[blfs-support] Reducing my contributions

Yang Bo rslovers at yandex.com
Sun Jun 24 22:28:15 PDT 2018

Hello, Ken/the whole LFS community:

First I wanna say that I really appreciate your effort and the whole
LFS project, without which I wouldn't image I could build my own Linux
distribution. [1] But, I do wonder, can the burnout you feeled be avoided?

Sometimes I'm indeed surprised by the effort put into compiling a package
with system libraries instead of the bundled ones when reading BLFS,
will it be the end of world if one does the other way around? I know
it certainly isn't for me, since I never compile any package with the
`--with-system-*' flag, and I have been happily doing it this way for
the last couple years without any problem. But whether it's right or
not is really not the point here, many things in the BLFS book are
too opinionated, if one is determined enough to build his own Linux
distribution, one is probably also opinionated enough. And the worst is
that writing those opinions and details and keep them up to date will
drain you.

I wish BLFS could be more brief, more interesting, and less cumbersome.
I know it can since I only wrote 100+ lines of configuration to build an
entire Linux distribution [1], I really don't think it's necessary to give
detailed compiling instructions for every single package BLFS includes,
this repetitive task is the devil, it takes out all the pleasure and
makes you hate what you do, and as you put it, takes away one's sanity.

Instead of those detailed recipes, one could simply write about what
build system this package uses, which part of the README file contains
a description of the dependencies, what other files under the source
directory are worth reading, what're some interesting history/stories
about this package, how does this package connects to other packages,
what're some simple demonstrations of the things this package could
do. I think it's much more informative and interesting to write this way,
and this is creative instead of repetitive.

Finally, I don't know how the BLFS community feels about an official
package manager, I made a post to the LFS mailing list about the package
manager [1] I created to manage my own Linux distribution a couple month
ago, it uses the package by difference method and works with any package
without exception, I still think it's the perfect package manager for
BLFS, even (to my surprise) it got no response. It enables one to easily
create a binary package from compilation, remove a package, or restore a
removed package from the binary package created, incrementally rebuild
a system, transfer compiled packages to another machine. It makes BLFS
much easier and it saves much effort. For example, since it has complete
knowledge over what files are installed, elf binaries/shared libraries
could be automatically stripped, .la files could automatically be removed,
man pages could also be automatically be compressed, instead of giving
instructions to do these things mannually. BLFS could be much more with
it, it could be THE polymorphism Linux distribution of everyone that
wants to create his own.

I mentioned it again since there's now difficuly in the BLFS development,
I want to provide my input and potentially a new and interesting direction
for the development process. I still consider [1] as my contribution to
the BLFS community, even if it's not recognized or anticipated, and I
bet I'm not the only one, so you really shouldn't be sad that there're
few contributors, I'm sure there're many people inspired by BLFS and
created their own projects, just like I did, they're contributing,
just not directly, you should be proud of what you did.

[1] https://github.com/057a3dd61f99517a3afea0051a49cb27994f94d/rslinux

Yang Bo.

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