Linux From Scratch

LFS on QEMU

I spent some time playing with Linux From Scratch, installing it in a QEMU box. The idea was to create a tiny and optimized Linux distro to setup some virtual machines for several purposes.

While it is surely a valuable educational experience it’s also time consuming, error-prone, and a not much rewarding work.
I finally come up with a 343MB “basic” system, that gives me a segfault on sysinit when hwclock is called to setup localtime. I got also a warning saying that “Interface eth0 doesn’t exist”. By default LFS doesn’t support dhcp, so I had to specify Internet connection settings manually. I mean ipaddress, gateway, etc. It could be that I made some mess somewhere with those parameters, but I find it strange that eth0 is not found. Maybe a missconfigured kernel? No more time to investigate further.

Things that you don’t have built-in with LFS: ifconfig and which commands. Those are the thing I’ve noticed first. Also, if you type a ‘man tar’ you get “No manual entry for tar”.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying that LFS is not good or not cool. It’s surely not an easy distro, and requiring from the user much time, I’m not impressed from the result. I learned how to build a Linux system from scratch, yes, but I have also to say that I’ve not a clear understanding on every single command I typed to the console.
I was also expecting to get a really tiny Linux installation. I could strip out the compiler, docs and binutils.

After setting up a LFS system the next step is to complete it with Beyond Linux From Scratch. There’s a big book of about 1000 pages that explains how to install practically everything from sources. This could be a good reference also if you don’t use a LFS system but you want to install some Linux application from sources.

I started setting up separate partitions for boot (ext3) and root (reiserfs); this caused me some problem later when configuring grub. I think that, to avoid problems, it could be a good idea – for an LFS newbie – to install everything keeping in mind to choose the simplest configuration possible.

Anyway, creating a Linux system from scratch, is one of those things that one could like to do one time in the life.
Cool :-)


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