Mail archive

[alpine-user] Lack of a minimal documentation on Alpine's overall architecture, run-from-RAM feature, mkinitfs, modloop etc.

From: Timur Fayzrakhmanov <>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2018 23:38:54 +0300

Dear all,

I think Alpine Linux is the most technical-grounded (and clean)
distribution I've ever seen among wide-spread ones. That is why I want to
thank you all who participate in such a "hardened" project. However, it
comes to price if you're newbie you're probably doomed to search solutions
by your own and unlikely get help or much of documentation. My last point -
before I decided to write this messege - was no response for week after I
posted two questions on Alpine's forum and SuperUser. The one that is still
good to get attention:
Yep, sometimes Arch's wiki helps and it's a good resource if you didn't
find Alpine's corresponding one. But in many cases it isn't enough.

So let's get more constructive. I faced with a situation when there is so
little information for one of the most thoroughly designed Alpine's feature
(besides security) and the least covered topic on how it's actually
organized/designed. It's run-from-RAM feature. Another example can be
mkinitramfs tool. It is quite complex script with almost 1k LOC of logic
for init. However, there is no even one line of readme (there same goes for
source code) where one can understand what's going on inside, if you are
not Natanael Copa however. He works like a machine. Certainly, God bless
him. But getting back - I found a lot of such repos. I think the things
getting like "one knows everything and everyone else do it on trust" :).
It's ok but understand things on conceptual level in our activity is
"highly recommended" :).

There are other things in question:
- Alpine overall architecture;
- What is modloop!?
  (certainly set of kernel modules but what the design decision behind is
- Booting process description;
  (from Alpine originator's perspective)
- How kernel, initramfs (its init script) and init (OpenRC) are related to
each other;
  (you can doubt it but Alpine tends to adopt things in its own way and I
think it should be covered somehow)

Please, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to criticise someone or
complain. I'm really inspired by Alpine and spend a lot of time to dig in.
I just want to make an attention to the quite fundamental things
(especially) from newbie perspective.

Live long and prosper,
Timur Fayzrakhmanov.

Received on Wed Mar 28 2018 - 23:38:54 UTC