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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.
||Any PowerPC64 CPU
IBM RS/6000s, Power Macintosh G5, IBM pSeries and IBM iSeries
||1.5 GB (excluding swap space)
||At least 256 MB
For a full list of supported systems, please go to
2.b. The Gentoo Installation CD
Gentoo Minimal Installation CD
The Minimal Installation CD is a bootable CD 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 CD is maintained by Gentoo developers and allows you to install
Gentoo with an active Internet connection.
The Minimal Installation CD is called install-powerpc-minimal-<release>.iso and
takes up around 130 MB of diskspace.
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.
Choosing a userland
On PPC64, the kernel is 64-bit and the userland can be 32-bit or 64-bit.
The userland is basically the applications you are running, such as bash
or firefox. They can be compiled and run in either 64-bit or
32-bit modes. The Gentoo/PPC64 team provides both 32-bit and 64-bit userlands,
so which one should you use?
You may have heard that 64-bit applications are better, but in fact, 32-bit
applications take up slightly less memory and often run a little bit faster than
You really only need 64-bit applications when you need more memory than a 32-bit
userland allows, or if you do a lot of 64-bit number crunching. If you have 4GB
or more of memory or you run scientific applications, you should choose the
64-bit userland. Otherwise, choose the 32-bit userland, as it is recommended by
the Gentoo/PPC64 developers.
Additionally, the 32-bit userland has been available in Portage longer than the
64-bit userland has. This means that there are more applications tested in the
32-bit userland that just work "out of the box." Many applications compiled for
the 64-bit userland may be just as stable as the 32-bit version, but they
haven't been tested yet. Though testing isn't difficult to do, it can be
annoying and time consuming if you want to use many untested 64-bit
applications. Also, some programs just won't run in the 64-bit userland until
their code is fixed, such as LibreOffice.
2.c. Download, Burn and Boot a Gentoo Installation CD
Downloading and Burning the Installation CD
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
Installation CD, but where can you find it?
You can download the Installation CD from one of our mirrors. The Installation CD is located in
the releases/ppc/autobuilds/current-iso/ directory.
Inside that directory you'll find the ISO file. This is a full CD image
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,
K3B, Disk Utility and Disk Copy 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
With K3B, select Tools > Burn CD Image. Then you can locate
your ISO file within the 'Image to Burn' area. Finally click Start.
With Mac OS X Panther, launch Disk Utility from
Applications/Utilities, select Open from the
Images menu, select the mounted disk image in the main window and
select Burn in the Images menu.
With Mac OS X Jaguar, launch Disk Copy from
Applications/Utilities, select Burn Image from the
File menu, select the ISO and click the Burn button.
Default: Booting the Installation CD on an Apple/IBM
Place the Installation CD in the CD-ROM and reboot the system. Hold down the
'C' key at bootup. You will be greeted by a friendly welcome message and a
boot: prompt at the bottom of the screen.
You are also able to tweak some kernel options at this prompt. The following
table lists the available boot options you can add:
This option takes one of the following vendor-specific tags:
radeonfb, rivafb, atyfb, aty128, nvidiafb
or ofonly. You can follow this tag with the resolution and
refreshrate you want to use. For instance
video=radeonfb:1280x1024@75. If you are uncertain what to choose,
ofonly will most certainly work.
Disables level 3 cache on some powerbooks (needed for at least the 17")
Enables verbose booting, spawns an initrd shell that can be used to debug
the Installation CD
Wait X seconds before continuing; this can be needed by some very old SCSI
CD-ROMs which don't speed up the CD quick enough
Boot from a different device
||Starts sshd. Useful for unattended installs.
Sets whatever is after the = as the root password. Use with dosshd
for remote installs.
At this prompt, hit enter, and a complete Gentoo Linux environment will be
loaded from the CD. Continue with And When You're
The CD should autoboot on your pSeries box, but sometimes it does not. In that
case, you have to set up your cdrom as a bootable device in the multi-boot
menu. If you start your machine with a monitor and a keyboard attached, you can
reach the multi-boot menu pressing the F1 key on startup. But if you start your
machine using the serial console, then you have to press 1. Press the
key when you see the beginning of the following line on the serial console:
Code Listing 3.4: Hit the '1' key when this line appears
memory keyboard network scsi speaker
The other option is to jump into Open Firmware and do it from there:
Boot into Open Firmware: same procedure as getting into multi-boot
(described a few lines above), but use F8 and 8 instead of F1 and 1.
- Run the command 0> boot cdrom:1,yaboot
- Stand back and enjoy!
If you get something like the following output, then Open Firmware isn't set up
correctly. Please use the multi-boot option described above.
Code Listing 3.5: Output if Open Firmware is not set up correctly
0 > boot cdrom:1,yaboot
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-fn-F2, Alt-fn-F3 and Alt-fn-F4. Get
back to the one you started on by pressing Alt-fn-F1.
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-ppc64.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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