So. . . what's the difference?

From: Jonathan Calloway 
------------------------------------------------------
Greetings!

 

I have been thinking about trying to build bootable Linux machine using LFS
for learning purposes.  However, I heard a very interesting podcast today
about Gentoo.  While I've heard of Gentoo before, I didn't realize that it
requires you to compile your own kernel etc.  That got me to wondering, if
you want to 'learn', what would the difference between using LFS  and Gentoo
be?  Also, what about Slackware?  All three give an installation experience
that has been automated in recent years by Anaconda and the like.

 

So, I will be interested in finding out what your collective opinions are. 

 

Thanks!

 

Jonathan Calloway


=============================================================== From: Randy Yates ------------------------------------------------------ Gentoo doesn't require you to build your own kernel. It is, however, an option. The advantage I see from LFS is that it walks you through building EVERYTHING from scratch. Gentoo doesn't, though it's much more involved than your normal distribution with binary package managers. It has been a long time since I installed Gentoo so I apologize in advance if any of this has changed recently. Gentoo allows you to choose how optimized your system will be. It's a lot like FreeBSD in its package management. There are binary packages as well as source packages. Most people use the source packages with their automatic build scripts, but you always have the option to install binary packages instead. LFS doesn't have a package management system of any sort. It's completely built from scratch (thus the name). It's a lot more involved than Gentoo, and I wouldn't recommend it for anything other than 1.) learning or 2.) building a small install for special use-cases. The main thing I got from it was the appreciation for dependency checking package managers. The LFS build will take you possibly days to complete. A Gentoo install will take quite a few hours on a modern system if you are compiling everything and are including a GUI environment. Slackware, though I've never used it, uses zipped tarballs for it's packages. I'm not sure if there is any dependency checking, but I'm pretty sure there isn't. Also, the packages don't need to be compiled. They are binary packages. Hope that helps. ize using da .

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ what exactly are you trying to 'learn'? how to build a kernel? you can d= o =0Athat in any distro (well, after you fetch the kernel source and the bu= ild tools)=0A=0Anever used LFS (seems like a helluva lot of work) and never= used Gentoo. =0ASlackware was my first distro and still my 1st choice for= home systems. =0A=0A=0Ahere's the secret to how I got so damn smart: th= e first 5 years I ran linux I =0Adid not use gui. =0A=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A= =0A

=============================================================== From: Randy Yates ------------------------------------------------------ You can learn a lot about bootstrapping and what each of the core components of a GNU/Linux system does. Plus you can quickly learn the ins and outs of sed and awk. It gives you some perspective on the dependencies of each system component as well. If you've never tried it, try it out once. It's a good read and test of one's patience.

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Gentoo uses ports (borred from BSD). When you install or upgrade an application, you compile it. In theory, this allows you to optimize the software tailored to your specific hardware and desires. In real world experience, compiling Open/LibreOffice and tying up your machine for the entire weekend will probably lead you to not use it in production. I was not aware that Gentoo has started to offer binary packages (outside the stage3 tarball from install). Slack uses a package management system (like RPM or APT) and uses binary packages. You don't have to compile anything to use it. Slackware will teach you how to find and edit text files. Stability and simplicity are the shining stars of Slack. LFS will teach you how to build Linux from nothing, literally. Gentoo, while compiling everything under the sun, doesn't really teach you anything about the process, it hides it behind a config file and the emerge process. You need a week to install LFS, a weekend to install Gentoo, an hour to install Slack. Myself, I'm not an OS hacker, so the inner workings of the kernel no longer fascinate me (and since 2.4, the options alone are mind-blowing, make menuconfig is a small Russian novel these days....), although it is interesting to browse through once a year or so, just to see the new hardware support alone. You can compile your own kernel with pretty much anything though. And you often need to, to support new hardware, or a new netfilter option, or better IPv6 support, or ..... :) Regards, dtb - -- "Some things in life can never be fully appreciated nor understood unless experienced firsthand. Some things in networking can never be fully understood by someone who neither builds commercial networking equipment nor runs an operational network." RFC1925 -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32) Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/ iEYEARECAAYFAk/NVtMACgkQABP1RO+tr2SShgCgogo9rhatxq/oeuQAMa5tbWuK ueIAoKGR5cA6wdOQejtMF1vMzS0ikfwG =WGSn -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ I've compiled a new kernel on a laptop with only 4mb memory, then got a lampp stack running on that laptop... if that wasn't a test of patience (and masochism), I don't know what is ;)

=============================================================== From: Randy Yates ------------------------------------------------------ If I remember correctly, you have to compile the entire toolchain something like three times in LFS. I'm not saying compiling a kernel with 4mb of RAM wouldn't be rough, but LFS is very tedious. If you type a ` instead of a ' at one point in the process, you can taint the installation and waste days of work.

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ On Mon, 4 Jun 2012 17:46:43 -0400 "Jonathan Calloway" wrote: I haven't used Gentoo, but I believe the difference is that although Gentoo does have the option to recompile things on your own machine, it does it with the ease of a package manager. So if you build your own kernel, install it and the boot loader, understand how that leads to running init (or whatever process manager you run), you're going to know a lot more about Linux. You'll be a long way to knowing a whole lot about building embedded systems. I haven't particularly looked at LFS, but I think the process of building a kernel, configuring a boot loader to load that kernel, and setting up Busybox for your environment (provides a stripped down init, and the basic Un*x tools, including some automounting and networking environment) is very valuable. If LFS gives you an approachable way to do that: awesome. I've done it with several different boot loaders (LILO on CF cards on Intel machines, uBoot on ARM and AVR32 platforms), and there are details along the way but once you've done it a whole new set of hardware options opens up. It's somewhat outdated (9 years old), but I wrote about the first time I did this process at http://www.flutterby.com/archives/wiki.cgi?wikiid=726 Dan

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ Ah: More recent droppings from an embedded install at http://www.flutterby.com/archives/comments/13270.html

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Is compile an option w/ Gentoo now? Anyone? 1,2 & 3 can happen on any distro, slack would give you a pretty basic experience. That 4th part I think LFS is the only mentioned option that will teach that. It's already taken care of for you in the other options. +100 or so! I still have this bookmarked! Hehe, or you can try and find info on the Alpha PAL and aboot and/or milo. Those were both fun as well. Regards, dtb - -- "Some things in life can never be fully appreciated nor understood unless experienced firsthand. Some things in networking can never be fully understood by someone who neither builds commercial networking equipment nor runs an operational network." RFC1925 -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32) Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/ iEYEARECAAYFAk/OKmUACgkQABP1RO+tr2QRdACeLMA+gtSxTL9uMjC8dOHFgWlB 3UcAoIJepCzhSetJ9c9PD0JDJgcIQmOo =2hI0 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Adam Jimerson ------------------------------------------------------ As far as I know most of the things you install from portage must be compiled on your machine. The Gentoo packagers only compile a handful of packages and tend to be the larger ones that could end up taking hours to compile. My information is a bit old, at least a year old by now. What I do remember is that you do compile your own kernel during the installation process, but get the user the option of just running the vanilla kernel much like the kernel the live CD you are installing from runs. - --

=============================================================== From: William Wade ------------------------------------------------------ It has been a bit since I have used it, but yes it is still an option. There are a few different ways to install. One is to basically make a copy of the live cd. Whenever you emerge (Gentoo's package manager) something then it is compiled from source. The big advantage is that the applications are all (in theory) optimized to run on your specific system. The kernel is smaller because you choose only the options you need. It does take a bit of time. If you want a slower introduction you might try sabayon.org which is built on Gentoo. Wil

=============================================================== From: Billy ------------------------------------------------------ The quickpkg command allows you to create a binary package of an already com= piled and installed package. You can then copy it to all your machines. The c= aveat is: all the machines must be compatible with the compile options of th= e source machine. So if you compile for an atom processor with all it's opti= mizations and install on an intel2, it might not run.=20 re are a few different ways to install. One is to basically make a copy of t= he live cd. ed from source. o run on your specific system. The kernel is smaller because you choose only= the options you need. y sabayon.org which is built on Gentoo. led on your machine. The Gentoo packagers only compile a handful of package= s and tend to be the bit old, at least a year old by now. llation process, but get the user the option of just running the vanilla ker= nel much like the kernel the live CD you are installing from runs.