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1.3. Working Within The Constraints

The Pocket Linux project gets its name from the fact that the bulk of the project fits onto two diskettes making it possible to carry the entire, working system around in one's pocket. This has the advantage of not requiring any additional hardware since any PC can be booted from the diskettes without disrupting any OS that exists on the hard drive. Using diskettes also partially addresses the aspect of time commitment, because the project size and complexity is necessarily limited by the 1.44 Megabyte size of the installation media.

To further reduce the time commitment, the Pocket Linux project is divided into several phases, each one chapter in length. Each phase builds only a small piece of the overall project, but at the same time the conclusion of each chapter results in a self-contained, working system. This step-by-step approach should allow readers to pace themselves and not feel the need to rush to see results.

Chapters are further subdivided into four sections. The first two sections, analysis and design, focus on the theory of what is to be accomplished in each phase and why. The last two sections, construction and implementation, detail the steps needed to do the actual building. Advanced readers, who may be familiar with the theories laid out in a particular chapter are encouraged to gloss over the analysis and design sections in the interest of time. The separation of theory from hands-on exercises should allow readers of all skill levels to complete the project without feeling either completely lost or mired in too much detail.

Finally, the Pocket Linux project will strive to use GNU/GPL software when possible and other open-source licensed software when there is no GNU/GPL alternative. Also, Pocket Linux will never require any programming more complex than a BASH shell script.