Perception of LFS

mclinden at mclinden at
Sun Jan 12 06:17:12 PST 2003

First of all, let's distinguish between the Linux kernel and LFS. Cox's 
comments were in the context of building Linux kernels, not a complete 
operating environment. And while there is some merit to his comments, 
there is much to criticize, as well. For one, IMHO the Linux kernel has 
grown too complicated to make it practical to continue to configure and 
build using parsers and stream editors. Like many other packages building 
the distro is HIGHLY dependent upon specific implementations of various 
tools, compilers, etc. (think of KDE's lack of support for GCC >= 3.0, or 
XFree's dependency on bison-1.35). I'm not arguing that this is good or 
bad but what I am suggesting is that kernel, itself, is not without 
issues; blaming LFS users is a bit disingenuous.

On the other hand, if you have an LFS distro and access to the book, you 
have a much better chance of succesfully souce-code upgrading your kernel, 
your GLIBC or your GCC than you would with a Red Hat, SuSE or Debian. Add 
to that the wealth of information contained in the HINTS, and I think that 
LFS wins, hands down, if you need an up to date implementation of the Unix 
operating environment.

We support over 30 installations of Oracle 8i, 9i and Oracle Applications 
on various LFS configurations. I started the move a few years ago after 
RedHat and SuSE bloated their systems so much with interlocking 
dependencies that I couldn't easily build a minimal OS distro for a 
database server without throwing in the kitchen sink.

RedHat iced the cake for me when one of their releases included an 
experimental branch GCC which was compatible with nothing. Since then, I 
have never looked back. And since RedHat has recently moved to decertify 
Oracle from all releases except their costly "Advanced Server", I'm glad 
I'll never have to pay another penny to them to run Oracle on their 
platforms. Right now, I can fit the kernel, utilities and libraries, and 
Oracle in  single CD with which I can boot, install and configure an 
Oracle server in less than an hour. Try that with RH or SuSE.

The strength of LFS will never been competition with RH, SuSE or the 
others. Nor should it be. To me, LFS is about building what you need to 
get the job done, well, not about pandering to the masses.

Sean McLinden
Outcome Technology Associates, Inc.

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