6. Installing Basic System Software

6.1. Introduction

In this chapter, we enter the building site and start constructing the CLFS system in earnest. The installation of this software is straightforward. Although in many cases the installation instructions could be made shorter and more generic, we have opted to provide the full instructions for every package to minimize the possibilities for mistakes. The key to learning what makes a Linux system work is to know what each package is used for and why the user (or the system) needs it. For every installed package, a summary of its contents is given, followed by concise descriptions of each program and library the package installed.

If using compiler optimizations, please review the optimization hint at http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/hints/downloads/files/optimization.txt. Compiler optimizations can make a program run slightly faster, but they may also cause compilation difficulties and problems when running the program. If a package refuses to compile when using optimization, try to compile it without optimization and see if that fixes the problem. Even if the package does compile when using optimization, there is the risk it may have been compiled incorrectly because of the complex interactions between the code and build tools. Also note that the -march and -mtune options may cause problems with the toolchain packages (Binutils, GCC and Glibc). The small potential gains achieved in using compiler optimizations are often outweighed by the risks. First-time builders of CLFS are encouraged to build without custom optimizations. The subsequent system will still run very fast and be stable at the same time.

The order that packages are installed in this chapter needs to be strictly followed to ensure that no program accidentally acquires a path referring to /tools hard-wired into it. For the same reason, do not compile packages in parallel. Compiling in parallel may save time (especially on dual-CPU machines), but it could result in a program containing a hard-wired path to /tools, which will cause the program to stop working when that directory is removed.

To keep track of which package installs particular files, a package manager can be used. For a general overview of different styles of package managers, please take a look at the next page.