Posted Aug 6, 2004 11:39 UTC (Fri) by Duncan
In reply to: custom installers
Parent article: A look at Gentoo 2004.2
It's /possible/ with other distributions. I know it was certainly
possible with Mandrake, and it should be possible for /some/ definition of
the term for any distribution with an open source installer, since one can
in theory simply modify the installer source as desired and
recompile/reconstruct the config from there.
On Mandrake, it was fairly easy to redefine which packages were available
on which CDs, and what each application group would install. Mandrake's
rather excellent urpmi dependency system (based on the perl URPM module
functionality) helped in this regard a great deal.
The catch, of course, is that at that, the simplest level, one is still
installing Mandrake generated packages with Mandrake generated dependency
decisions (parallel to Gentoo's USE flags, only at this point set up by
the distribution), limiting the flexibility to some extent.
Mandrake being an RPM/SRPM distribution, the next step beyond that would
be downloading the SRPMs and recompiling them into your own RPM packages.
The caveat here is that we are VERY quickly getting into poorly documented
territory. Altho the RPM commands for working with source themselves are
fairly standard, there's no parallel to the ease of finding USE flags on
Gentoo. Many of the possible configure options for rebuilding the srpms
with the various options and dependencies are ENTIRELY undocumented,
unless one wishes to go looking at the spec files and package config
scripts themselves, going deep into knowing and understanding the
component code, rather than just issuing a command and getting available
options along with their current status, as is the Gentoo way.
The ONE thing that continues to impress me about Gentoo, and it's already
been mentioned, is the sheer availability of the necessary information for
doing many of the out of the lowest common denominator tasks. That is,
there's very few distributions (if any) that even come CLOSE to Gentoo in
the documentation area. Not only is the above far easier to do without
"deep code diving" in Gentoo than elsewhere, as mentioned, but the info
about how to actually DO it is actually THERE! One doesn't have to "just
do it", and /hope/ they get it right, as I found so often the case on
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