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2. Booting the Universal LiveCD

Content:

2.a. Hardware Requirements

Introduction

Before we start, we first list what hardware requirements you need to successfully install Gentoo on your box.

Hardware Requirements

NewWorld machines Power/PowerPC microprocessors (G3, G4, G5) such as iMac, eMac, iBook PowerBook, Xserver, PowerMac, bPlan's Pegasos II
OldWorld machines Limited suport for IBM (RS/6000, iSeries, pSeries) and Amiga systems
Memory 64 MB
Diskspace 1.5 GB (excluding swap space)
Swap space At least 256 MB

Be sure to read up on the Gentoo PPC FAQ before you begin.

2.b. The Gentoo Universal LiveCD

Introduction

Gentoo Linux can be installed using one of three stage tarball files. A stage file is a tarball (compressed archive) that contains a minimal environment.

  • A stage1 file contains nothing more than a compiler, Portage (Gentoo's software management system) and a couple of packages on which the compiler or Portage depends.
  • A stage2 file contains a so-called bootstrapped system, a minimal environment from which one can start building all other necessary applications that make a Gentoo environment complete.
  • A stage3 file contains a prebuilt minimal system which is almost fully deployable. It only lacks a few applications where you, the Gentoo user, needs to choose which one you want to install.

We will opt for a stage3 installation throughout this document. If you want to perform a Gentoo installation using the stage1 or stage2 files, please use the installation instructions in the Gentoo Handbook. They do require a working Internet connection though.

Gentoo Universal LiveCD

A LiveCD is a bootable CDs which contain a self-sustained Gentoo environment. It allows you to boot Linux from the CD. During the boot process your hardware is detected and the appropriate drivers are loaded. The Gentoo LiveCDs are maintained by Gentoo developers.

There currently are two LiveCDs available:

  • The Universal LiveCD contains everything you need to install Gentoo. It provides stage3 files for common architectures, source code for the extra applications you need to choose from and, of course, the installation instructions for your architecture.
  • The Minimal LiveCD contains only a minimal environment that allows you to boot up and configure your network so you can connect to the Internet. It does not contain any additional files and cannot be used during the current installation approach.

Gentoo also provides a Package CD. This is no LiveCD but an additional resource that you can exploit during the installation of your Gentoo system. It contains prebuilt packages (the so-called GRP set) that allows you to easily and quickly install additional applications (such as OpenOffice.org, KDE, GNOME, ...) immediately after the Gentoo installation and right before you update your Portage tree.

The use of the Package CD is covered later in this document.

2.c. Download, Burn and Boot the Gentoo Universal LiveCD

Downloading and Burning the LiveCD

You can download the Universal LiveCDs (and, if you want to, the Packages CD as well) from one of our mirrors. The LiveCDs are located in the releases/ppc/2004.3/livecd directory; the Package CDs are located in the releases/ppc/2004.3/packagecd directory.

Inside those directories you'll find so-called ISO-files. Those are full CD images which you can write on a CD-R.

After downloading the file, you can verify its integrity to see if it is corrupted or not:

  • You can check its MD5 checksum and compare it with the MD5 checksum we provide (for instance with the md5sum tool under Linux/Unix or md5sum for Windows)
  • You can verify the cryptographic signature that we provide. You need to obtain the public key we use (17072058) before you proceed though.

To fetch our public key using the GnuPG application, run the following command:

Code Listing 3.1: Obtaining the public key

$ gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 17072058

Now verify the signature:

Code Listing 3.2: Verify the cryptographic signature

$ gpg --verify <signature file> <downloaded iso>

To burn the downloaded ISO(s), you have to select raw-burning. How you do this is highly program-dependent. We will discuss cdrecord and K3B here; more information can be found in our Gentoo FAQ.

  • With cdrecord, you simply type cdrecord dev=/dev/hdc <downloaded iso file> (replace /dev/hdc with your CD-RW drive's device path) followed by the path to the ISO file :)
  • With K3B, select Tools > CD > Burn Image. Then you can locate your ISO file within the 'Image to Burn' area. Finally click Start.

Default: Booting the Universal LiveCD on an Apple/IBM

On NewWorld machines place the LiveCD in the CD-ROM and reboot the system. When the system-start-bell sounds, simply hold down the 'C' until the CD loads.

If you have an OldWorld Mac the bootable portion of the livecd can't be used. Instead you need to download BootX and have a working MacOS installed on your system. You need to copy the BootX Extension from the unpacked archive-file into the Extensions Folder and make a new directory called Linux Kernels in the System Folder. In the next step you need to copy the files G3G4kernel and initrd.img.gz from the LiveCD boot folder into the Linux Kernels directory. Then reboot the system and wait for BootX to load. After BootX loaded you still have to set up a few items. In the options dialog you need to check Use Specified RAM Disk and select the initrd.img.gz which you put in the Linux Kernels directory. The ramdisk size should be set to at least 32000. Furthermore the kernel argument needs to be set to rw init=/linuxrc cdroot. Eventually you are able to boot the LiveCD when you select Linux on Startup.

After the LiveCD loaded, you will be greeted by a friendly welcome message and a boot: prompt at the bottom of the screen.

At this prompt you are able to select a kernel for the subarchitecture you use. We provide G3, G4 and G5. All kernels are built with support for multiple CPUs, but they will boot on single processor machines as well.

You are also able to tweak some kernel options at this prompt. The following table lists the available boot options you can add:

Boot Option Description
video This option takes one of the following vendor-specific tags: radeonfb, rivafb, atyfb, aty128 or ofonly. You can follow this tag with the resolution and refreshrate you want to use. For instance video=radeonfb:1280x1024@75. If you are uncertain what to choose, ofonly will most certainly work.
nol3 Disables level 3 cache on some PowerBooks (needed for at least the 17")
debug Enables verbose booting, spawns an initrd shell that can be used to debug the LiveCD
sleep=X Wait X seconds before continuing; this can be needed by some very old SCSI CD-ROMs which don't speed up the CD quick enough
bootfrom=X Boot from a different device

At this prompt, hit enter, and a complete Gentoo Linux environment will be loaded from the CD. Continue with And When You're Booted....

Alternative: Booting the Universal LiveCD on a Pegasos

On the Pegasos simply insert the CD and at the SmartFirmware boot-prompt type boot cd /boot/pegasos. If you need any special boot options you can append them to the command-line. For instance boot cd /boot/pegasos video=radeonfb:1280x1024@75 mem=256M.

And When You're Booted...

You will be greeted by a root ("#") prompt on the current console. You can also switch to other consoles by pressing Alt-fn-F2, Alt-fn-F3 and Alt-fn-F4. Get back to the one you started on by pressing Alt-fn-F1.

If you are installing Gentoo on a system with a non-US keyboard, use loadkeys to load the keymap for your keyboard. To list the available keymaps, execute ls /usr/share/keymaps/i386. Do not use the keymaps in ppc or mac as they are for ADB-based OldWorld machines.

Code Listing 3.3: Listing available keymaps

(PPC uses x86 keymaps on most systems. The mac/ppc keymaps provided
 on the LiveCD are ADB keymaps and unusable with the LiveCD kernel)
# ls /usr/share/keymaps/i386

Now load the keymap of your choice:

Code Listing 3.4: Loading a keymap

# loadkeys be-latin1

Now continue with Extra Hardware Configuration.

Extra Hardware Configuration

When the LiveCD boots, it tries to detect all your hardware devices and loads the appropriate kernel modules to support your hardware. In the vast majority of cases, it does a very good job. However, in some cases, it may not auto-load the kernel modules you need. If the PCI auto-detection missed some of your system's hardware, you will have to load the appropriate kernel modules manually.

In the next example we try to load the airport module (support for certain kinds of network interfaces):

Code Listing 3.5: Loading kernel modules

# modprobe airport

Optional: Tweaking Hard Disk Performance

If you are an advanced user, you might want to tweak the IDE hard disk performance using hdparm. With the -tT options you can test the performance of your disk (execute it several times to get a more precise impression):

Code Listing 3.6: Testing disk performance

# hdparm -tT /dev/hda

To tweak, you can use any of the following examples (or experiment yourself) which use /dev/hda as disk (substitute with your disk):

Code Listing 3.7: Tweaking hard disk performance

Activate DMA:                                       # hdparm -d 1 /dev/hda
Activate DMA + Safe Performance-enhancing Options:  # hdparm -d 1 -A 1 -m 16 -u 1 -a 64 /dev/hda

Optional: User Accounts

If you plan on giving other people access to your installation environment or you want to chat using irssi without root privileges (for security reasons), you need to create the necessary user accounts and change the root password.

To change the root password, use the passwd utility:

Code Listing 3.8: Changing the root password

# passwd
New password: (Enter your new password)
Re-enter password: (Re-enter your password)

To create a user account, we first enter their credentials, followed by its password. We use useradd and passwd for these tasks. In the next example, we create a user called "john".

Code Listing 3.9: Creating a user account

# useradd -m -G users john
# passwd john
New password: (Enter john's password)
Re-enter password: (Re-enter john's password)

You can change your user id from root to the newly created user by using su:

Code Listing 3.10: Changing user id

# su - john

Optional: Viewing Documentation while Installing

If you want to view the Gentoo Handbook (either from-CD or online) during the installation, make sure you have created a user account (see Optional: User Accounts). Then press Alt-F2 to go to a new terminal and log in.

If you want to view the documentation on the CD you can immediately run links2 to read it:

Code Listing 3.11: Viewing the on-CD documentation

# links2 /mnt/cdrom/docs/html/index.html

However, it is preferred that you use the online Gentoo Handbook as it will be more recent than the one provided on the CD. You can view it using links2 as well, but only after having completed the Configuring your Network chapter (otherwise you won't be able to go on the Internet to view the document):

Code Listing 3.12: Viewing the Online Documentation

# links2 http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook-ppc.xml

You can go back to your original terminal by pressing Alt-F1.

Optional: Starting the SSH Daemon

If you want to allow other users to access your computer during the Gentoo installation (perhaps because those users are going to help you install Gentoo, or even do it for you), you need to create a user account for them and perhaps even provide them with your root password (only do that if you fully trust that user).

To fire up the SSH daemon, execute the following command:

Code Listing 3.13: Starting the SSH daemon

# /etc/init.d/sshd start

To be able to use sshd, you first need to set up your networking. Continue with the chapter on Configuring your Network.


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Page updated January 17, 2005

Summary: Using our Universal LiveCD you can boot up your system into a running environment that allows you to install Gentoo.

Sven Vermeulen
Author

Daniel Robbins
Author

Chris Houser
Author

Jerry Alexandratos
Author

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
Editor

Pierre-Henri Jondot
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Eric Stockbridge
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Rajiv Manglani
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Jungmin Seo
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Stoyan Zhekov
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Jared Hudson
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Colin Morey
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Jorge Paulo
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Carl Anderson
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Jon Portnoy
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Zack Gilburd
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Jack Morgan
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Benny Chuang
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Erwin
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Joshua Kinard
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Tobias Scherbaum
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Lars Weiler
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Jochen Maes
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Grant Goodyear
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Gerald J. Normandin Jr.
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Donnie Berkholz
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Ken Nowack
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