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6. Installing the Gentoo Base System
Optional: Selecting Mirrors
If you have booted from a Gentoo LiveCD, you are able to use mirrorselect
to update /etc/make.conf so fast mirrors are used for both Portage
and source code (of course in case you have a working network connection):
An error within mirrorselect might make it output garbage after the
GENTOO_MIRRORS statement. Please open /mnt/gentoo/etc/make.conf
and remove the garbage at the end of the GENTOO_MIRRORS statement if applicable.
Code Listing 1.1: Selecting fast mirrors
# mirrorselect -a -s4 -o | grep 'GENTOO_MIRRORS=' >> /mnt/gentoo/etc/make.conf
If for some reason mirrorselect fails, don't panic. This step is
completely optional, the default values suffice.
Copy DNS Info
One thing still remains to be done before we enter the new environment and that
is copying over the DNS information in /etc/resolv.conf. You need
to do this to ensure that networking still works even after entering the new
environment. /etc/resolv.conf contains the nameservers for your
Code Listing 1.2: Copy over DNS information
# cp -L /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc/resolv.conf
Mounting the proc Filesystem
Mount the /proc filesystem on /mnt/gentoo/proc to
allow the installation to use the kernel-provided information even within the
Code Listing 1.3: Mounting /proc
# mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc
Entering the new Environment
Now that all partitions are initialized and the base environment
installed, it is time to enter our new installation environment by
chrooting into it. This means that we change from the current
installation environment (LiveCD or other installation medium) to your
installation system (namely the initialized partitions).
This chrooting is done in three steps. First we will change the root
from / (on the installation medium) to /mnt/gentoo
(on your partitions) using chroot. Then we will create a new environment
using env-update, which essentially creates environment variables.
Finally, we load those variables into memory using source.
Code Listing 1.4: Chrooting into the new environment
# chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash
* Caching service dependencies...
# source /etc/profile
Congratulations! You are now inside your own Gentoo Linux environment.
Of course it is far from finished, which is why the installation still
has some sections left :-)
Optional: Updating the Portage tree
If you haven't installed a Portage snapshot in the previous chapter, you must
download a recent Portage tree from the Internet. emerge --sync does this
for you. Other users should skip this and continue with Configuring the USE variable.
Code Listing 1.5: Updating the Portage tree
# emerge --sync
Portage uses the RSYNC protocol for updating the Portage tree. If the above
command fails due to your firewall, use emerge-webrsync which
downloads and installs a Portage snapshot for you using the regular HTTP
Code Listing 1.6: Updating the Portage tree with emerge-webrsync
If you are warned that a new Portage version is available and that you should
update Portage, you should ignore it. Portage will be updated for you later
on during the installation.
Configuring the USE variable
USE is one of the most powerful variables Gentoo provides to its users.
Several programs can be compiled with or without optional support for certain
items. For instance, some programs can be compiled with gtk-support, or with
qt-support. Others can be compiled with or without SSL support. Some programs
can even be compiled with framebuffer support (svgalib) instead of X11 support
Most distributions compile their packages with support for as much as possible,
increasing the size of the programs and startup time, not to mention an enormous
amount of dependencies. With Gentoo you can define what options a package
should be compiled with. This is where USE comes into play.
In the USE variable you define keywords which are mapped onto
compile-options. For instance, ssl will compile ssl-support in the
programs that support it. -X will remove X-server support (note the minus
sign in front). gnome gtk -kde -qt will compile your programs with gnome
(and gtk) support, and not with kde (and qt) support, making your system fully
tweaked for GNOME.
The default USE settings are placed in
/etc/make.profile/make.defaults. What you place in
/etc/make.conf is calculated against these defaults settings. If
you add something to the USE setting, it is added to the default list. If
you remove something from the USE setting (by placing a minus sign in
front of it) it is removed from the default list (if it was in the default list
at all). Never alter anything inside the /etc/make.profile
directory; it gets overwritten when you update Portage!
A full description on USE can be found in the second part of the Gentoo
Handbook, USE flags. A full description on
the available USE flags can be found on your system in
Code Listing 1.7: Viewing available USE flags
# less /usr/portage/profiles/use.desc
As an example we show a USE setting for a KDE-based system with DVD, ALSA
and CD Recording support:
Code Listing 1.8: Opening /etc/make.conf
# nano -w /etc/make.conf
Code Listing 1.9: USE setting
USE="-gtk -gnome qt kde dvd alsa cdr"
You will probably only use one or maybe two locales on your system. Up until now
after compiling glibc a full set of all available locales will be
created. As of now you can activate the userlocales USE flag and specify
only the locales you will need in /etc/locales.build.
Code Listing 1.10: Activate the userlocales USE flag especially for glibc
# mkdir /etc/portage
# echo "sys-libs/glibc userlocales" >> /etc/portage/package.use
Now specify the locales you want to be able to use:
Code Listing 1.11: nano -w /etc/locales.build
Optional: Using Distributed Compiling
If you are interested in using a collection of systems to help in compiling your
system you might want to take a look at our DistCC Guide. By using distcc you can use
the processing power of several systems to aid you with the installation.
6.b. Differences between Stage1, Stage2 and Stage3
Now take a seat and think of your previous steps. We asked you to
select a stage1, stage2 or stage3 and warned you
that your choice is important for further installation steps. Well, this
is the first place where your choice defines the subsequent steps.
6.c. Progressing from Stage1 to Stage2
Introduction to Bootstrapping
So, you want to compile everything from scratch? Okay then :-)
In this step, we will bootstrap your Gentoo system. This takes a
long time, but the result is a system that has been optimized from the
ground up for your specific machine and needs.
Bootstrapping means building the GNU C Library, GNU Compiler
Collection and several other key system programs.
Before starting the bootstrap, we list a couple of options you might or
might not want. If you do not want to read those, continue with Bootstrapping the System.
Optional: Downloading the Sources First
If you haven't copied over all source code before, then the bootstrap
script will download all necessary files. It goes without saying that
this only works if you have a working network connnection :-) If you want to
download the source code first and later bootstrap the system (for instance
because you don't want to have your internet connection open during the
compilation) use the -f option of the bootstrap script, which will
fetch (hence the letter f) all source code for you.
Code Listing 3.1: Downloading the necessary sources
# cd /usr/portage
# scripts/bootstrap.sh -f
Bootstrapping the System
Okay then, take your keyboard and punch in the next commands to start
the bootstrap. Then go amuse yourself with something else because this step
takes quite some time to finish.
Code Listing 3.2: Bootstrapping the system
# cd /usr/portage
Now continue with the next step, Progressing from Stage2
6.d. Progressing from Stage2 to Stage3
If you are reading this section, then you have a bootstrapped system
(either because you bootstrapped it previously, or you are using a
stage2). Then it is now time to build all system packages.
All system packages? No, not really. In this step, you will build
the system packages of which there are no alternatives to use.
Some system packages have several alternatives (such as system loggers)
and as Gentoo is all about choices, we don't want to force one upon you.
Optional: Viewing what will be done
If you want to know what packages will be installed, execute emerge
--pretend system. This will list all packages that will be built. As this
list is pretty big, you should also use a pager like less or
more to go up and down the list.
Code Listing 4.1: View what 'emerge system' will do
# emerge --pretend system | less
Optional: Downloading the Sources
If you want emerge to download the sources before you continue
(for instance because you don't want the internet connection to be left
open while you are building all packages) you can use the --fetchonly
option of emerge which will fetch all sources for you.
Code Listing 4.2: Fetching the sources
# emerge --fetchonly system
Building the System
To start building the system, execute emerge system. Then go do
something to keep your mind busy, because this step takes a long time to
Code Listing 4.3: Building the System
# emerge system
You can for now safely ignore any warnings about updated configuration files
(and running etc-update). When your Gentoo system is fully installed and
booted, do read our documentation on Configuration File Protection.
When the build process has completed, continue with Configuring the Kernel.
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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.