OT - Research on LFS

Jesse Tie-Ten-Quee highos at linuxfromscratch.org
Thu Mar 14 11:55:00 PST 2002


On Fri, Mar 08, 2002 at 09:59:34AM +0100, Jeroen Coumans wrote:
> Sure I still want it! I'll rephraze my original questions here.

Argh, little late, thou i guess another posts can't hurt ;)

> 1. Could you describe how you started with the book, what interested you 
> in it? 

The book?  That's all?  You know that is kind of limiting, considering
some of us have been around when the LFS-BOOK use to be the LFS-HOWTO ;)

Granted, i've not been around nearly as long as some, thou i do like to
believe i've tried to help out as much as possible, whenever i can.

I've never directly edited the book, thou i've done my fair share of bug
hunting and testing things out..at least i use too.  Need to get back
into that mode!  I help out co-admin's the lfs server.  I helped setup
MySQL/Apache (and friends) and CVS, so i like to keep an eye on them,
making sure everything is working perfectly.  I took over mantaining
the hints for a short time after Simon left, and untill Ian took over.

You can also find me on IRC, sitting on #LFS, helping out whenever i
can.  I somehow managed to earn rights as ircop, which i never use.  I
sometimes wonder why i have them :)  However, i guess someone needs to
"keep the peace" when Gerard isn't in sight, heh. =)

Simon once called me the "JonKatz" of LFS.  I'm still trying to figure
out if that's a good thing or not ;p :)  For about 9 months i setup and
ran the "LFS Community" which was a slash-based weblog site.  We posted
news, had polls and other things.  Untill i had to bring my server
off-line, haven't managed to bring it back since then.

I'm presently leading ALFS development, or i should say, leading the
pack as best as i can, considering the views of everyone rarely are in
sync for this project.  But i try todo my best.

So.. anyways, let's see i can answer your question then ;)

This goes back to late '99, while the LFS-HOWTO was still at 1.2.  While
going over all the HOWTO's and other material related to the LDP I
somehow managed to find myself at this site in The Netherlands called
TTS with this thing called the LFS-HOWTO.

I was hooked.  I spend nearly two weeks [on and off] playing with LFS.
I never did manage to get a fully working LFS system untill i tried 1.3
however.  And by then, work started to take up too much of my time, so i
had to delete all that precious space LFS was taking up.

I wonder how many people that run into LFS have either tried to make
there own system "from scratch" or our doing research into the subject,
like i was at the time.

LFS sorta ruined it for me, after i saw that Gerard had everything
neatly layed out with instructions for anyone to use.  Thou i quickly
got over that, as then i had something to work and base off.

One of the key things that I love about LFS, and would never trade away
is the freedom todo anything I want, out of the box.  Read that again,
_out of the box_.  No distro gives me that freedom of choice.  I don't
have to install something i don't like or want on my system.  I get to
totally customize any system I build, from the ground *up*.

Not the other way around.  One thing i've almost always done with a
distro, is over time, i would nearly bring it too it's knees while
customizing it.  I had ended up just having to use slackware, because it
was the only sane host system i could end up building from, as i managed
to change things too much for a regular "distro" to handly without
breaking apart on me.

Here's something to consider;  How many advocates have you ran into that
rant and rave about how great it is to have access to the source code
and do whatever we want with it, to change and customize our systems to
our liking?

You know what?  At least in my experience, the vast majority of them
by choice, from the looks of things, hardly ever touch the source code.
At least not nearly to the level i've gotten use to with LFS.  Makes you
wonder, Eh?

So, by the time work cooled off, and I managed to sink my teeth back
into LFS again, Gerard had been quite the buzzy bee.  Fixing nearly all
the previous major problems i had ran into in the 1.x line.  2.3.x was
looking up.  When i did 2.3.2 i had a problem with e2fsprogs, which was
then later fixed in 2.3.3.  Since that release, i cannot remenber any
real "show-stopper" in LFS.  At least not in my experience.

Imho, ever since 2.3.3, nearly all the work done to the book has been
refinements, feature enhancements and better methods of installation.  I
like to crown 2.4.4 has the most stable LFS-BOOK i've seen so far.
Granted a tad dated now i guess.  The one last major problem that has
bugged and made me feels that some LFS installs are not as "clean" as
they could be is something MSB has fixed with his
keep_chap5_and_chap6_sep hint.

I'll be quite glad when LFS starts using MSB's fixes..  Granted from
experience i know the LFS-BOOK wont stop there.  Someone will find
something that needs fixing, or a better way to install something and so
forth.  It never stops...

Like you mentioned however, the thing that really sticks out about LFS is
the community.  Gerard and everyone else [past and present] that has
been involved with LFS have done a great job at creating this community.

I've seen many a fine users and developers come and go.  Everyone that
has come and stayed awhile has learned something and had a chance to
meet some quite interesting people.

Can you ask for anything more in a community? ;)


For me, LFS has been about alot of things.  Control and the freedom it
gives me from the start has problably been the most prominent over time.
The chance to teach others and advice is another.  To watch others grow
and mature [oh boy, i think i've spent too much time on #LFS ;p ;)],
however that is all backed by the community, by some of the great
people in it.

Whoo..woah, i think i spend a little whee bit more time writting that
then i should have.  Hope it helps either way.  I've problably missed
something thou, i always do.  Oh well.

> 2. What do you think about the format and distribution of the book? Do 
> you think it's practical if LFS would be printed? What gains/losses 
> would there be? What are the biggest advantages of not having it 
> printed?

I think it could be practical.  However it would quickly become

I once remenber printing LFS-HOWTO 2.2.  Never again.  I had at the
time, not realized how many pages of paper it would take.  For the
LFS-BOOK to be printed i would think it would need to be restructured a
little... quite a bit of waste presently.  [at least when it's
transformed to paper]

> 3. In traditional books, there's a big difference between reader and 
> writer. With LFS, it's a blurry line. Do you think of yourself as 
> reader or writer?

Everyone is a reader.  Even the book editors.  It's by nature :)

Most of us are contributors thou.  Anyone that has ever posted on the
mailing list with something helpfull.  Anyone that has made a
suggestion.  Anyone that has filed a bug report and brough up an issue
to resolve it.  Anyone that has helped out on IRC and so forth.

As for writers.  Well.. there have been many that have made
contributions or have indirectly helped development in the book, however
nobody can really claim that right, unless they directly editted the
book.  That honour is only available to a few; Gerard, Marc and Mark.

Jesse Tie-Ten-Quee  ( highos at linuxfromscratch dot org )
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