Source Mage GNU/Linux

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Source Mage GNU/Linux is an Linux distribution. When a package is installed its source code is automatically downloaded, compiled, and installed. Source Mage is descended from Sorcerer.


Notable features

Source Mage is, as its name suggests, a source-based Linux distribution. Instead of delivering binaries to users, the source code is compiled.[1] This method allows greater control over the software than precompiled distributions, such as Ubuntu. Individual dependencies can be selected or deselected, saving valuable hard drive space and freeing RAM and CPU cycles. For instance, OpenSSH can be compiled without support for X11 sharing. One can choose to set cflags, cxxflags, and ldflags specific to their situation.[2] Using a source-based distribution is one way to unlock the full performance of a computer, as many binary distros compile their software for a wide audience, not a particular group, such as users of a specific processor. When a Source Mage spell is "cast", the latest stable release is downloaded from the developer's site rather than Source Mage's. This allows for the most up-to-date system, unlike Gentoo, another popular source-based distribution, which maintains its own customized cache of packages.[3] SMGL changes as little as possible in packages (only to fit to bare standards such as the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard), so it is more immune from the kind of errors resulting from distribution developers tampering.


In 2001, Kyle Sallee released a Linux distribution named Sorcerer GNU/Linux. However, several developers were unhappy with Kyle's development approach, and created a fork of the project that eventually became Lunar Linux. Kyle Sallee was extremely unhappy about this, and removed Sorcerer GNU/Linux from the web (making it impossible for users to update their systems). Most of the remaining developers of Sorcerer GNU/Linux picked up the pieces of Sorcerer GNU/Linux, and restarted the project. At first they released their project under the old name (Sorcerer GNU/Linux), but Kyle Sallee requested that they rename their project. They agreed, and eventually renamed their effort Source Mage GNU/Linux. The project was released under the name Source Mage, with new leadership not including Kyle Sallee, in April 2002.


Source Mage's tagline is “Linux so advanced, it may as well be magic”,[4] and its commands have a “sorcerous theme”. Each package is called a “spell”, and its package management program is called “sorcery”.[4] To install a package the user must “cast” that spell. Casting a spell consists of downloading the source code (if it is not already downloaded), checking for dependencies, casting them if necessary, compiling the program, and installing it. A set of available spells is called a “grimoire”. To uninstall a package the user must “dispel” the spell.

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