Gentoo Linux/AMD64 Frequently Asked Questions
Introduction to Gentoo/AMD64 FAQ
This document contains the most commonly asked questions about Gentoo/AMD64. We
intend to help and provide useful information about Gentoo/AMD64. Some of these
questions can be found in forums, IRC, or mailing lists. If you have
suggestions or questions about this FAQ, you are welcome to send an e-mail to
How can I help the Gentoo/AMD64 project?
What's the difference between AMD64 and EM64T?
Both refer to 64-bit processors from AMD (AMD64) and Intel (EM64T). AMD's 64-bit
processors include the Athlon 64, Turion, Neo, Phenom, and Opteron families.
Intel's 64-bit processors include the Core2, Core iX, Celeron, Xeon, and
Pentium (all based on the Core2 architecture). The last few versions of
the old Pentium 4 and Xeon chips also support EM64T.
The AMD line of 64-bit processors were released well ahead of Intel's offering.
Therefore, for historical reasons the arch keyword for all x86-64 compatible
architectures is amd64. As such, AMD64 is a generic reference to 64-bit
chips, whether AMD or Intel.
What CFLAGS should I use for AMD64/EM64T?
You should use simple CFLAGS to avoid future problems with your system.
Supported CFLAGS are -O2 -march=native -pipe for AMD and Intel
What kernel should I use for AMD64?
You can use almost all kernel sources available in Portage. We recommend using
gentoo-sources because it is a special kernel designed for Gentoo Linux.
It contains lots of AMD64-specific patches and therefore is the only kernel
officially supported by Gentoo/AMD64.
Make sure you have the IA32_EMULATION option activated in the kernel.
Code Listing 2.1: Activating IA32 Emulation in Kernel source
# cd /usr/src/linux
# make menuconfig
Executable file formats / Emulations --->
[*] IA32 Emulation
You may experience build failures on multilib-systems if you deactivate this
Will I have a performance upgrade if I use a 64bit system instead of 32bit?
That is a difficult question to answer. In some cases, you will experience a
performance improvement, in other cases you will not. For everyday use, there is
nearly no difference between 64bit and 32bit. 64bit is generally faster when it
comes to floating point computing which is normally the case in multimedia
applications and 3D rendering. This article (and a related article) may interest
you. There's also a nice thread in our forums.
What is multilib and how can I use it?
Every AMD64 processor is able to run 32bit code as well as 64bit code.
However, when you have a 32bit application, you are unable to mix it with
64bit libraries or vice versa. You can, however, natively run 32bit
applications if all shared libraries it needs are available as 32bit objects.
You can choose whether you want multilib support or not by selecting the
according profile. The default is a multilib-enabled profile.
Currently you cannot switch from a no-multilib to a multilib-enabled profile,
so think over your decision twice before you use the no-multilib profile.
How do I create a 32bit chroot?
Please read the 32bit chroot
Can I upgrade from my x86 system to amd64 by doing emerge -e world?
Due to several differences between an x86 and an amd64
installation, it is impossible to upgrade. Please perform a fresh install. The
installation is slightly different than an x86 one, so please use the
Also, binary files created on an x86 system most likely cannot be read by
packages on an amd64 system. In particular, databases such as MySQL, innoDB,
Berkeley DB, SQLite, OpenLDAP, etc. cannot simply be copied as-is. You will need
to dump the database into an architecture-independent format, such as a text
file, before attempting to restore it on an amd64 system.
Can I use Reiser4?
Reiser4 is not available from any kernel offered by the Gentoo Kernel project,
thus the AMD64 team doesn't support it. The answer is no.
Will my binary NVIDIA/ATI drivers work?
Yes, NVIDIA and ATI provide drivers that work on AMD64. You can install them by
executing emerge nvidia-drivers or emerge ati-drivers. If you have
more questions about these drivers, you should read the Nvidia guide or the ATI FAQ.
How do I use Cool'n'Quiet/PowerNow/SpeedStep features?
You have to compile your kernel with support for these features. You just need
to enable the features below:
Code Listing 3.1: Kernel options for Cool'n'Quiet/PowerNow/SpeedStep
Power management options --->
[*] Run-time PM core functionality
[*] ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) Support --->
<*> Thermal Zone
CPU Frequency scaling --->
[*] CPU Frequency scaling
Default CPUFreq governor (ondemand) --->
-*- 'performance' governor
<*> 'userspace' governor for userspace frequency scaling
-*- 'ondemand' cpufreq policy governor
<*> ACPI Processor P-States driver
<*> AMD Opteron/Athlon64 PowerNow!
-*- CPU idle PM support
Then emerge cpufrequtils and edit /etc/conf.d/cpufrequtils
with your favorite editor.
Code Listing 3.2: Example of /etc/conf.d/cpufrequtils
# Options when starting cpufreq (given to the 'cpufreq-set' program)
# Options when stopping cpufreq (given to the 'cpufreq-set' program)
Now you only have to run rc-update add cpufrequtils boot to make sure it is
started every time you boot.
You may want to read the Power Management Guide
for more tips on CPU power management.
Can I get Adobe Flash working?
Yes. Just emerge adobe-flash. Be sure to read any messages displayed by
the ebuild once it has been emerged.
I want to install package foo, but emerge says: (masked by: ~amd64 keyword)
This means that the package is still in the 'testing' tree. Please read man
portage or the Mixing Software
Branches chapter of the AMD64 Handbook for more
I want to install package foo, but emerge says: (masked by: missing keyword)
This means that the package has not been tested yet. It does not
necessarily mean that the package does not work. You can unmask it by
accepting another architecture for the package. The following example shows you
can tell Portage to accept any keyword for a given package.
Code Listing 4.1: Example of adding package keywords
# echo "category/packagename **" >> /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords
# emerge packagename
If it works fine for you, please let us know and file a bug on Gentoo's Bugzilla, so that the AMD64 team
can keyword the package and other users can benefit from your test.
Do not try commands like ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~x86" emerge packagename. It
will most certainly break your tree.
How can I help the Gentoo/AMD64 project?
How can I help?
With a growing popularity of the amd64 architecture, we also increasingly need
more help. There's still much work to be done to improve the quality of
Gentoo/AMD64. An average user can help us by:
- Filing general bug reports
- Testing software that does not yet have the ~amd64 keyword
Participating in the Arch Testers
Help answering questions on the mailing lists, forums and IRC channels
- Sending patches
Where can I get more help or information about Gentoo/AMD64?
If any of your questions wasn't answered here, you can try other resources
listed on our project homepage. You can
also ask us at #gentoo-amd64 on irc.freenode.net, Gentoo/AMD64 Forums,
or on the email@example.com mailing list.
The contents of this document, unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under the CC-BY-SA-2.5 license. The Gentoo Name and Logo Usage Guidelines apply.