ALFS Status: Past and future [was Re: new guy, newbie questions.]

Jesse Tie-Ten-Quee highos at
Sat Jan 19 14:42:20 PST 2002


On Sat, Jan 19, 2002 at 12:38:32PM +0000, Chris Lingard wrote:
> Perhaps we do not know where ALFS is going.  I have regularly monitored the 
> LFS web pages; and posted to the lists; but all I see is lack of interest 
> in suggestions to extend the scope of LFS

Like i said, alot of that blame can fall upon myself.  I could have done
a better job or faster job and publishing where we were going and so
forth, but like i said... i disapperaed off-line; i will not make any
excuses for this; just telling you want happened.

> Have the goals, and more specific the path, ever been discussed outside 
> your little group?

You mean like on this list? Yes, they have been discussed, multiple
times.  Not everyone agrees to them, like that would happen.  This
mailing list is like a committee, there is always going to be multiple
factions that don't agree.

To put it in a very short list, for ALFS to official support an
implementation it would have to be licensed under the BSD.  Programmed
under the C language and use an updated syntax. (this is what i was
working on for the most part last august), etc.

Now, we are going to end up discussing this path yet again, if you read
the mailing list archives from start to finish, you will notice a very
big trend where this happens every 6 months, and we spend more time
debating about the correct way to go, then actually getting any real
work done.

I would prefer, for *now* to look at everything that's been done, make
something useable, release it and go from there.

> I would have thought it better to decide what you want, before writing your 
> system.  There are a whole load of experts that you are choosing to ignore.

Hrm.  Perhaps a look in history is in order.

Around the summer of 2000, the LFS-BOOK was just starting to really mature,
most people could build a system without any problems.  Many rejoiced
over this change and thanked the great work everyone had done for LFS.

But, after a while.  Some people realized that doing LFS by hand,
manually, each time could be a pain.  Some people decided it would be
fun to automated the LFS process, a variety of projects started around
the idea.  One project, however was started as an official ALFS sub
project.  The first of it's kind.  At the helm and center of this
project were three main people.  Gerard Beekmans, Bryan Dumm and myself.

I've seen many good people come and go.  Some very inspiring, such as
Mark Stone, whom i honestly believe had the best picture of where ALFS
should be going. (eg, build a "distrobutionless distrobution" shell for
the FHS/LSB)  And many others that did not perhaps work directly on
ALFS, but contributed in many other ways.

Since then, Bryan has left sadly (allthough that's a different story)
and Gerard, even though he has great hopes and wishes himself to work on
ALFS, just doesn't have the time.  So last August i took over the helm
and started working on it again.

I could problably write a full book on how things came to be, the set
backs, the lack of communication, the lack of a clear path or goal, the
bad luck, the flame wars that errupted on this list (and others) and so

The past is the past.  It can't be changed.  However the future can

So, I do not plan on ignoring anyone.  That, as you mentioned would be a
true waste.  But at the same time, i'm not going to spend 6 months,
debating about the best way to go, the best implementation or the best
syntax.  I am sick and tired of it, i've been doing it for nearly two
years.. i hope that doesn't make me look like i have no patience.  I've
actually gained quite alot latelly, but the fact is, it's better to
start with something and build on it, then have nothing to show for 6
months of work.  Because... in reality we have nothing to show for the
last 2 years, perhaps the only thing that we do have is the very old
syntax we had prototyped. (which we never had plans to use for longer
then a few months.. which is still being used)

You never know.  I am hopefully not asking for too much, i've been with
this project for too long to not see it finished, or to watch it continue
the way it has been going.  I also happen to know, alot of people have
been unsatisfied with the way things have developed, but that's life.
All i'm trying todo is change that.

No project get's it "right" from the start.  All i'm asking from everyone
on this list, is if you will *let* me, my dear committee; to start.

Jesse Tie-Ten-Quee  ( highos at linuxfromscratch dot org )
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