What is Linux From Scratch?
Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with step-by-step instructions for building your own customized Linux system entirely from source. Why would I want an LFS system?
Many wonder why they should go through the hassle of building a Linux system from scratch when they could just download an existing Linux distribution. However, there are several benefits of building LFS. Consider the following:
LFS teaches people how a Linux system works internally
Building LFS teaches you about all that makes Linux tick, how things work together and depend on each other. And most importantly, how to customize it to your own tastes and needs.
Building LFS produces a very compact Linux system
When you install a regular distribution, you often end up installing a lot of programs that you would probably never use. They're just sitting there taking up (precious) disk space. It's not hard to get an LFS system installed under 500 MB. Does that still sound like a lot? A few of us have been working on creating an LFS system even smaller. We installed a system that was just enough to run the Apache web server; total disk space usage was a little below 200 MB. Try that with a regular distribution.
LFS is extremely flexible
Building LFS could be compared to a finished house. LFS will give you the skeleton of a house, but it's up to you to install plumbing, electrical outlets, kitchen, bath, wallpaper, etc. You have the ability to turn it into whatever type of system you need it to be, customized completely for you.
LFS offers you added security
You will compile the entire system from source, thus allowing you to audit everything, if you wish to do so, and apply all the security patches you want or need to apply. You don't have to wait for someone else to provide a new binary package that (hopefully) fixes a security hole. Often, you never truly know whether a security hole is fixed or not unless you do it yourself.
What can I do with my LFS system?
A by-the-book LFS system is fairly minimal, but is designed to provide a strong base on which you can add any packages you want. See the BLFS project for a selection of commonly used packages.
|Douglas R. Reno
Plus numerous people who contribute to the book and its side projects.