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9. Installing Necessary System Tools


9.a. System Logger

The first tool you need to decide on has to provide logging facilities for your system. Unix and Linux have an excellent history of logging capabilities -- if you want you can log everything that happens on your system in logfiles. This happens through the system logger.

Gentoo offers several system loggers to choose from. There are sysklogd, which is the traditional set of system logging daemons, syslog-ng, an advanced system logger, and metalog which is a highly-configurable system logger. Others might be available through Portage as well - our number of available packages increases on a daily basis.

If you plan on using sysklogd or syslog-ng you might want to install logrotate afterwards as those system loggers don't provide any rotation mechanism for the log files.

If you can't choose one, use metalog as it is very powerful yet comes with a great default configuration.

To install the system logger of your choice, emerge it and have it added to the default runlevel using rc-update. The following example installs metalog. Of course substitute with your system logger:

Code Listing 1.1: Installing a system logger

# emerge metalog
# rc-update add metalog default

9.b. Optional: Cron Daemon

Next is the cron daemon. Although it is optional and not required for your system, it is wise to install one. But what is a cron daemon? A cron daemon executes scheduled commands. It is very handy if you need to execute some command regularly (for instance daily, weekly or monthly).

We only provide vixie-cron for networkless installations. If you want another cron daemon you can wait and install it later on.

Code Listing 2.1: Installing a cron daemon

# emerge vixie-cron
# rc-update add vixie-cron default

9.c. Optional: File Indexing

If you want to index your system's files so you are able to quickly locate them using the locate tool, you need to install sys-apps/slocate.

Code Listing 3.1: Installing slocate

# emerge slocate

9.d. File System Tools

Depending on what file systems you are using, you need to install the necessary file system utilities (for checking the filesystem integrity, creating additional file systems etc.).

The following table lists the tools you need to install if you use a certain file system:

File System Tool Install Command
XFS xfsprogs emerge xfsprogs
ReiserFS reiserfsprogs emerge reiserfsprogs
JFS jfsutils emerge jfsutils

If you don't require any additional networking-related tools (such as rp-pppoe or a dhcp client) continue with Configuring the Bootloader.

9.e. Networking Tools

Optional: Installing a DHCP Client

If you require Gentoo to automatically obtain an IP address for your network interface(s), you need to install dhcpcd (or any other DHCP Client) on your system. If you don't do this now, you might not be able to connect to the internet after the installation!

Code Listing 5.1: Installing dhcpcd

# emerge dhcpcd

Optional: Installing a PPPoE Client

If you need rp-pppoe to connect to the net, you need to install it.

Code Listing 5.2: Installing rp-pppoe

# USE="-X" emerge rp-pppoe

The USE="-X" will prohibit xorg-x11 to be installed as a dependency (rp-pppoe has graphical tools; if you want those enabled, you can recompile rp-pppoe later on or have xorg-x11 installed now -- which takes a long time to compile).

Now continue with Configuring the Bootloader.

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Page updated January 4, 2005

Summary: As mentioned before, Gentoo is about choices. In this chapter we help you choose and install some important tools.

Sven Vermeulen

Daniel Robbins

Chris Houser

Jerry Alexandratos

Seemant Kulleen
Gentoo x86 Developer

Tavis Ormandy
Gentoo Alpha Developer

Jason Huebel
Gentoo AMD64 Developer

Guy Martin
Gentoo HPPA developer

Pieter Van den Abeele
Gentoo PPC developer

Joe Kallar
Gentoo SPARC developer

John P. Davis

Pierre-Henri Jondot

Eric Stockbridge

Rajiv Manglani

Jungmin Seo

Stoyan Zhekov

Jared Hudson

Colin Morey

Jorge Paulo

Carl Anderson

Jon Portnoy

Zack Gilburd

Jack Morgan

Benny Chuang


Joshua Kinard

Tobias Scherbaum

Grant Goodyear

Gerald J. Normandin Jr.

Donnie Berkholz

Ken Nowack

Lars Weiler

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