Installing Gentoo 1.4

It builds, and builds, and builds....

Gentoo Linux Yesterday I bite the bullet and decided to get Gentoo Linux to install. Instead of powering down the server and install Gentoo there, I found a spare 30Gb Maxtor (don't you all have something like this lying around the house?) and borrowed an old 333Mhz Pentium II from work. My plan is to use the old box to build, install and configure Gentoo on it, and then just bootstrap my own server box with this HDD to minimise the down time. Pentium II Deschutes is very similar to the dual Celeron Mandocino I got so they can easily share the same optimisation flags.

First of all, I found the installation instruction quite thorough. Basically I just stepped through the exact instruction detailed on the manual, and everything just worked fine. The problem is, the installation box is headless, and I was just too lazy to find a monitor for it. With Gentoo's Live CD this problem can be easily overcame. This is what I did...

  • Pop in the "Live CD #1" into the CD-ROM drive and power on the box.
  • Keep on pressing [Enter] after the BIOS beep until the CD-ROM drive starts generating that spinning sound. Gentoo Linux is booting off lilo now.
  • Wait until the CD-ROM drive quiets down, there's probably a root prompt on the console waiting for input. Now type in (you do have a keyboard handy, right?) "passwd[Enter]", and then your root password twice.
  • You need to start the SSH Daemon by typing in "/etc/init.d/sshd start[Enter]"
  • On another box I can now "ssh root@ip_address" to continue the installation procedure.

Well. It would only work if:

  • The installation box is configured to boot from optical drive.
  • There is a DHCP server running on the network.

And I checked the DHCP log to figure out the new IP address...

Anyway. After I logged in as root, I basically followed the instruction to perform partitioning, formatting, dumping the stage files, etc. I then perform a "emerge sync" as my portage tree is about 3 months out of date. Everything is smooth so far. So it is time to "make world"?! Well, it is "emerge --update system" on Gentoo, where it figures out all the packages that are not up to date, download and rebuild them for me. That is the coolest part of Gentoo as the rebuild can be configured to my requirement - usually I don't need X or gpm to my headless server so I added USE="-gpm -X" to my "/etc/make.conf". Support for these will then not be built. Nice. Don't you just hate it when installing a tiny application via RPM to use its command-line interface will require you to download and install 2 zillion other packages?

So here we go.

  # emerge --update system

And it just builds and builds and ...

Pentium II 333Mhz might be a blazing fast machine 5 years ago, but it crawls when I tried to get it to build things. I started the build 7 o'clock in the morning, and now it is 5 in the afternoon. I ssh'ed back home to monitor the build process, and it is still going... Slowly...


There's only the bare-bone system packages (gcc, glibc, binutil, etc) that it needs to build, and I am not sure when is it going to finish. There are still lots of other packages I would like to install. I think this box will be building them continuously for the next week.

And that's my first day with Gentoo.