6. Installing Basic System Software

6.1. Introduction

In this chapter, we enter the building site and start constructing the LFS system in earnest. That is, we chroot into the temporary mini Linux system, make a few final preparations, and then begin installing the packages.

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 the compiler optimizations provided in this chapter, 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. The small potential gains achieved in using compiler optimizations are often outweighed by the risks. First-time builders of LFS 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.

Before the installation instructions, each installation page provides information about the package, including a concise description of what it contains, approximately how long it will take to build, how much disk space is required during this building process, and any other packages needed to successfully build the package. Following the installation instructions, there is a list of programs and libraries (along with brief descriptions of these) that the package installs.

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 refer to http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/view/svn/introduction/important.html. For a package management method specifically geared towards LFS, we recommend http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/hints/downloads/files/more_control_and_pkg_man.txt.



The remainder of this book is to be performed while logged in as user root and no longer as user lfs. Also, double check that $LFS is set.