[PLUG] Linux from scratch

Mayuresh mayuresh at acm.org
Mon Aug 15 16:18:02 IST 2011

On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 09:53:06PM +0530, Pravin Sonawane wrote:
> Hello all,
> I am new to Linux and this is my first mail too.
> I want to learn Linux in and out and was thinking the best way to do this
> would be to build our own distro from scratch.
> I know we'll have some pre-requisites to it like learning make first. But
> that's what we're here for right? :-)
> So what say?
> Reference:
> http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/

1. If you are really new, it will be good to start with a distro that will
get you going fast and then you can start your experimentation. Perhaps
keep a stable installation handy on one partition and use an experimental
on the other.

2. Decide what your focus of learning is on. Some of the areas to learn
could be (roughly in increasing order of exposure):

- Basic familiarity with a Unix style environment. Learning a shell,
  several basic Unix tools, editors like vi or emacs, common applications
 (mail clients, browsers, window managers etc.) : choosing and customizing
 them to suit you the best etc.

If you are indeed new, you might want to spend some time with above focus
before venturing into other things.

This learning is what will mostly dominate your life as a "user" once your
technical curiosity of how things work is satisfied.

- System administration

You get a good feel of "how it all works" questions, if you really get to
see, tweak, mess up and recover several configuration files etc. Try
insisting on using system administration by editing config files etc
yourself rather than using some cosy GUI utilities. This way you can
familiarize yourself with better with overall "personality" of Unix style

- Building applications and kernel etc from sources. Creating minimalistic

You mention learning make etc. But make as a skill doesn't matter much for
above focus. But overall you'll get to learn about typical Linux
application development environment, configurability, deployment etc.

You can do this on almost any Linux system, though Arch Linux and *BSD
systems are slightly more inclined towards encouraging a user to build
things from sources. (LFS? We'll come to that later.)

>From personal experience I can say, this desire to create everything
custom or compile everything from sources easily turns into an addiction,
though after a while you might feel you are not getting enough returns for
the effort, as you don't seem to derive much value add as a against a
vanilla build (often).

- Creating applications / participating in OSS projects etc.

A background with previous point will give the right perspective and some
of the skills to participate in such development.

- Creating distros focused on certain goals.

LFS perhaps, but preferably with hands on experience on most of the above
aspects. I'd say, let's not confuse "creating a distro from scratch" motto
with "learning linux from scratch".


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