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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.

Hardware Requirements

CPU Please check with the Alpha/Linux FAQ
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 one of three stage tarball files. A stage file is a tarball (compressed archive) that contains a minimal environment.

  • A stage1 file contains nothing more than a compiler, Portage (Gentoo's software management system) and a couple of packages on which the compiler or Portage depends.
  • A stage2 file contains a so-called bootstrapped system, a minimal environment from which one can start building all other necessary applications that make a Gentoo environment complete.
  • A stage3 file contains a prebuilt minimal system which is almost fully deployable. It only lacks a few applications where you, the Gentoo user, needs to choose which one you want to install.

We will opt for a stage3 installation throughout this document. If you want to perform a Gentoo installation using the stage1 or stage2 files, please use the installation instructions in the Gentoo Handbook. They do require a working Internet connection though.

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 no Installation CD but an additional resource that you can exploit during the installation of your Gentoo system. It contains prebuilt packages (the so-called GRP set) that allows 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 the Gentoo Universal Installation CD

Downloading and Burning the Installation CD

You can download the Universal Installation CD (and, if you want to, the Packages CD as well) from one of our mirrors. The Installation CD is located in the releases/alpha/2005.0/installcd directory; the Package CD is located in the releases/alpha/2005.0/packagecd directory.

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

After downloading the file, you can verify its integrity to see if it is corrupted or not:

  • You can check its MD5 checksum and compare it with the MD5 checksum we provide (for instance with the md5sum tool under Linux/Unix or md5sum for Windows)
  • You can verify the cryptographic signature that we provide. You need to obtain the public key we use (17072058) before you proceed though.

To fetch our public key using the GnuPG application, run the following command:

Koodilistaus 3.1: Obtaining the public key

$ gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 17072058

Now verify the signature:

Koodilistaus 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 file> (replace /dev/hdc with your CD-RW drive's device path).
  • With K3B, select Tools > CD > Burn Image. Then you can locate your ISO file within the 'Image to Burn' area. Finally click Start.

Booting the Universal Installation CD

When your Alpha is powered on, the first thing that gets started is the firmware. It is loosely synonymous with the BIOS software on PC systems. There are two types of firmware on Alpha systems: SRM (Systems Reference Manual) and ARC (Advanced Risc Console).

SRM is based on the Alpha Console Subsystem specification, which provides an operating environment for OpenVMS, Tru64 UNIX, and Linux operating systems. ARC is based on the Advanced RISC Computing (ARC) specification, which provides an operating environment for Windows NT. You can find a detailed guide on using SRM over at the Alpha Linux website.

If your Alpha system supports both SRC and ARCs (ARC, AlphaBIOS, ARCSBIOS) you should follow these instructions for switching to SRM. If your system already uses SRM, you are all set. If your system can only use ARCs (Ruffian, nautilus, xl, etc.) you will need to choose MILO later on when we are talking about bootloaders.

Now to boot an Alpha Installation CD, put the CD-ROM in the tray and reboot the system. You can use SRM to boot the Installation CD. If you cannot do that, you will have to use MILO. If you don't have MILO installed already, use one of the precompiled MILO images available on taviso's homepage.

Koodilistaus 3.3: Booting a CD-ROM using SRM

(List available hardware drives)
>>> show device
dkb0.        DKB0       TOSHIBA CDROM
(Substitute dkb0 with your CD-ROM drive device)
>>> boot dkb0 -flags 0
To boot the 2.4 kernel instead of the default 2.6 kernel use:
>>> boot dkb -flags 1

Koodilistaus 3.4: Booting a CD-ROM using MILO

(Substitute hdb with your CD-ROM drive device)
MILO> boot hdb:/boot/gentoo_2.6 initrd=/boot/gentoo_2_6.igz root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc looptype=zisofs loop=/zisofs cdroot
To boot the 2.4 kernel instead of the default 2.6 kernel use:
MILO> boot hdb:/boot/gentoo_2.4 initrd=/boot/gentoo_2_4.igz root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc looptype=zisofs loop=/zisofs cdroot

You should have a root ("#") prompt on the current console and 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.

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 (the SPARC Installation CDs don't even do autodetection), 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):

Koodilistaus 3.5: Loading kernel modules

# modprobe 8139too

If you need PCMCIA support, you should start the pcmcia init script:

Koodilistaus 3.6: Starting the PCMCIA init script

# /etc/init.d/pcmcia start

Optional: Tweaking Hard Disk Performance

If you are an advanced user, you might want to tweak the IDE hard disk performance using hdparm. With the -tT options you can test the performance of your disk (execute it several times to get a more precise impression):

Koodilistaus 3.7: Testing disk performance

# hdparm -tT /dev/hda

To tweak, you can use any of the following examples (or experiment yourself) which use /dev/hda as disk (substitute with your disk):

Koodilistaus 3.8: Tweaking hard disk performance

Activate DMA:                                       # hdparm -d 1 /dev/hda
Activate DMA + Safe Performance-enhancing Options:  # hdparm -d 1 -A 1 -m 16 -u 1 -a 64 /dev/hda

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:

Koodilistaus 3.9: 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".

Koodilistaus 3.10: 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:

Koodilistaus 3.11: Changing user id

# su - john

Optional: Viewing Documentation while Installing

If you want to view the Gentoo Handbook (either from-CD or online) 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 and log in.

If you want to view the documentation on the CD you can immediately run lynx to read it:

Koodilistaus 3.12: Viewing the on-CD documentation

# lynx /mnt/cdrom/docs/handbook/html/index.html

However, it is preferred that you use the online Gentoo Handbook as it will be more recent than the one provided on the CD. You can view it using lynx as well, but only after having completed the Configuring your Network chapter (otherwise you won't be able to go on the Internet to view the document):

Koodilistaus 3.13: Viewing the Online Documentation

# lynx

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:

Koodilistaus 3.14: Starting the SSH daemon

# /etc/init.d/sshd start

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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Tämä sivu on viimeksi päivitetty 1. elokuuta 2005

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Tiivistelmä: You can install Gentoo in many ways. This chapter explains how to install Gentoo using the minimal LiveCD although installation through the Universal LiveCD is possible as well.

Sven Vermeulen

Daniel Robbins

Chris Houser

Jerry Alexandratos

Seemant Kulleen
Gentoon x86-kehittäjä

Tavis Ormandy
Gentoon alpha-kehittäjä

Brad House
Gentoon AMD64-kehittäjä

Guy Martin
Gentoon HPPA-kehittäjä

Pieter Van den Abeele
Gentoon PPC-kehittäjä

Joe Kallar
Gentoon SPARC-kehittäjä

John P. Davis

Pierre-Henri Jondot

Eric Stockbridge

Rajiv Manglani

Jungmin Seo

Stoyan Zhekov

Jared Hudson

Colin Morey

Jorge Paulo

Carl Anderson

Jon Portnoy

Zack Gilburd

Jack Morgan

Benny Chuang


Joshua Kinard

Grant Goodyear

Gerald J. Normandin Jr.

Donnie Berkholz

Ken Nowack

Lars Weiler

Flammie Pirinen
Vastuullinen kääntäjä

Jouni Hätinen
Käännöksen laatutarkistaja

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