cvs commit: hints prereading.txt

timothy at timothy at
Thu Jan 2 16:38:35 PST 2003

timothy     03/01/02 19:38:35

  Added:       .        prereading.txt
  Initial commit.
  Revision  Changes    Path
  1.1                  hints/prereading.txt
  Index: prereading.txt
  TITLE:		Essential pre-reading for life with LFS
  LFS VERSION:	any and all, including the next one.
  AUTHOR:		Richard A Downing FBCS<richard.downing at>
  This hint is a list of good documents that you can get for free 
  on the Internet, together with some advice from me and my friends. It will 
  help you get 'educated' to a level where you can:
    1)  build LFS successfully
    2)  ask sensible questions on the LFS lists and understand the replies.
    3)  stay sane while doing all this.
  Please Note: This is a 'work in progress' and I'm missing a good reference 
  on some stuff. So, if you know of, or find a good one, please write me.   
  Also I just like feedback, so it never hurts to send an email.
  In the LFS book, Gerard says:
    "This book assumes that its reader has a good deal of knowledge about 
    using and installing Linux software."
  Gerard then suggests some reading.  I suggest some more here, and some 
  exercises to go with them.
  Part 1. Social stuff. (MOST important)
  Many people ask questions badly on the LFS mailing lists.  Sometimes they 
  get rude replies.  Read this to stay sane.
  Please note that all the LFS mailing lists expect:
    1) plain text email.  No HTML.
    2) bottom posting.  Add your bit UNDERNEATH the bit you quoted.
    3) pruned quotes.  Don't quote everything, just the significant bit.
    4) no cross-posts.  Just use the right list.
    5) thick skins.  Don't respond to rudeness, just ignore it.
    6) zazen.  (Just Sitting) If others have a flame-war, just sit and watch.
  Before asking questions on lfs lists, please search the archives, at least 
  the recent months, and PLEASE READ THE FAQ.  Read the latest copy, not some 
  old thing you downloaded last week.
  If you ask a question that is in the FAQ, you are being extremely rude, 
  not least to Seth who maintains it (wonderfully).  So you rightly WILL get 
  Special note:
  If someone tells you to RTFM, they are not, repeat NOT, being rude 
  or getting at you.  This is the accepted phrase indicating that you need to 
  Read The Friendly Manual.  If you have previously been told that a 
  certain Old Low Dutch word is referred to by the 'F', please be assured 
  that this is just a myth .:-) 
  Part 2. Technical stuff.
  Many people attempt to build LFS without sufficient understanding 
  or experience with LINUX.  Here is an excerpt from the tar manual:
     "you should understand something about how Unix-type operating systems
      work, and you should know how to use some basic utilities.  
      For example, you should know how to create, list, copy, rename, 
      edit, and delete files and directories; how to change between 
      directories; and how to figure out where you are in the filesystem. 
      You should have some basic understanding of directory structure and 
      how files are named according to which directory they are in.  You 
      should understand concepts such as standard output and standard 
      input, what various definitions of the term "argument" mean, the    
      differences between relative and absolute path names"
  In the LFS book, Gerard says:
    "We are going to build the LFS system by using a 
     previously installed Linux distribution such as Debian, SuSE, Slackware, 
     Mandrake, RedHat, etc. We will use the existing Linux system as the 
     development platform, because we need tools like a compiler, linker, 
     text   editor, and other development tools to build our system. Get a 
     modern   distro and play with it."
  Choosing a distro is only hard because of the choice, my 
  advice is to choose a cheap one because once you have learned a bit and 
  then built LFS you will junk it.  I got mine free with a magazine.  However 
  this may help:
  Unlike Windows, Unix requires you to understand what you are doing to get 
  anything much out of it.  Both Windows and Unix require deep understanding 
  to get the best out of them.  This document is very basic, but will help 
  you if you are coming from Windows, or just starting out understanding 
  The next one is also good, yes, it's dated, but still worth reading:
  If you have read those, then you are aware that we drive Unix though a 
  shell, which provides the command line interface.  The shell we use in LFS, 
  as in most of the Linux world, is bash (The Bourne Again Shell).  You need 
  to be fluent in using bash, this is a good tutorial:
  (Yes, I know it says 'Advanced', but read it anyway, do you want to be a 
  newbie forever?)
  Then there are three books that you ought to have available from or on your 
  box for easy reference, skim read them now so you know how to use them:
  The Linux User's Guide.  
  The Linux Systems Administrators Guide
  The Linux Network Administrators Guide, Second Edition
  Having got yourself a LINUX system, and played a bit, you now will know a 
  little about the subject, but before moving on to the building of LFS you 
  should learn how to build packages from source code.  This is an area 
  where it's hard to find good references.  Gerard suggests this one in the 
  LFS book:
  And this is good too:
  It's very important that you have some experience installing a 
  package from source on your distro before attempting LFS.
  One good choice would be GNU-emacs.  Check out it's homepage at:
  Another, suggested by others, is mplayer.  This is a good 
  challenge and a test of your developing skills.  Mplayer's home website is 
  IBM, once Big Bad Blue, is now a great supporter of OpenSource and Linux.  
  They have some free tutorials on their website:
  Look for the 'Tutorials' link (currently top right) and look especially 
  for the following:
    Compiling and installing software from sources
    Compiling the Linux kernel
    Using regular expressions
  but there are rich pickings here, even for the experienced.
  Part 3.  Other stuff.
  My starting point for any query or gap in my knowledge is google, yours 
  should be too.  Go to the google page, and hit the advanced search button.  
  Learn the full capabilities of this essential tool, spend at least a whole 
  day on this.  Truely, you can't live without it.
  There is a whole heap of documentation at the Linux Documentation Project, 
  some of which I've quoted above.  Learn to go there regularly and just poke 
  about, it's a great storehouse of knowledge.  Beware though a lot of it is 
  out of date.
  You might want to find some other software for your Linux box.  The 
  place to search is:
  And finally, whatever you read or don't read concerning LFS, before 
  asking questions, start by reading the FAQ.  FAQ stands for 'Frequently 
  Asked Questions'.  We don't want to answer them again, so don't ask them.  
  Read the FAQ.
  I have received encouragement and advice from the following, but the words 
  are my fault alone.
  Dagmar D'Surreal, Tushar Teredesai, Ken Dyke, James Robertson, Eric Miller, 
  and lots of others on lfs-chat.
  But nothing would have been done at all without the LFS project 
  that Gerard Beekmans started:
  Good luck,
  Richard. #207.
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