[oclug] Last day
patsmith at pobox.com
Thu Jun 5 18:07:22 EDT 2003
Shad Young wrote:
> in your estimation, how hard is a "hand built" Linux to make?
This really depends on what you want from it. It will also be a lot
easier if you've done it before, obviously.
I don't really remember how long it took me to put together a firewall
system, but think it was around a week -- most of which was spent
fighting to get it to fit on a floppy. (If I had to do this over again,
I'd either use a system that could boot from a CD or _not_ use glibc!)
On the other hand, I've probably put two or three months of work into
setting up my desktop system, and use say an hour a week to keep it up
to date. (This is clearly not something everyone wants to do, but I
enjoyed it. :-)
One could set up a desktop a lot faster, by just downloading the
packages one wants and compiling and installing them. But this might be
hard to maintain with new versions.
A lot of my work went into writing an administration tool, that
o scans web pages and ftp directories to find new versions of packages
o downloads the source
o runs scripts to compile and install them
o ensures things aren't installed in the wrong places
o ensures one package doesn't stomp on another packages's files
o does clean uninstalls when needed
o allows me to keep multiple versions of a single package
o ensures the only setuid programs are the ones I want to be setuid
(This is maybe similar in some ways to Gentoo -- but I had never heard
of Gentoo when I first started doing this.)
This tool is somewhat kludgy, but "works for me".
Another advantage to my setup is that I have a very clear separation
between stuff that does and does not need to be backed up. (And earlier
this year I got quite a bit of practice in restoring from backups, due
to a dying hard drive and a bug in ReiserFS (both problems now fixed)).
Some other things that could affect the effort needed:
o How unusual is your hardware? (PPC in my case.)
o How many different hardware options do you want to handle (just the
one system for me).
o How complete a system do you need? (I've around 150 packages.)
o How well (and recently) maintained are the packages you need, and how
simple or complex is the installation procedure? (Much variation.)
o Do you try to find and fix bugs, or just shrug your shoulders?
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