Sunday, June 1, 2008

Semi-Homemade Linux, Part 1

So I've successfully installed a couple of preconfigured Linux distros on Lazarus. Good to know, but not exactly a huge technical accomplishment. While I'm not ready for building everything from source code just yet, I think I'm ready to do some customization. They say that Linux is like Legos, so I'm going to see what I can do when I'm not just following set instructions.

To do this, I've done a bare-bones Debian install (I also plan to try this with Slackware and maybe Gentoo). For anyone wishing to try this at home, this means DO NOT install the "Desktop Environment" when selecting components. It installs the GNOME desktop by default, which is also the default desktop in Ubuntu and Fedora. The more high-speed Linux distros usually use GNOME or another desktop called KDE. For a comparison between the two, click here. Any comparison is irrelevant for Lazarus, however, as he lacks the resources to run either one.

However, I am not doomed to eternal command-line interface usage. I'll just have to call on my good friend apt-get to give me a boost. Fluxbox is a popular desktop choice for those who lack the resources for GNOME or KDE, and it's the one I intend to use. Our friends over at Damn Small Linux use Fluxbox.

Unfortunately, you can't just install fluxbox by itself and be ready to go. You have to install X Window System (also called X11 or just X). Fortunately, this only entails one other command. Start with:
apt-get install x-window-system-core

followed by:
apt-get install fluxbox

To start your graphical interface, type "startx", which should bring it right up. There won't be any icons, but you can get to any of your apps (or a Terminal screen) by right-clicking the desktop.

Next time: icons and stuff. (Note: edit was just to correct a typo.)

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