Gentoo is probably one of the most complicated, but rewarding, operating systems that I've ever ran. I know it's a lot of effort, but please don't allow the complexity of this guide, or the OS, scare you off.
That being said, let's dive in. You'll need to download Gentoo's minimal installation CD boot it up and follow the prompts until you get to a cli prompt.

Output of the ifconfig command on the Gentoo live install media.

Configure the Network

First, check with ifconfig that your network isn't already configured. If it is, move on to the next step.
If your netowrk is not configured, you will need to run net-setup <device> (in my case: net-setup enp16777736).

Manual Network Configuration


If you would like to take over the installation over your network, you can start the sshd & set the root password now, and then follow then rest of the installation steps over SSH.

Prepare your disk(s)

Partition Disk(s)

You will need to use the command line tool, fdisk, to partition your disk, press m in fdisk for help.

When partitioning your disk, you should be sure to have at least a 150MB boot partition (Typically setup on /dev/sda1), a swap partition twice the size of your max memory (no more than 4GB recommended, typically on /dev/sda2), and your third partition (/dev/sda3) should be created with the remaining free space. After your disk is partitioned, we need to create the file systems.

Create file systems and swap

Mount the file system(s)

The next step is to mount & extract the stage 3 to your new filesystem

Once your files are extracted, be sure that your ‘date’ command returns the correct UTC time, and if not fix it to match the correct UTC time (# date MMDDhhmmYYYY), after that is sorted we can chroot into our environment. If you are SSH’d into the system at this point, it is best to start a session in screen before you chroot.

Prepare the Stage

Install the current portage snapshot

Set your Timezone

Select & Set System Profile

Example output:

Select your profile (your default USE flags are determined based on the profile that you set).

Set Hostname

Your machine needs a name, or may be part of a domain, here you will get a chance to set that up

Configure the Kernel

You could manually go in and make your kernel & initramfs, however I prefer to go the genkernel route. If you are comfortable with default kernel configuration you can just immediately exit the menuconfig on the genkernel step and skip right to building your kernel. If you decide to use systemd, however, then you will need to enable that in your kernel before you compile.

It will take some time to build your kernel & modules, go ahead and grab a cup of coffee.

Boot configuration



Gentoo has made grub2 default for installation, it's a lot easier to setup than you might think.

Finish Base Installation

Merge Startup Packages

Unless you've opted to run systemd, you'll probably want some of the core packages such as a DHCP client, cron daemon, and system logging daemon. Here's a good starter kit that includes superadduser (a user add script) as well:

Set Passwords

Now is a good time to add users and change your root password before you reboot into your new system.

You should be safe to reboot & install the rest of your systems packages now. Noticed an error in this article? Please leave a comment with any errors or deviations from the guide.

Robert Whitney
Nerd off the farm

Geek, Gamer, Blogger, breaker of things & destroyer of @world.
My interests, aside from computers, include playing stringed instruments, listening to old rock music, learning new things, and getting a pizza the action making that dough! My favorite activities to relax include video games, listening to music, reading, watching documentaries, and talking hours on end with my girlfriend from the other side of the country who I met online and seen over Christmas. If you have my on Facebook then you'll know that she's real and totally not made up. Don't add me on Facebook if you don't know me. I don't use Facebook. Leave my Facebook alone.
I love to chill out to the Beatles, and rock out to Metalica, Guns n` Roses, and Ozzy, but my guilty pleasures are Garth Brooks, Kenny Loggins, and Red Sovine.

Robert has authored a total of 10 posts. Robert's last post was 2021-09-01T16:20:00-05:00