Installing Gentoo

Date: 2014-03-05

I’ve been using Gentoo Linux for a few years and have followed these notes a few times on different computers.

Prepare the Disk

Partition Disk

Start fdisk to work on /dev/sda

fdisk /dev/sda

Create boot partition by following:

new -> primary -> 1st partition
  -> start at default ->  end 256 MB later
  -> p -> 1 -> -> +256M

make it bootable

a -> 1

Create swap partition

n -> p -> 2 -> -> +512M

Set its type to “Linux Swap”

t -> 2 -> 82

Create root parition taking up the rest n -> p -> 3 -> ->

finally, write w

Format the Partitions

Boot partition as ext3

mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1

Create and activate swap

mkswap /dev/sda2
swapon /dev/sda2

Make sda3 an ext4 filesystem

mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda3

Mount the Partitions

mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/gentoo
mkdir /mnt/gentoo/boot
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/gentoo/boot

Get Gentoo System

Boot up links and go to, choose a mirror, and get stage3 tarball at releases/x86/2007.0/stages/ press d to download

Do a checksum:

# NOTE: You'll probably want to use `sha512sum` instead.
#   Just `cat` the DIGESTS file to see what kind(s) of hashes it has.
md5sum -c stage3-i686-2007.0.tar.bz2.DIGESTS

Untar the tarball:

tar xvjpf stage3-*.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/gentoo

The options mean:

x - extract, v - verbose,
j - decompress with bzip2, p - preserve permissions,
f - extract a file

Sometimes you want to leave the verbose part out when using a slow terminal

Do the same with Portage from


but untar with the command

tar xvjf portage-latest.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/gentoo/usr

Choose mirrors:

mirrorselect -i -o >> /mnt/gentoo/etc/portage/make.conf
mirrorselect -i -r -o >> /mnt/gentoo/etc/portage/make.conf

Copy DNS Info

cp -p mode -L /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc/

(the -L option ensures no symbolic link, and -p mode ensures that the file remains readable for normal users)

Mount /proc and /dev

mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc
mount -o bind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev

Configure the System

Chroot into Gentoo

change root from / to /mnt/gentoo

chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash

create new environment (variables)


load environment variables

source /etc/profile
export PS1="(chroot) $PS1"

Update Portage Tree

to the latest version

emerge --sync

for slow console…

emerge --sync --quiet

Kernel Setup

get kernel

emerge -q gentoo-sources

and make it (with -s for silent)

cd /usr/src/linux
make menuconfig
make -s && make -s modules_install

copy kernel image to /boot

cp arch/x86_64/boot/bzImage /boot/kernel-3.13.5

Use whatever kernel version is appropriate in the name.

Specify Modules to Autoload

List modules for autoloading in /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6 to view all available:

find /lib/modules/<kernel version>/ \
  -type f -iname '*.o' -or -iname '*.ko'

Create fstab

Syntax: <partition> <mount point> <filesystem> <mount options> <needs dump> <fsk>

This example’s options:

/dev/sda1    /boot       ext3 defaults,noatime 1 2
/dev/sda2    none        swap sw 0 0
/dev/sda3    /           ext4 noatime 0 1
/dev/cdrom   /mnt/cdrom  auto noauto,usr 0 0

Configure the Network

Name your computer by putting the following line in /etc/conf.d/hostname.


Define hosts that aren’t resolved by the nameserver by editing /etc/hosts.       localhost       bat-masterson
::1             localhost

Get PCMCIA working

emerge pcmciautils

Set root password


System Information


Install Other Stuff

System Logger

emerge syslog-ng
rc-update add syslog-ng default

Cron Daemon

Among others, you can use dcron, fcron, or vixie-cron for this, but I chose vixie-cron.

emerge vixie-cron
rc-update add vixie-cron default

if dcron or fcron, also do

crontab /etc/crontab

File Indexing

for the locate tool

emerge mlocate

File System Tools

possi-ex: xfsprogs, jfsutils

emerge xfsprogs

DHCP Client

emerge dhcpcd


find info in /usr/src/linux/Documentation/fb/vesafb.txt

emerge vesafb-tng

GRUB Setup

First install Grub.

emerge grub

Set up grub through grub-install first setup /etc/mtab

grep -v rootfs /proc/mounts > /etc/mtab

With /boot still mounted, install Grub.

grub-install /dev/sda
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

This second command should be rerun any time you install a new kernel. It reads some settings from /etc/default/grub.

Finalize the Install

Reboot into new System

tidy up a little first

umount /mnt/gentoo/boot /mnt/gentoo/dev /mnt/gentoo/proc /mnt/gentoo

Add User

useradd -m grencez


Describe the USE flags for a specific package.

equery --nocolor uses =sys-devel/llvm-3.3-r1 -a