I was excited to see that the Linux From Scratch (hereafter, LFS) project just released a new and stable documentation “build” for version 6.7 this past September. I have known about the LFS project for many years but I didn’t start experimenting with it until not too long ago.
For those not familiar with the project, it is a type of installation published in a book (freely available in PDF form) for someone to be able to read through and build their own Linux distribution straight from source. If you want to learn more about a Linux-based operating system and if you have some time to kill, this is a great start. My earliest of experiments were all successfully built in a virtual guest under VirtualBox. I was able to customize it the way I desired by installing only the packages that mattered to me and ran with it. Immediately after my first build, I went to the Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) project page, to install additional applications not documented in the LFS book. As dorky as this sounds, it was all part of an exciting experience.
The only reason why I started to build my own custom Linux distribution from source was that its advantages outweighed the other options (i.e. take an existing distro and stripping it down to the bare packages/tools required while being dependent on that distro’s package versions and let us not forget about the tedious process to remove the existence of all of that distro’s logos, names, etc.). To give you a better idea, I was building a customized Linux distribution for my startup company’s special purpose product. A complete build of the operating system takes up less than 500 MBytes of storage space which made it absolutely ideal for what we are currently using it for. Next on my list is to start using a package manager to track all binaries and libraries and simplify the update process.
I have been using Linux for a decade now and I will admit that I was still able to learn new things from the LFS project.