Rich Freeman on 24 Oct 2011 18:21:08 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] ideas for class material

On Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 2:28 PM, JP Vossen <> wrote:
> And I'm shocked that Rich already replied to this and didn't say what I
> thought he'd say, which is--build a Gentoo box!  Or "Linux from scratch" or
> maybe even Slackware...  You will learn more about the guts of Linux using
> any of those than you will using Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, etc.

Uh, yeah, what he said...  :)  Seriously though, I try not to promote
Gentoo like it is iOS or something.

I really would recommend something like Gentoo (or maybe Slackware)
over LFS.  LFS does force you to deal with every aspect of your
system, but you have to deal with 95% of that before you even get a
system that can boot on its own, while Gentoo at least gives you a
sane starting point (which still requires a bit of manual
installation).  Plus, once you're running any package update with LFS
requires complete re-integration where Gentoo automates that.

If you're already reasonably advanced in the linux world you could
also play with stuff like SELinux/etc - Gentoo hardened is good if you
really want to be exposed to more of that, and I know that other
distros offer it as an option.

Gentoo is also useful for creating embedded environments since it
supports cross-compilation and installation/linking to something other
than the root directory.  It is well suited as a "tinkering" distro.

The other thing Gentoo gets you is the ability to seamlessly run
stable versions of all your software, but the experimental git branch
of libfoo that you're a developer on and automate updating it.

However, while Gentoo exposes you to more of the underlying system I
wouldn't say that you'd learn a course's worth of material simply from
installing it.  What really matters is what you do with it...

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