Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Build your own Linux distribution from Scratch.


Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with step-by-step instructions for building your own custom Linux system, entirely from source code.
Why would I want an LFS system?
LFS teaches me how a Linux system works internally
Building LFS produces a very compact Linux system
LFS is extremely flexible
LFS offers me added security

Today I have finished the installation of LFS on one of the partitions on my PC. But it is only the base linux system. Now I have to start the installation of Beyond Linux from Scratch (BLFS) which will install KDE, Gnome, XFCE desktop (whiever I chose), Firefox browser etc. so that I can use my personally built Linux system and enjoy.

LFS is compiled and installed by following the instructions in the LFS book which one can read online or download The current stable version is 6.1 which is based on Kernel

One can install the system just by following the book. I faced two minor problems one in the begining and other in the middle of the process. The first problem was resolved on Forum. You can read my post here. The second problem was resolved by me and I am going to write about both the problems here.

The LFS book says that the host system must be running at least a 2.6.2 kernel compiled with GCC-3.0 or higher. It does not say what software, utilies should be available on the host. When you start building the first package Binutils it says that the installation depends upon 15 packages. This does not mean that these 15 packages are required on the host system. So which ones are required? Without bothering about this I started compiling the Binutils package and got stuck up. I posted on and got an answer that on Ubuntu 5.04 I require GCC (which I had), Bison and Flex.

LFS is built on a separate partition. During about half way (or may be 30%) you mount the Virtual Kernel File System on this partition and enter into the LFS through what is known as "Chroot environment". At this stage you are isolated from the host system (within the Bash shell) and you build the basic LFS system. This takes 2 days or more and you may have to shutdown the machine. The book says that if for any reason you stop working on the LFS system and start again later, it is important to check that these file systems are mounted again before entering the chroot environment. This is OK. But not only this, you have to mount tmpfs over /dev and create the necessary devices in /dev after entering Chroot.

But I should appreciate the LFS book. It is very thorough and one can actually build his/her own Linux system from the book.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

XFCE the fast Desktop on Linux.


The popular desktops KDE and Gnome available on Linux are slow to load on any Linux distribution. I have only 128 Mb RAM, therefore, I decided to switch to XFCE desktop. After login the XFCE desktop loads within 10 seconds. The applications also load faster.

I use more than one keyboard layout. I could add the keyboard layout switcher to the panel but found only the default keyboard layout, although, I had alreadt added another keyboard layout while working in Gnome. After searching I found the answer on XFCE Wiki under Tips, Tricks and Howtos.

There are so many plugins on Xfce Goodies
I added laptop battery monitor and weather update to my desktop.

Xfce is really a light feature rich desktop.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

How to build your own Linux Distribution


On there are 342 active distributions and another 121 are on waiting list. I thought why not have your own Linux distribution. So today I googled the title of this post and to my surprise I got an excellent page for guidance here. Finally I reached a site called Linux from Scratch (LFS). I started reading and found that it was not meant not only for developers but also an average user. I have decided to devote some time every day and try building my own Linux distribution.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Five reasons NOT to use Linux.


Read the article here:

After reading you will find why a Linux fan like me is posting the link to the article.

Here, we go again: why Linux is better:

Now in case you decide to try Linux. Let me tell you which distribution to start with and why by quoting from an article about Linspire:
"One of the main differences between Linspire and other Linux distros (Mandriva, Ubuntu, MEPIS, etc.) is that Linspire does include a lot of legal and paid-for 3rd-party licenses for things like mp3, Java, Flash, Quick Time, Windows Media, Bitstream fonts, Real media, music, etc., and this is all pre-loaded, tested and ready to use. Take all that away and you don't have Linspire, you have something more like other Linux distros."

Actually Linspire is so much like Windows that it was called "Lindows" but it changed to Linspire after agreement with Microsoft (That is another story).

Download version of Linspire costs $49.95 but you can get a free coupon here and use it upto September 6th, 2005:

I am using Ubuntu myself but I am recommending Linspire due to the above reasons in the "quote". It is possible to use the software inside the "quote" and many others in Ubuntu as well but it is not included on the official Ubuntu CD and one has to look for the information on Ubuntuforums to get the additional software most of which is available on another "unofficial" CD (free download). Ubuntu offcourse is free and will remain free for ever.

In case you decide to stick with Windows please apply all the patches and don't use Internet Explorer in which many holes are getting discovered. Here is the latest one:,1895,1854038,00.asp

Good Luck.