pretty new to linux in general. I've been using it for years on my webserver, but that was the extent of my experience until about two months ago when I made the switch at home. I had tried several different distros until settling on fedora core 5. It's been pretty nice, but (even though this is one of the joys) day-to-day life has been rough as software installation seems somewhat difficult as it appears that this is a somewhat non-standard system. I would like to be able to solve these problems with realtive ease, but find that a lack of general knowledge makes this difficult. I have about two months before this system will have to be a production environment.

I'm a solid programmer who is not afriad of anything. I definately feel comfortable working at a bash prompt and tend to work there more often than not anywaqy. If I want to jump in and learn rapidly would LFS be my best choice? Is two months enough time to learn the intracacies that the book and the installation will take me through?
Interesting you should mention non-standard systems: there really is no such thing in the Linux world! That's one of my pet peeves, but that's another discussion topic. Although I have never used it, and will probably get flamed by the LFS crowd, I don't think LFS would be a good choice for a production system. If I were running a production *nix box, and wanted a free OS, I would probably run FreeBSD or NetBSD. Both are about as reliable as the Sun (the large orb in the sky). If you want to stick with Linux, I would say Debian or Whitebox (I think that's the name). Whitebox is virtually identical to RHEL.

If you want to learn GNU/Linux from the ground up, LFS is probably a good choice, or you can also use Gentoo, which probably has a shorter install time. Gentoo is source-based, and I believe LFS is also. The *BSDs are not Linux, but free "Unix like" variants instead. My two cents...
 
Old 06-16-2006, 06:39 PM   #3
osor
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Registered: Jan 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sargek
Although I have never used it, and will probably get flamed by the LFS crowd, I don't think LFS would be a good choice for a production system.
Not at all (the flaming). LFS is first and foremost intended to be a learning exercise. It can be used as a production system, but definitely not recommended for first-time LFSer. First-time LFSer should make sure s/he has a production system fully intact before he begins LFS. Don't throw out your distro until you are absolutely sure you think everything is stable.

A normal LFS system is not intended for production-quality (though it can be tuned in such a way). For one, there's nothing to do (i.e., you need at least a few programs from BLFS). Also, there's no package management (I don't mean compiling from source, I mean keeping track of what versions of what software is installed where). You probably need to read a great many hints (e.g., for custom-package-management, there is 'more control with package users' or something like that).

Maintaining an LFS system will probably be a lot more work than you are used to with FC5 (especially in the first couple months). LFS can be hardened and minimalized to the extreme (HLFS uses grsec/pax and can use uClibc). But be warned, that nothing is guaranteed to work.

Gentoo has a different goal than LFS. While both compile all programs from source, Gentoo is more usable as a production-system (but it doesn't really help you understand linux much); LFS, OTOH, is harder to maintain, but you learn a lot. Gentoo is also valued among those Obsessive-Compulsive admins who want everything optimized and tuned to run fastest.
 
Old 06-16-2006, 08:54 PM   #4
Sargek
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Osor - thank you for the great LFS explaination! The flame comment was meant in humor, and I am glad it was not taken badly. I had thought LFS was intended for learning, and that it was a lot of work, but I have only read about it and never used it. I have used Gentoo for about a year, but got tired of the constant maintenance, so switched to a binary distro. Not that source distros require more maintenance than binary distros do, I just found Gentoo to be more time consuming to maintain, and my schedule no longer allows me to tweak to my heart's content...
 
Old 07-19-2006, 02:37 AM   #5
edmond1866
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Registered: Feb 2006
Distribution: Kubuntu 6.06
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I, too, am playing with LFS for the first time.
But if I had to choose a "Desktop Distro" in production environment, I probably will take ubuntu/kubuntu because of its Long Term Support.
Agree with Osor that LFS could be a real pain to support in a long run.
 
Old 07-27-2006, 05:36 AM   #6
shevegen
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Registered: May 2004
Distribution: Slackware / GoboLinux / LFS / VoidLinux
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"I'm a solid programmer who is not afriad of anything. I definately feel comfortable working at a bash prompt and tend to work there more often than not anywaqy. If I want to jump in and learn rapidly would LFS be my best choice? Is two months enough time to learn the intracacies that the book and the installation will take me through?"

I recommend you to either use automated scripts, or build your own.

It will help a lot.

If you are a solid programmer, two months is way too much to learn the "intracacies"

You will need less time. Also DO follow the instructions EXACTLY.
If they are unclear at a point DO JOIN the irc channel and ASK. Eventually the guys doing the LFS
will admit that something could be clarified or pointed out better.
(I suck at coding but It took me about 2 weeks for my first LFS install. Mind you, it failed, and i waited 2 months before i tried again.
Then it worked. Because I didnt write down where it failed exactly or how, I forgot the error :/
Anyway since it now works, its fine for me. )

I recommend you for the first time to just jump into it without worrying too much.
Do note down your steps though, it helps a lot. Feel it as if its easy (its actually
really easy), and be willing to learn (because, unless you are a guru, you probably will learn
some things. LFS taught me how to use sed for example... i think i never would have spent
the required time to struggle through sed without the nice examples to patch buggy programs.
ANd I never before LFS applied a patch -npl :> )
 
  


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