ALFS == build world?

Stefan Hoffmeister linuxfromscratch.mailinglist at Econos.de
Sat Dec 2 13:27:25 PST 2000


: On Sat, 2 Dec 2000 10:30:13 -0500, Jesse Tie Ten Quee wrote:

>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)

Yeeeees, but in order to install an LFS from scratch system... As much as
I like the approach taken by SuSE, Mandrake, or RedHat, when installing a
"native" LFS system I'd rather not install one of these *first* in order
to be able to switch over.

IMHO, there should be a very minimal base system that allows for
installation of an ALFS system that then builds an LFS system from
scratch.

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

I am not too familiar with the BSD family (my tinkering with FreeBSD
doesn't really count) - I wonder whether there are any provisions for
patching the kernel as part of the build process?

>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)
>
>http://alfs.linuxfromscratch.org/cvs/ALFS/profile/profile.xml

Interesting.

[BTW: IE 5.0 complains about an XML error. Yeah, I know, don't use IE.]

>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.

How would this accommodate for my (actual) desire of having IBM's Dynamic
Probes and support for the Linux Trace Toolkit patched into the kernel? 

I'd rather start with a "clean" kernel, then add patches (reiserfs, LTT,
etc) on top. I see this having been taken into account for glibc - start
with the "raw" distribution, then add the optional add-ins, then patches.

>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

KISS - Keep it Simple ... . Adding real-time tinkering will add *major*
synchronisation problems and, with that, reliability problems. Once
something is in progress, it may be aborted, but never, ever play with
something life, as the outcome *will* be unpredictable.

>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)

I take it that security updates will be patched in the same way? 

Has it been taken into account that currently there is a divergence
between the preferable kernel C compiler (egcs 1.1.2) and the preferable
"user mode C(++) compiler" - gcc 2.95.2 - and that this divergence will
increase the moment gcc 3.0 will be out?

I think I'll have to understand what *I* want much better before I can
talk intelligently about ALFS (and LFS). I am still waiting for my target
experimental machine (notebook, P133) to be "given up" (for a PIII 500
notebook) before I can actually try LFS and look at the details :->

Right *now*, when looking at current Linux distributions, it just looks
like a "whole mess", difficult to configure because of a lack of
uniformity in config options, because of the sheer amount of "stuff" that
is being delivered by default. This all could be avoided with a lean
flexible system, with consistent config options - and LFS (with ALFS on
top) currently seems to be the one and only choice AFA Linux is concerned.

I can imagine that (A)LFS allows building a Linux system that can do
everything - from being a Beowulf master, to a dial-in router, to a
starting point for embedded devices.

My (professional) focus currently is on "simplicity", "maintainability",
and "flexibility" - in my experience everything that doesn't follow these
attributes is prone to errors, and hence very expensive. In that respect,
that SuSE 7.0 install that I am working with on one of my machines, taking
gigabytes of hard disk space, is just horrible. RedHat 7.0 isn't better at
all, taking 700 MB or so (pretty default, too). *I* don't have the time
and energy to tinker with that mess. I cannot believe that "normal" users
(in contrast to geeks) will ever want to have that mess. This is somewhat
backed up by what I currently use:

  Linux:
    KDE 2.0 (just for the heck of it)
    konsole
    Samba
    Apache
    Mozilla
    gcc
    <some other devel tools>

  Windows 2000:
    Reflection X (to talk to Linux <g>)
    Forte Agent (newsreader)
    Internet Explorer
    WinZip
    <plenty of devel tools>

  Across systems:
    TV viewer
    Ghostview / Ghostscript
    Acrobat Reader
    StarOffice

Now, looking at that real mess that all these systems have installed in
addition to what I *need*, I just get sick. Not because of the waste of
disk space, but because someone needs to maintain all that, because there
are too many points of failure.

And then, the Linux systems I have set up don't do (yet) what I need,
simply because I'd have to patch the kernel to add quite a few things
(devel stuff) - and it's plainly risky to do that on a "pre-compiled"
system.

Oh well, time to play with (A)LFS, I suppose.

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