Since its inception, LightCube Solutions has run on a custom-built Linux machine. Being a former LFS developer, I hail from the Linux world of ‘Do It Yourself’, and so I prefer to use self-configured servers, tuned and set exactly the way I like. This is no Fedora or Ubuntu where a host of unnecessary packages are forced on you and custom configuration files mask the generic and standard configuration files that come with the original software. This is ultimate flexibility.
But that flexibility does come at a price. Maintaining an LFS system can become a chore. Installing a new package always means compiling from source. Staying on top of security updates is entirely left to you. The system is only as good as your personal understanding of its internals. A balance somewhere in between would be ideal:
- A lightweight system that is known to be stable and secure.
- The possibility of complete configuration is given to the end user.
- The focus of the system is tight, and therefore higher quality (in terms of stability, functionality and reliability) can be achieved.
- All the while the system benefits from security updates and testing derived from a community of users and developers.
And so, having realized that I needed to move beyond my personal build scripts and start packaging the system (at the least, for my own sanity) it was decided to create a distribution based on our own needs for Linux-based web services. Voila! LightCube OS is born. The basic outline of the distro’s goals are this:
- Provide a lightweight, fast, stable and secure LAMP application server.
- As close as possible, adhere to the GNU principles of free software in the packaging and distribution of the system.
- As nearly as possible, provide a ‘vanilla’ system. In other words, don’t create obscure custom configuration schemes. Allow as much manual configuration by the end users as possible.
- Focus on packaging software that is reasonably used with production LAMP servers. (E.g., there’s no reason to build an X desktop environment for a server housed remotely and accessed mainly through ssh. Make the system geared towards advanced command line users. As much as a good GUI is nice, there’s no reason for a remote server to run one locally.)
- Make the base system streamlined, optimized and small. While it is realistic to package a few variations of software (E.g., nano vs. vim, Exim vs. Postfix), the core system should focus on one basic set of core packages.
These are the main ideas behind LightCube OS. The build scripts and the core package specs are already under development. And the distro’s project site/infrastructure has been put in place: http://www.lightcubeos.org. Volunteers are welcome to join in the development.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts concerning the above? What advantages/disadvantages do you see to such a distribution? Do you have any comments or suggestions that will help improve its appeal or usability? I welcome your comments…