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Gentoo Install

This installaion doc is / includes:

This doc covers three main disk formatting / partitioning options:

NOTE - All disk device names and IP addresses will probably be different on your system. Make sure to check and adjust these for your specific system. Also, the same is true for locale and timezone info.

Install Media and Getting Started

Download the installation media: https://www.gentoo.org/downloads/

The exact links will change as the version numbers change. You will want to select one of these:

The Minimal Install CD works great but the LiveGUI USB Image will make copying and pasting easier.

PRO TIP - For easier copy and pasting. If you have a second system to work from, you can actually enable SSHD and SSH the host, while booting from the install media. This also works with the Minima Installation CD. This is great for situations where you don’t want to run the install directly from the host you are installing it on. This will allow you to easily copy and paste commands.

After booting from the install media:

rc-service sshd start    # start SSHD
ip a                     # check the IP
passwd                   # make sure the root password is set
ssh root@   # connect ( do this from the other host )

Disk Partitioning and Filesystems

Check whether your system uses BIOS or UEFI:

[ -d /sys/firmware/efi ] && echo UEFI || echo BIOS


NOTE - EFI partition could be mounted on either /boot/efi or /efi. We are going with /efi. This seems to be the “default” choice in the docs. There are some advantages to using /boot/efi and I may update these instructions to use that in stead in the future. There are potential issues that could pop up and we show you a work around for this further on in the instructions.

Gdisk Type Partition Mount Size FS
EF00 EFI /efi 128MB FAT32
8200 swap ….. 1024MB or more …..
  root / remaining space XFS

Partition disk:

gdisk /dev/sda

With these options:

o, y                                   # new disklabel
n,1,[default],+128M,EF00               # EFI
n,2,[default],+1024MB,8200             # swap
n, 3, [default], [default], [default]  # root
w, y                                   # write

Format disks:

mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sda1
mkswap /dev/sda2 && swapon /dev/sda2
mkfs.xfs /dev/sda3

Mount disks:

mkdir -p /mnt/gentoo
mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/gentoo

mkdir /mnt/gentoo/efi              # EFI only
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/gentoo/efi    # EFI only


Gdisk Type Partition Mount Size FS
EF02 BIOS Boot ….. 2MB …..
8200 swap ….. 1024MB or more …..
  root / remaining space XFS

Partition disk:

gdisk /dev/sda

With these options:

o, y                                     # new disklabel
n,1,[default],+2M,EF02                   # BIOS Boot
n,2,[default],+1024MB,8200               # swap
n, 3, [default], [default], [default]    # root
w, y                                     # write

Format disks:

mkswap /dev/sda2 && swapon /dev/sda2
mkfs.xfs /dev/sda3

Mount disks:

mkdir -p /mnt/gentoo
mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/gentoo


Gdisk Type Partition Mount Size FS
8200 swap ….. 1024MB or more ….
  root / remaining space XFS

Partition disk:

fdisk /dev/sda

With these options:

o                                                   # new MBR disklabel
swap, n, p, default, default, +4G, t, default, 82   # swap
root /, n, p, default, default, default             # root

Format disks:

mkswap /dev/sda1 && swapon /dev/sda2
mkfs.xfs /dev/sda2

Mount disks:

mkdir -p /mnt/gentoo
mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/gentoo

Network - Temp Setup for Installation

The network is probably already working at this point but if it isn’t you can use the below steps.

Check interfaces:

ifconfig          # show interfaces
ifconfig -a      # show all interfaces ( even when down )
ip addr          # show interfaces ( newer tool )

Missing interfaced? - It may be possible to manually load network drivers.

Find,load, and verify network modules:

ls /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net  # show modules
modprobe pcnet32                               # insert modules
ls /sys/class/net                              # list interfaces
ifconfig eth0                                  # check interface

Configure interface with DHCP:

dhcpcd eth0            # receive DHCP info

Alternatively, use this tool to setup the network:

net-setup eth0

Another alternative for static IP bring the interface up manually. Bring the interface up with the desired IP info and add the default gateway.

ifconfig eth0 broadcast netmask up
route add default gw

Point to the DNS servers you want:

nano -w /etc/resolv.conf


Tarball and Mirrors

cd /mnt/gentoo

Find the most updated Stage3 tarball here: https://www.gentoo.org/downloads/

Download ( Note the path will be different / changed. Find the updated path at the link above. ):

wget https://distfiles.gentoo.org/releases/amd64/autobuilds/current-stage3-amd64-openrc/stage3-amd64-openrc-20231022T164658Z.tar.xz

## wget https://distfiles.gentoo.org/releases/amd64/autobuilds/20231029T164701Z/stage3-amd64-desktop-openrc-20231029T164701Z.tar.xz


tar xpvf stage3-*.tar.xz --xattrs-include='*.*' --numeric-owner

Find mirrors to use here ( or use the tool below ): https://www.gentoo.org/downloads/mirrors/

Nice tool for selecting mirrors. You probably won’t need to install it. It should already be installed. If it isn’t add the tool with this command before running it.

emerge app-portage/mirrorselect

Select the mirror:

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

Alternatively, mirrors can be configured directly here:


# mirrors selected in order

Create repo configs:

mkdir --parents /mnt/gentoo/etc/portage/repos.conf

cp /mnt/gentoo/usr/share/portage/config/repos.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc/portage/repos.conf/gentoo.conf

Copy the current DNS server setting before chrooting:

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

Mount Filesystems and Chroot

Mount filesystems and chroot:

cd /mnt/gentoo
mount --types proc /proc /mnt/gentoo/proc
mount --rbind /sys /mnt/gentoo/sys
mount --make-rslave /mnt/gentoo/sys
mount --rbind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev
mount --make-rslave /mnt/gentoo/dev
mount --bind /run /mnt/gentoo/run
mount --make-slave /mnt/gentoo/run
chroot . /bin/bash
source /etc/profile

For EFI, this partition should still be mounted but if it isn’t you need to make sure that it is re-mounted:

mkdir /efi
mount /dev/sda1 /efi

Check and set time if needed. Can leave this until later if the date/time are OK.

emerge net-misc/chrony
chronyd -q

Update and Portage Setup

Probably won’t need anything changed but here is an example:

nano /etc/portage/make.conf
MAKEOPTS="-j4 -l4"

-j   # jobs
-l    # load average

Default behavior is to set to smaller of these two values:

Install latest snapshot ( repo info ). This command works well behind firewalls and conserves bandwidth:


Show profiles:

eselect profile list

Select a profile. Use the same profile version as the stage tarball. Upgrading a profile version requires special instructions.

eselect profile set 2    # select the number you want

Emerge @world:

emerge -avuDN @world

Show current system wide variable:

portageq envvar ACCEPT_LICENSE

Overriding system wide default from profile:

nano /etc/portage/make.conf

Probably also want:

nano /etc/portage/make.conf

Users and Important Tools

Set root password:


Add a user:

useradd -g users -G wheel,portage,audio,video,usb,cdrom -m user1
passwd user1

Install VIM:

emerge -vq vim


NOTE - You can also identify disks by UUID instead of device name ( ex. sda1 ).

For EFI:

nano /etc/fstab
/dev/sda1   /efi        vfat    defaults              0 2
/dev/sda2   none         swap    sw                   0 0
/dev/sda3   /            xfs    defaults,noatime      0 1
/dev/cdrom  /mnt/cdrom   auto    noauto,user          0 0

For MBR:

nano /etc/fstab
/dev/sda1   none         swap    sw                   0 0
/dev/sda2   /            xfs    defaults,noatime      0 1
/dev/cdrom  /mnt/cdrom   auto    noauto,user          0 0

Locale, Timezone, etc

View supported locales:

cat /usr/share/i18n/SUPPORTED

Set locales:

nano /etc/locale.gen
en_US ISO-8859-1
en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8

Generate and verify locales:

locale-gen  # generate locales
locale -a     # verify

Select locale:

eselect locale list
eselect locale set 3      # choose en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8

OR manually select locale:

nano /etc/env.d/02locale


Reload env stuff:

env-update && source /etc/profile && export PS1="(chroot) ${PS1}"

ls -l /usr/share/zoneinfo/*/*

Set timezone:

echo "America/New_York" > /etc/timezone
emerge --config sys-libs/timezone-data


Install firmware for NICs, GPUs, and more. Also includes AMD microcode.

emerge --ask sys-kernel/linux-firmware

Install Intel microcode ( optional on AMD systems ).

emerge --ask sys-firmware/intel-microcode

Three main kernel approaches:

We are covering dist kernels here.

Distribution kernels ( dist kernels )

Setting this will run grub-mkconfig automatically:

nano /etc/portage/make.conf

Install kernel package:

emerge --ask sys-kernel/installkernel-gentoo

Install distribution kernel:

emerge --ask sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel

Install kernel sources:

emerge -av sys-kernel/gentoo-sources

Show and set which kernel sources are linked:

eselect kernel list
eselect kernel set 1  # only change if needed
ls -l /usr/src/linux


Install GRUB Package


echo 'GRUB_PLATFORMS="efi-64"' >> /etc/portage/make.conf
emerge --ask sys-boot/grub


echo 'GRUB_PLATFORMS="pc"' >> /etc/portage/make.conf
emerge --ask sys-boot/grub

Install GRUB to Disk


grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/efi

EFI - Alternative

Specifying “–removeable” will install the boot loader into the default location instead of a specific directory (/boot/efi/EFI/BOOT/BOOTX64.EFI). This is good for installing on removable media or systems with a broken/messed up UEFI. If you do this it won’t rely on the EFI variables stored in NVRAM/EEPROM. A potential side effect could be that it might not show as a boot option presented by the firmware.

If you mounted your EFI partition on /efi and not on /boot/efi then you will need to create the link below. If you mounted it on /boot/efi then you don’t need to create the link.

cd /boot
ln -s /efi efi
grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --removable


grub-install /dev/sda

GRUB Configs

Install OS Prober before generating GRUB configs if you want to detect other OSes:

emerge -a sys-boot/os-prober

I ran into an issue with config files not being overwritte while trying to intall the package. Without going into too much detail, you can fix it with this:

cd /etc/portage/package.use
diff ._cfg0000_zz-autounmask zz-autounmask
mv ._cfg0000_zz-autounmask zz-autounmask

Also, make sure that OS Prober is enabled:

nano /etc/default/grub

Generate GRUB configs:

grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg


Set hostname:

echo test1 > /etc/hostname

Hosts file;

nano /etc/hosts     test1.example.org test1 localhost   steve.example.org steve   greg.example.org greg

You might want to check and update your resolv.conf file. The below example uses Google’s pulbic DNS servers which is good in most cases. If you prefer, you can set them to something else. You can also just let DHCP set this.

nano /etc/resolv.conf


Public DNS:

Install useful network packages that are usually good to have ( maybe exclude wifi packages on a server ):

emerge net-misc/dhcpcd sys-apps/iproute2 net-wireless/wpa_supplicant net-wireless/iw net-wireless/wireless-tools

Start and Enable DHCP:

rc-update add dhcpcd default
rc-service dhcpcd start


ip link              # find device name
iw dev wlp9s0 link   # check connection

Activate interface:

ip link set dev wlp9s0 up

Connect to open network, connect using hex wep key, connect using ASCII wep key:

iw dev wlp9s0 connect -w GentooNode
iw dev wlp9s0 connect -w GentooNode key 0:d:1234123412341234abcd
iw dev wlp9s0 connect -w GentooNode key 0:some-password

Netifrc (OpenRC)

Instead of manually starting the dhcpd service ( as shown above ) we can use Netifrc to configure networking with either static or dynamic IPs.

Full example in this file:

cat /usr/share/doc/netifrc-*/net.example.bz2

Install Netifrc:

emerge --ask --noreplace net-misc/netifrc

Static IP configuration:

nano /etc/conf.d/net
config_eth0=" netmask brd"
routes_eth0="default via"

DHCP configuration:

nano /etc/conf.d/net

Start networking at boot:

cd /etc/init.d
ln -s net.lo net.eth0
rc-update add net.eth0 default

Finish Install

Exit chroot environment and reboot:

umount -l /mnt/gentoo/dev{/shm,/pts,}
umount -R /mnt/gentoo

Remove tarballs:

rm /stage3-*.tar.*

Basic Standard Components

These are standard, normal components that I would generally expect to be present on most systems. These are usually a good idea to install. You could also install these before restarting the host if you like

Remote access:

If you already enabled sshd but did it before chrooting, you will want to enable it again now. Do this first before everything else for convenience. Note that the IP address may have changed if you are using DHCP.

OpenRC - Enable and start SSHD

rc-update add sshd default
rc-service sshd start

OpenRC - Agetting for serial consoles:

nano -w /etc/inittab
s0:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 9600 ttyS0 vt100
s1:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 9600 ttyS1 vt100

PCI Utils

Nice to have:

emerge -av pciutils


Three logging options for OpenRC::

app-admin/sysklogd good for beginners, works out of the box
app-admin/syslog-ng more advanced, needs configuration
app-admin/metalog more advanced

Install / setup sysklogd:

emerge --ask app-admin/sysklogd
rc-update add sysklogd default


OpenRC Cron Options:

sys-process/cronie based on original cron
sys-process/dcron lightweight
sys-process/fcron more functionality
sys-process/bcron security focused

Install / setup cronie:

emerge --ask sys-process/cronie
rc-update add cronie default

File Indexing

File indexing with mlocate:

emerge --ask sys-apps/mlocate

Shell Completion

Shell completion for bash ( includes Gentoo specific commands and others ):

emerge --ask app-shells/bash-completion

Chrony / NTP

Setup Chrony for time keeping:

emerge --ask net-misc/chrony       # install
rc-update add chronyd default       # enable with OpenRC

FS Tools

XFS sys-fs/xfsprogs
ext4 sys-fs/e2fsprogs
VFAT (FAT32, …) sys-fs/dosfstools
Btrfs sys-fs/btrfs-progs
ZFS sys-fs/zfs
JFS sys-fs/jfsutils

emerge sys-fs/xfsprogs sys-fs/e2fsprogs sys-fs/dosfstools sys-fs/btrfs-progs sys-fs/zfs sys-fs/jfsutils

Extra Device Stuff

Important for scheduler behavior with nvme drives (???):

emerge --ask sys-block/io-scheduler-udev-rules