This handbook has been replaced by a newer version and is not maintained anymore.
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1. About the Gentoo Linux Installation
First of all, welcome to Gentoo. You are about to enter the world
of choices and performance. Gentoo is all about choices. When
installing Gentoo, this is made clear to you several times -- you can
choose how much you want to compile yourself, how to install Gentoo,
what system logger you want, etc.
Gentoo is a fast, modern metadistribution with a clean and flexible
design. Gentoo is built around free software and doesn't hide from its
users what is beneath the hood. Portage, the package maintenance system
which Gentoo uses, is written in Python, meaning you can easily view and
modify the source code. Gentoo's packaging system uses source code
(although support for precompiled packages is included too) and
configuring Gentoo happens through regular textfiles. In other words,
It is very important that you understand that choices are what
makes Gentoo run. We try not to force you onto anything you don't like.
If you feel like we do, please bugreport it.
How is the Installation Structured?
The Gentoo Installation can be seen as a 10-step procedure,
corresponding to chapters 2 - 11. Every step results in
a certain state:
After step 1, you are in a working environment ready to install Gentoo
After step 2, your internet connection is ready to install Gentoo
(this can be optional in certain situations)
After step 3, your hard disks are initialized to house your Gentoo
After step 4, your installation environment is prepared and you are
ready to chroot into the new environment
After step 5, core packages, which are the same on all Gentoo
installations, are installed
After step 6, you have compiled your Linux kernel
After step 7, you have written most of your Gentoo system
After step 8, necessary system tools (which you can choose from a nice
list) are installed
After step 9, your choice of bootloader has been installed and
configured and you are logged in into your new Gentoo installation
After step 10, your Gentoo Linux environment is ready to be explored
When you are given a certain choice, we try our best to explain what the pros
and cons are. We will continue then with a default
choice, identified by "Default: " in the title. The other
possibilities are marked by "Alternative: ". Do not
think that the default is what we recommend. It is however what we
believe most users will use.
Sometimes you can pursue an optional step. Such steps are marked as
"Optional: " and are therefore not needed to install Gentoo.
However, some optional steps are dependant on a previous decision you
made. We will inform you when this happens, both when you make the
decision, and right before the optional step is described.
What are my Options?
You can install Gentoo in many different ways. You can download and install from
one of our LiveCDs (installation CDs), from an existing distribution, from a
bootable CD (such as Knoppix), from a netbooted environment, from a rescue
floppy, etc. This document covers the installation using one of our LiveCDs or,
in certain cases, NetBooting. For help on the other installation approaches,
please read our Alternative Installation
Guide. We also provide a Gentoo Installation Tips &
Tricks document that might be useful to read as well. If you feel that
the current installation instructions are too elaborate, feel free to use our
Quick Installation Guide available from our Documentation Resources if your architecture
has such a document available.
You also have several possibilities: you can compile your entire system from
scratch or install prebuilt packages to have your Gentoo environment up and
running in no time. And of course you have intermediate solutions in which you
don't compile everything but start from a semi-ready system.
If you find a problem in the installation (or in the installation
documentation), please check the errata from our Gentoo Release Engineering Project,
visit our bugtracking
system and check if the bug is known. If not, please create a bugreport
for it so we can take care of it. Do not be afraid of the developers who are
assigned to (your) bugs -- they generally don't eat people.
Note though that, although the document you are now reading is
architecture-specific, it will contain references to other architectures as
well. This is due to the fact that large parts of the Gentoo Handbook use source
code that is common for all architectures (to avoid duplication of efforts and
starvation of development resources). We will try to keep this to a minimum
to avoid confusion.
If you are uncertain if the problem is a user-problem (some error you
made despite having read the documentation carefully) or a
software-problem (some error we made despite having tested the
installation/documentation carefully) you are free to join #gentoo on
irc.freenode.net. Of course, you are welcome otherwise too :)
If you have a question regarding Gentoo, check out our Frequently Asked
Questions, available from the Gentoo Documentation. You can
also view the FAQs on our
forums. If you can't find the answer
there ask on #gentoo, our IRC-channel on irc.freenode.net. Yes, several of
us are freaks who sit on IRC :-)
1.b. Prebuilt or Compile-All?
What is the Gentoo Reference Platform?
The Gentoo Reference Platform, from now on abbreviated to GRP, is a snapshot of
prebuilt packages users (that means you!) can install during the installation
of Gentoo to speed up the installation process. The GRP consists of all
packages required to have a fully functional Gentoo installation. They are not
just the ones you need to have a base installation up to speed in no time, but
all lengthier builds (such as KDE, xorg-x11, GNOME, OpenOffice, Mozilla, ...)
are available as GRP packages too.
However, these prebuilt packages aren't maintained during the lifetime of the
Gentoo distribution. They are snapshots released at every Gentoo release and
make it possible to have a functional environment in a short amount of time. You
can then upgrade your system in the background while working in your Gentoo
How Portage Handles GRP Packages
Your Portage tree - the collection of ebuilds (files that contain all
information about a package, such as its description, homepage, sourcecode URLs,
compilation instructions, dependencies, etc.) - must be synchronised with the
GRP set: the versions of the available ebuilds and their accompanying GRP
packages must match.
For this reason you will have to install a Portage snapshot instead of
synchronising Portage with the latest available tree if you want to use the GRP
Is GRP Available?
Not all architectures provide GRP packages. That doesn't mean GRP isn't
supported on the other architectures, but it means that we don't have the
resources to build and test the GRP packages.
At present we provide GRP packages for the following architectures:
The x86 architecture (x86, i686, pentium3, pentium4, athlon-xp)
Note: The x86 and i686 GRP packages (for example packages-x86-2004.2.iso)
are available on our mirrors, while pentium3, pentium4, athlon-xp are
only available via bittorrent.
The amd64 architecture (amd64)
The sparc architecture (sparc32, sparc64)
The ppc architecture (G3, G4, G5)
The alpha architecture (alpha, alphaev5, alphaev56, alphaev6)
The mips architecture
The hppa architecture
If your architecture (or subarchitecture) isn't on this list, you are not
able to opt for a GRP installation.
Now that this introduction is over, let's continue with Choosing the Right Installation Medium.
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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.