Chapter 1. Introduction

Table of Contents

Different as SDE
Different as Distribution

T2 is not yet another Linux distribution: It is a flexible System Development Environment allowing not only the automated rebuild to create a new version or to optimize for the target CPU in use, it even allows the creation of adapted distributions. The level of adaptation reaches from simple package selection (e.g. KDE, GNOME, Xfce, Apache, Samba, etc.), special purpose patches (e.g. special features for GUI applications, specially patched kernels, ...), custom output format (such as Live-CD or ROM image for embedded systems) to tight integration with 3rd party administration, management, networking or other software. In summary T2 is an integrated development environment for custom distributions.

The possible application range includes normal servers, desktop systems, specialized firewalls, routers or Network Attached Storage solutions and all kinds of embedded devices.

The T2 framework includes the automated build system, architecture and target descriptions, as well rich set or packages descriptions - currently already over 2800! These package descriptions only contain parameters needed to build a package and information for the end-user installer. Additionally the T2 packages are left unmodified wherever possible. So that by default the packages behave in the way as intended by their upstream authors. Patches are only included if needed for clean compilation (e.g. cross compilation) or bug and security fixes - not the intrusive set of patches most often included in other commercial distributions.

T2 is a fork from ROCK Linux[1]which in turn is not based on another distribution - it was developed from scratch in 1998 by Clifford Wolf and many other contributors.

The name 'T2' started as an intern project name for "try two, second try" and "technology (level) two" and was not intended as final project name. However, T2 became too popular within the first months and thus the name was not easy to change anymore and eventually became the official project name.

At this point we would like to point out that T2 must not be hard to install. While there is indeed a classic installer option which includes a text mode installer where one need to be a fairly experienced Linux user, more user-friendly options, such as a LiveCD (DVD, USB stick, ...) option, exists as well. Additionally a T2 target can add its own startup and install setups and thus innovate in this area.

However many users and administrators still prefer the classic textual install as it offers a great deal of flexibility and control. For example all the services have to be turned on by hand and you have to be able to understand most configuration files from the original packages. T2 does not contain an intrusive set of system administration utilities - however the basic system configuration is provided by our setup tool STONE. Powerful and yet complex tools need to be set up correctly - and colorful setup tools hide the fact that the administrator needs to be informed about the configuration details. Those automated everything tools are one of the reasons for all the SPAM and worms flooding the Internet. So think again if you see that as a problem - it also teaches you how to do things right.


To Linux newbies: Building a server configuration with T2 can involve a steep learning curve. Nevertheless it is a very rewarding experience and after some months you will realise you will never look back. Make sure you have time to dive in and understand what it is all about. Linux is one of the best documented operating systems in the world! Make sure to tap those resources.

But because of its clean structure and packages T2 Linux is a very good Linux edition for system administrators and end-users. T2 Linux was developed from scratch and is maintained by a collaborative group of people.

[1] The fork happened due to major technical disagreements in the ROCK Linux 2.1 development series, as well as ongoing communication problems, disagreements in project management, openness and Linux conference presentations.