Why, you might ask, would anyone want to build their own operating system? It’s really about being in control and knowing what’s going on.In the next few paragraphs I’ll explain what motivated me to take on this project, the recipe I used, and what I like about it.I’m not fond of confusion or complexity, so I want an operating system that is clear and simple. I don’t want to wait for anything. When I turn my computer on, I’d like it to be ready as fast as a light switch, or at the very least, in about as long as it takes to get a dial tone.
When I launch a program, I want to use it right now.
No hour-glass or wait message please. I want all of the programs that I use to be either completely obvious, or well documented with a short learning curve. There should not be any software on my machine that I don’t plan to use. All of it should be easy to maintain.
I haven’t seen anything like that. Well, at least not lately. In the 80’s , I bought a Commodore-64. As quick as you could throw the switch, it was ready to rock. There was no tinkering with the operating system, it was hard-wired. I used it to develop programs in basic and C. It was great in its time, but it never evolved.
Eventually, I bought a ‘286 pc with DOS. I never had much interest in the Windows 3.x series, and didn’t use windows until I replaced the DOS box with a new “Windows 98” machine. (When I say “Windows” I mean Microsoft’s product, and when I say “windows” I mean any graphical operating system.)
With Windows it was one damn thing after another. I don’t want to sound too harsh, because it usually worked and was
easy to use. For most people it’s a good choice. I just wasn’t happy with it. I never felt that I was in control with Windows. When things jammed up, it was usually a total mystery. “Help” didn’t help, “Shutdown” wouldn’t, “can’t find the driver”, “page fault”,
“general protection error”, etc.
So I started looking at Linux. I tried out SuSe, Mandrake, Slackware and maybe a dozen other Linux distributions. A lot of them are pretty good, but as often as not I’d run into trouble setting up the X window system or with other software installation or maintenance issues. I was actually starting to miss the “C:\” prompt.
Then I came across something different.
Gerard Beekmans’ “Linux From Scratch” is a “roll your own” Linux
distribution. You start out with about 80 megabytes of program source code, then compile and install it all (one program at a time) until you have a bootable Linux system. It’s remarkably educational, and it’s well documented. It’s not instant gratification, but once it’s working,
you know where everything is and how it got there.
A basic LFS installation is text only, but there are lots of links explaining how to install X or almost anything else you could want. I just wanted a decent platform for surfing, email, editing and a bit of programming.
I started with a basic “Linux from Scratch” installation,
then got my network connection working . After that, my plan was to add the minimum amount of software for an effective desktop environment.
John Murray’s article
“Building The Lo-Fat Linux Desktop” was my main guide for selecting lean and effective software.
Here’s what I picked:
utilities: nano which wget graphics driver: XFree86 graphics libraries:gtk glib jpeg png window manager: Blackbox console window: Rxvt text editor: Nedit file manager: X File Explorer web/file browser: Dillo browser,mail,news: Mozilla* ps/pdf viewer: GSview image editor: Gimp*
*(Mozilla and Gimp don’t really qualify as lean, but I like what they do and I don’t mind waiting five seconds for them to load.)
The result is a fairly boring desktop that does everything I need and very little else. I don’t even use wallpaper or desktop icons. Here’s a screenshot of it in action.
I have installed this system on several pc’s, always with good results. It’s not trying to do too much, so it’s quite responsive even on older hardware. My Celeron 300A has no problem with it. It hardly ever jams up, but when it does, I usually have a pretty good idea how to fix it.
It doesn’t start up nearly as quick as my Commodore-64 did. Booting takes about twenty seconds. When I get tired of that, I suppose I could get some help from the folks at “LinuxBIOS”. I’ve read that their boot times are somewhere between light switch and dial tone.
This installation, without the source files, takes about 450M of space. The source files take about 220M, so it all fits easily on one CD.
It was a little more work than most distributions, but I think it was worth it.
About the Author:
Steve is an optical engineer in Windsor, Ontario. He writes programs using C++ and OpenGL to solve problems in lighting design, and prefers larger computers because the little ones are too hard to take apart.
Every application there use’s it’s own toolkit. I absolutely hate that, it’s the bane of Linux, makes even the most minimalist well ‘crafted’ Linux Desktop installs look and feel horrible.
I’d be more of an
Some Console Apps
Person. At least there’s consistency then.
Apart from the slightly misleading title, I kinda liked that article. It’s inspired me to go give linux-from-scratch a go. Good one.
I want to. I don’t have the skill. Sucks to be me (for the moment).
Nice article. Think I might give LFS a try some time.
I agree with using larger computers too. All the little cases I’ve used can’t hold a candle to my full tower.
I’ve been thinking about LFS – read the book several times to get a feeler for things. Its just one little thing – I can install Gentoo base in one go – thats minimal until you add apps, and thats just an emerge away. But it does dumb things down a bit (believe you me that is not a bad thing), and a LFS would be good experience for knowing whats going on and where.
It’s not really an OS he’s doing from scratch, is it?
It’s more like he’s building his own GNU/Linux system from scratch. Actually he’s even using a “distribution” – LFS. 😉
Ok, sounds great.. however, I think the author should have given FreeBSD a go, he notes the Linux distro’s he tried, and alas, never thought to give FreeBSD a go.. the /usr/ports is really what he’s wanting in the first place.. He’d not have needed to look any further.
> I think the author should have given FreeBSD a go
Maybe he can’t? Ok, FreeBSD would be very cool and I don’t must compile everything from scratch.
But, with FreeBSD I don’t can fax through my ISDN card, watching tv in nearly DVD quality/Dolby AC3 with my satellite card and can’t hear sound with my audigy2 anymore…
I don’t see why you’d want to use freebsd when everything that is usefull applications are just a port from Linux anyway :?.
Maybe next time we can have an article about how to write our own OS?
I’ve always wanted to try lfs, but I like the convenience of apt-get (and rpms). 10,000 plus programs is more than I can keep track of, so I’m happy to let others do the work for me. Especially with games, or things I just feel like trying out.
Currnetly I’m streamlining my system (based on Libranet, a commercial distro based on Debian). I’ve compiled my own kernel and edited startup scripts and configs, trimmed out a lot of fat so I can startx with about 32MB of RAM, leaving me 480MB and a swap partition to play with. I’d like to see a screenshot from lsf with ps -aux or similar. How does it compare?
Until now I’ve been using ROX-filer but I find xfe really functional and simple. Good addition to my BSD-style LFS.
I meant I thought he was writing his own OS, as in hacking, C, serial debugging and other fun stuff….
Well, his article was still cool. And building your own Linux from scratch is a rewarding expirience.
Though I think a couple of distros might be close to what you wind up with in the long run anyway…
A properly configured Debian, or a Crux Linux. Perhaps even Gentoo..
why build a lean system when a bloated system doesnt take any longer to load? mozilla doesnt take longer because you’ve installed KDE. the speed comes from compiling with machine-specific flags. LFS is nice for learning about the GNU bit of GNU/Linux, but i found it was too annoying to keep up-to-date and i now run gentoo instead…
He was installing a Linux distro, not building an OS himself. It’s still a Linux distro no matter if it takes 3 clicks or a week of hacking to get it working. This article, if edited a bit, would make a great LFS review though and I took it as such. Made me want to try out LFS myself.
My current Gentoo’s nice but the latest RC2 is pretty damn buggy – I’ve had Portage fuck itself up twice in the last week leaving me no other option than to back up /etc and /home and to install it all over again. Yes, I did try using the Portage rescue system. And yes, I did report the bug in full detail, but it’s just no good – it wont emerge half the ebuilds anymore. Gentoo simply hides too much from me and I dont like that. But it’s been a growing experience allowing me to learn more about Linux, allowing me to explore and to evolve beyond using just Redhat. Because in the end, once we know exactly what we want, we’re going to end up rolling our own systems from LFS anyway
Speaking of what I want, I’d like to see a rxvt fork with true xrender transparency. Anyone know any such projects?
I’ve been using LFS for just over a year now; the main benefit for me, is the speed compared to a binary distribution (RedHat, SuSE, FreeBSD, etc).
Compiling glibc and everything else customised for your own machine is a real boon.
This is an interesting article, just thinking would it look good on a CV, to say “I built my own Linux distribution” ? Sounds good from where I’m sitting – ouch!
I want to. I don’t have the skill. Sucks to be me (for the moment).
Hey, not only you. I promised myself one day I’ll hack my own distro. I don’t know when.
Is the discussion on Eunix still off-topic here?
What the hell is Eunix? Eugenia’s LFS-based distro?
Like to see more arcticle like this one. This is were more new LINUX use will come from them arcticles about what IBM is doing with LINUX. Those people already know how to use LINUX and what they want.
Thanks and keep up the good work. JoeKing
Well with lfs how can you manage easy update and security fix??
There is currently an effort underway to build a new, lightweight and above all, simple to understand graphical operating system based on the Linux kernel and the ROX desktop.
It will utilise application directory packaging and provide a simple, clean and intuitive environment, where users can easily install software and understand their system. It aims to give the stability and compatability of Linux with the simplicity often associated with systems such as RISC OS or Mac OS. In short, a dream system!
It is in the early stages, so it needs more talented volunteers. Great kernel hackers and coders are required! Testers, graphic artists and packagers will all be welcome! So what are you waiting for? 😉
Well my opinion is that LFS is a little heavy yet…
What I’ve made is untarring the base from slackware at the root partition, gcc and some devel packages, and compiled everything. It fits in less than 200 mb and runs pretty fast in a P75 with 24 RAM. Boots in about 12 seconds. Oh, before I forget, my ps:
-/gpm -m /dev/mouse
[three agetty’s to emulate the terminals]
Thanks! Minimalist distro’s seem to scratch an itch many of us have.
Appdirs do not solve all of our suggested problems. This has already been discussed in detail one week ago, and there’s no need to start flaming about it again
from the site…
Ratpoison is a simple Window Manager with no fat library dependencies, no fancy graphics, no window decorations, and no rodent dependence
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The point was that it will be a lightweight and minimal operating system, using the lightweight ROX environment providing for fast booting, fast operation and be simple to understand. So it fits the article nicely 🙂
The appdir element is another issue to this. But since you mention it, no it doesn’t solve *all* problems (but the project is investigating these) but it does solve many and is at least simple. It provides for better updating and uninstalling than is available with LFS. The ROX form also supports self-compiling applications more elegently than LFS or Gentoo (IMHO).
All packaging systems have problems. All operating systems have problems. This is just an alternative and more unique approach which may appeal to some, rather than just yet another Linux distro. There is space out there for your Red Hat’s, Debian’s, Gentoo’s, LFS’s, BSD’s and others. People choose whichever suits their needs and tastes. New innovation doesn’t need to replace what is already there, it just gives more choice, which is a good thing.
That wasn’t a flame, just a little spark. Bye! 😉
anyone who wants a window manager that is very low memory and low cpu usage should give ion a try. After a week of usage, it hasnt used up 1 sec of cpu time yet on a box that is considered slow by today’s standards (Celeron 400Mhz). And the part i love the most about it is that it can totally be controlled by the keyboard, no, alt+tab doesnt constitute “controlling everything from the keyboard”.
Windows for Microsoft product and windows for graphical operating systems? Wow. I didn’t know that. That means Eugenia has a Cube that runs a windows call Mac OS X. ANd Mike Bourma uses a windows call Amiga OS…
The way things generic. Ahh :-). Must print out this article and *xerox* them to everyone I know.
I’ve been a LFS’er for a little over a year now, and it is an excellent learning process. I know what I know about Linux right now because of LFS and as a side product I’ve built my own desktop system the way I want it.
The LFS community is also great. The project is set up so that you should try and learn everything on your own, but when you get stuck there are many other LFS people that can help you in a flash.
Note: LFS is not easy to work through and is not for the casual user. But you need to read the book to understand what mean!
If you like LFS, check out Arch Linux:
450MB is minimal?? Oh Dear. It must be Mozilla and what not. Even if you included the source in the 450MB, that’s still 200+MB, and still blinkin’ enormous. IMHO.
I’ve never followed the LFS instructions before, but looking through them and they seemed pretty straightforward.
I have built a custom “single floppy” system before. You need to be a lot more frugal, but it wasn’t overly difficult. Always a thrill when it actually boots, too.
For your amusement, it was designed for some thin clients: kernel, ppp, telnet. It was going swimmingly until I needed to add lpd, and discovered that lpd was HUGE! That killed it right there as I didn’t have the time to tear it apart and strip it down. I was truly disgusted at the size of lpd.
I also didn’t know about busybox at the time, either. That would have made things easier too, I think.
Even if you don’t build your own system from scratch, it’s nice to do things like go through your boot scripts and understand what every part of that process is, and what every program does. Do you know what everything listed in ps -ef is doing on your system? Most folks don’t.
We hardened a stock Solaris box and when we were done, ps -ef had like 5 processes running, and one of those was the shell.
When it all comes down to it, the system needs very little beyond init.
I need to try the mini-ISO from BSD. BSD is a better starting point nowadays I think specifically because of it’s lack of dependence on Perl, which has …umm… grown, over the years, and tends to be plopped wholesale onto systems.
Perl’s wonderful, etc, but it’s a bit large for a minimal system.
But, everyone who is so inclined should try something like this. Understand everything in your rc scripts, understand what everything in /dev does. These are all black holes on many folks systems.
hehe rajan r, with your grammar you should talk! “The way things generic.” – what’s that supposed to mean? 😉
” Ok, sounds great.. however, I think the author should have given FreeBSD a go, he notes the Linux distro’s he tried, and alas, never thought to give FreeBSD a go.. the /usr/ports is really what he’s wanting in the first place.. He’d not have needed to look any further.
You know, everytime someone brings up linux someone just can’t help but start going “TRY FreeBSD NOW!” or different words of the same message. I don’t think some of you people understand. Some of us just don’t WANT to try FreeBSD. I know I won’t try it intill FreeBSD gets these things: A fully graphical installer(sorry, I don’t have time to mess around with command line installers. A easy to use GUI that is installed WITH the FreeBSD installation(again, I don’t have much time to mess around with a commandline). If FreeBSD gets these two simple things, sure, I’ll give it a go. But for now, I’ll stick with SuSE.
I’d like to see this person’s definition of the word “minimal”.
440 MB? Web browser(s) and image editor included?
That’s bloody minimal, mate. Suppose you’ve burnt it onto ROMs as well, given how minimal it is.
When I launch a program, I want to use it right now. No hour-glass or wait message please.
This is more on the part of the application developer, then on the OS.
I don’t really understand how LFS could be any faster then installing slackware (or any other distro.) and choosing the minimal set of applications. Boot time would really depended on how many modules you would need to load.
BTW I am running freeBSD and slackware on my machine and freeBSD boots a good deal faster. Hell, why not look into QNX that OS can boot off of a floopy with a full GUI, PPP, and web browser.
I have to agree with every one else, configuring a linux system isn’t building an OS.
I found myself easier to install a distro [SlackWare]
with the only things i need and recompile the kernel, kde etc…
my system boots up in nearly [+/-] 15 sec [ 3 – rd box, 1-st box iz SuSe 8.1 – nice fat slow etecandy disto, 2-nd is vindoze 2000 ….] on a P 266 mmx with 3.2 GB HDD and 32 ram …
The English language has a very straightforward way of verbing nouns and adjectives.
I looked on LFS and I would say Gentoo is much better.
If you set your USE flags to exlude almost everything then you would get a pretty lean system. I used gentoo to bring up the basic Linux – kernel, gcc and bintutils. And then I build the rest from pieces – got directfb and X from cvs , fluxbox and Opera with static java compiled in.
Whatever you say guys, it’s still not as responsive (in X) as BeOS living on another partition. But it’s damn fast in plain tty.
If you look on history of gentoo you’ll see that these guys passed through LFS stage at some point of time. And please, don’t overestimate the effects of “-mcpu=” flag and such. If software is good compiler optimization may give you 10-15% gain in speed. Any claims about “lighting fast” system due to “-march” and “-O6” is BS – you won’t see the 10% difference. Any visible speedup (or slowdown) is most likely a result of configuration change.
On the other note – doesn’t it look like Linux started associated with “bloatware” ? Red Hat 8.0 comes on 5 CDs , for God’s sake. More and more articles about lean and mean linux distros are poping up on OS news – Crux, Knoppix, Gentoo. Can we spot a tendency here – like a split in Linux Community: a huge flock of newbies goes in Lindows direction with fancy backgrounds and DVDs full of soft and small geek group chopping and carving their linux systems from sources with dangling libs and include headers dated November 1996 ? One is proud that his Linux system look like Windows “but much better” and the other one proud that his 486 can play MP3s.
Just a thought
I may only speak for myself here, but the title sounded great (creating an OS from scratch), then felt into a very boring and not useful article (creating yet another flavorless Linux using Linux blocks).
Can we get a good “how-to” from someone who actually DO created an OS from scratch (SkyOS, for example) ? That’d be awesome.
Sorry for the rant. I just get out of bed.
If this is really all processes you have on your system then you are not using it post on OSnews. And if it’s not even useful for OSNews then why do you mention it. And then again, “ps | wc -l” is not a proper measure for system performance , responsiveness etc. This way , DOS system will beat any of your Linux system.
gentoo is good
>I know I won’t try it intill FreeBSD gets these things: A fully graphical installer(sorry, I don’t have time to mess around with command line installers. A easy to use GUI that is installed WITH the FreeBSD installation(again, I don’t have much time to mess around with a commandline). If FreeBSD gets these two simple things, sure, I’ll give it a go. But for now, I’ll stick with SuSE.
Let me clear a few things up.
The installer isnt command line. Its not pretty like YAST but it gets the job done.
Also FreeBSD has a number of window managers along with xfree86 that can be installed at any time including during the install.
Iggy Drouge: The English language has a very straightforward way of verbing nouns and adjectives.
I DVD you. When you figure out what that means, let me know. In the meantime I will still be wondering what the heck it means to “generic.”
To make n. more generic.
“Let me clear a few things up. ”
“The installer isnt command line. Its not pretty like YAST but it gets the job done.”
I should have been more clear here. I meant, I want an installer that just doesn’t get the job done, but make the job easier on me. Anyways, I didn’t mean to flame FreeBSD. Infact, when I get my newer computer, I’ll give it a partition and wait the 3 weeks it takes me to download. Then we’ll see what happens when I try to install it(again). I’m sure its great.
…as we slowly away into the sunset and offtopic…
I meant, I want an installer that just doesn’t get the job done, but make the job easier on me.
Then, I guess the real question is how does the FreeBSD installer not get the job done for you?
It’s not panacea, for sure. It certainly has issues, but to me these are more deep fundamental issues that are not the interface. More, perhaps, the procession of install steps and/or restartability.
However, I can’t think of anything that really needs a mouse to make it better. Perhaps the partioning tool…
The reason I bring it up, is that sysinstall is pretty darn GUI save for not using a mouse.
Iggy Drouge, v.
To post complete nonsense like n.
Besides, Iggy (n.), your definition fails to make rajan r’s sentence grammatically correct. Let us look at it again:
The way things generic.
It is missing a subject because neither “way” nor “things” are acceptable subjects, and it is also missing an object or subject complement depending on whether your hypothetical verb were a linking or active verb.
The way Iggy Drouge (n.) Iggy Drouge (v.).
Interesting post on LFS. I’ve been planning to try LFS for a while (maybe next week), but the good thing about it is that it allows you to configure everything on your own. I believe people have gotten it to work with just a few MB’s. Also, its hard to gauge distribution sizes when one includes browsers and added applications. You can probably have a 12-40MB distribution of Mozilla depending on your configure parameters, plus each plugin can be anywhere between 1-20 MB. Incidentally, a minimal distribution of slackware with x windows is roughly 150MB… which isn’t too bad for a 1 hour straight installation.
Sorry, my mistake. Generic has an intransitive use as well, forgot about that. BTW, that’s Drougge with two GG’s.
Actually, the one pointing nonsense is Null_pointer and his kin. Even I, a non-native English speaker, uunderstood what Rajan, a non-native meant. It’s not such a bad idea, that new verb of his, though the linguist in me would opt for a more full, classic verbification.
i allways do a custom/expert install of Linux (any distro) because using defaults tend to be much more bloated and bug infested. usually in the Desktop WMs such as KDE & Gnome, usually selecting either Blackbox or ICEwm for a desktop…
Linux runs great, it is all the other crap piled on top of Linux that causes the problems…
Iggy Drougge: Sorry, my mistake. Generic has an intransitive use as well, forgot about that.
That would make rajan r’s sentence pure nonsense, for you are now saying that he is making the non-existant object of the sentence more generic.
Iggy Drougge: BTW, that’s Drougge with two GG’s.
I had not noticed, but while we are on the subject, my screen name is never to be capitalized.
Iggy Drougge: Actually, the one pointing nonsense is Null_pointer and his kin.
What are you trying to say? One cannot “point nonsense.” None of my family have posted here, nor have I seen anyone else reply to your posts on this subject.
If you are referring to the process of making nouns, adjectives, and adverbs out of verbs, that is a different thing altogether. Such verbs are called verbals, for they are governed by a set of rules which allows us to easily and unambiguously determine whether they are verbals or regular verbs and what they contribute to the meaning of the sentence. Your “verbs” either make no sense or have highly ambiguous meanings.
For example let us “invent” a new “verb” using your “verbification” method, i.e. I have bricked. That is not a valid sentence because there is no verb “brick” in the English language, and for the same reason the phrase has no meaning. Now, we could attempt to fill in the missing words by guessing at what the author intended to say and arrive at any of the following valid sentences:
I have layed bricks.
I have thrown bricks.
I have polished bricks.
I have painted bricks.
The point here is that by attempting to make an object which is capable of receiving a virtually infinite number of valid actions into a verb leaves us to guess at which action the “verb” – which is in reality an object – is receiving. The phrase “I have bricked” conveys nothing about which action took place. There is no verb in that sentence regardless of whether you intend to refer to the object as the verb.
Iggy Drougge: Even I, a non-native English speaker, uunderstood what Rajan, a non-native meant.
That is completely irrelevant to this discussion. I do not understand why you took offense to a bit of light-hearted irony, but I shall end this ridiculous discussion now. I am not interested in whether you understood what rajan r was trying to say, nor do I think that grammatical errors or typographical errors are necessarily indicative of a person’s intelligence. I was merely pointing out that rajan r’s criticism of the article’s grammatical errors was itself full of grammatical errors; furthermore, such grammatical errors are commonplace in his posts. We call this irony. Next time please note that “hehe” and “;-)” do not accompany the adolescant, whining criticism which you seem to be accusing me of.
Iggy Drougge: It’s not such a bad idea, that new verb of his, though the linguist in me would opt for a more full, classic verbification.
null_pointer_us: The point here is that by attempting to make an object…
The preposition “by” should not appear in that sentence.
Geez, I thought I was on the OS News forum, not the f***ing proper English grammar forum. It’s a shame you guys really don’t know how stupid you look ranting and raving about this. F***ing shutup already and get on topic or leave!!!!
I felt motivated about having a leaner meaner system. I’m in the process of installing Gentoo right now. Finally felt comfortable enough after using RH, Suse and Mandrake for a while. Holy crap, I highly suggest you have cable or DSL before doing this. I have a 64k ISDN and it is taking soooooo long to download and compile. I hope it’s worth it. Maybe I’ll post next week on how it turned out!
He meant ‘genericise’, or ‘genericize’ for otherlanders. (And English mightn’t want to verbify that easily, but it does compound and add suffixes.) Now get over it.
The phrase “I have bricked” conveys nothing about which action took place.
To the average native English speaker, I’m sure it actually conveys the meaning ‘I have layed bricks’, and most likely created a wall by doing so, especially thanks to the presence of the transitive verb…
Joe: Geez, I thought I was on the OS News forum, not the f***ing proper English grammar forum. It’s a shame you guys really don’t know how stupid you look ranting and raving about this. F***ing shutup already and get on topic or leave!!!!
Stop being a jerk. I was unfairly criticized for making a *joke* about another poster’s grammatical errors made while he was criticizing the grammatical errors in the article, so I responded to that criticism and to the pigeon English being advocated by the critic.
Felix: He meant ‘genericise’, or ‘genericize’ for otherlanders.
It would be very nice if people would use proper grammar so that others can understand the concepts that they are trying to express. Perhaps if the French prime minister took this advice, he might even be able to stop proving himself a liar every time he issues a statement.
Felix: (And English mightn’t want to verbify that easily, but it does compound and add suffixes.)
English does not allow for “verbification.” Imagine a paragraph written using this imaginary method:
I happy. Earlier I breakfast, when my dog home. The sun red just before the mailman letters. After that the dog mailman, completing my sister’s prediction that one day mailman ouch! dog teeth. Mailman bad man anyway, so no sad that he was bitten.
I would fail college if I turned in a paper filled with such gibberish. In real English the paragraph reads:
I am happy. Earlier I was eating breakfast, when my dog came home. The sun turned red just before the mailman arrived to deliver his letters. After that the dog bit the mailman, completing my sister’s prediction that one day the mailman would be bitten by the dog’s teeth. The mailman was a bad man anyway, so I am not sad that we was bitten.
Felix: Now get over it.
There is nothing to get over because I am not angry, nor do I hold a grudge. I responded to the criticism and the matter is finished, except of course for the comments of a few people who decided to criticize the conversation without understanding why it was occuring. I suppose that I will never understand why when a rather heated discussion is just ending, people have the tendency to post inflammatory remarks to revive it.
Felix: To the average native English speaker, I’m sure it actually conveys the meaning ‘I have layed bricks’, and most likely created a wall by doing so, especially thanks to the presence of the transitive verb…
Then what about the phrase, “I brick”? My point is still valid even if the “verbified” form of the noun were poorly chosen. To a native English speaker the author must be insane because he is saying that he is in fact a brick. To a non-native English speaker the phrase is pigeon English for “I X brick” where X is the verb chosen by the reader (most likely through the interpretation of the author’s wild hand motions or some other extra-language aid).
null_pointer_us: …that we was bitten
I have made a typographical error. The word “we” ought to have been “he.”
yer all a bunch of fucking dictionarys
this guy just keeps on burying himself with every super-anal grammar-nazi post.
lighten up dude, you’ll live a longer happier life….
I use Debian. It’s minimal install about 20M. I use it with about 500M (X, KDE, Mozilla, Opera, gcc 2.95,22.214.171.124, development libs, …). I can’t understand why should somebody build a system for this.
And I boot at 20 sec on a 300Celeron ATA33.
Of course if you have lot of free time…
Please read the discussion and demonstrate that you have the minimal intelligence required to understand it. My first post criticizing rajan r’s grammar was a light-hearted *joke*. As to how the rest of the discussion came to be, I was only responding to rebut what I considered to be unfair criticism of my original post. You do realize that by continuing to make ridiculous accusations you are merely continuing the discussion you claim to want to end?
jay: yer all a bunch of fucking dictionarys
Thanks for the compliment, but I do not see how both Iggy and I can be correct when we hold mutually exclusive ideas.
Joe: this guy just keeps on burying himself with every super-anal grammar-nazi post.
lighten up dude, you’ll live a longer happier life….
You’re a little dim, eh? You take time out of your life to whine about the discussion and call me names, and then you have the gall to tell me to lighten up. LOL
Iggy Drougge: Sorry, my mistake. Generic has an intransitive use as well, forgot about that.
Null pointer: That would make rajan r’s sentence pure nonsense, for you are now saying that he is making the non-existant object of the sentence more generic.
Eh? I’m saying that Rajan uses the verb “generic” in the intransitive sense. Intransitive verbs have no object, that’s their nature.
…my screen name is never to be capitalized.
Then it can’t be a name.
As for the brick example… No-one is forbidding you from making a verb out of the noun “brick”. Its meaning isn’t all that apparent, though. But that is a cultural thing. The English grammar certainly doesn’t prevent you from doing it. It could be useful amongst violent demonstrators, for example. Brick the pigs! Doesn’t that sound like an efficient use of your new verb?
The English language doesn’t have any infinitive suffix for regular verbs. Nor does it have any suffix in present tense, apart from third person singular. Or, one could argue that it’s got a “zero suffix”. A null pointer, so to say.
This makes the noun/verb distinction a bit fuzzy, but English does nevertheless follow much the same verb creation rules as other Germanic languages.
After all, we’ve got “stone”, which is both a noun and a verb, so why not “brick” as well?
Another good example is Bill Gate$. He was “caked” in Belgium a few years ago. The Belgian cakers love caking famous, stuck-up people. IOW, they throw cakes at them.
BTW, smileys often fly below my radar, but rest assured that my replies have been in a humourous nature as well.
yeah, lighten up dick…
Iggy Drougge: Eh? I’m saying that Rajan uses the verb “generic” in the intransitive sense. Intransitive verbs have no object, that’s their nature.
You gave a definition that is only suitable for a transitive verb, i.e. “make n. more generic.” You cannot provide a definition for an intransitive verb “generic” that would allow rajan r’s sentence to make sense. You are probably referring to a linking verb, which is quite different from a transitive active verb; a linking verb can assign a quality to the subject whereas active verbs state that the subject is performing some action.
Iggy Drougge: Then it can’t be a name.
Yes, it can be a name. It is a screen name, and people do not fiddle with the capitalization of others’ screen names because screen names are not proper nouns in the English language; just strings of characters. Aside from the capitalization people are also in the habit of arbitrarily dropping the underscores and/or leaving off the last two or three characters, producing us the following imaginary screen names:
I have seen other forms as well, but they usually arise through typographical errors. Naturally, it is easier for all concerned if everyone is using the correct version of the screen name.
Iggy Drougge: As for the brick example… No-one is forbidding you from making a verb out of the noun “brick”.
I gave up baby talk a few decades ago. I now know how to speak clearly and concisely.
Iggy Drougge: Its meaning isn’t all that apparent, though.
Its meaning is ambiguous; therefore, its meaning cannot be determined by the words – it can only be assigned by the reader. When a reader either fails to assign a meaning or assigns a meaning that the author did not intend, there is a communication problem.
Iggy Drougge: But that is a cultural thing.
No, it is not a “cultural thing.” It is a matter of conveying meaning clearly and consisely. If your culture has a problem with that, that is another matter.
Iggy Drougge: The English grammar certainly doesn’t prevent you from doing it.
Yes, it does prevent me from inventing new verbs. Hdklsaf dy tyeh haheklfha. Effective communication in English lies in choosing words and phrases that are likely to be understood by as wide an audience of English-speaking people as possible.
Iggy Drougge: It could be useful amongst violent demonstrators, for example. Brick the pigs! Doesn’t that sound like an efficient use of your new verb?
No, it simply has no meaning. If I wanted to convey the idea of throwing bricks at the demonstrators, I would say, “Let’s throw bricks at the demonstrators!” and not “Brick the pigs!” Leave the creation and use of colloquiallisms to the morons who desire the emotional self-gratification which they provide.
Iggy Drougge: The English language doesn’t have any infinitive suffix for regular verbs. Nor does it have any suffix in present tense, apart from third person singular. Or, one could argue that it’s got a “zero suffix”. A null pointer, so to say.[/i]
The English language does not need an infinitive suffix for regular verbs because of three language rules which allow use to unambiguously determine whether a given phrase is an infinitive or a prepositional phrase. First, a noun must have a noun marker (a.k.a. article) such as: a, an, the, my, your, their, etc. Second, an infinitive is always preceded by the word “to.” Third, an infinitive can only be formed with a certain form of a verb. Given the phrase “to camp.” If the phrase “to camp” were a prepositional phrase containing the noun “camp,” it would have to contain a noun marker (a.k.a. article), such as: a, an, the, my, your, their, etc; thus, “to a camp” is always a prepositional phrase whereas “to camp” is always an infinitive.
Iggy Drougge: This makes the noun/verb distinction a bit fuzzy, but English does nevertheless follow much the same verb creation rules as other Germanic languages.
The “noun/verb distinction” is not “a bit fuzzy.” The distinction between nouns and verbs is quite clear to anyone who understands the language rules. Since there are only two major parts of speech (nouns and verbs), allowing one to be arbitrarily promoted to the other without any rules governing the process makes so many rules nonsensical that all rational hope of clear communication is lost. Verbals (i.e., verbs translated into nouns, adjectives, and adverbs) work well precisely because they are restricted in such a way that one can easily determine whether a given word is a verbal or not.
Iggy Drougge: After all, we’ve got “stone”, which is both a noun and a verb, so why not “brick” as well?
The better question is why attempt to create a new verb? By attempting to create a new verb, you save yourself one or a few words in a sentence, but you also run a high risk of confusing other people. I see no great need for such confusion.
Iggy Drougge: Another good example is Bill Gate$. He was “caked” in Belgium a few years ago. The Belgian cakers love caking famous, stuck-up people. IOW, they throw cakes at them.
Another good example is Bill Gates. The Belgian cake-makers love throwing cakes at famous, arrogant people, so they threw cakes at him a few years ago.
My version uses less words, proper grammar, and is easier to read. It does not have quite the sensationalistic media value of deliberately placing the meaning at the end so that readers must read further to understand what they are reading, but it does convey the meaning of the paragraph quite accurately.
Iggy Drougge: BTW, smileys often fly below my radar, but rest assured that my replies have been in a humourous nature as well.
In the future please give some indication as I cannot divine your humorous motive by simply staring at a bunch of text.
Joe: yeah, lighten up dick…
a rough translation of Joe’s sentence:
I have no clue what you are discussing, so I will continue to call you names like the whiny, little brat that I am.
My, my! there are so many typographical errors in my previous post.
null_pointer_us: You are probably referring to a linking verb, which is quite different from a transitive active verb…
The word “transtive” ought to be “intransitive.”
null_pointer_us: Aside from the capitalization people are also in the habit of arbitrarily dropping the underscores and/or leaving off the last two or three characters, producing us the following imaginary screen names:
It should read, “…producing for us the following…”
null_pointer_us: The English language does not need an infinitive suffix for regular verbs because of three language rules which allow use to unambiguously determine…
The word “use” ought to be “us.”