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3. Using the GTK+ based Gentoo Linux Installer


3.a. Welcome

Before you begin

Once the Gentoo Linux Installer (GLI) has finished loading, you will be greeted by the welcome screen. It provides a friendly introduction to the process of installing Gentoo on your computer. Remember to read each option carefully. There is detailed help available for each step of installation; just click Help in the lower left corner of the installer. We recommend that you always read the help pages before making your choices. Note that at any time during the installation process, you can save your configuration progress in case you need to resume your installation at a later time.

3.b. Pre-installation Configuration

Optional: Manual Network Configuration

In the next section, you are required to configure your network. The Installer should have already detected and set up your network for you, but if it didn't, you can manually configure your network. On the Misc. tab, you can specify a location of your choice or keep the default of /var/log/installer.log where the Installer will store its logs.

Optional: Remote Installation

If you wish to enable SSH access to the machine, you can start sshd and specify a root password.

Optional: Load Additional Kernel Modules

If you need to load more kernel modules to support your hardware, enter their names into the appropriate line, each separated by a space.

Warning: Do not change the Install mode selection to anything besides Normal. This feature is still experimental and changing it will leave you with an unbootable system!

3.c. Partitioning

Preparing the disks

In order to install Gentoo on your machine, you will need to prepare your disks. The Partitioning screen will show you a list of detected disks and allow you to specify the filesystems you would like to have on your partitions. Clicking Clear partitions will erase all previous partitions on your disk, so be careful with this option! It is also possible to resize certain partition types.

If you choose to go with the Recommended layout, the installer will create three partitions: 100MB for /boot, a /swap partition up to 512MB in size, and the rest of the available space on the disk is used for /, the root partition. If you have more than 4GB of unpartitioned space, using the "Recommended layout" will automatically configure your partitions without destroying any data on any existing partitions.

3.d. Network Mounts

Optional: Define network mounts

This screen lets you set up and use any existing network mounts during and after installation. Click New to begin configuration. At this time, only NFS is supported.

3.e. Stage Selection

Dynamic stage generation

Since you are performing an installation without an internet connection, you must check GRP Install as well as Dynamic from the options present. Everything you need to build your system will then be generated from the files on the LiveCD.

Warning: Do not select options other than those specified above when you are installing without an internet connection.

3.f. Portage Tree

Obtaining a Portage tree

You must choose Snapshot on this screen. The installer will automatically install a Portage tree from the LiveCD once you select Snapshot; you do not need to specify a snapshot URI.

3.g. make.conf

USE flags

Since you are performing a GRP/networkless install, you will not be allowed to select USE flags before installation. However, you are free to set your own USE flags in /etc/make.conf after you have rebooted into your finished system.


You should, however, select your processor type in the CFLAGS section along with any custom optimizations you may want, such as -O2 and -pipe.


Any other options you wish to set for future use should be selected now. Use unstable (~arch) will allow you to use packages from the unstable branch of the Portage tree. Build binary packages creates ready-to-install binary tarballs of all packages you compile on your system. DistCC allows you to share the burden of compiling with another computer via your network connection. ccache saves compiled code for later use, and thus can greatly speed up compilation time if you re-install the same package.

You will not be allowed to change your CHOST, as this can seriously damage your installation. In MAKEOPTS you define how many parallel compilations should occur when you install a package. A good choice is the number of CPUs in your system plus one, but this guideline isn't always perfect. On a uniprocessor system, -j2 might be used.

3.h. Kernel Sources

Using the LiveCD kernel

You must use the kernel present on the LiveCD for the GRP/networkless install. This is merely a gentoo-sources kernel compiled by genkernel, Gentoo's automated kernel compilation utility and will give you a kernel that automatically detects and configures your hardware upon boot.

If you want to have a nifty background image during system boot, select the Enable bootsplash option.

3.i. Bootloader

Making your choice

This screen allows to you choose your bootloader and, optionally, specify additional kernel parameters that will be used at bootup.

You may specify which disk to boot from by choosing the appropriate option from Boot Drive. In Linux, the first IDE disk in your system is called hda, the second IDE disk is hdb, and so on. If you have SATA or SCSI disks, they will be called sda, sdb, etc. Please make the correct selection for your system.

If you need to pass any additional options to the kernel, such as video and/or VGA statements, simply add them to the "Extra kernel parameters" section.

If you jumpered your harddrive because the BIOS can't handle large harddrives you'll need to append hdx=stroke. If you have SCSI devices, you should add doscsi as a kernel option.

3.j. Timezone

Choose your timezone

Study the map and select the region closest to your actual location. Later, you will be asked to select if you want your clock to be set to UTC or local time.

3.k. Networking

Device information

On this screen, you will be able to configure the various network interface devices on your computer. Read the available options carefully.

On the Hostname/Proxy Information/Other tab, you will need to choose a hostname for your machine. You may also specify proxy server and DNS settings if needed.

3.l. Daemons

Cron daemon

Cron daemons are helpful programs that run tasks at scheduled times. While you do not need to install one, they can be quite useful.

System logger

A system logger is a necessity for any Linux operating system. Make your selection from the available choices.

3.m. Extra Packages

Optional: installing extra packages

The LiveCD contains a number of available pre-built packages. If you wish to install any of them, check the appropriate box.

Important: As you are installing Gentoo without an internet connection, you cannot add any extra packages other than those shown in the installer.

3.n. Startup Services

This screen allows you to choose various services to load at system boot. Study the available options and their descriptions carefully, and then select your desired services. For example, if you have chosen to install xorg-x11 and want to boot straight into a graphical desktop, then you would select "xdm" from the list.

3.o. Other Settings

Miscellaneous options

Now you will be able to change various settings, including keyboard layout, graphical display manager, the default editor, and whether to set your hardware clock to UTC or local time.

3.p. Users

Adding users and groups

First set the root password for the system administrator (the root user).

We strongly recommend that you create a regular user for daily work. Working as root all the time is dangerous and should be avoided! Create your users, add them to the appropriate groups, and set their passwords. You can optionally change their home directories, select their login shell, and set helpful comments.

3.q. Review

Finishing up

Please take the time to double-check each step of the installation process, ensuring that your system is properly configured. When you have finished reviewing, you may save your progress and exit, or click Install to begin automatically installing Gentoo.

You are free to browse around on the LiveCD while the installation proceeds. The installer window will alert you when it has finished. At that point, can close the window by clicking the x in the top right corner. When you are ready, you may log out and reboot. Make sure you remove the LiveCD during the reboot.

Congratulations, your system is now fully equipped! Continue with Where to go from here? to learn more about Gentoo.

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Page updated August 9, 2006

Summary: You now have an option of using our graphical installer to install Gentoo. Configure the options you need through an easy to use GUI and you're ready to go.

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