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4. Using the Dialog based Gentoo Linux Installer


4.a. Welcome

Before you begin

After you boot the Gentoo Linux Installer LiveCD, it will attempt to load a graphical desktop. If it is unable to do so, it will instead display a command line prompt. To launch the installer, simply type:

Code ListingĀ 1.1: Start the installer

# installer

Once the installer 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 at the top of the screen. We recommend that you always read the help provided 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. Use the Tab key (on your keyboard) to move around the menus within a screen and the Enter key to confirm an action.

There are two types of installation modes available. Choose Networkless to begin installing Gentoo Linux.

Note: Selecting Networkless will make some later configuration options unavailable. Simply proceed to the next screen.

4.b. Preinstallation Configuration

Optional: Manual Network Configuration

Even though you will be installing without a connection to the internet, you can manually set up connections to your local area network (LAN), in case you want to install Gentoo from another machine on your LAN.

If you wish to enable SSH access to the machine (for remote installation), 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, each separated by a space.

4.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. Selecting 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.

Warning: As with any partitioning application, you should backup your system before making changes to your partition table, as any possible bugs could cause data loss.

4.d. Network Mounts

Optional: Define network mounts

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

4.e. 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.


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. Read through the available FEATURES and make your choices.

4.f. 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 compilation utility, and will give you a kernel that automatically detects and configures your hardware upon boot.

4.g. Bootloader

Making your choice

This screen allows to you choose your bootloader. Next, select your boot device and (optionally) specify any additional boot options.

4.h. Timezone

Choose your timezone

Study the list and select the region closest to your actual location.

4.i. Networking

Add network device

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

The next screen gives you a choice between DHCP and manual IP address configuration. Once your network interface is properly configured, you will need to create a hostname for your system. Optionally, you may specify a domainname and any DNS server information needed.

4.j. 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.

4.k. 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.

4.l. 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.

4.m. 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, set their passwords, and add them to the appropriate groups. You can optionally change their home directories, select their login shell, and set helpful comments.

4.n. 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 select Install to begin automatically installing Gentoo.

The installer will alert you when it has finished. It will then return you to the command prompt. All you need to do to reboot is type:

Code ListingĀ 14.1: Rebooting

# shutdown -r now

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 November 1, 2006

Summary: You also have an option of using our text based installer to install Gentoo. Configure the options you need through an easy to use set of menus and you're ready to go.

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