i. Foreword

My adventures in Linux began in 1998 when I downloaded and installed my first distribution. After working with it for a while, I discovered issues I definitely would have liked to see improved upon. For example, I didn't like the arrangement of the bootscripts or the way programs were configured by default. I tried a number of alternative distributions to address these issues, yet each had its pros and cons. Finally, I realized that if I wanted full satisfaction from my Linux system, I would have to build my own from scratch.

What does this mean? I resolved not to use pre-compiled packages of any kind, nor CD-ROMs or boot disks that would install basic utilities. I would use my current Linux system to develop my own customized system. This “perfect” Linux system would then have the strengths of various systems without their associated weaknesses. In the beginning, the idea was rather daunting, but I remained committed to the idea that a system could be built that would conform to my needs and desires rather than to a standard that just did not fit what I was looking for.

After sorting through issues such as circular dependencies and compile-time errors, I created a custom-built Linux system that was fully operational and suitable to individual needs. This process also allowed me to create compact and streamlined Linux systems which are faster and take up less space than traditional operating systems. I called this system a Linux From Scratch system, or an LFS system for short.

As I shared my goals and experiences with other members of the Linux community, it became apparent that there was sustained interest in the ideas set forth in my Linux adventures. Such custom-built LFS systems serve not only to meet user specifications and requirements, but also serve as an ideal learning opportunity for programmers and system administrators to enhance their Linux skills. Out of this broadened interest, the Linux From Scratch Project was born.

This Linux From Scratch book provides readers with the background and instruction to design and build custom Linux systems. This book highlights the Linux from Scratch project and the benefits of using this system. Users can dictate all aspects of their system, including directory layout, script setup, and security. The resulting system will be compiled completely from the source code, and the user will be able to specify where, why, and how programs are installed. This book allows readers to fully customize Linux systems to their own needs and allows users more control over their system.

I hope you will have a great time working on your own LFS system, and enjoy the numerous benefits of having a system that is truly your own.

Gerard Beekmans