How Far Should I go?

cenobyte at cenobyte at
Sun Oct 16 01:39:09 EDT 2011

 On Sat, 15 Oct 2011 23:24:32 -0600, Alan Post wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 11:31:12PM -0500, cenobyte at 
> wrote:
>> I am wondering what you all think about how far I, or any of us, for
>> that matter, should go with hacking on the Ben. For one, Qi adapted
>> OpenWRT rather than made a new distribution from (near) scratch. Was
>> this due to time constraints, or something else? Would it be worth
>> it for someone to learn the MIPS architecture sufficiently well to
>> make a Ben Tailored OS? Or, since the new Nanonote may or may not
>> have a similar chip, is it better to stay "on the surface" as it
>> were and not get too involved in low-level stuff? Maybe the
>> experience alone of deep MIPS knowledge will be worth it even if we
>> move to another chip in the future? If one does not go deeper than
>> the kernel and other basic utils, I suppose "from scratch" would
>> mean getting a custom kernel and utils, tuning them, then building
>> from there, right?  I think in general, x86 GNU/Linux is assumed to
>> be as optimized as it could be, but I'm not sure about other
>> architectures like ARM, MIPS, etc. Since someone has already done
>> the work, perhaps it is not good to try and re-do it...?
> If you'd like to stay with Linux, but are interested in moving off
> of OpenWRT, you might find one of these projects interesting for
> your effort:
> Neither of these are "ready-to-go" for the Ben; the second isn't
> strictly a distribution.  They are both an attempt to build the
> smallest *self-hosting* linux environment, and in that role make
> good bootstrapping tools.
> They're essentially one step above Linux From Scratch.
> -Alan

 By 'self hosting' do you mean that in a network sense, or in the sense 
 that you can actually compile on them? That does sound interesting 
 although I wonder if there are any systems that can run a full shell for 
 the Ben (not busybox). Thanks for the interesting links.

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