Chimera Linux, the new distribution that combines the Linux kernel with the FreeBSD environment

Daniel Colesa (aka q66) from the Igalia company and who in turn participated in the development of the Void Linux projects, WebKit and Enlightenment, made it known has recently been developing the new distribution "Chimera the Linux".

This is a project that stands out for using the Linux kernel, but instead of the GNU toolkit, it forms the user environment based on the FreeBSD core system and uses LLVM for build. The distribution is initially developed as cross-platform and is compatible with the x86_64, ppc64le, aarch64, riscv64 and ppc64 architectures.

About Chimera Linux

Chimera Linux's main objective is to power pprovide a Linux distribution with alternative tools and take into account the experience of the development of Void Linux when creating a new distribution.

Chimera is a Linux distribution with the following objectives:

  • Built entirely with LLVM
  • FreeBSD based user area
  • Binary packaging and a well-designed source compilation system
  • bootstrapable
  • Portable

In the opinion of the author of the project, lFreeBSD custom components are less complex and better suited for lightweight systems and compact. Delivery under the BSD Permit License also had an impact. Chimera Linux's own work is also distributed under the BSD license.

Chimera uses LLVM and Clang as its system toolchain. This is used to build all the core components of the system. In addition to the FreeBSD user environment, the distribution it also includes the GNU Make, util-linux, udev, and pam packages. The init system is built on top of the portable dinit system manager available for Linux and BSD systems. Instead of glibc, the musl standard C library is used. The user space is based on FreeBSD components rather than GNU and related coreutils. There are few GNU components and the only one strictly necessary for boot and compilation environment is GNU Make.

To install additional programs, both binary packages and your own build system are offered from source codes: cports, written in Python. The build environment runs in a separate, unprivileged container built with the bubblewrap toolkit. Alpine Linux's APK (Alpine Package Keeper, apk-tools) package manager is used to manage binary packages (originally it was planned to use FreeBSD's pkg, but there were big problems with its adaptation).

Chimera has a completely new font packaging system that is not written in shell as is conventional, but in the Python programming language. This reduces the overhead of the compilation system to a minimum, as well as making it introspectable, etc.

Builds are always containerized, with a minimal Chimera system used as the build environment for each package. This system is used in a test environment bubblewrapy runs without privileges.

The binary packaging system used is apk-tools originally from Alpine Linux. It was chosen for its speed and ease of integration.

Try Chimera Linux?

At the moment it is not possible to get a stable initial image of the project, as this is still in the initial stage of development and a few days ago, it was possible to provide a download with the ability to register the user in console mode.

This image provides a boot toolkit, which allows you to rebuild a distribution from your own environment or from an environment based on any other Linux distribution.

The build process includes three stages: assembling components to form a container with a build environment, self-rebuilding using a prepared container, and one more self-rebuilding, but already based on the environment created in the second stage (duplication is necessary to exclude the influence of the original host system on the build process).

Finally if you are interested in knowing more about it You can know, consult and monitor the project from the following links.


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  1.   José Luis said

    FreeBSD is the free version of Unix from the University of Berkeley.
    GNU is a Unix that is not Unix (?)
    In other words, the Unix universe continues to expand and diversify.