Where are we?

Matthew Gibbons matthew at gibbons.uklinux.net
Sat Sep 23 03:57:38 PDT 2000


Sorry to butt in, but I seem to have joined this party late... :-)

I have just spent the past couple of days building GNU/Linux from scratch, thanks to the LFS project. I installed can configured several times - out of choice - and came to the conclusion that and automated installation would be a good idea.

I started thinking about putting together a source code distribution of GNU/Linux, based on LFS. The idea being that the installation would compile, install and configure all the necessary packages for the desired target. Sure this would take longer than installing, but at least the installation would be tailored for the machine. For someone like me, this is ideal.

I have started messing about - hey, I've been off work sick :-) - with some scripts, but soon realised that something more substantial was needed. I also played with some XML to describe the package build/install process. Personally, I think that this is the way to go - but I may be wrong. :-)

My primary aim was to produce a new package format. Why? Well, I wanted one that was open, human readable, portable, structured and extensible. Not much to ask. XML fits the bill for describing the structure.
This is how I saw it - the header of the package describes, among other things, basic attributes of the package such as name, version, description, author, copyright, dependencies, list of supported architectures, etc. There is a section then for documentation, with sub-sections supporing multiple languages. Then there is a section for the sourcecode itself, with subsections for platform specific support files and patches. Finally, there are sections which describe the build, installation, configuration and removal processes.

The packages themselves needn't even contain any sourcecode, but simply http/ftp references. This might be more useful for multilingual documentation, though. :-)

Ok, that's where I'm at. I have now stumbled upon this mailing list, and am quite pleased that there are some likeminded individuals with some time to give. I am not sure as to the state of ALFS - is there a summary of progress so far? What are the goals, and how far are they to being achieved?:

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