Michael J. Lynch mlynch at gcom.com
Fri Aug 3 07:38:58 PDT 2007

Petrus wrote:
>> decided to use, it's up to me to fix the problem if I want to keep
>> him as a customer.  Telling him it's a problem with his distro
>> will guarantee he will go away.
> I wasn't necessarily advocating simple buck passing; but the bottom line is 
> that anything that wants to define itself as either a Linux or UNIX system 
> should comply with certain old, very well established conventions, which 
> generally speaking exist for extremely sound reasons.  Given how particular 
> I know the LFS people are with regards to putting together a system which 
> complies with said conventions, if Ubuntu is having problems with ALFS, then 
> to me it's a very safe bet that it's due to Ubuntu violating said 
> conventions.  The Debian people have more or less gone off and done their 
> own thing largely from scratch, from everything I've ever seen.  That 
> includes violation of the Single UNIX Specification in some cases, with 
> regards to which specific utilities should initially be present on a UNIX 
> system.  A core toolchain is not installed by default on a Ubuntu or Debian 
> system, and gawk in particular wasn't either, with my recent Ubuntu install.

But the point is the problem isn't specific to Ubuntu.  I have 7 
different hosts with
distros from ranging from Redhat 9 to SUSE 9.3.  Of the all of those 
distros, only
2 have the version of tar needed (apparently 1.15).  The thing is, 
dependence on that
particular version of tar is an artificial dependence because the exact same
functionality can be achieved with old tools (uncompress, gunzip, 
bunzip2, and
tar) that still exist today and are on every linux distro.  Why limit 
use of jhalfs only
to newer distro hosts when there really isn't a reason to do so?

I agree Ubuntu doesn't install as part of it's base installation a lot 
of the things
most of the other distributions install, but that's not a big deal.  
They do that by
design because Ubuntu is targeted a users, not code developers.  Installing
Ubuntu (Hoary) on takes a single CD whereas most other distros require a 
stack of CD's.

> That's ok and is their right, but for me anyway it is entirely unacceptable. 
> It doesn't meet my own definition of a Linux system, (or a more universal 
> one if we're talking about UNIX in a broader sense) and it isn't something 
> I'm going to use...and if you want certainty that all the development tools 
> that should be on a system (in terms of things which allow a system to 
> propogate itself from source) are there from the initial install, and that 
> everything else is where it should be and works in a consistent, predictable 
> way, then you probably shouldn't either.

> LFS ensures this.  Slackware ensures this.  Very few other prebuilt 
> (especially binary) distributions that I know of do.  Red Hat and Debian 
> most certainly do not.
> I'm unsure why you'd need to use Ubuntu as an ALFS host anywayz...Surely you 
> already have a sane ALFS host, given that you've presumably already done a 
> manual build of LFS? ;-) 

I'm using an Ubuntu host because I had it laying around and it was the
one host I had that I felt I could sacrifice (just in case something went
terribly wrong).  Anyway, the point of jhalfs is to not have to do a manual
build of LFS.  I started doing that and realized it was going to take a very
long time to finish.  So, I started working on an automated way of doing
the build.  That's when I ran across jhalfs.  Since I'm a big believer 
in NOT
reinventing the wheel, I decided to give it a try.

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