ALFS == build world?

Jesse Tie Ten Quee highos at
Sat Dec 2 07:30:13 PST 2000


Note, i may mumble and some of this may not make sense, i'm a little
tired right now... ;)

On Fri, Dec 01, 2000 at 10:48:13PM +0100, Stefan Hoffmeister wrote:
> Do I understand the concept / idea behind ALFS right in that it is meant
> to provide a tool set which is being kicked off by a single command, and
> which then will build a complete Linux system from a source tree?


> These are actual needs of mine right now :-)  Currently I get along with
> major distributions, but I am put off by the "complexity" of installing
> them (because they install way too much). And because of the complexity of
> maintaining them ("... too much"). And because of the effort required to
> get them into a working state ("... too little").

If a little extra work, you can allready do that in LFS.
Compile an LFS-2.4.3 system for i386, make a tarball of it (like i did
on my 2.3.6 build and you could use that
to bootstrap off, if you need it right away ;)

Then just setup and install the extras, make a tarball of them for

It isn't perfect..but you could at least have a custom system w/o crap
on it, untill ALFS is at that point ;)

> An interesting application of ALFS (in the end) would be something like a
> "build world" system:
>   * bootable CD with Linux kernel
>   * prepares partitions and friends
>   * detects hardware
>   * copies *source* tree over to partition
>   * ALFS -> build world
>        * kernel
>        * glibc
>        * ...
> The result would be a rather "minimal" distribution, all built from source
> in place, where everything could be updated on the source tree. Any
> changes to the source tree, followed by an ALFS build, would then update
> the system. I am also under the impression that FreeBSD has "build world"
> functionality, something that might be interesting to have.

i don't think ALFS is a distrobution.. i like how Mark Stone put it. a
distrobutionless distrobution (or something along that, can't find that
quote right now =P)

BSD Has a wonderfull 'make World' system, very kewl, wish Linux has
something similar, ALFS is problaly the closest we will get..

I'm actually still finishing off the hole Bootable CD thing, i lost a
_large_ portion of my work when the box that had all that stuff died on
me, but in general something like that is what will happen.

The XML Profile is kinda like a spec file is for an RPM, like how it tells
the RPM howto compile the SRPM, 

A profile will look something like this; (note, the syntax is still in
flux, as we aren't happy with it yet, just an example)

Hopefully in the future it would go like this...

You fire up your favorite browser, head over to the ALFS website, go
into the "Custom Profile" section, pick a default profile, then click on
all the extras, like, apache, postfix, samba, etc, finish it up and then
the website would give you back an ALFS XML Profile.

So there you got, you could open up the profile, give it certain
details/defaults and customize it as much as you want, next..

You could bootup either with a floppy and setup networking so you can
transfer the profile over and download the tarballs you will need for
each packages or burn the profile/packages to a cd and boot off
that, then all you would have todo is wait for it to finish.

Then, depending on how the Front-End was designed, you would just have
to wait for it to finish compiling or change the settings in real-time
when your compiling (like say you forget to change the prefix of apache
and want to change that while the process has allready started of
building the box, but it hasn't reached apache yet)

But anyways...yes, in general that's how it will work, and upgrading
will just be a simple as running the ALFS tools with the proper XML
Profile with the updated information in it (new package version or
different way of installing it, etc)

If you haven't allready, read the mailing list archives, there's some
really good stuff in there, allthough alot of it was in flux :)

We need to get ALFS a website soon..maybe i should whip something up
this weekend (oh, so many things todo and so little time ;)

PS, if you want more details, please love to talk about it
more (i'm not the only one working on this, but perhaps we can
enligthent everyone subscribed at the same time ;)

Jesse Tie Ten Quee - highos at highos dot com

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