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Old 06-16-2008, 03:38 AM   #1
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How to build a distro??? Enquiry only.....

Hey peeps...

Is there a guide to setting up your own version of linux anywhere? not planning to make my own distribution but i'd like to find out how you do it... just fancy setting up an internet box or something which involves a kernel and a window manager and then adding bits that i need... probs never gonna happen but would like to have a look... ta peeps!
Old 06-16-2008, 03:44 AM   #2
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try Linux From Scratch. that's what you want, but with a manual to guide you. Do that, understand it and then go off on your own if you really wish to.
Old 06-16-2008, 04:26 AM   #3
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cheers for that.... I remember looking at something similar in the past! it's all coming back to me!! Woot!
Old 06-16-2008, 06:19 AM   #4
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There are a gazillion "how to roll your own" and even "roll your own" distros.

After looking through an awful lot of pretty awfully written docs, what I can recommend is:

1. Read about the Linux boot process, from bootloader to initrd (if any), to the startup scripts, inittab, and getty.
2. Read about how to make a bootable CD using 'isolinux'
3. Take a Debian installer CD iso (very instructive for this purpose) and tear it apart:
(it may be convenient to use 'sudo' at many point in the process)
a. mount the iso using a 'loop' device
b. inspect the contents of the top directory - try to remember what you learned in (2) and see what you recognize. Poke around and see if there are other important bits that you forgot. There may be invisible files/directories (like .disk/)
c. mount the 'initrd' image and tear it apart - the Debian installer typically has 2 initrds - look at the isolinux.cfg file to see what's available on the disk (or use 'find')

Perhaps the most important thing on that initrd image is the "init" script - in this case a bash script - read through and try to understand what it is doing. The short answer is that it initializes the system, then switches to the final root partition, and executes the final 'init' program (usually a precompiled binary) which will then go through and process the rcS.d scripts (startup) as well as inittab (but I can't remember the order).

Have fun.

PS: I've spent a lot of time on LFS and it has its uses, but I wouldn't recommend it over what I've described here because some very important parts are magically skipped over and you will end up just running someone else's scripts and not really understand what you're doing. Be patient with Google and find good articles on the Linux boot process and on booting from CD. Also, it's far easier to roll your own distro basing it on another distro - Debian seems to be one of the most popular for this purpose (Knoppix, (K,X)Ubuntu, Mepis, etc etc etc).


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