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3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2006-03-28

Hi folks,

EasyLFS 0.4 is coming closer and this time I want to equip the CD with an installation-manual (which also will be one available on the website) so I need a few opinions here and there, like in my post yesterday.

What I would like today would be a few victims, aeh, volunteers that have a look at the manual that I currently have and maybe give me a few comments about it.
It actually doesn't matter if you've ever seen EasyLFS or not, because the manual is supposed to explain what you're supposed to do.


EasyLFS Installation Manual
This Installation Manual will guide you through the installation of EasyLFS 0.4.
Although most parts will also apply for previous or later versions of EasyLFS it is advisable to always use the version corresponding to the version of EasyLFS you want to install.

1 Download the current LiveCD
Current Version: EasyLFS 0.4
Filesize: ? MB
MD5 Sum: ?
EasyLFS Project-Site
2 Starting the LiveCD
When you start your PC with the EasyLFS LiveCD you will see the bootmenu.
It offers you the following options:
-Run EasyLFS
-Run EasyLFS-smp
-Run Memtest utility

Run EasyLFS and Run EasyLFS-smp will start the EasyLFS system. Both kernels come with the same modules, the only difference is that Run EasyLFS-smp comes with support for SMP-machines (Multi-CPU/Multi-Core).
Run Memtest utility will not start EasyLFS, but the program MemTest86+, which is a useful little tool to inspect your memory for problems.
3 Choosing the keyboard-layout
At the end of the boot-process a script will ask you to select your keyboard-layout.
It is important that you do not type in the name of the layout but only the number which is shown in front.
4 Login
After this is done you will see the familiar login-prompt.
Login as root with no password to proceed.
5 Partitioning
For partitioning fdisk and parted are available.
The target-partition should at least have a size of 3GB.
A complete installation will need up to about 1.5GB, during installation some more since all the sources will be stored on the target-partition and compilation of the programs also is done there.
In addition a swap-partition should be created. This is not necessary, but strongly suggested.
If you decide to create a swap-partition, do not activate it.
6 Changing to the work-directory
After creating the partitions you will use for EasyLFS change to the directory /lfs-install to prepare the installation.
7 Configuration
Now it is time to set up the installation by editing the file
You can use either vim, nano or joe (depending on which of these editors you prefer).
Following an explanation of the options you will find in the config-script.
7.1 Mountpoint
Default: LFS=/mnt/easylfs

This specifies where the target-partition will be mounted during installation. You can change this if you like, but it doesn't actually make much sense. Only make sure that this points to an empty or non-existing directory. Otherwise it might mess things up seriously.
7.2 Target-partition
Default: LFS_DEV=/dev/

After /dev/ you have to provide the device-name of the partition you created to use for EasyLFS.
Example: LFS_DEV=/dev/hdb2
7.3 Encrypted Root-FS
Default: #LFS_CRYPT_ROOT=y

To use an encrypted root-filesystem remove the #. During installation you will then be asked twice to supply a keyphrase. On the first time you set it, on the second time you need it to open the freshly created container for your filesystem.
Using an encrypted root-filesystem makes it necessary to use an additional partition for /boot.
7.4 Boot-partition
Default: #LFS_BOOT=

Here you can specify another partition to be used to mount to /boot. For a normal installation this might not be necessary, but if you install to a RAID, LVM or encrypted partition you will have to specify a partition here in order for the system to be bootable.
Example: LFS_BOOT=/dev/hda1
7.5 Swap-partition
Default: #LFS_SWAP=

This value is a dummy which will be replaced automatically during installation.
Do not change this manually.
7.6 Parachute 1

Since it is also possible to copy /lfs-install to your harddisc and run the installation from within a running Linux-system I introduced this option.
If it is active it will link /tmp to your target-partition in order to ensure memory not running full because of writes to /tmp during installation.
7.7 Parachute 2

When copying files sometimes things can go wrong.
Since EasyLFS will copy around 300MB of sources this option tries to ensure data-integrity by comparing MD5-sums after copying. If the check fails for a file it will be copied again.
7.8 Bootloader

With these options you can select if the bootloader should be written, and if so if it should be stored in the partition boot-record or in the MBR.
Please note that storing the bootloader in the partition boot-record does not work for logical partitions or partitions formatted with the XFS-filesystem.
7.9 Mounting

With this option you can select if you want to mount filesystems with the option "noatime", which will deactivate the storage of accesstimes for files.
This usually results in a slight performance-gain since otherwise every read also triggers a write to update the access-time.
Most programs should never notice a difference. An example that actually can use access-times are programs host-bases intrusion detection systems like Aide. So if you are planning to use something like this do not remove the # here.
7.10 Filesystem
Default: LFS_FS=ext3

By removing the # in front of the filesystem you want to use and adding it in front of the default selection you can choose between the ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, jfs and xfs.
Each of these filesystems has advantages and disadvantages, ext2 for example is still pretty quick on old machines since it is the only option which does not have a journal.
ext4 on the other hand is the latest option and actually still experimental. I offer this filesystem who want to try out this new fs. So, this option is for the brave, who are not afraid to do it all again. I do not recommend this option yet for everyday use.
7.11 Complete GCC?

If you want all the available compilers of the GNU Compiler Collection you will have to change this to y. Otherwise EasyLFS will only install the compilers for C and C++.
7.12 Hostname

Here you can set the host- and domainname for your computer. Only a fully qualified domainname (FQDN), as shown in the default-value, is acceptable.
7.13 IP-Address
Default: #LFS_IP=

To enable the use of eth0 at startup remove the # here and, if you wish, change the IP.
Although right below you will find the line #LFS_IP=DHCP DHCP does not work yet, although it is possible to install the DHCP-package and then use dhclient manually.
7.14 DNS-Servers
Default: #LFS_DNS1=

If you want to resolve hostnames you will need to remove at least one of the # to specify a DNS-server.
The default entries are actual DNS-servers (the ones I use), but for most users it might be advisable to enter the IP-addresses of the DNS-servers of their own service-provider or of a DNS in their local network.
7.15 Default Gateway

If you don't connect to the Internet directly but through a routing device you might want to specifiy its IP-address here and remove the # in order to make use of this option.
7.16 Groff-Pagesize

Most users will probably not need to change this. If you are in a country that does not use A4 as standard paper-size you might want to set this to Letter or whatever your country uses.
7.17 Timezone and Keyboard-layout

These will be set automatically and should not be set manually.
At boottime you are asked to select your keyboard-layout and short after you start the installation you will have to provide information about your timezone.
If you want to use a different keyboard-layout in the finished system than during installation you might want the change LFS_KEYMAP manually. But I don't think anybody would want to do that.
7.18 Optional packages

These settings are used to decide which optional packages you want to install. Add a # if you don't want that package, remove it if you want it.
I have enabled some applications which I thought might be good to have.
This final setting of the config-script should never be touched because it would most probably break your build.
LFS_ERROR is used during installation to check if an error has occured, in which case installation will be stopped.
So that the scripts work properly LFS_ERROR is set to 0 here.
8 Installation
Since now the harddisc is partitioned and all settings are done installation can be started.
This is easily done by either calling

At the beginning of the installation you will have to provide informations about your location so that the timezone can be set. Later on you will have to configure the kernel.
Configuring the kernel is partly done by the scripts. Depending on your choice of software a configuration will be prepared. You will "only" need to select the drivers for your hardware, like the controller for your hard-drive, your network-card or sound-card.
Do not compile the driver for the hard-drive-controller as module, otherwise the system will not be able to boot!

After the kernel has been compiled you will be asked to set the root-password and finally the scripts will clean up the system, unmount the partition and reboot.
Depending on your settings and your hardware installation takes between a few hours and a couple of days.

tbuitenh's picture
Joined: 2005-12-21
I think I understood all of

I think I understood all of it. It's a bit confusing there are no empty lines before the section numbers, but I guess that is caused by the copy/paste and those titles will be in a larger font in the real manual.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Yes I understood it as

Yes I understood it as well, though I've already been through the installation process so it feels familiar. The thing is, it is unlikely total newbies will be attracted to EasyLFS so that considered this is plenty easy to understand. Smiling

Just one little bit:

reptiler wrote:

5 Partitioning
For partitioning fdisk and parted are available.

IIRC I've seen cfdisk available on EasyLFS too (unless it was removed in 0.4), and I think it is an even easier program for partitioning for some to use, so it might be good to mention here as well. Smiling


Joined: 2006-03-28
If cfdisk is part of some

If cfdisk is part of some package than it might be there. But I don't have any explicit package for it.
And since I never used cfdisk I didn't actually check for it.
But I will have a look.

Thanks to both of you for having a look through the text. I think there's still going to be a little fine-tuning and then it'll be part of the website and the CD.

Edit: You're right. And the version-number suggests it's part of the util-linux package. So, I'm going to add it to the manual. Thanks for the hint.

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