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Linuxhelp _ General Discussion _ Self-distro

Posted by: odinsa May 11 2004, 01:14 PM

OK, some of you know that I am a terrible newbie, and you could probably come up with many other names to describe me smile.gif

The thing is, despite the fact that I've hardly started to use Linux, I have several great ideas for a new distribution! I know it's lame, but I had a 'brainstorm' and... well, what can you do?

The chart is pretty full of alternatives right now, so I don't know how much need there is for yet another distro, but I've even got the name ready!

So, what I was wondering about is how does one make a distro? Is it very hard? Will I be able to do this myself after handling Linux for a while, or will I have to turn the 'geek' up a notch? Is there an easy (sissy) way to do this and a hard (man's-man) way? I am very comfortable with the easy way, if there is such a thing! When you've got the skills, is it alright to just compile and distribute, no questions asked, or will this get me sued?

Maybe the alternate path is to compile a group of passionate Linux-users (with the Knowledge) and lead the way. The ideas I've got for a distribution are, actually, mostly concerning the image - but that is devastatingly good! cool.gif Are you with me!? tongue.gif

Again, I'm very aware that this question may be incredibly naÔve and even stoopid, but I trust you won't make fun of me... that much...


Posted by: Jim May 11 2004, 01:51 PM

If you want to start to get a feel for what its even going to start to be like, do a Linux from Scratch project, or a stage One Gentoo install. And those are just the installs.

Those are just allowing you to customize the system to fit your specific needs. I have been spending a lot of my time in linux over the past school year and amassed a lot of knowledge, and the last time I tried a stage one Gentoo Install I realized how much I still have to learn.

If you are really talking about writing your own distro your not only going to need a lot of linux knowledge, but a lot of programming experience.

The thing with open source is you can take code and recycle it into your own code, meaning you can make changes here and changes there and than call it your own. The only thing you really can't do is re-distribute the exact same code. Now there are some grey areas and some things here and there and if you want to learn about it there are plenty of great articles on-line to learn about open-source law, go for it, I find it really interesting, but thatís just me.

To be very frank with you, creating your own disto by editing the code to make improvements is a daunting task and something that a linux newbie would have a very hard time with, thatís with out any knowledge of your programming expertise which I think is where most of the skill lies. You would need to dedicate a lot of time, energy, and knowledge into really making a totally new distro.

If you just want a distro that will run great on your computer, serve your custom needs, and teach you a lot of linux, I recommend doing a stage one Gentoo install or a Linux from Scratch project. Either one, youíre going to have to set aside a couple days. My last Gentoo install took three days.

Posted by: odinsa May 11 2004, 02:45 PM


Maybe my only solution is to advertise in strategic forums and gather some 'experts'. They cook up the distro and I handle the image/propaganda. Sounds like a plan... but who will be willing to support my plan knowing i am completely green?

It is very possible I'm just daydreaming.
Would be cool, though...

Posted by: Jim May 11 2004, 03:04 PM

I think almost every newbie goes through that dream, its like wanting to be a firefighter when you were young (or an astronaut or whatever, in my case a Theoretical physicist). And its not a bad dream, its that dream that keeps to Open Source World alive. I mean thats the reason why there are practically hundreds of distros out there, and some of theme serve some really cool (all be it niche) purposes like Knoppix, ZipSlack, and others.

If you want to do your part start small, start by reporting bugs and errors to the right places so that experts can work on them. Than slowly move your way up to starting to write small programs. Than maybe one day you can start working on distro projects, it might not be your own distro, but helping to improve one of the giants can be just as cool and thats how they are all made. Thats the beauty of the open source world, don't let your dream die, just keep in glowing in the back of your mind and use that energy for other things.

And with that I make my 300 post and move up a notch in the world.

Posted by: Robert83 May 12 2004, 03:28 AM


yeah, I went trough that dream as well...but I'm still not ready...

my advice is , do the following :

1. Learn to use Linux really good (I mean really-really good) this will take a few years , well I think after 1 year you will be more comfortable with it, and after 2 yrs of work with linux you will know a lot of things. (I began using linux a year ago, and now I'm a bit more comfortable with it, but I still don't know enough...well, I think I will never know enough smile.gif ).

2. Once you know how to do stuff with Linux, start learning BASH SCRIPT, it's the first step toward programing, it's not hard, but you can learn aditional commands (A MUST HAVE FOR ANY LINUX ADMINISTRATOR) , and you will learn the structure of a program .

3. When you feel that you know enough about BASH SCRIPT (1-2 yrs) , you can begin to dive deeper, I reccomend doing some C programing (that is what I'm going to do, after I master BASH SCRIPTING (still not very good at it). I think you will spend the rest of your life here smile.gif , well almost all of it.

4. Once you know how to program in BASH SCRIPT, C , and know how to use can start reading those very-very long manuals (quiet confusing at first, but it should be easy once you know a thing or two), about how the kernel works, how does linux boot, what do the services do...etc, and after a while you should be ready to create your own distro (but I think when you reach this point , you will not want to do your distro smile.gif , I mean why invent something that is already inveneted? , I think you will do some patches , some new applications, that will make your iptables setup easier, etc...I mean some customisation, but I might be wrong).

Well anyway , as you can see the road is quiet long till you reach those immortal skills (and you can make a computer install itself just by looking at it and saying some magic words).

I'm at the begining of step 2.

Robert B

Posted by: Termina May 17 2004, 01:14 PM

You could also remaster a current distro (basically change it to your liking). I know Knoppix and DSL have a walkthrough how to do it with their distro.

Both are live (with the ability to be installed to the HDD) which is nifty. smile.gif

I was going to do this, but never got around to it. *shrugs*

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