Official LFS LiveCD Documentation

Version: x86-6.3-r2160


Available packages on this CD for your use:

This CD also includes jhalfs (a tool for extracting commands from the Linux From Scratch book and creating Makefiles that can download, check and build each LFS package for you.)

You can compile other programs from sources directly on the CD. All locations on the CD can be written to (including /usr).


This CD does not detect virtual SCSI disks connected to a virtual machine in VMware Workstation 5.x or earlier or VMware Server 1.0.3 or earlier. This is a known VMware bug. The solution is to upgrade to VMware Workstation >= 6.0 or VMware Server >= 1.0.4.

The following workarounds help for older versions of VMware products:

The same issue will be present on an LFS system built from this CD.


The LiveCD attempts to detect the network cards present in the system. On each detected network card, dhcpcd is automatically started in the background. If it is not correct to acquire the network settings via DHCP in your location, or if you want to use dialup or GPRS connection, run the “net-setup” command.

If you don’t want the CD to start dhcpcd on the detected network cards, type “linux nodhcp” at the boot loader prompt. This may be required for wireless connections that utilize WEP or WPA encryption.


The LiveCD attempts to configure X for your video card automatically. The process may fail if you have more than one video card, if your video card does not support 24-bit color depth, or if your monitor is not Plug-n-Play compatible (in other words, does not tell its characteristics to Xorg via DDC). In such cases, you have to edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file manually, using vim, joe or nano, as described below.

In Section “Device”, specify the driver for your video card, e.g.:

Section "Device"
    Identifier      "Generic Video Card"
    Driver          "vesa"

In Section “Monitor”, specify the allowed frequency ranges for your monitor. If unsure, consult the manual that came with your monitor. If such information is not there, but you know a working resolution and refresh rate, run the “gtf” command. E.g., if your monitor can handle 1280x1024@85Hz:

$ gtf 1280 1024 85

[NOTE] You must specify the refresh rate of 60 Hz for VGA-connected LCD monitors.

Then look at the output:

# 1280x1024 @ 85.00 Hz (GTF) hsync: 91.38 kHz; pclk: 159.36 MHz
Modeline "1280x1024_85.00"  159.36  1280 1376 1512 1744  1024 1025 1028 1075 -HSync +Vsync

Put the synchronization ranges that contain the printed values. For the above example, this means that the following information should be added in the “Monitor” section:

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier  "Generic Monitor"
    Option      "DPMS"
    # Option    "NoDDC" # for broken monitors that
                # report max dot clock = 0 MHz
    HorizSync   30-92   # because gtf said "hsync: 91.38 kHz"
    VertRefresh 56-86   # because an 85 Hz mode has been requested
    # the Modeline may also be pasted here
    Option "PreferredMode" "1280x1024_85.00" # only for the "intel" driver

In the Section “Screen”, change the DefaultDepth and add the “Modes” line to SubSection “Display” with the proper color depth. If you added custom Modelines, you have to specify them exactly as defined, i.e. “1280x1024_85.00” in the example above. The built-in Modelines have names similar to “1024x768”, without explicit specification of the refresh rate.

When you are finished editing /etc/X11/xorg.conf, run “startx”.


The CD contains pre-built proprietary video drivers in the /drivers directory (if you loaded the CD contents to RAM, you have to mount the CD and look into /media/cdrom/drivers instead). They are never selected by default by the autoconfiguration process. Here is how to enable them.


cd /drivers
tar -C / -xf NVIDIA-Linux-[userspace_arch]-[version]-glx.tgz
tar -C / -xf NVIDIA-Linux-[kernel_arch]-[version]-kernel-[kernel_version].tgz
depmod -ae
vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf   # use the "nvidia" driver instead of "vesa" or "nv"


cd /drivers
tar -C / -xf fglrx-x710-[version]-[userspace_arch]-1.tgz
tar -C / -xf fglrx-module-[version]-[kernel_arch]-1_kernel_[kernel_version].tgz
depmod -ae
vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf   # use the "fglrx" driver instead of "vesa" or "ati"


It is possible to burn a customized version of the official Linux From Scratch LiveCD, with changed default boot parameters and/or your own files added.

To change the default boot arguments, follow these steps as root.

[NOTE] You cannot change the volume label of the customized CD (i.e., the argument to the “-V” option) this way. The “-nosrc” suffix is not part of the volume label and should be left out, but “-min” should be preserved.

To add or remove files, follow the instructions in the /root/lfscd-remastering-howto.txt file instead.


It is possible to start the sshd daemon automatically upon boot. To do that, you have to customize the CD. Create the following files:

/.autosshd: This is the file that indicates that the sshd daemon should be started automatically. It should be empty.

/root/.ssh/authorized_keys: Add your public key to that file in order to be able to log in. Alternatively, modify /etc/shadow.

/etc/shadow: Edit this file if you want to allow root to login using a password via ssh. It is more secure to use public key based authentication instead.

/etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key, /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key: Create those files as described in the ssh-keygen(1) manual page. If you do not do that, random host keys will be generated for you automatically during the boot process. This is less secure, because you cannot verify them.

/etc/sysconfig/network-devices/ifconfig.eth0: Configure a known static IP address there, as described in the LFS book, section “7.12. Configuring the network Script”.


It is possible to specify the locale using the bootloader prompt, like this:

linux LANG=es_ES@euro

For some locales (e.g. lv_LV.ISO-8859-13) there is no valid console keymap, but there is a keymap for X. In this case, the only solution is to use X.

While this CD configures the “LANG” environment variable, console font and keymap for you, it is your responsibility to configure other locale-dependent parameters manually. You have to explicitly specify the “iocharset” and “codepage” options when mounting filesystems with Windows origin (e.g., vfat and isofs).

The CD contains TrueType fonts that cover the orthography of most of European and some Asian languages. No additional configuration is required in order to use these fonts.

Use of this LiveCD with Chinese, Japanese or Korean language requires that your monitor has at least 80 pixels per inch in order for hieroglyphs to be recognizable (i.e., at least 12 pixels high). This means the following minimum resolution:

15"  =>    1024x768
17"  =>    1024x768
19"  =>   1280x1024
20"  =>   1280x1024

If your monitor cannot handle such resolution, edit the /etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc file with vim, nano or joe, and add the “-dpi 94” parameter to the X server command line there.


The Live CD includes software (BRLTTY and speakup) that make the contents of the Linux text console accessible to visually-impaired users. This software is not started by default, and special boot parameters (documented below) are needed in order to use it.

Unfortunately, the boot loader expects the parameters to be entered with US English keyboard layout, which is not familiar to non-US users, and they cannot see their mistakes. Thus, it is recommended for such users to customize default boot parameters of the CD as described above instead of trying to type them at the boot prompt.


The LiveCD includes the “brltty” program that allows a blind person to read the contents of the Linux text console on a Braille display. In order to activate it, insert the CD into the drive, reboot the computer. Some BIOSes will produce a beep indicating successful power-on self-testing. If so, the boot loader will produce a second beep indicating the boot prompt is available. After that beep (first or second depending on if your computer normally beeps upon startup), type:

linux brltty=eu,ttyS0

[NOTE] This example assumes that the EuroBraille device is connected to the first serial port. For other device types, the “brltty” parameter will be different.

[NOTE] In some locales, “brltty” displays incorrect Braille patterns. This is related to the fact that Braille tables in brltty are indexed with encoding-dependent bytes representing the character. Such representation becomes invalid when another encoding for the same language is used. E.g., that is why the “ru” table (designed for the KOI8-R encoding) produces wrong result in the ru_RU.CP1251 locale.

Known non-working cases

If ‘brltty’ displays incorrect Braille patterns in your locale, please revert to the en_US locale, thus avoiding the use of non-ASCII characters. If you know how to fix this problem for your locale, mail this information to


This CD includes a development version of Speakup (because no stable versions work with linux-2.6.22.x), as an alternative method that allows a blind person to access the contents of Linux console with the help of a hardware speech synthesizer or the “espeak” software text-to-speech engine. In order to activate it, insert the CD into the drive, reboot the computer. Some BIOSes will produce a beep indicating successful power-on self-testing. If so, the boot loader will produce a second beep indicating the boot prompt is available. After that beep (first or second depending on if your computer normally beeps upon startup), type:

linux speakup.synth=soft

[NOTE] This example assumes that the software text-to-speech engine has to be used.

Hardware speech synthesizers are also supported. E.g., for a DoubleTalk LT/LiteTalk synthesizer connected to /dev/ttyS1, use the following command line:

linux speakup.synth=ltlk speakup.ser=2

Documentation on the official Speakup home page applies to the stable version of Speakup (2.0) and thus contains outdated information. Nevertheless, users that are new to Speakup should read it, keeping this fact in mind.

The key user-visible differences between the included version of Speakup and Speakup 2.0 are listed below.

Speakup has been tested only with the en_US locale and may work incorrectly in other locales.


There is a hint “How to resume your work after a break at different -LFS stages” available at:

Instructions from there should work on this CD, however, there is a simpler method (“hibernation”) described below.

Make sure you have (or are planning to create) a swap partition not used by other Linux systems installed on your hard drive. The text below assumes that /dev/hda2 is your (existing or planned) swap partition.

Pass “resume=/dev/hda2” as one of the kernel arguments when booting this CD. I.e., the complete boot line may look as:

linux LANG=ru_RU.UTF-8 TZ=Asia/Yekaterinburg resume=/dev/hda2

Alternatively, once the system is running, you can activate hibernation by echoing the major and minor numbers of the partition to ‘/sys/power/resume’ as such:

# ls -l /dev/hda2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 2 2006-07-10 17:51 /dev/hda2
# echo 3:2 >/sys/power/resume

At this point, the system is up and running. If you do not already have a swap partition, or wish to create a new one, chapter 2 of the LFS book will show you how to create, format, and activate one.

If you use the X window system, take the following into account:

Follow the book as your time permits.

When your time runs out, execute the “hibernate” command as root. It is not necessary to stop the compilation, but running this command during a testsuite may lead to failures that would not occur otherwise.

[NOTE] You must unmount all USB flash drives and all partitions used by other operating systems installed on your computer before hibernating! Do not attempt to mount partitions used by a hibernated system from other systems (even read-only, because there is no true read-only mount on journaled filesystems)!

On some systems, hibernation refuses to work due to a broken ACPI implementation, with the following message in “dmesg | tail” output:

acpi_pm_prepare does not support 4

Possible solutions:

  1. run the following command before hibernating the computer:

    echo shutdown >/sys/power/disk
  2. disable ACPI completely by adding “acpi=off” to the kernel arguments.

The computer will save its state to your swap partition and power down. This CD will remain in the drive.

When you are ready to resume the build, boot this CD again and pass exactly the same “vga=…” and “resume=…” arguments that you used earlier.

The computer will load its state from the swap partition and behave as if you did not power it off at all (except breaking all network connections). The build will automatically continue.

The procedure is a bit more complicated if your swap is on an LVM volume or on software RAID. In this case, instead of passing the ‘resume=…’ argument, you should boot the CD as usual and make actions needed for the kernel to see the swap device (for LVM, that is “vgchange -ay”). After doing that, note the major and minor device number for that device (assigning persistent numbers is highly recommended), and echo them to /sys/power/resume. E.g., for LVM:

# ls -lL /dev/myvg/swap
brw------- 1 root root 254, 3 2006-07-10 17:51 /dev/myvg/swap
# echo 254:3 >/sys/power/resume

In the case of the first boot, this will store the device numbers to be used for hibernation. On the second boot (i.e., after hibernating), this “echo” command will restore the computer state from the swap device.


This CD comes with the “jhalfs” tool that allows extracting commands from the XML version of the LFS or CLFS book into Makefiles and shell scripts. You can find the jhalfs installation in the home directory of the “jhalfs” user, and the XML LFS book is in /usr/share/LFS-BOOK-6.3-XML. In order to use jhalfs, you have to:

This user already has the required root access (via “sudo”) to complete the build.


The CD works much faster if you load all its contents to RAM. As a bonus, you will be able to eject the CD immediately and use the CD-ROM drive for other purposes (e.g., for watching a DVD while compiling LFS).

To load the CD contents to RAM, type “linux toram” at the boot prompt.

The minimum required amount of RAM is 512 MB. If you have less than 768 MB of RAM, add swap when the CD boot finishes.

[NOTE] In order to save RAM, sources and proprietary drivers are not loaded there. In order to access them, please mount this CD and look into /media/cdrom/sources and /media/cdrom/drivers.


If you want to boot this CD on a computer without a CD-ROM drive, follow the steps below.

Store the ISO image of this CD as a file on a partition formatted with one of the following filesystems: vfat, ntfs, ext2, ext3, ext4, jfs, reiserfs, reiser4, xfs

Copy the boot/isolinux/{linux,initramfs_data.cpio.gz} files from the CD to your hard disk

Configure the boot loader to load “linux” as a kernel image and “initramfs_data.cpio.gz” as an initrd. The following parameters have to be passed to the kernel:

rw root=iso:/dev/XXX:/path/to/lfslivecd.iso rootfstype=fs_type

where /dev/XXX is a partition where you stored the LiveCD image, and fs_type is the type of the filesystem on that partition. You may also want to add “rootflags=…” option if mounting this partition requires special flags.

If there is only Windows on the target computer, please use grub4dos as a boot loader. It is available from


Install GRUB on a flash drive, then follow instructions in the “BOOTING FROM ISO IMAGE” above, using a partition on your flash drive. The following tips will ensure that the flash drive is bootable in any computer:




The default (32-bit on the x86 CD, 64-bit on the x86_64 CD) kernel.


On the x86 CD, this is the alternative (64-bit) kernel, for use with Cross-Compiled Linux From Scratch

Don’t use this kernel for building the regular version of LFS — it will fail, because the x86 CD does not contain a 64-bit capable compiler, and because the included book on the x86 CD does not support x86_64 yet.

On the x86_64 CD, this is the same as the default kernel.

After the kernel name, options may be specified, as in the following example:

linux LANG=ru_RU.UTF-8 TZ=Asia/Yekaterinburg UTC=1

See the list of available options below.




vga=795 (1280x1024x24)   vga=792 (1024x768x24)   vga=789 (800x600x24)
vga=794 (1280x1024x16)   vga=791 (1024x768x16)   vga=788 (800x600x16)

This parameter enables the framebuffer console.

It has nothing to do with X server resolution (to set it, edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf manually after booting). Also, it causes some X video drivers (e.g., “s3virge”) to malfunction.

X server bug reports will be ignored if you use this option.




Ths parameter sets the Master, Front and Headphone volume controls on all sound cards to the specified value. The default is 74%. PCM and similar controls are always set to 0dB, or, if the driver doesn’t know about dB, to 74%.




TZ=EDT-4    TZ=America/New_York

The first example means that the timezone is named “EDT” and is 4 hours behind (west) of UTC.




Use UTC=1 if the hardware clock is set to UTC or use UTC=0 (default) if the hardware clock is set to local time.

If no TZ parameter is passed at the kernel command line, the CD asks for the above settings during boot.





If you don’t specify your locale at the boot prompt, a configuration dialog will appear later during boot.

The CD attempts to guess the keymap and the screen font based on the LANG variable. If the default guess is wrong, you can override it, as described in the “FINE-TUNING LOCALIZATION” section below.

UTF-8 locales don’t work well on Linux text console. Copying and pasting non-ASCII characters is impossible, as well as using dead keys for entering characters outside of the Latin-1 range of Unicode.

UTF-8 locales don’t work at all with accessibility software (brltty and speakup) due to the same kernel limitation.





Specifies the console keymap(s) to load, separated by the “+” sign.




Instructs the CD to convert an existing keymap from this charset to UTF-8 with the “dumpkeys” program.




Specifies the screen font to set (actually, the arguments to the “setfont” program, separated by the “+” sign).




Keymap(s) for X window system. To switch between them, press Alt+Shift.





Enables a refreshable Braille display supported by driver drv, connected to device dev, with a translation table tbl. The example specifies a BAUM SuperVario 40 Braille display connected viw USB with default Braille table.

Available drivers:

al, at, bd, bl, bm, bn, cb, ec, eu, fs, ht, il,
lt, mb, md, mn, pm, tn, ts, vd, vo, vr, vs.

Available tables:

brf, cz, da-1252, da-lt, da, de, en_UK, en_US, es,
fi1, fi2, fr-2007, fr_CA, fr-cbifs, fr_FR, it, nabcc,
no-h, no-p, pl, pt, ru, se-old, simple, visiob.

The charset of the selected locale must match the charset of the Braille table.

BRLTTY is not compatible with UTF-8 locales.





Enables a speech synthesis engine syn. Available drivers: acntpc, acntsa, appolo, audptr, bns, decext, dectlk, dtlk, keypc, ltlk, soft, spkout, txprt. The “soft” driver uses Espeak to output sound through the first sound card.

The GIT snapshot of speakup used on this CD has a known bug: copying and pasting text produces garbage and even can crash the computer. For copying and pasting text between programs, please use the “screen” terminal emulator instead of this buggy built-in feature of speakup.




One-based serial port index to use with a hardware synth. The example above means that /dev/ttyS1 will be used.


A port address to use with speakup.





Loads the specified modules unconditionally from initramfs. Use if your SCSI or IDE controller is not autodetected. If you don’t specify this parameter and the CD doesn’t detect your SCSI or IDE controller, you will be dropped into a debugging shell where you can load the needed module manually.




Prevents the specified modules from being autoloaded. Use if udev autoloads a module that causes your computer to misbehave (e.g., crash or freeze).




Sets arbitrary module options.


Options in this section do not take parameters. Example:

pata new_firewire


Causes the CD to use new libata-based drivers for IDE controllers. This option may be required for controller detection or recommended for optimal performance on computers manufactured in year 2006 and later.

Caution: new drivers are safe to use only with IDE chipsets from AMD, Intel, ITE, JMicron, Marvell, Netcell, NVIDIA, Serverworks, Promise, Silicon Image, VIA, or Winbond. Drivers for other chipsets are likely to contain bugs that lead to data loss.


Uses the new (experimental) Juju FireWire stack.


Attempts to support unknown PCI IDE and SATA controllers (slow). For SATA support to work with this option, the SATA controller must be put into “Legacy” (as opposed to “Native”) mode in the BIOS.



Displays kernel messages during the boot process.




Waits X seconds before attempting to find the CD. Required (with X=20) for booting from USB or FireWire CD-ROMs.


Prevents the CD from attempting to obtain an IP address automatically. May be required for wireless networking, because the WEP or WPA key needs to be set up first.

Options for buggy motherboards


nomsi noapic nolapic pci=noacpi acpi=off clock=pit ide=nodma

These options work around various chipset bugs. Try them one-by-one in the order given above and in various combinations if the CD does not boot, or if a device does not work correctly or fails after hibernating and resuming. If this helps, the bug is in the hardware or the BIOS, not in this CD.


Many thanks to all whose suggestions, support and hard work have helped create this CD.