Gentoo Linux Handbook

Peter Kitson

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Sample Chapter From Gentoo Linux Handbook
     Copyright © Gentoo Doc Team

1. About the Gentoo Linux Installation

1.a. Introduction


First of all, welcome to Gentoo. You are about to enter the world of choices and performance. Gentoo is all about choices. When installing Gentoo, this is made clear to you several times -- you can choose how much you want to compile yourself, how to install Gentoo, what system logger you want, etc.

Gentoo is a fast, modern metadistribution with a clean and flexible design. Gentoo is built around free software and doesn\'t hide from its users what is beneath the hood. Portage, the package maintenance system which Gentoo uses, is written in Python, meaning you can easily view and modify the source code. Gentoo\'s packaging system uses source code (although support for precompiled packages is included too) and configuring Gentoo happens through regular textfiles. In other words, openness everywhere.

It is very important that you understand that choices are what makes Gentoo run. We try not to force you onto anything you don\'t like. If you feel like we do, please bugreport it.

How is the Installation Structured?

The Gentoo Installation can be seen as a 10-step procedure, corresponding to chapters 2 - 11. Every step results in a certain state:

* After step 1, you are in a working environment ready to install Gentoo
* After step 2, your internet connection is ready to install Gentoo
* After step 3, your hard disks are initialized to house your Gentoo installation
* After step 4, your installation environment is prepared and you are ready to chroot into the new environment
* After step 5, core packages, which are the same on all Gentoo installations, are installed
* After step 6, you have compiled your Linux kernel
* After step 7, you have written most of your Gentoo system configuration files
* After step 8, necessary system tools (which you can choose from a nice list) are installed
* After step 9, your choice of bootloader has been installed and configured and you are logged in into your new Gentoo installation
* After step 10, your Gentoo Linux environment is ready to be explored

When you are given a certain choice, we try our best to explain what the pros and cons are. We will continue then with a default choice, identified by \'Default: \' in the title. The other possibilities are marked by \'Alternative: \'. Do not think that the default is what we recommend. It is however what we believe most users will use.

Sometimes you can pursue an optional step. Such steps are marked as \'Optional: \' and are therefore not needed to install Gentoo. However, some optional steps are dependant on a previous decision you made. We will inform you when this happens, both when you make the decision, and right before the optional step is described.

What are my Options?

You can install Gentoo in many different ways. You can download and install from one of our Installation CDs, from an existing distribution, from a bootable CD (such as Knoppix), from a netbooted environment, from a rescue floppy, etc.

This document covers the installation using a Gentoo Installation CD or, in certain cases, NetBooting. This installation assumes that you want to install the latest available version of each package. If you want to perform a networkless installation, you should read the Gentoo 2006.0 Handbooks which contain the installation instructions for a networkless environment.

Also note that, if you plan on using GRP (the Gentoo Reference Platform, a collection of prebuilt packages meant for immediate use after a Gentoo installation), you must follow the instructions in the Gentoo 2006.0 Handbooks.

For help on the other installation approaches, please read our Alternative Installation Guide. We also provide a Gentoo Installation Tips & Tricks document that might be useful to read as well. If you feel that the current installation instructions are too elaborate, feel free to use our Quick Installation Guide available from our Documentation Resources if your architecture has such a document available.

You also have several possibilities: you can compile your entire system from scratch or use a prebuilt environment to have your Gentoo environment up and running in no time. And of course you have intermediate solutions in which you don\'t compile everything but start from a semi-ready system.