Linux From Scratch provides a step-by-step manual for building your own Linux from source code; from the kernel up to a set of base shell and development packages. It looks ideal for learning how Linux hangs together. Possibly too advanced/time-consuming for a school project but certainly educational.
I know I won't get a graphical desktop with a full set of packages ready for download, but I will get a minimal terminal from where I can compile any server software I want.
By default, the manual assumes compiling for Intel 32bit architecture. Would I be setting myself up for a world of pain trying to adapt the instructions for ARM?
Just off the top of my head, I've considered:
Compilation will likely be sloooow – but I can kick things off and leave runnig over night.
I'll need to work on a USB hard disk to have enough space – which will likely be sloooow
I've tried cross-compilation before with mixed success. Do I face a nightmare of trying to determine kernel and compilation options to ensure correct Endian-ness, floating point compatibility, etc?
I won't have sound which is fine, but when it comes to actually producing a video signal, will the Linux kernel talk to whatever hardware/driver is on the Pi and "just work"? Scratch that - I can run headless and telnet in from another machine.
Do any of the smart cookies on here have experience of kernel compilation on non-intel architectures?
I'm just looking to guage whether this would be possible for someone with reasonable linux skills, i.e. partitioning, C compilation, shell scripting.