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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bedrock Linux?

See the Introduction to Bedrock.

How does Bedrock Linux Work?

The exact details may change drastically from release-to-release, but the general concept is explained here.

Why should I use Bedrock?

Why should I not use Bedrock?

How can I contribute?

How is this different from/preferable to using a virtual machine?

Bedrock Linux's functionality differs from virtual machines in three key ways:

How is this different from/preferable to containers (Docker/LXC/OpenVZ/etc)?

Containers contain things. They, purposefully, keep the contained software from interacting with the rest of the system. This has numerous benefits:

However, containers have disadvantages as well:

Where containers are useful, one is certainly encouraged to use them. However, one cannot be realistically expected to contain everything independently. What most Linux distributions do is provide software that can interact natively for when that is useful. Bedrock Linux is no different here, conceptually, from other major distributions. What makes Bedrock Linux unique is that the software it can install natively is provided from a very large variety of sources. If one wants to use mkdir from one distribution and rmdir from another, for whatever reason, Bedrock Linux, for the most part, can make this happen. A more realistic example would be utilizing xorg from one distribution and a window manager or desktop environment from another - neither is good alone, they need to interact, but there could be legitimate reasons to want them from different distributions. See the compiz story here, for example.

Containers and Bedrock Linux have very different goals and go about them by largely different means. The two are not in competition in any way; in fact, one could run Bedrock Linux in a container, or run containers on top of Bedrock Linux, no different than any other distribution.

When will $RELEASE be released?

If there is an estimate for a release, it will be stated in the index page for the specific release. If not, then it will be released when it is done.

Why that name?

Bedrock Linux does not do very much by itself; rather, it is the foundation upon which other Linux distributions are placed. Initial ideas for a name were intent on reflecting this fact. Other proposed names included "Foundation Linux", "Frame Linux" and "Scaffolding Linux". The name chosen has nothing to do with the television show The Flintstones.

Where do the release names come from?

All of the Bedrock Linux releases are named after characters from the Nickelodeon television program Avatar: The Last Air Bender.

What are the system requirements?

The system requirements are listed in the specific pages for each release. This is done in case changes between versions alter the system requirements. The system requirements for the initial alpha can be found here.

Why does this need to be its own distribution?

At the time of writing, the immediate goal is to figure out how to do everything Bedrock Linux is trying to do. Retaining full control of the underlying system simplifies development, and so that is what we are doing at this point in time. Bedrock Linux changes so much between releases it is not possible to say whether, when it has achieved the desired feature set, the techniques it is using could be cleanly implemented on top of another distribution. If it is found to be cleanly possible, the Bedrock Linux developers will likely attempt to package and provide code for other use on top of other distributions. That is still too far out to say.

However, even if it is possible to run Bedrock Linux code on top of another distribution get the desired effect, there will be a number of downsides to doing so, and so Bedrock Linux will still benefit from being its own distribution. In theory, once Bedrock Linux is feature complete, the base distribution would not be able to provide anything one would not be able to get from a client. As a result, the base distribution should be as small as is possible while still being able to provide the necessarily functionality to utilize clients. Consider:

Finally, consider the possibility that there may not end up being a functional difference between installing Bedrock Linux as the base and some other distribution as a client, and installing Bedrock Linux "on top" of some other distribution, only to end up morphing it into the exact same system. What really is a "base"?

On which distribution is Bedrock Linux based?

Bedrock Linux is not based on or an offshoot of any other Linux distribution; it was written "from scratch." It has unusual twin goals of needing to be as minimal as possible while supporting the features necessary for a full-blown desktop. Rather than attempting to tweak an existing distribution into such a shape a new one was made from the ground up.

This sounds overly-ambitious. Do you really think you can pull this off?

An argument could be made either way if Bedrock Linux was still in the planning stages, prior to any functional release, but since Bedrock Linux was publicly announced along with a functional (if unpolished) alpha: yes. Not only is it possible, it has been done, and the necessities for you to see this for yourself have been made available if you don't want to take my word for it. Much work needs to be done such as polish and the addition of many features, but the core idea has been proven quite definitively to work.

What about Bedrock BSD or Bedrock Android or Bedrock Something-Else?

It should be noted that no other operating system family has such a disparate variety of userlands which all run on the same kernel. Bedrock Linux's strengths wouldn't be nearly as beneficial anywhere else. Attempting to do something such as Bedrock Linux will inherently require leveraging operating-system-specific tools, and so it may require a fair bit of additional research to port Bedrock Linux's tools to another platform. Bedrock Linux is still under heavily development and changes quite a bit between releases. It may be best to first wait for Bedrock Linux to settle on one strategy before putting the efforts to port it elsewhere to avoid wasted effort.