Really understanding Linux/Unix-Derivatives

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# 1  
Old 09-08-2010
Really understanding Linux/Unix-Derivatives


I've been using Linux (Ubuntu) specifically for about 5 years now and been dabbling with nix for a couple more. I really am worried that with the way distro's are going and package management that i'm starting to loose touch with compiling applications and really understanding how they work.

I know of Gentoo and Slackware and the Build it yourself Linux version but i'm wondering if anyone here has an opinion about what they think if the best Operating system to fully understand the guts of the system (also being forced to learn it) by not including some temptation as package managers etc.

This can apply both to the Server/Desktop orientated OS's out there so please if you have any thought they would be appreciated.
# 2  
Old 09-08-2010
Welcome to Linux From Scratch!

If you haven't run freebsd try that as well.
This User Gave Thanks to stu-nix For This Post:
# 3  
Old 09-08-2010
I've been thinking that - It's more for learning that really using in a Production environment. I really like the Sound of freeBSD so i think it will go LFS > *BSD

Anymore thoughts?
# 4  
Old 09-09-2010
I've always liked Arch Linux for that. The base install is very stripped down and you build what you want. The fancy GUI desktops, package managers, etc. are all available but won't be installed unless you specifically want them. So you can start with a base system and build up a piece at a time learning as you go.
# 5  
Old 09-09-2010
Originally Posted by shitson
I know of Gentoo and Slackware and the Build it yourself Linux version but i'm wondering if anyone here has an opinion about what they think if the best Operating system to fully understand the guts of the system (also being forced to learn it) by not including some temptation as package managers etc.
Building your own packages is a nice thought, but you kind of need a working system to do so. Building everything from scratch also means fixing all bugs and patching all patches by hand; it can be a problem just finding them all, let alone applying them properly.

Gentoo is closer to what you want, I think. Yes, it has a package manager, but not an intrusive one. It won't throw a fit over you using the "wrong" kernel, it checks for needed features in /proc/config.gz at runtime instead of hardcoding a dumb binary. Its build files are all shell scripts, illustrating what deviations are needed from the general "./configure ; make ; make install" procedure. Its "package database" is a sanely organized tree of files under /usr/portage, and its list of installed packages is something similar under /var/db/pkg. It needs a sane build environment of course so installs all libraries and headers, there's no clutter of "xyz-dev" packages to hunt down and pin to the board. If you want to build from hand, Gentoo's a decent place to try.

The one problem might be udev, which started as a modest device-node manager but has mushroomed into something capable of probing modules, reordering network devices, starting services, and making coffee without user intervention. If you really want to understand linux these days though there's probably no escaping it, it's quite fundamental now.

Even if you do LFS or something, Gentoo's still a convenient source of tarballs and patchsets.

Last edited by Corona688; 09-09-2010 at 01:20 PM..
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