Poking at Distros - Intro

I want to have a better understanding of how Linux Distro’s work. In the past I tried LFS, but it didn’t really turn out to give me the insights I hoped to get. In Dutch there’s a saying “door de bomen het bos niet zien”, “not seeing the forest through the trees any more”. Basically it means that you can get so caught up in details, that you loose a general overview. I think this is true for following along with LFS if you don’t have much understanding of things already. They really show how to do things step by step, and the way you build the eventual distribution is really nicely done by using as few external tools as possible. LFS is pretty awesome project I think, but if you hope to learn exactly how things work while barely having any previous understanding of most of these things, then you may be dissapointed when you get lost in the details and loose all sight of where you are in the bigger picture.

Someone told me it’s probably better to install something like Gentoo or Alpine and poke at a working system, so I did just that. I got my hands on some old hardware, installed Alpine on it, and started playing around with that. I did learn some things from LFS, and I’ve been using linux distro’s on several platforms for years (most notably Linux Mint and later Kubuntu on desktop, Yunohost on server, and Ubuntu Touch on phone), so it’s not like I’m completely starting from scratch.

I want to use this series of articles to write about the different things I do and learn. This won’t be a comprehensive explanation on how Linux distros work, but rather small pieces of understanding I get. The goal is more to document what I learn so someone interested in these things can follow along on my learning curve. The goal is to go deep enough to already see some parts, but without losing sight of the bigger picture. I’m not sure how far I’ll take this, we’ll see.

I hope I’ll be able to learn some interesting stuff, and I hope you may too!