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Re: Very newbe help/pointers required about building a distribution from scratch

On Wed, 2010-03-10 at 21:52 +0000, Neil Williams wrote:

> http://www.emdebian.org/grip/
> Why rebuild? What changes are you making to the packages? (Answers to
> questions like this should go to the debian-embedded@lists.debian.org
> mailing list, not debian-devel.)
> (IMHO - and possibly a lot of other DD's - the benefits of building
> packages for a specific machine ala gentoo with no other changes is
> often heavily over-rated.)

In my case it was to workout what and how things held together, also to
understand the graphic software stack in greater detail (X, window
managers, graphics, widgets etc.) and USB client/USB server stacks as I
want to play around with my beagleboard as an actively passive device
where it either mimics a USB device (say a virtual keyboard on a
touch-screen) or directly passes attached USB devices through to an
attached PC (eg, USB-HD and USB-keyboard plugged into the beagleboard
become available to PC that is attached to the host port).

> >  ... where is all this documented?
> It's not.
> Documenting it means keeping it correct and that's just too much work.
> >  has anyone actually done this
> Yes. Me - I was cross-building the entire chain too. It took me the
> best part of a year to get through 200 packages. i.e. SERIOUSLY
> reconsider precisely how many packages you want to rebuild and how many
> NEED to be rebuilt.

Ouch! Having done some more research and understanding things "debian" a
little better as a packaged system as opposed to just getting and
compiling source (which can be done, but then disallows packaging
per-say) I can see why things are done this way.

However... I'm still a little surprised that there is no overall "master
build system/program" so that all the hard work you and others have done
to build the packages from scratch will have to be done all over again
if a brand new processor and/or instruction set hits the market, but I
guess that is quite a rarity and before it could be targeted by debian
either the GCC toolchain would need to be changed and/or a new compiler
built by the hardware manufacturer.

Would I be correct in assuming that in most devices based on debian that
the OEM would take the basic packages (for the CPU type arm/x86/etc.)
then potentially change the kernel compile options, decide on the
graphic packages/stack (Qt/GTK/MeeMo/if applicable) and maybe re-compile
some packages to take into account differing sub-cpu types (arm7, A8,

> Neil Williams
> =============
> http://www.data-freedom.org/
> http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/
> http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/

Thanks for you help

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