A few random thoughts

Jim Mischel jim at mischel.com
Wed Sep 4 07:46:30 PDT 2002

> The biggest problem I saw in the suggestions was to test the host distro
> for package foo before building. That doesn't work completely. For
> example; Texinfo. You may have a perfectly working host that cannot
> build texinfo-4.2 but can build texinfo-4.1 and with Texinfo-4.1 you can
> build Texinfo-4.2 so that leaves us with problems of not just whether
> package foo is there but what version? And how did the distro guys
> change it? Is it still compatable after some guy at Redhat modified the
> source? I think it's a noble idea, for sure, but not one that is very
> possible to script without huge maintenance efforts.

I started going down that road while waiting for gcc and glibc to compile on
my system (> 3 hours each), and began to realize just how hard a job it
would be to validate a host system for its ability to build LFS.  Verifying
the static environment wouldn't be quite so hard, especially if you limited
the scripts to checking that things are exactly as outlined in the book.

> As far as partitioning; it's mentioned that you have to have a separate
> partition for LFS or use the next_to_existing hint. If pushed, I would
> rather vehemently defend _not_ putting in the commands of how to
> actually partition preferring to believe that such a thing should be
> known prior to attempting LFS.
> Either way, the book has to assume some things to be able to stay
> focused on it's goals.

The more I think about it, reviewing the book as it exists and reading the
comments here, the more I agree that this kind of introductory material
doesn't really belong in the book itself.  If written, this stuff would go
into an optional "Step 0" guide, with a checklist and detailed descriptions.
Experienced users could quickly glance over the checklist to see that they
have everything, and the uninitiated could read the detailed descriptions to
get a little more information about what needs to be done.  I wouldn't write
detailed commands for partitioning--the plethora of distributions and wonky
partitioning user interfaces would be one major problem--but I would mention
that they need to leave some unpartitioned space on their drive.  My
experience with the 20020831 version (CVS) of the book indicates that the
number is somewhere between 1.5 and 2 GB if you don't want to be worried
about temporary disk space usage.

Anyway, after a few more days studying the material and building my system,
I have to agree that a certain level of knowledge must be assumed.  Either
that, or the lfs book grows into an introduction to Linux, with lessons in
building a system.  I don't think anybody here (me included) wants that.

> Now with that and $1USD, you can buy a cup of coffee. :)

And that's why I don't drink coffee.  For $0.50 USD, I can get a Coke (which
my training coach has told me to stop drinking).


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