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v. Rationale for Packages in the Book

As stated earlier, the goal of LFS is to build a complete and usable foundation-level system. This includes all packages needed to replicate itself while providing a relatively minimal base from which to customize a more complete system based on the choices of the user. This does not mean that LFS is the smallest system possible. Several important packages are included that are not strictly required. The lists below document the rationale for each package in the book.

  • Autoconf

    This package contains programs for producing shell scripts that can automatically configure source code from a developer's template. It is often needed to rebuild a package after updates to the build procedures.

  • Automake

    This package contains programs for generating Make files from a template. It is often needed to rebuild a package after updates to the build procedures.

  • Bash

    This package satisfies an LSB core requirement to provide a Bourne Shell interface to the system. It was chosen over other shell packages because of its common usage and extensive capabilities beyond basic shell functions.

  • Binutils

    This package contains a linker, an assembler, and other tools for handling object files. The programs in this package are needed to compile most of the packages in an LFS system and beyond.

  • Bison

    This package contains the GNU version of yacc (Yet Another Compiler Compiler) needed to build several other LFS programs.

  • Bzip2

    This package contains programs for compressing and decompressing files. It is required to decompress many LFS packages.

  • Coreutils

    This package contains a number of essential programs for viewing and manipulating files and directories. These programs are needed for command line file management, and are necessary for the installation procedures of every package in LFS.

  • DejaGNU

    This package contains a framework for testing other programs. It is only installed in the temporary toolchain.

  • Diffutils

    This package contains programs that show the differences between files or directories. These programs can be used to create patches, and are also used in many packages' build procedures.

  • Expect

    This package contains a program for carrying out scripted dialogues with other interactive programs. It is commonly used for testing other packages. It is only installed in the temporary toolchain.

  • E2fsprogs

    This package contains the utilities for handling the ext2, ext3 and ext4 file systems. These are the most common and thoroughly tested file systems that Linux supports.

  • File

    This package contains a utility for determining the type of a given file or files. A few packages need it to build.

  • Findutils

    This package contains programs to find files in a file system. It is used in many packages' build scripts.

  • Flex

    This package contains a utility for generating programs that recognize patterns in text. It is the GNU version of the lex (lexical analyzer) program. It is required to build several LFS packages.

  • Gawk

    This package contains programs for manipulating text files. It is the GNU version of awk (Aho-Weinberg-Kernighan). It is used in many other packages' build scripts.

  • Gcc

    This package is the Gnu Compiler Collection. It contains the C and C++ compilers as well as several others not built by LFS.

  • GDBM

    This package contains the GNU Database Manager library. It is used by one other LFS package, Man-DB.

  • Gettext

    This package contains utilities and libraries for internationalization and localization of numerous packages.

  • Glibc

    This package contains the main C library. Linux programs would not run without it.

  • GMP

    This package contains math libraries that provide useful functions for arbitrary precision arithmetic. It is required to build Gcc.

  • Grep

    This package contains programs for searching through files. These programs are used by most packages' build scripts.

  • Groff

    This package contains programs for processing and formatting text. One important function of these programs is to format man pages.

  • GRUB

    This package is the Grand Unified Boot Loader. It is one of several boot loaders available, but is the most flexible.

  • Gzip

    This package contains programs for compressing and decompressing files. It is needed to decompress many packages in LFS and beyond.

  • Iana-etc

    This package provides data for network services and protocols. It is needed to enable proper networking capabilities.

  • Inetutils

    This package contains programs for basic network administration.

  • IProute2

    This package contains programs for basic and advanced IPv4 and IPv6 networking. It was chosen over the other common network tools package (net-tools) for its IPv6 capabilities.

  • Kbd

    This package contains key-table files, keyboard utilities for non-US keyboards, and a number of console fonts.

  • Less

    This package contains a very nice text file viewer that allows scrolling up or down when viewing a file. It is also used by Man-DB for viewing manpages.

  • Libtool

    This package contains the GNU generic library support script. It wraps the complexity of using shared libraries in a consistent, portable interface. It is needed by the test suites in other LFS packages.

  • Linux Kernel

    This package is the Operating System. It is the Linux in the GNU/Linux environment.

  • M4

    This package contains a general text macro processor useful as a build tool for other programs.

  • Make

    This package contains a program for directing the building of packages. It is required by almost every package in LFS.

  • Man-DB

    This package contains programs for finding and viewing man pages. It was chosen instead of the man package due to superior internationalization capabilities. It supplies the man program.

  • Man-pages

    This package contains the actual contents of the basic Linux man pages.

  • Module-Init-Tools

    This package contains programs needed to administer Linux kernel modules.

  • MPC

    This package contains functions for the arithmetic of complex numbers. It is required by Gcc.

  • MPFR

    This package contains functions for multiple precision arithmetic. It is required by Gcc.

  • Ncurses

    This package contains libraries for terminal-independent handling of character screens. It is often used to provide cursor control for a menuing system. It is needed by a number of packages in LFS.

  • Patch

    This package contains a program for modifying or creating files by applying a patch file typically created by the diff program. It is needed by the build procedure for several LFS packages.

  • Perl

    This package is an interpreter for the runtime language PERL. It is needed for the installation and test suites of several LFS packages.

  • Pkg-config

    This package contains a tool for passing the include path and/or library paths to build tools during the configure and make processes. It is needed by many LFS packages.

  • Procps

    This package contains programs for monitoring processes. These programs are useful for system administration, and are also used by the LFS Bootscripts.

  • Psmisc

    This package contains programs for displaying information about running processes. These programs are useful for system administration.

  • Readline

    This package is a set of libraries that offers command-line editing and history capabilities. It is used by Bash.

  • Sed

    This package allows editing of text without opening it in a text editor. It is also needed by most LFS packages' configure scripts.

  • Shadow

    This package contains programs for handling passwords in a secure way.

  • Sysklogd

    This package contains programs for logging system messages, such as those given by the kernel or daemon processes when unusual events occur.

  • Sysvinit

    This package provides the init program, which is the parent of all other processes on the Linux system.

  • Tar

    This package provides archiving and extraction capabilities of virtually all packages used in LFS.

  • Tcl

    This package contains the Tool Command Language used in many test suites in LFS packages. It is only installed in the temporary toolchain.

  • Texinfo

    This package contains programs for reading, writing, and converting info pages. It is used in the installation procedures of many LFS packages.

  • Udev

    This package contains programs for dynamic creation of device nodes. It is an alternative to creating thousands of static devices in the /dev directory.

  • Util-linux-ng

    This package contains miscellaneous utility programs. Among them are utilities for handling file systems, consoles, partitions, and messages.

  • Vim

    This package contains an editor. It was chosen because of its compatibility with the classic vi editor and its huge number of powerful capabilities. An editor is a very personal choice for many users and any other editor could be substituted if desired.

  • Zlib

    This package contains compression and decompression routines used by some programs.


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