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2. Booting the Universal LiveCD
2.a. Hardware Requirements
Before we start, we first list what hardware requirements you need to
successfully install Gentoo on your box.
Power/PowerPC microprocessors (G3, G4, G5) such as iMac, eMac, iBook
PowerBook, Xserver, PowerMac, bPlan's Pegasos II
Limited suport for IBM (RS/6000, iSeries, pSeries) and Amiga systems
||1.5 GB (excluding 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
Gentoo Linux can be installed using one of three stage tarball files. A
stage file is a tarball (compressed archive) that contains a minimal
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
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
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
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
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
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
You are also able to tweak some kernel options at this prompt. The following
table lists the available boot options you can add:
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.
Disables level 3 cache on some PowerBooks (needed for at least the 17")
Enables verbose booting, spawns an initrd shell that can be used to debug
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
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
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
Code Listing 3.3: Listing available keymaps
# 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
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
Code Listing 3.7: Tweaking hard disk performance
# hdparm -d 1 /dev/hda
# 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
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
You can change your user id from root to the newly created user by using
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
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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