Martin Klier


My first steps with Gentoo – Part I


saw some friends of mine using Gentoo for useful purposes (only had experience with Gentoo users asking useless questions and/or causing deeply clueless arguments about the use of a portage based OS so far), I needed to check it myself.

First thing, loaded a minimalistic Gentoo 2007.0 .iso file onto my VMware server, and created a VM with 512MB of RAM and 8GB of harddisk. Booted the image, had to choose a keyboard language (German = 10, but if you type “1” you cannot get back to change it, since Backspace is ignored) and saw a beautiful root-prompt. But the NIC has no IP address, but the resolv.conf had the fottprint of my DHCP system. Big questionmark. Shutting and starting the interface solved that. Strange.

No installer nowhere, and a user without a clue of this Distro. 🙂 But, careful reading of the MOTD provided a link to the manual, and a concole browser (links) is also available. Gpm makes it lovely to klick-too-fast in the browser.

Next step, partitioning and formatting, the manual describes neatly the bonus and malus of the file systems, but I confess, I did not read them, since I will use ext2 for /boot and ext3 for / as long as there is no better FS. 😉 Mounting future / to /mnt/gentoo, and future /boot to /mnt/gentoo/boot – looks like chroot will become involved soon.

The manual led me to the mirror list for the now-needed stage download. Knowing that the rising number of stage level decreases frustration (especially in VM) was one thing I have been told before. I fetched the recent stage3 tarball and pushed it to /mnt/gentoo. I’d have prefered to fetch it with wget, but I saw no chance to copy and paste the link out of links – but in VMware server console it did not work properly. I did not fight, just want to see Gentoo in action soon! So links simply had to save it correctly.

Now the portage installation: Same procedure with links, saving it. Untarring it. Let me tell you, my VMserver machine (AMD64 3000+@1,8GHz) is way to slow and has way too less CPUs for that kind of hobby. 😉 Even my old AMD XP 1800+ workstation has trouble to display the output in time. Maybe I spent too much time messing up Opteron SMP servers in the last years. Pooh, ready.

Now I am told to edit etc/make.conf. All values are looking useful, but CHOST=i486-Pc-Linux-Gnu does not look like Pentium and above. Mh. Eeeks, it seems that stage3 fixes me at i486 compatibility. Happy new year. Okay, did not see i686 stage3 stuff, selected basic x86 package. my fault, so let’s change that using “rm -rf” and repeat from above with stage3-i686-2007.0.tar.bz2. Do I hear ANY KIND of laughter out there? Finally okay, I’m on i686 setup now. Changed CFLAGS “-march”-Parameter to “athlon64”, by the way. But anyway, strange software: Since I am absolutely sure to have fetched i686 stage3, there’s stimm “i486” in make.conf. Just changed it this time, no risk no fun.

Changeroot! Updating library cache, sourcing profile, changing prompt (useful!), feeling my Gentoo for the first time. Still a bit afraid of the architecture hack, but we will see.

Configuring portage emerge –sync runs fast enough without –quiet option in VM server console. I need to see what’s going on. Uh, much. Portage was taken from today, so cache sync takes about 5 minutes. Mh, seems there’s a new portage available, so “emerge portage” is recommended. I’ll do that. Wah, a typo in make.conf (athlon-64 vs. athlon64). Configure at work now, guess it will take ages…

Mh, this post has been growing huge – I will continue in a second part, maybe tomorrow. Have a good time!


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