Cool - thanks for all the ideas! Let me try to draw together the
suggestions in one e-mail rather then responding to each one separately.
OpenEmbedded, uClib's builtroot, PTXdist and gentoo are all environments
to roll your own distro. I tried OpenEmbedded and thought it was very
neat, and the amount of metadata and packages is really impressive. I
haven't tried the others or looked at them in depth.
However, what I'm looking for is an "off-the-shelf" distro not a system
for building my own. It is a big time sink to put together your own
distro, especially if other people start using it and expect regular
releases, updates and support. Hats off to you guys who do this (and
maybe everyone should roll their own Linux once in their life), but
that's not what I'm trying to achieve here!
I have happily used OpenZaurus (many thanks Mickey!), a distro built
from OpenEmbedded, and this comes with a boot-strap root file system
with no GUI. This is a reasonable starting point and I could use this as
my root file system base, and then add on extra development/server
packages to provide the functionality that I'm looking for (assuming I
can get feeds for those things).
There are a couple of nits. First its based on the 2.4.18 kernel I
mentioned earlier, though perhaps I can now substitute a 2.6 series
kernel seeing as I'm not interested in the Zaurus specific
functionality. Secondly it is slow to boot up: it takes me 8 seconds to
boot a stock kernel with Nico's ramdisk versus 2 minutes for
OpenZaurus's boot-strap image. I should have mentioned this before, but
the target platform is an ARM simulator running on a PC and there's no
real ARM hardware involved at all! (This is another reason why I don't
want to build a self-hosted gentoo distribution!). I imagine that
there's a lot that I could do to make it boot more quickly, or maybe I
shouldn't worry about it. I should look at Familiar's boot-strap image
too (thanks for the idea Florian!).
I should also look at Debian again. If I can get over the
boot-strap/install issues to get something working, then perhaps this is
the closest to what I want: a main-stream distro with lots of pre-built
stuff that can be readily installed with apt.
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