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2021-01-22 | Processing | Modifying Your Distro

Everything I do, right now, all runs on my own hacked up GNU/Linux distro documented on L1G3R and NoNIC. While L1G3R will run just fine on old hardware, compiling changes can take way too long without a decent machine. I was trying to get R working the other day to demonstrate an import of dot format diagrams, but GCC was not compiled with Fortran support, so I had to recompile GCC. It isn't that big of a deal on a modern system, but on some of my older machines it could take half a day.

Make sure that you have something that can compile your distribution. One cool thing about L1G3R (and LFS, which it is based on), is it is quite easy to relocate the system. Take a base image with minimal software, just enough to boot, and minimize the user changes under /home, and it is easy to just install that and then extract a tarball of another system over the top. Alternatively, just send an img file directly to the disk device with dd. Regardless, to generate the OS in the first place requires some cores, memory and speed.

Grab a good set of firmware files. One of the best sets I'm aware of is off of the Knoppix DVD. Collect the files under /lib/firmware. Keep a few Knoppix DVDs around as well, as they are great for recovery in general. You can also build up downgraded distributions of your own using Knoppix and QEMU.

Another huge part of modifying your distro is your kernel. Make sure you have a working copy of your config file. It is customary to store the config file in /boot. Review this.

These are the types of things you will need to do to maintain and install your OS on other systems, so practice and make sure you know how to do the above items without needing internet connectivity.

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