I am installing Gentoo again on a spare partition. This will be fun.

I am installing Gentoo again. I have decided to try out this source based Linux distribution one more time and see whether I can use this distribution on my computer again. I erased the contents of a spare bootable partition and I unpacked the Stage3 tarball into it and then I unpacked the Portage tarball under the /usr/portage directory. Once that was done I could chroot into the partition and then run the ¬†emerge –sync¬†command to update the Gentoo installation. The Gentoo Linux distribution is based on the installation of source packages and compiling the software to suit your particular system. The installation of such packages as Chromium and LibreOffice can take a very long time; but the freedom to configure your Linux system to suit your needs whether you want to play games or do office work; Gentoo can do it. You only need to put in quite a bit of effort to get the initial system installed.

There is a Live DVD available that allows the installation of a Gentoo system if you do not already have a Linux system installed to chroot from. Get it here: http://gentoo.osuosl.org//releases/amd64/12.1/. And the minimal installation ISO is available here: http://distfiles.gentoo.org/releases/amd64/autobuilds/current-iso/. If you do not want to use this; you may use a Live Ubuntu or Linux Mint DVD and chroot into a partition with that to setup your Gentoo system.

I used the string below to install an Xfce4 system. This is the way to temporarily set USE flags before setting them in stone in the /etc/make.conf file.

USE="-gnome -kde -qt3 -qt4 X cairo truetype" emerge xfce4-meta

After that; I had to get the kernel sources installed and ready to build the source code with genkernel.

(chroot) [email protected] ~$ emerge gentoo-sources

And I had to install the genkernel package to build a kernel for my Gentoo system.

(chroot) [email protected] ~$ emerge genkernel

And then I am ready to execute the genkernel all command to build the kernel source package. This is the complete output of that command.

(chroot) [email protected] ~$ genkernel all
* Gentoo Linux Genkernel; Version 3.4.45
* Running with options: all

* Using genkernel.conf from /etc/genkernel.conf
* Sourcing arch-specific config.sh from /usr/share/genkernel/arch/x86_64/config.sh ..
* Sourcing arch-specific modules_load from /usr/share/genkernel/arch/x86_64/modules_load ..

* Linux Kernel 3.6.11-gentoo for x86_64...
* .. with config file /usr/share/genkernel/arch/x86_64/kernel-config
mount: special device /dev/BOOT does not exist
* WARNING: Failed to mount /boot!

* kernel: Using config from /usr/share/genkernel/arch/x86_64/kernel-config
* kernel: >> Running mrproper...
*         >> Running oldconfig...
* kernel: >> Cleaning...
*         >> Compiling 3.6.11-gentoo bzImage...
*         >> Not installing firmware as it's included in the kernel already (CONFIG_FIRMWARE_IN_KERNEL=y)...
*         >> Compiling 3.6.11-gentoo modules...
*         >> Generating module dependency data...
* Copying config for successful build to /etc/kernels/kernel-config-x86_64-3.6.11-gentoo
* busybox: >> Applying patches...
*           - 1.18.1-openvt.diff
*           - busybox-1.20.1-mdstart.patch
*           - busybox-1.20.2-glibc-sys-resource.patch
*           - busybox-1.7.4-signal-hack.patch
* busybox: >> Configuring...
* busybox: >> Compiling...
* busybox: >> Copying to cache...
* initramfs: >> Initializing...
*         >> Appending base_layout cpio data...
*         >> Appending auxilary cpio data...
*         >> Copying keymaps
*         >> Appending busybox cpio data...
*         >> Appending modules cpio data...
*         >> Appending blkid cpio data...
*         >> Appending modprobed cpio data...
*         >> Compressing cpio data (.xz)...
* Kernel compiled successfully!
* Required Kernel Parameters:
*     root=/dev/$ROOT
*     Where $ROOT is the device node for your root partition as the
*     one specified in /etc/fstab
* If you require Genkernel's hardware detection features; you MUST
* tell your bootloader to use the provided INITRAMFS file.

* Additional kernel cmdline arguments that *may* be required to boot properly...
* With support for several ext* filesystems available, it may be needed to
* add "rootfstype=ext3" or "rootfstype=ext4" to the list of boot parameters.

* Do NOT report kernel bugs as genkernel bugs unless your bug
* is about the default genkernel configuration...
* Make sure you have the latest ~arch genkernel before reporting bugs.
(chroot) [email protected] ~$

The ATI hardware I have should be just fine with Gentoo; there is an ATI drivers ebuild that offers pre-compiled drivers for this hardware. And my kernel was successfully built! The error regarding mounting /boot was due to the fact that I am running in a chroot; the installation of the kernel was not affected.

(chroot) [email protected] ~$ ls -hula
total 8.3M
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4.0K Jan  2 07:28 .
drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4.0K Jan  2 06:51 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 3.2M Jan  2 07:21 initramfs-genkernel-x86_64-3.6.11-gentoo
-rw-r--r--  1 root root    0 Jan  1  1970 .keep
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 3.3M Jan  2 07:11 kernel-genkernel-x86_64-3.6.11-gentoo
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 1.9M Jan  2 07:11 System.map-genkernel-x86_64-3.6.11-gentoo
(chroot) [email protected] ~$

And I had to install a usable terminal emulator application. Xterm fits the bill nicely.

(chroot) [email protected] ~$ USE="-gnome -kde -qt3 -qt4 X cairo truetype" emerge xterm

Here is another terminal emulator with more features that you may install.

(chroot) [email protected] ~$ USE="-gnome -kde -qt3 -qt4 X cairo truetype" emerge rxvt-unicode

I am not installing GNU GRUB as I already have it installed with Linux Mint 14 and I can just use that to boot Gentoo. Stay tuned for part 2 of this saga when I add the Gentoo system to my existing GRUB installation and boot the system for the first time.

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