General questions about LFS

Richard A Downing richard at
Sun Feb 12 06:31:23 PST 2006

Niki Kovacs wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm actually in the middle of the first LFS book, somwhere at the beginning of 
> chapter 6. I appreciate the quality of the doc: everything is well explained, 
> and I just have to follow the book.
> Just out of curiousity...
> 1) LFS/BLFS... is it just a "learning distro"... or is there a way to use it 
> as a full-blown everyday distro? E. g. write a few scripts to automate the 
> install process, which would result in something similar to Gentoo Linux 
> (minus the "can't emerge" and similar hassle:oD)? I don't mind if the install 
> process takes two days (to compile everything on an old Pentium II), as long 
> as the result is rock-solid. I *think* so, but I'd rather ask people who have 
> gotten more into it.
> 2) What's the release cycle of stable LFS/BLFS (roughly)? I'm rather 
> suspicious of bleeding edge (since I use GNU/Linux for everyday work), but 
> I'd hate to wait for 3-4 years (like Debian stable).
> My (rough) idea for the future: put together two different versions of LFS 
> according to my needs. One for server (without X), one for full-blown 
> desktop. That possible? 
> Cheers,
> Niki Kovacs

The other respondents gave a good view.  The important thing that is
often misunderstood about LFS is that it ISN'T a distribution.  LFS is a
BOOK that shows how to build a working Linux base system using just an
recent bootable linux and the sources.  BLFS is a book that shows you
how to build some useful libraries and applications on top of an LFS base.

The editors don't want to compete with Gentoo (or Pink Stetson :), they
are interested in the right instructions to build safe reliable systems.

Both the current stable version, and probably the current SVN version,
are aimed at that safe stability.  The stable version has been tested to
that standard, but the SVN version might not be quite so safe - not
because of any lack of intent, just lack of experience.  BLFS is very

You can automate a build, I would recommend jhalfs - since it
auto-generates the commands from the xml book source.

Many of us use nothing else but LFS+BLFS for both experimentation and
production.  But that is a decision only you can make - the LFS team
neither recommends or otherwise.  It is, however, a proper Linux system,
not a toy.

The releases don't depend on anything so flippant as a 'cycle' - they
happen when the community (led by Matt and Gerard) feels the need to
formalise the SVN version, maybe incorporating something from the
branches, into a new stable version.  It tends to align roughly with
major kernel (and kernel-related stuff like udev), glibc or gcc
versions, or when someone discovers a better (i.e. more stable, more
safe) way to build the toolchain.

Your idea is 'spot on'.  Not just possible, ideal.


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