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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 OpenFirmware 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
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 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
OpenOffice.org, 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 CDs are located
in the releases/ppc/2006.0/ppc32/installcd directory;
the Package CDs are located in the
Inside those directories you'll find 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).
Verifying MD5 checksums with Mac OS X is described in the Gentoo PPC FAQ.
You can verify the cryptographic signature that we provide. You need to
obtain the public key we use (0x17072058) 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 subkeys.pgp.net --recv-keys 0x17072058
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
With K3B, select Tools > CD > Burn Image. Then
you can locate your ISO file within the 'Image to Burn' area. Finally click
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.
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
OpenFirmware framebuffer instead of the device specific driver.
Koodilistaus 3.3: Force the use of the OpenFirmware framebuffer
boot: ppc32 video=ofonly
If you don't need to add any options, just hit enter 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
Koodilistaus 3.4: 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. On NewWorld machines or the
Pegasos do not use the keymaps in ppc or mac as they
are for ADB-based OldWorld machines.
Koodilistaus 3.5: Listing available keymaps
# ls /usr/share/keymaps/i386
Now load the keymap of your choice:
Koodilistaus 3.6: 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
In the next example we try to load the airport module. This module
supports only the old Airport cards (802.11b). Airport Extreme (802.11g) is not
supported on the InstallCD due to restrictions on firmware distribution.
Koodilistaus 3.7: Loading the airport module
# modprobe airport
On older iMacs, sometimes the network card is not detected properly. These use
the BMAC driver:
Koodilistaus 3.8: Loading the bmac module
# modprobe bmac
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 3.9: 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
Koodilistaus 3.10: Tweaking hard disk performance
# hdparm -d 1 /dev/hda
# 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 3.11: 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".
Koodilistaus 3.12: 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
Koodilistaus 3.13: 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
links or even links -g for a graphical framebuffer browser to
Koodilistaus 3.14: Viewing the on-CD documentation
# links /mnt/cdrom/docs/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 links
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
Koodilistaus 3.15: 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:
Koodilistaus 3.16: 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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