A few random thoughts

Jim Mischel jim at mischel.com
Mon Sep 2 16:32:28 PDT 2002

Thanks for the quick reply, and for the warm welcome.

> This is the right place.  However, lfs-support may be better for these
> sort of questions.  Feel free to keep asking away thou :)

Okay, but remember, you asked for it!  Since most of my questions and
comments are not related to actual problems with the book, but rather
suggestions for improvement, I didn't think it'd be right to post to
lfs-support.  That way y'all can flame me if I step out of line, and we
won't disrupt the real business here...

And, again, I'm not flaming LFS.  I love the work you guys have done here,
and would like to make it better.

One thing that I found a bit daunting when I first saw LFS was that I didn't
know how to get started.  Here I had a brand-new SuSE install that totally
mystified me because it had everything including the kitchen sink and the
washing machine, but I didn't really understand how it all worked!  Now,
granted, I don't fully understand Windows, but after 20 years of working
with (among others) CP/M, DOS, and all Windows flavors, I can get around
there pretty well.  But Linux?  It's a cipher to me.  Sure, I could search
the 'Net and find out little bits here and there, but there's nothing like
building one from scratch to really understand what's happening.  Anyway...
off on a tangent again.

So the first thing I need to do is create a partition, huh?  Well,
ummm....all of my disk space is _already_ partitioned!  That was my first
thought.  I realized quickly that I needed to build a "mother" system, and
leave some disk space for the LFS system.  No problem...my 7-CD SuSE set has
a "minimal system" configuration.  Which turns out to be too minimal.  I had
to add gcc, binutils, ftp, make, patch, and libncurses to the minimal system
in order to get started.  Somebody with less computer experience (or less
patience) could quickly get frustrated not knowing what needs to be
installed on the mother system.  The Chapter 1 page "How things are going to
be done" makes a passing reference to selecting the "development" option
when installing your distro.  Perhaps that's the best way to go about this:
tell people to include "development" on their distro install.  I really
don't know.

The suggestion behind all that rambling is that there be a section in the
book, or perhaps a "For Newbies" page that's linked from the "How things are
going to be done" page.  That section would give instructions, in broad
terms, about how to set up a minimal mother system, including partitioning
(remember, most distros have a "use whole hard disk" default that many
people use and don't even realize it), and making sure that all of the
required tools are installed.  Ideally, there would be some kind of script
that could check for the dependencies.  This section could become quite
extensive, if people wanted to contribute steps for creating a mother system
from the different distros.  Or maybe this is just a bunch of "hints"?

Enough rambling for the day.  Thanks for listening...


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