Monday, 30 April, 2001

Building a Linux System from Scratch

Well I settled on a new short-term project.  Now that the Kylix book is done, I can play with the Linux system to learn a little more about the OS.  I'm going to see just how hard it is to get a Linux system up and running from scratch.  Here's what I'm going to try:

From my Windows box, download a bootable Linux diskette image.  There's probably somewhere I can get such a thing along with a program that will create a bootable diskette.  I'll then pop that into my P200 and power up.  That should boot Linux on the machine.  Can I reformat the hard drive from this point, or do I need more stuff first?  I want a minimal system:  just enough so that I can download enough stuff to recompile the kernel.  Once I get the kernel optimized for my system, I'll download and install whatever programs I need to create the system that I want.   This will include a mail program (sendmail, or similar program), an FTP server and client, Perl, Apache web server, etc.  As much as possible, I want to work from the lowest level possible--the source.  I want to see how easy it is to do this.

I expect that experiment to take some time.  I can probably get a working system with a customized kernel running in a weekend.  But finding, downloading, and installing everything else from sources I expect to take quite a while.  Obviously, I'll have to download an executable bash shell, gcc, make, and a few other utilities.  From there, I should be able to rebuild all of my tools.

It'll be an interesting experiment.