Gentoo Installation

Posted by zbrom on August 10, 2013 · 10 mins read

The ghorr staff completed a successful Gentoo installation on 10 August 2013 utilizing the following guide. For further reference, check out the official Gentoo documentation.

Gentoo Installation

Prior to installation

Go to and download the latest install-amd64-minimal iso

Prepare a bootable drive for the ISO (use dd command, UNetbootin, or drivedroid for Android)

Boot the device

Select your keyboard layout (41 for US)

Beginning the installation

Check for a working network connection (e.g. ping

If you have no working network connection, try using the net-setup command to start the desired network interface

net-setup eth0

Disk partitioning

Determine your desired installation device using the fdisk command (e.g. /dev/sda)

fdisk -l

You may use cfdisk or fdisk to partition your drives; whatever your are more comfortable with is applicable. I chose to partition using cfdisk.

cfdisk /dev/sda

Create the desired number of partitions for your drive. If you wish to do encryption, ensure you have a separate boot and root partition.

Create filesystems for all of the partitions you just created. e.g.

mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1

If you feel you need a swap, ensure you added a swap partition using cfdisk. After adding the swap partition, use the mkswap command to properly initialize the swap. e.g.

mkswap /dev/sda2

Start the swap

swapon /dev/sda2

Now we must begin mounting our partitions for the installation (first mount your root partition; then mount any other partitions you may have created).

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/gentoo

Ensure it has a proper filesystem structrure; you should see a lost+found folder

ls /mnt/gentoo

If needed create directories for any additional partitions to be mounted using the mkdir command; then mount those partitions using the mount command as previously mentioned.

Configure Date / Download tarball

Before we start the installation, ensure the system date is set properly using the date command. UTC time is desired.


If the date were not correct, you can issue the following command to set it to a given time and date (e.g. 10 August 2013 at 21:00 would be entered as below).

date 81721002013

Change directory to the root partition that you just mounted

cd /mnt/gentoo

We will be using the Links CLI browser to download the stage 3 tarball


Select a nearby mirror (e.g. Argonne National Laboratory). Click the mirror → Click releases → Click amd64 → Click current-stage3 → Click default → Click the most current date → Select the latest stage3-amd64 tar.bz2 file to download

Exit Links with q

Extract / Configure Flags

Extract the downloaded package to your root partition (e.g. /mnt/gentoo)

tar -xjpf stage3-amd64*

Now we need to install the portage package manager


Select a nearby mirror (e.g. Argonne National Laboratory). Click the mirror → Click snapshots → Click amd64 → Scroll down and select the file portage-latest.tar.bz2 to download

Extract the downloaded package to your root partition (e.g. /mnt/gentoo), and copy it to the usr/ directory

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

Once portage is done unpacking, the next step is to set the gcc compiler flags

nano /etc/portage/make.conf

Visit the gentoo gcc optimization guide for more information. In this example we will use the -march=native option for CFLAGS

CFLAGS="-march=native -02 -pipe"

Set MAKEOPTS to one more that the number of processing cores you have (e.g. for a dual core processor)



It is almost time to chroot into the new gentoo environment, but we first need to copy the DNS information over.

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

Now we need to mount some of the necessary filesystems

mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc

mount -rbind /sys /mnt/gentoo/sys

mount -rbind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev

Now we can chroot into the new environment

chroot . /bin/bash

Run the following command:


Run the following command:

source /etc/profile

Update the PS1 so you can identify that you are in the chrooted environment

export PS1=“(chroot) $PS1”

Update the portage tree using the following command

emerge --sync

Profile / Timezone

Select the profile; the building block for a gentoo system. It has values for the USE and CFLAGS variables. You will use the following command to view all the available profiles.

eselect profile list

Pick your desired environment (e.g. gnome users would select 4)

eselect profile set 4

Make sure the desired profile was properly set

eselect profile list

Now lets set the USE variable in the make.conf file

nano /etc/portage/make.conf

For a gnome setup, set the USE variable as follows (for a full listing of the available USE flags please see the gentoo handbook here.

USE=“$USE alsa dvd gnome gtk pulseaudio -kde”

Now we will set the timezone; determine your desired timezone

ls /usr/share/zoneinfo

Copy the desired timezone file (e.g. US Central) to /etc/localtime

cp /usr/share/zoneinfo/US/Central /etc/localtime

Echo whatever file you selected into the /etc/timezone file

echo “US/Central” > /etc/timezone


Now we need to download the kernel source code

emerge gentoo-sources

Next you have a couple of options to choose from, one is configuring the kernel manually, another option which is much easier and simpler is to simply emerge genkernel. I will be utilizing the later option due to time constraints.

emerge genkernel

Once genkernel is done installing, run the following command to compile the sources for your system.

genkernel all

The generated files will be in /boot after genkernel finishes compiling. You will have a kernel file and an initrd

ls /boot/kernel*

ls /boot/initramfs*

Now we need to configure the kernel modules. For this we will use the find command. This command will need to be changed corresponding to the version of gentoo downloaded.

find /lib/modules/3.5.7-gentoo/ -type f -iname '*.o' -or -iname '*.ko' | less

Keep note of the ones you will need for the next step 😀

Edit the following file nano /etc/conf.d/modules

Uncomment the line modules, and replace ohci1394 with whatever kernel modules you will need (e.g. iwlwifi).

The kernel is now configured!


Create your fstab

nano -w /etc/fstab

Add all of the partitions you created during partitioning to the fstab (e.g. the root partition sould look like this).

/dev/sda1 / ext4 noatime 0 1


Add a hostname for your network. e.g.

nano /etc/conf.d/hostname


We also need to edit the host file

nano /etc/hosts

On the line containing your local loopback, put the hostname you just set before localhost. e.g. ghorr localhost

Edit the net file

nano /etc/conf.d/net

You need to enter the following


In order to activate the network at boot, we will need to create an init script for it.

Change directory to the following:

cd /etc/init.d

Create the following sym link for eth0

ln -s net.lo net.eth0

The sym link has now been created; next we must add it to the default run level

rc-update add net.eth0 default

In order for gentoo to automatically obtain an IP address, we need to install dhcpcd

emerge dhcpcd

Root Password / locale

Set the root password; issue the following command, then enter your desired password.


Modify the hwclock file to how your hardware clock is set. Leave it as is for UTC.

nano -w /etc/conf.d/hwclock

Modify the local.gen file for the languages you will be using (e.g. uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8)

Set the default language

nano -w /etc/env.d/02locale

Enter the following e.g.



Generate your locales that were selected


Now do an environment update

env-update && source /etc/profile

Reset your chroot indicator

export PS1=“(chroot) $PS1”


Configure your grub bootloader

emerge grub

Now we have to configure the grub menu entries

nano -w /boot/grub/grub.conf

We need to know the location of the kernel file and the initramfs file

ls /boot/*genkernel-x86* >> /boot/grub/grub.conf

nano -w /boot/grub/grub.conf

Configure the grub entry for your particular drive, feel free to include a rescue kernel if desired. Here is an example:

title Gentoo Linux
root (0,1)
kernel /boot/kernel-genkernel-x86_64-3.5.7-gentoo root=/dev/sda1
initrd /boot/kernel-initramfs-x86_64-3.5.7-gentoo

title Gentoo Linux (rescue)
root (0,1)
kernel /boot/kernel-genkernel-x86_64-3.5.7-gentoo root=/dev/sda1 init=/bin/bb
initrd /boot/kernel-initramfs-x86_64-3.5.7-gentoo

*During our Gentoo install, we had some minor issues during the grub installation. Please ensure that the lines shown above are uncommented (during our installation, we initially neglected to uncomment title).

Install grub to your MBR

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

grub-install --nofloppy /dev/sda

Exit the chroot environment, unmount your partitions, and reboot


unmount -l /mnt/gentoo/dev{/shm,/pts,}

unmount -l /mnt/gentoo/proc


Hopefully your new Gentoo installation properly boots! Enjoy!

Feel free to create additional users, install a GUI, and remove the package files used during installation.