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2. Booting the Universal Installation CD
2.a. Hardware Requirements
Before we start, we first list what hardware requirements you need to
successfully install Gentoo on your box.
Please check the UltraLinux FAQ
Although sparc64 is the only officially supported platform, experimental
support for sparc32 is available as well
||1.5 GB (excluding swap space)
||At least 256 MB
We currently only provide Installation CDs for the sparc64 architecture. Users
of sparc32 can use the experimental netboot images to install Gentoo from.
More information about netbooting can be found in our Gentoo Linux based Netboot
2.b. The Gentoo Universal Installation CD
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 Installation CD
An Installation CD is a bootable medium which contains 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
Installation CDs are maintained by Gentoo developers.
There currently are two Installation CDs available:
The Universal Installation CD 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 Installation CD 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 Installation CD 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 a Gentoo Installation CD
Downloading and Burning the Installation CDs
You can download the Universal Installation CD (and, if you want to, the
Packages CD as well) from one of our mirrors. The Installation CDs are located in
directory; the Package CDs are located in the
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> (replace /dev/hdc with your CD-RW drive's device
With K3B, select Tools > CD > Burn Image. Then
you can locate your ISO file within the 'Image to Burn' area. Finally click
Booting the Universal Installation CD
Insert the Gentoo Installation CD in the CD-ROM and boot your system. During
startup, press Stop-A to enter OpenBootPROM (OBP). Once you are in the OBP,
boot from the CD-ROM:
Code Listing 3.3: Booting the Installation CD
ok boot cdrom
You will be greeted by the SILO boot manager (on the Installation CD). Type in
gentoo-2.4 (single-CPU kernel) or gentoo-2.4-smp
(multi-CPU kernel) and press enter to continue booting the system. In the
following example we'll boot the gentoo-2.4 kernel.
Code Listing 3.4: Continue booting from the Installation CD
Once the Installation CD is booted, you will be automatically logged on to the
You should have a root ("#") prompt on the current console and can also switch
to other consoles by pressing Alt-F2, Alt-F3 and Alt-F4. Get back to the one you
started on by pressing Alt-F1. You will also find a root prompt on the serial
Continue with Extra Hardware Configuration.
Extra Hardware Configuration
If not all hardware is supported out-of-the-box, you will need to load the
appropriate kernel modules.
In the next example we try to load the 8139too module (support for
certain kinds of network interfaces):
Code Listing 3.5: Loading kernel modules
# modprobe 8139too
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 3.6: 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 3.7: 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 3.8: 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 3.9: Viewing the on-CD documentation
# links2 /mnt/cdrom/docs/handbook/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 3.10: Viewing the Online Documentation
# links2 http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook-sparc.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 3.11: 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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