ii. Audience

There are many reasons why you would want to read this book. One of the questions many people raise is, why go through all the hassle of manually building a Linux system from scratch when you can just download and install an existing one?

One important reason for this project's existence is to help you learn how a Linux system works from the inside out. Building an LFS system helps demonstrate what makes Linux tick, and how things work together and depend on each other. One of the best things this learning experience can provide is the ability to customize a Linux system to suit your own unique needs.

Another key benefit of LFS is that it gives you control of the system without relying on someone else's Linux implementation. With LFS, you are in the driver's seat. You dictate every aspect of your system.

LFS allows you to create very compact Linux systems. With other distributions you are often forced to install a great many programs you neither use nor understand. These programs waste resources. You may argue that with today's hard drives and CPUs, wasted resources are no longer a consideration. Sometimes, however, you are still constrained by the system's size, if nothing else. Think about bootable CDs, USB sticks, and embedded systems. Those are areas where LFS can be beneficial.

Another advantage of a custom built Linux system is security. By compiling the entire system from source code, you are empowered to audit everything and apply all the security patches you want. You don't have to wait for somebody else to compile binary packages that fix a security hole. Unless you examine the patch and implement it yourself, you have no guarantee that the new binary package was built correctly and adequately fixes the problem.

The goal of Linux From Scratch is to build a complete and usable foundation-level system. If you do not wish to build your own Linux system from scratch, you may nevertheless benefit from the information in this book.

There are too many good reasons to build your own LFS system to list them all here. In the end, education is by far the most important reason. As you continue your LFS experience, you will discover the power that information and knowledge can bring.