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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.

Hardware Requirements

Sparc System Please check the Gentoo Linux/SPARC64 Compatibility list or the UltraLinux FAQ
CPU We currently only support sparc64 CPUs
Memory 64 MB
Diskspace 1.5 GB (excluding swap space)
Swap space At least 256 MB

2.b. The Gentoo Universal Installation CD


Gentoo Linux can be installed using a stage3 tarball file. Such a tarball is an archive that contains a minimal environment from which you can succesfully install Gentoo Linux onto your system.

Installations using a stage1 or stage2 tarball file are not documented in the Gentoo Handbook - please read the Gentoo FAQ on these matters.

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 not an Installation CD but an additional resource that you can exploit during the installation of your Gentoo system. It contains prebuilt packages (also known as the GRP set) that allow you to easily and quickly install additional applications (such as, 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 from one of our mirrors. The Installation CDs are located in the releases/sparc/2008.0/sparc64/installcd directory.

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

In case you wonder if your downloaded file is corrupted or not, you can check its MD5 checksum and compare it with the MD5 checksum we provide (such as install-sparc-minimal-2008.0.iso.DIGESTS). You can check the MD5 checksum with the md5sum tool under Linux/Unix or md5sum for Windows.

Another way to check the validity of the downloaded file is to use GnuPG to verify the cryptographic signature that we provide (the file ending with .asc). Download the signature file and obtain the public key:

Code Listing 3.1: Obtaining the public key

$ gpg --keyserver --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 path).
  • With K3B, select Tools > Burn CD Image. Then you can locate your ISO file within the 'Image to Burn' area. Finally click Start.

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). You can hit Enter for more help if you want. Type in gentoo and press enter to continue booting the system:

Code Listing 3.4: Continue booting from the Installation CD

boot: gentoo

Once the Installation CD is booted, you will be automatically logged on to the system.

You should have a root ("#") prompt on the current console. You will also find a root prompt on the serial console (ttyS0).

Continue with Extra Hardware Configuration.

Extra Hardware Configuration

When the Installation CD 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 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

# 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 3.7: 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 3.8: Changing user id

# su - john

Optional: Viewing Documentation while Installing

If you want to view the Gentoo Handbook 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.

You can view the handbook using links, once you have completed the Configuring your Network chapter (otherwise you won't be able to go on the Internet to view the document):

Code Listing 3.9: Viewing the Online Documentation

# links

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 3.10: Starting the SSH daemon

# /etc/init.d/sshd start

Note: If you (or other users) log on to the system, they will get a message that the host key for this system needs to be confirmed (through what is called a fingerprint). This is to be expected as it is the first time people log on to the system. However, later when your system is set up and you log on to the newly created system, your SSH client will warn you that the host key has been changed. This is because you now log on to - for SSH - a different server (namely your freshly installed Gentoo system rather than the live environment you are on right now). When you hit that warning, follow the instructions given on the screen then to replace the host key on the client system.

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 20, 2013

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

Sven Vermeulen

Grant Goodyear

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