Is it possible for a total Linux newbie to start the journey with LFS?
The answer, from our own experience is, yes!
But not recommended. You’ll feel frustrated, angry and downright stupid.
I had worked with Ubuntu for around an year, but had never delved into bash other than for the occasional make install. My friend, on the other hand, had never worked on Linux!
Yet we made it through! It took around a month, with more time spent on learning than implementing, and it would have been much more faster if not for two very ancient computers!
Still want to delve in? Here are some hints to make it significantly less painful!
1. Choose a well-supported host
We used Debian without much ado, but Ubuntu and Slackware seem pretty good choices too. What really matters is that the chosen distribution has firm user and developer support, so when you run into a problem, it won’t be too hard finding a solution!
The critical question would be whether to use a virtual machine (vm) or dual boot? While dual booting does give a lot more learning opportunity, using a VM will take you quickly through the early part of the learning curve without getting frustrated right at the start!
2. Learn some basic Linux and how to use the terminal
Well, this one is quite obvious. Our recommended starting point is Linux.org but it is critical to follow up with IBM’s tutorials which are pretty more concise. You need not understand everything at first go.
Familiarize yourself with basic stuff like some simple compilations and installations via the terminal, move around a few files, create some small scripts… Just get used to come out of your Windows frame of mind!
3. Read the first chapters before you get started
Read at least upto the end of Part 2. You may not understand, but what is important is to get a basic understanding. Down the way, you’ll learn a whole bunch of new concepts way out of the scope of the LFS book.
4. Ask, ask and ask
LinuxQuestions.org has a dedicated LFS forum, and there are also the LFS mailing lists and IRC channels. Just don’t be ready to ask some any question, however dumb it may sound!
5. Do some automation
There IS an automated LFS version, but then there would be no point learning LFS, right? Well, perhaps you can make the process easier plus learn at the same time by doing some automation. A good start is the package installation in Chapter 5. Write some simple bash scripts and let them run while you do some other work! Just thinking how to implement it will make you a much better programmer!
Simple copies to clones of VMs, backups help make life easier!
7. Learning over Implementation
Use Linux From Scratch as a learning experience! Don’t worry if it takes more time than you expected. What matters is that you gained a lot of knowledge in the process!
Do you have any more handy hints? We’d love to hear from you!