Create your own Linux distribution

Adaptable

The AryaLinux derivative lets you customize the desktop. A variety of tools is available in the System | Control Center (Figure 2). Other tools, such as the Fusilli Settings Manager or Rotini Theme Manager, located under System | Preferences | Look and Feel, offer a variety of options for customizing the desktop.

Figure 2: The Control Center combines all the important settings.

Additional Software

If you want to include additional applications in the system, several hundred applications are available for installation. These cannot be integrated easily into the system using a graphical tool but have to be built manually. The AryaLinux Packaging System (ALPS) is used in this case.

Although ALPS resolves dependencies, it is not a full package management system like RPM or DEB; it is primarily intended to facilitate the task of creating packages from the sources, which explains why there is no graphical front end, like Synaptic or YaST. Entering the alps help command at the prompt shows the tool's capabilities in an overview.

Working with administrator privileges, you can add new applications to the system with the

alps install <program>

command. To install the Java 7 Runtime Environment, for example, just type:

alps install java7

This prompts ALPS to integrate the corresponding OpenJDK version.

The installation takes significantly longer than with pre-built RPM or DEB packages because of the programs that need to be compiled. You can discover which applications can be installed by checking out the /var/cache/alps/scripts/ directory: The system lists all programs available in the form of installation scripts.

Chain Reaction

AryaLinux's unique selling point is the option for creating an individualized operating system. Other distributions (e.g., PCLinuxOS) implement such an option by customizing the existing system; however, the new operating system is created completely from the sources in AryaLinux using pre-built scripts, which means the system has no unnecessary "ballast" that could affect the working speed. AryaLinux offers a chain of scripts (the "toolchain") that lead to predefined workflows. The chain ends with the complete operating system.

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