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2. Choosing the Right Installation Medium
2.a. Hardware Requirements
Before we start, we first list what hardware requirements you need to
successfully install Gentoo on your box.
|Apple NewWorld Machines
Power/PowerPC microprocessors (G3, G4, G5) such as iMac, eMac, iBook
PowerBook, Xserver, PowerMac
|Apple OldWorld machines
Apple Machines with an Open Firmware revision less than 3, such as the Beige
G3s, PCI PowerMacs and PCI PowerBooks. PCI-based Apple Clones should also
Pegasos I/II, Open Desktop Workstation, Efika
RS/6000, iSeries, pSeries
||At least 64 MB
||1.5 GB (excluding swap space)
||At least 256 MB
Be sure to read the Gentoo PPC FAQ
for help with some common installation related issues or if you're unsure as to
just what's in that PowerPC machine you've got sitting on your desk right now.
2.b. The Gentoo Installation CDs
The Gentoo Installation CDs are bootable CDs which contain a
self-sustained Gentoo environment. They allow you to boot Linux from the CD.
During the boot process your hardware is detected and the appropriate drivers
are loaded. They are maintained by Gentoo developers.
All Installation CDs allow you to boot, set up networking, initialize your
partitions and start installing Gentoo from the Internet.
Gentoo Minimal Installation CD
The Minimal Installation CD is called install-powerpc-minimal-<release>.iso and
takes up around 140 MB of diskspace. You can use this
Installation CD to install Gentoo, but only with a working Internet
The Stage3 Tarball
A stage3 tarball is an archive containing a minimal Gentoo environment,
suitable to continue the Gentoo installation using the instructions in this
manual. Previously, the Gentoo Handbook described the installation using one of
three stage tarballs. While Gentoo still offers stage1 and stage2 tarballs, the
official installation method uses the stage3 tarball. If you are interested in
performing a Gentoo installation using a stage1 or stage2 tarball, please read
the Gentoo FAQ on How
do I Install Gentoo Using a Stage1 or Stage2 Tarball?
Stage3 tarballs can be downloaded from releases/ppc/autobuilds/current-stage3/ on any of the Official Gentoo Mirrors and are not provided
on the LiveCD.
2.c. Download, Burn and Boot a Gentoo Installation CD
Downloading and Burning the Installation CDs
You have chosen to use a Gentoo Installation CD. We'll first start by
downloading and burning the chosen Installation CD. We previously discussed
the several available Installation CDs, but where can you find them?
You can download any of the Installation CDs from one of our mirrors. The Installation CDs are located in
the releases/ppc/autobuilds/current-iso/ directory.
Inside that directory 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 SHA-2 checksum and compare it with the SHA-2 checksum we provide (such as
install-powerpc-minimal-<release>.iso.DIGESTS). You can check the SHA-2
checksum with the sha512sum tool under Linux/Unix or Checksums calculator for Windows.
The tool will attempt to verify the checksums in the list, even if the checksum
is made with a different algorithm. Therefore, the output of the command might
give both success (for SHA checksums) and failures (for other checksums). At
least one OK needs to be provided for each file.
Code Listing 3.1: Verifying the SHA-2 checksum
$ sha512sum -c <downloaded iso.DIGESTS>
If you get the message that no properly formatted SHA checksum was found, take a
look at the DIGESTS file yourself to see what the supported checksums are.
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 keys whose
key ids can be found on the release
engineering project site.
Code Listing 3.2: Obtaining the public key
$ gpg --keyserver subkeys.pgp.net --recv-keys 96D8BF6D 2D182910 17072058
Now verify the signature:
Code Listing 3.3: Verify the files
$ gpg --verify <downloaded iso.DIGESTS.asc>
$ sha512sum -c <downloaded iso.DIGESTS.asc>
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/sr0 <downloaded iso
file> (replace /dev/sr0 with your CD-RW drive's device
With K3B, select Tools > Burn CD Image. Then you can locate
your ISO file within the 'Image to Burn' area. Finally click Start.
Default: Booting the Installation CD with Yaboot
On NewWorld machines place the Installation CD in the CD-ROM and reboot the
system. When the system-start-bell sounds, simply hold down the 'C' until the
After the Installation CD loaded, you will be greeted by a friendly welcome
message and a boot: prompt at the bottom of the screen.
We provide one generic kernel, ppc32. This kernel is built with support
for multiple CPUs, but it will boot on single processor machines as well.
You can tweak some kernel options at this prompt. The following table lists
some of the available boot options you can add:
This option takes one of the following vendor-specific tags:
nvidiafb, radeonfb, rivafb, atyfb,
aty128 or ofonly. You can follow this tag with the resolution
refresh rate and color depth you want to use. For instance,
video=radeonfb:1280x1024@75-32 will select the ATI Radeon frame buffer
at a resolution of 1280x1024 with a refresh rate of 75Hz and a color depth of
32 bits. If you are uncertain what to choose, and the default doesn't work,
video=ofonly will most certainly work.
Disables level 3 cache on some PowerBooks (needed for at least the 17")
Enables support for IEEE1394 (FireWire) devices, like external harddisks.
If you want to use PCMCIA devices during your installation (like PCMCIA
network cards) you have to enable this option.
||Starts sshd. Useful for unattended installs.
Sets whatever is after the = as the root password. Use with dosshd
for remote installs.
To use the above options, at the boot: prompt, type ppc32 followed
by the desired option. In the example below, we'll force the kernel to use the
Open Firmware framebuffer instead of the device specific driver.
Code Listing 3.4: Force the use of the Open Firmware framebuffer
boot: ppc32 video=ofonly
If you don't need to add any options, just type ppc32 at this prompt, and a
complete Gentoo Linux environment will be loaded from the CD. Continue with
And When You're Booted....
Alternative: Booting the Installation CD on a Pegasos
On the Pegasos simply insert the CD and at the SmartFirmware boot-prompt type
boot cd /boot/menu. This will open a small bootmenu where you can choose
between several preconfigured video configs. If you need any special boot
options you can append them to the command-line just like with Yaboot above.
For example: boot cd /boot/pegasos video=radeonfb:1280x1024@75 mem=256M.
The default kernel options (in case something goes wrong and you need it) are
preconfigured with console=ttyS0,115200 console=tty0 init=/linuxrc
looptype=squashfs loop=/image.squashfs cdroot root=/dev/ram0.
Alternative: Booting the Installation CD with BootX
If you have an OldWorld Mac the bootable portion of the livecd can't be used.
The most simple solution is to use MacOS 9 or earlier to bootstrap into a Linux
environment with a tool called BootX.
First, download BootX
and unpack the archive. Copy the the BootX Extension from the unpacked
archive into Extensions Folder and the BootX App Control Panel into
Control Panels, both of which are located in your MacOS System Folder.
Next, create a folder called "Linux Kernels" in your System folder and copy the
ppc32 kernel from the CD to this folder. Finally, copy ppc32.igz
from the Installation CD boot folder into the MacOS
To prepare BootX, start the BootX App Control Panel. First select the Options
dialog and check Use Specified RAM Disk and select ppc32.igz from
your System Folder. Continue back to the initial screen and ensure that the
ramdisk size is at least 32000. Finally, set the kernel arguments as
Code Listing 3.5: BootX kernel arguments
cdroot root=/dev/ram0 init=linuxrc loop=image.squashfs looptype=squashfs console=tty0
The kernel parameters in the yaboot section above are also applicable here. You
can append any of those options to the kernel arguments above.
Check once more to make sure the settings are correct and then save the
configuration. This saves typing just in case it doesn't boot or something is
missing. Press the Linux button at the top of the window. If everything goes
correctly, it should boot into the Installation CD. Continue with
And When You're Booted...
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-F2, Alt-F3 and Alt-F4. Get
back to the one you started on by pressing Alt-F1. Due to the keyboard layout,
you may need to press Alt-fn-Fx on Apple machines.
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.
Code Listing 3.6: Listing available keymaps
# ls /usr/share/keymaps/i386
Now load the keymap of your choice:
Code Listing 3.7: Loading a keymap
# loadkeys be-latin1
Now 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 3.8: 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 3.9: 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 3.10: 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 3.11: 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 3.12: Viewing the Online Documentation
# links 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
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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