From Bo ys to Men

Linux Format - - HOTTEST DISTROS -

The scripts in this fea­ture will help you turn your in­stalled flavour of Linux into a dis­tributable medium that you can then pass around. And there’s noth­ing wrong with that. But if you re­ally want to get a feel for what it takes to cre­ate a cus­tom dis­tri­bu­tion, from the grounds up, then you need to lock your­self in a room for a week with a copy of Lin­uxFromScratch ( www.lin­uxfromscratch.org). Lin­uxFromScratch or LFS as its pop­u­larly known, is ac­tu­ally a book, which painstak­ingly hand-holds you through the time-con­sum­ing process of putting to­gether your own Linux dis­tri­bu­tion. The book’s of­fered as a free down­load and you can even grab a printed edi­tion at the book­store. Once you’re through with LFS, you’ll end up with a sys­tem that’s very se­cure, very flex­i­ble and also very com­pact.

But the process doesn’t stop here. As per the LFS FAQ ( www. lin­uxfromscratch.org/faq), “LFS is not in­tended to cre­ate your sys­tem as you want it. It’s in­tended to be just enough to al­low you to build your sys­tem as you want it. It’s not an end, it’s a be­gin­ning. When you’re done with LFS, you’ve just started build­ing your sys­tem.”

This is where BeyondLin­uxFromScratch or BLFS ( www. lin­uxfromscratch.org/blfs) comes into thet pic­ture. BLFS is a much big­ger man­ual that cov­ers ev­ery­thing from in­stalling sys­tem li­braries to pro­gram­ming util­i­ties, from net­work li­braries to server ap­pli­ca­tions, from sim­ple and light­weight win­dow man­agers like fluxbox to com­plex but pop­u­lar ones such as KDE and Gnome.

The project was started in 1999 when its author, Gerard Beek­mans, wanted to learn how a Linux dis­tro works be­hind the scenes. While build­ing his sys­tem from scratch, Beek­mans wrote down the steps and re­leased it as a how-to, think­ing that there would prob­a­bly be other peo­ple who would be in­ter­ested.

LFS has grown quite a bit from its hum­ble start. Be­sides BLFS, the project has spawned a cou­ple of other books. There’s ALFS or Au­to­mat­edLFS, to help au­to­mate the process of cre­at­ing an LFS sys­tem, and CLFS or CrossLFS that fo­cuses on cross com­pil­ing.

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