posted by Kunal Anshu on Mon 24th May 2004 21:12 UTC
IconWhat do people do these days when they are bored? One of the latest additions to the list of answers seems to be Build a Linux Distribution. Have you checked on Distrowatch lately? They have upwards of 100 distributions listed there. I used to be happy that I had a lot of choices but now I am beginning to get intimidated by the sheer volume of choices. You could play charades with only Linux Distro Names.

My Linux experience started back in the days of Red Hat 5.2. The first time I saw it I was instantly in love. I could have so much control over my operating system! I could write a whole page of text without the computer crashing on me and without having to save the document every two minutes lest all my hard work be nullified. I could stay totally oblivious to the new viruses popping up everyday and infecting systems all around me and I would never have to get caught up in the "Hardware software upgrade cycle" that all my other friends were forced into. There was Red Hat and there was Slackware and there was Debian and then came Mandrake and then came This Drake and That Drake and Yellow Hat and Blue Hat and then I stopped checking them out and decided to stick Red Hat and Mandrake.

About a year ago, I realized that they were getting too bulky for my taste. They were increasingly expecting me to know where to click rather than what to type. There were libraries I had never heard of before. Programs started crashing occasionally. I like my desktop Operating System to be Low Fat. Really Low Fat. What I mean is, I don't have a printer, so I don't want CUPS. I don't have a scanner so I don't want sane. I never connect my digital camera to my desktop nor do I intend to so I don't need all those digital camera and USB libraries and support. Most importantly, I don't want all other software compiled against those libraries.

Thus started my search for a new operating system for my desktop, which would be used primarily for internet / e-mail, word processing, image editing, programming in C/C++ and Perl and a little bit of music and videos. I tried out a few of the new "LIVE" distributions out there like Knoppix and its children, ThisKnoppix and ThatKnoppix and MyKnoppix and YourKnippix and so on and so forth. One is even called STD Knoppix or something like that. My wife wouldn't let me try out that one. There is also DamnSmall, SLAX and a few others. They really come in handy when your friends call you asking to fix their commercial operating system that won't boot up. You can load em up, burn all their important files to CD-Rs and let them do the re-installation. While k3b or konqueror is loading, you have more than enough time to explain to them that usually Linux is not this slow, its just because right now you are running from the CD Drive. Don't worry, they'll understand. You will be doing them a favor after all.

I didn't really try out the server oriented distributions or the "based on " kind of distributions. During my search, I came across Linux From Scratch. Now this had potential. I could compile what I wanted and how I wanted. It was a great experience and I would've stuck to it except that package management was getting out of control, esp. with upgrades. I did learn however that I needed a source-based distribution. So I started exploring the fun world of source based distributions.

Are you thinking "Gentoo"? You are thinking wrong. Sorry. Instead my search came to an end when I found CRUX Linux. I started using it primarily soon after I installed it. It took a little bit of getting used to, commands, package management and all that but once I got comfortable with that in about 2 days, I realized that my search had to come to an end. I still try out a lot of other source based distributions now and then. Gentoo was the most impressive of them all as I learned from reading the manual but it was a little too complicated for me as I also learned from reading the manual. If you feel a bit confused about what I am saying, go Read The F(un) manual and you will get it. Crux is similar to gentoo, as all source-based distros are, just much simpler.

Table of contents
  1. "Distros, Page 1/2"
  2. "Distros, Page 2/2"
e p (0)    60 Comment(s)

Technology White Papers

See More