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I've been thinking about doing a linux from scratch install. But I'm concerned about keeping my system updated. What are my options for package management? Would I be doomed to recompiling every update, or is there a better way?


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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Arch Linux is a great alternative distro where you get to put your system together, yet its nice and maintainable using pacman, ABS (kind of like BSD Ports), and AUR. Arch is a little different from Linux in how the init works, and is instead based on how BSD inits.

Arch ftw! Same power as Gentoo, less hassle. – Gert M May 1 '09 at 7:02
"Arch is a little different from Linux"? Arch is Linux! What do you mean by that? – Zifre May 2 '09 at 23:39
@Zifre Yes, Arch is Linux. The init process is just more like BSD than Linux. – Sam Merrell May 7 '09 at 6:02

First, I sincerely hope you aren't planning on running your servers, network, or (multiple) desktops like this...

Linux From Scratch is a fairly nice way to learn how Linux works under the covers. It may also be useful if you're working with embedded systems where every byte counts. the LFS tips page has some writeups on package management, but to me they sound more like interesting learning exercises than sane ways to manage any non-toy system.

If you're doing this professionally, semi-professionally, or just want something reliable, there is a better way: Install normal Linux distro. If you want to learn, understand that you are essentially building your own Linux distro, and that yes it'll be a lot of work.

don't worry about the work, I know what I'm doing :) and yes, this is just a toy system. I'm really just trying to decide between gentoo and lfs. – devin May 1 '09 at 3:45
I personally rather like Gentoo, though sometimes the politics among the devs becomes tiresome. I would, however, recommend checking out the alternate package manager for Gentoo called Paludis. In my experience and the testing of others, it's faster, stricter about dependencies, and has more features than Portage. It also has a nicer extension/embedding interface. – eternaleye May 1 '09 at 4:30

Package management or Linux From Scratch. You only get to choose one.

LFS is a fun thing to try, and will help you learn things you'd otherwise not be exposed to, but please don't use it in production anywhere.


I totally disagree with derobert, and Jon Topper. I have built LFS or more precisely BLFS several time. The truth is LFS is vary reliable, but you are responsible for maintaining and installing any security updates. Which take more of your time but gives you more control over what is installed, and where it is installed, and what permision it haves.

I prefer the more_control_helpers method of package management, though you can download and install pacman, rpm, or any other open source package manager you like. I would find out what dependency the P.M.(command line version) needed, install just LFS, then the dependency, then the P.M.


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