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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

A list of supported hardware can be found on the PA Team website. You may find additional information about your box in the Parisc-Linux Hardware Database and the processor list on

If you don't know which version of PA-RISC your box is using, please check the links above to find out whether you're using version 1.1 or 2.0. You will need this information later on.

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.

2.c. Download, Burn and Boot the Gentoo Universal Installation CD

Downloading and Burning the Installation CD

You can download the Universal Installation CD from one of our mirrors. The Installation CD is located in the releases/hppa/2006.0/installcd directory.

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)
  • 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:

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 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

Note: If you have problems booting the Installation CD or any other media, please read the PA-RISC Linux Boot HOWTO.

Boot your HPPA system. During the boot process, you will see a message similar to the following:

Code Listing 3.3: HPPA boot message

Searching for Potential Boot Devices.
To terminate search, press and hold the ESCAPE key.

When this message appears, press and hold the Esc-key until an option menu appears. This can take a while, be patient. By default, you should enter the BOOT_ADMIN console. If you receive an option menu, choose Enter Boot Administration mode to enter the BOOT_ADMIN console. You should now have an '>' prompt.

Put the Gentoo Installation CD in the CD-ROM. If you do not know the SCSI ID of your CD-ROM drive, your PA-RISC station will search for it when you issue the search command.

Code Listing 3.4: Searching for SCSI ID

> search
Searching for Devices with Bootable Media.
To terminate search, please press and hold the ESCAPE key.

Your PA-RISC station will now display all the available boot media. This is an example result of this command:

Code Listing 3.5: Available boot media

Device Selection      Device Path             Device Type and Utilities

P0                    scsi.5.0                TOSHIBA CD-ROM XM-3301TA
P1                    scsi.2.0                COMPAQ ST32550N
P2                    lan.0010a7-06d1b6.3.6   server

To boot from a CD-ROM you need the accompanying Device Path. For instance, if we want to boot from the TOSHIBA CD-ROM in the above example, we would need to type the following command:

Code Listing 3.6: Booting from a CD-ROM

> boot scsi.5.0 ipl

Trying scsi.5.0

The ipl keyword (Initial Program Loader) tells palo (the PA-RISC boot LOader) to enter interactive mode. This will allow you to change, for example, the kernel boot parameters.

When the boot is successful, palo will start in interactive mode:

Code Listing 3.7: PALO Interactive Mode

Boot path initialized.
Attempting to load IPL.

HARD Booted.
palo ipl 1.5 root@hope Sat Apr 23 18:06:47 CEST 2005

Boot image contains:
    0/vmlinux32 6241293 bytes @ 0x3904000
    0/vmlinux64 8352719 bytes @ 0x3ef8000
    0/ramdisk 1007589 bytes @ 0x105800

Information: No console specified on kernel command line. This is normal.
PALO will choose the console currently used by firmware (serial).Current command line:
0/vmlinux initrd=initrd TERM=linux root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc cdroot looptype=squashfs loop=/livecd.squashfs hda=scsi console=ttyS0
 0: 0/vmlinux
 1: initrd=initrd
 2: TERM=linux
 3: root=/dev/ram0
 4: init=/linuxrc
 5: cdroot
 6: looptype=squashfs
 7: loop=/livecd.squashfs
 8: hda=scsi
 9: console=ttyS0

<#>    edit the numbered field
'b'    boot with this command line
'r'    restore command line
'l'    list dir

These parameters are suitable for most situations.

If you need extra features you must add the appropriate keyword(s) to the end of the command line. To add a keyword, edit the last field, add a space and type your keyword. The only implemented keywords as of now are cdcache which tells the Installation CD to load itself into RAM, allowing you to unmount the CD, and noload=module1[,module2[,...]] which allows you to explicitly disable loading of particular modules.

Code Listing 3.8: Adding hdb=scsi as boot option

(or 'b' to boot with this command line)? 9
console=ttyS0 hdb=scsi

Now that you have tweaked your kernel boot params, boot it.

Code Listing 3.9: Booting the kernel

(or 'b' to boot with this command line)? b

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

Most hppa machines have an onboard ethernet card. Old ones use the lasi driver which is compiled in the kernel. Newer ones need the tulip driver which is compiled as a module. To use the latter, you need to load its driver.

In the next example, we try to load the tulip module (support for certain kinds of network interfaces):

Code Listing 3.10: Loading kernel modules

# modprobe tulip

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 3.11: 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 3.12: 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 3.13: 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 to read it:

Code Listing 3.14: Viewing the on-CD documentation

# links /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 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 document):

Code Listing 3.15: 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 3.16: 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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Page updated August 9, 2006

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

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