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The main resource on this early-stage site is the package source tree. To visit that tree, click here. The most interesting parts are cfg files and patches. The cfg files are our equivalent of Gentoo ebuilds or Slackware slackbuild files.

1. What is Laclin?

Laclin is an unusual Linux distro that's been under de­vel­op­ment since 1995.

The distro is orig­inal. It uses patches from a dozen distros, but it's very dif­fer­ent from most distros and is descended from none.

This web­site is running under Laclin. We've been eating our own dogfood since the start. Woof. Note: Presently, it's a chroot copy of Laclin — i.e., a super-light container — hosted on a Debian 10 VPS.

From 2021 to 2022, we used Laclin as the native OS on a dedi box as well. The Laclin dedi box sup­port­ed a Github clone (gitea) with 9,500 git repos, half a dozen web­sites (nginx), IRC (ngircd) and an IRC bouncer (bip), a dozen game worlds, MariaDB and PostgreSQL databases, and other tools and frameworks.

The current Laclin box has much less in the way of hardware. It's just OpenVZ with 1x4 CPU and 4 GB of RAM. However, it supports all of the preceding except for the game worlds. Everything is generally light and fast.

Laclin is systemd-free.

Note: This web­site is writ­ten in Haggis, Laclin's own sim­ple but use­ful website markup language. Haggis produces sites that are mobile responsive but don't need JavaScript except for special pur­poses.

You may notice responsive hyphenation on some pages. It's handled by word-breaks that Haggis inserts automatically.

The package sources are online at this link. For documentation, see the cfg files. The sources for the distro core, primarily Perl and shell scripts, will be add­ed in due course.

Many pieces will be use­ful to CLI devel­op­ers regardless of distro. In short, you don't need to down­load or run Laclin. You can learn from the developer's mistakes and crib scripts, patches, and data.

2. Who is Laclin for?

If you're a Linux CLI de­vel­op­er;
If you don't under­stand why heavy and sluggish desktops are common;
If you enjoy light-weight games;
If you re­mem­ber Sun workstations;
If you consider systemd to be the work of the Devil;
If you're aghast at the modern focus on do­ing away with reproducible builds;

and you like the idea of a shirt-pocket toy stuffed with a terabyte of de­vel­op­ment tools, games, source code, and data;

Laclin might be for you.

3. Who is behind Laclin?

As of this wri­ting, Laclin is a single-per­son Linux distro that has existed for about 25 years. It is OldCoder's (Robert Kiraly's) most foolish endeavor in a lifetime.

OldCoder hopes primarily to finish the SSD version and some books to add to it, to send physical copies out, and to have the use­ful content outlive him in a Rudy Rucker Lifebox sense.

4. Some details.

Laclin runs on a pocket-size USB3 SSD. Put it in a pocket and forget about it until you need it. Then plug the SSD into a ran­dom PC or laptop and boot from USB3. The existing hard disk and OS aren't affected.

It needs to be a PC or laptop that supports boot from USB3. This rules out some netbooks. BIOS Setup may be required.

The distro is large: Wikipedia (about 150GB unpacked), the FreeDB CD music database (1GB), and Flight Gear (including 24GB of maps) are built in. Just for fun, there's a 4GB CPAN mirror as well.

Laclin also comes with copies of Debian, Fedora, Arch Linux, Slackware, and other stand­ard distros. Including toolchains. Need to do a Linux port? The porting center is in your pocket.

Laclin is interesting in other respects:

* The distro is light despite its size. The desktop is “jwm”. You can't get much lighter than that.

* We've made fixes to old pro­grams and add­ed new features in some cases. You'll find maintained packages here that are orphaned elsewhere.

* There are a few unique tools. The unique tools will be released separ­ate­ly as individual FOSS projects.

* A num­ber of web­sites and/or books are in­clud­ed. Wikipedia is one example.

* User data is stored in an encrypted filesystem. If you lose the SSD, you'll know, at least, that nobody else can get at the data.

* The distro is packed with dozens of lightweight games. Including, for the chess inclined, 11 chess engines.

* There are no add­ed pieces to down­load. Not even the source code. Everything, including gigabytes of source code, comes on the one pocket-size SSD.

Disclaimer: We don't pro­vide the source code for the bundled third-party distros.

* In the same vein, Laclin has a strong focus on reproducible off­line builds. This means that we're at odds with the modern trend towards reliance on cloud-based package repos such as CPAN and Ruby Gems.

We've invested effort to make nearly all packages rebuildable off­line. There are just a few exceptions. One example is Docker, which can't be built off­line without the assis­tance of Lovecraft-ian entities.

So, Laclin is a novel and use­ful toy. However, the distro isn't stand­ard or polished.

Most Linux users should use one of the major distros. We recommend Debian for VPSes, Debian or CentOS for corporations, and Linux Mint for former Windows users.

Plus, Laclin is too large to down­load in its entirety. Some components will need to be torrent-only. There's no choice; they're as large as 80GB each.

One option is that we could dis­tri­bute the distro on preloaded SSDs. But nobody is going to want to pay for the devices.

Most importantly, Laclin isn't stand­ard. It has its own way of do­ing things. Changes such as gcc or glibc updates, for example, are documented but tricky.

The bottom line is that this distro is mostly for experienced CLI devel­op­ers who happen to like the unusual features that it offers.

We fig­ure that there are a few dozen such peo­ple out there. But most won't happen across this page.

So, real­is­tic­al­ly, Laclin is performance art. Somebody spent 25 years on some­thing that might never be seen.

But there's more to it. If we share every­thing, peo­ple will find some parts use­ful.

Additionally, we can highlight our ver­sions of some of the more rare and unusual pro­grams involved and try to pro­vide portable build instructions for them.

Finally, as part of this, we can write about FOSS, individual pro­grams, and the pro­cess of assembling a distro.

This site will aim for these goals.

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