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critanime
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:56 am    Post subject: Hi Reply with quote

hi people!

I was a linux user back in 2000/2001 and am wanting to get back into the thick of things again. I have been using Mint and Ubuntu for the last few months and found the experience to be slightly restrictive. Some things they seem to be hinding away from the user and I don't want to feel like I am been restricted in my actions.

I came across Gentoo in the latest issue of Linux Format where they gave the latest version a 10 out of 10. And it grab my attention due to this. What I want to ask is how well the system recognises hardware such as my USB wifi dongle which is a Belkin F6D4050. And if you can install this OS on X64 hardware as the article in LXF only mentions a Live DVD.

Sorry if this sounds a little noobish.
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Chiitoo
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:54 am    Post subject: ><)))°€ Reply with quote

Teegrins, and welcome to Gentoo ! !! !

Do not be sorry.

I am sure you will get a more thorough answer or/and answers from others, but as a quick thought I'd say check out the SystemRescueCd.
This is a widely suggested medium for the install procedure, especially when dealing with a Wireless internet connection as it has good, and perhaps more up-to-date support for those interfaces than the LiveCD/DvD\ETC.
I can't tell about the specific USB-dongle you speak of, or any such devices from a personal experience.

Burn it onto a disk, or copy it to an USB-stick, or even install it onto a hard-disk.
It's based on Gentoo, and provides a GUI even (Xfce), with many, many useful tools.

As a quick-tip for the future record, when you have it booted up, you can check what kernel modules are being used with the command

Code:
lspci -k

which will help you lots when configuring your Kernel.

You can find the handbook here:
    http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/
You can also see the Architectures that are supported there.
The handbook will also tell you pretty much everything you need to know about installing Gentoo.
One might argue that you can install it in a copy&paste-esque manner, though I would suggest entering the commands yourself and they might stick in better (well for me they do).
Of course there are some points where the settings depend on the user so it's not like it all happens automagically.

When in doubt, read the handbook.
If still in doubt, read it again.
Depending of the issue, search for it here and/or via your favourite search-engine of the web.
If still in a pinch, post here, and I'm sure the issue will be resolved!


Just some quick thoughts!
Once more again, welcome, and have fun!
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~ The Noob Unlimited ~

Sore wa sore, kore wa kore.


Last edited by Chiitoo on Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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kofrad
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know, hardware recognition should be the same as in Ubuntu. We're all using the Linux kernel which provides the hardware support.

If you are configuring your own kernel you will have the option to choose which devices to add support for in the kernel. Chances are, if something isn't properly detected when you go this route, you may not have something set up right in the kernel configuration.

If you are using genkernel to build a universal kernel, I don't think there will be an issue with hardware detection as almost everything will be built as a module and should auto-load for you on boot.
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critanime
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info :)

At the moment I have Mint installed on my system in a dualboot with windows Vista. The Mint partition is on an EXT4 partition, / set, with a 3gb swap. Will this be alright for the install? I was also thinking of setting another partition to be /home incase everything went south and then I can keep my data secure. Would this be a wise course of action?

I am working 12 hour shifts at the moment so all this is recon for when I get round to sorting my PC properly, which will also be after finishing repaires to my Amiga 600. So any and all advice would be appreciated.

I am a little rusty when it comes to installs and it seems that Ubuntu/Mint may have spoiled me a little lol.

But I want to get back into Linux again and I want to do it properly.
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kofrad
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My understanding is that you only really *need* a root and swap partition. Everything else is just good practice. Definitely wise to put /home on a seperate partition in case you ever need to re-install, you can simply wipe / and maintain your user data without having to copy things around first.

My partition layout is as follows:
  • /boot - ext3 - 100mb
  • swap - 2gb (almost never used.. could have gone with 4gb so I can use "Suspend to RAM", but never really used it)
  • / - ext4 - 120gb
  • /home - ext4 - 200gb


I don't think I remembered the sizes right, and I may have actually made / a little too big, but I keep all my music and such on another drive so space isn't an issue for my gentoo drive.

The gentoo install guide has a good section on partition layout and recommendations on sizes and folders you may want to put on seperate partitions.
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critanime
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest I never fully understood why Windows never adopted this sort of system. But I suppose years of using Windows, and to a certain extent OSX, have left me complacent. Lol.

Can I ask what the /boot partition is for? I recall using it back in the day but for the life in me I can't remember what for lol.

At present my partition layout is like this:

-Windows recovery (this is the OEM recovery partition that I am willing to lose)
-Windows Vista
-EXT4 (set at root)
-Swap

I don't really use windows for very much except gaming. So maybe a simple 100gb partition should be enough.
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dol-sen
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have room on your hard drive for another partition. You can put gentoo in there and do your install from your mint install. There is no need to use the LiveDVD or SytemRescueCD. The livedvd can even install software from it's environment if need be as well. The LiveDVD is very recent and should be up to date with most wifi drivers.
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critanime
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How do you mean, like a copy and paste style thing? Sorry if that sounds a little slack. A 12 hour night shift does that to a person lol.
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kofrad
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

critanime wrote:
Can I ask what the /boot partition is for? I recall using it back in the day but for the life in me I can't remember what for lol.

It can be useful for a number of reasons. One may be security, if you disable that partition automatically mounting. This way a rogue command can't either wipe or replace your grub.conf or kernel image, or whatever in there. Another is the same as with /home, being able to wipe the root system without losing important files.


dol-sen wrote:
If you have room on your hard drive for another partition. You can put gentoo in there and do your install from your mint install. There is no need to use the LiveDVD or SytemRescueCD. The livedvd can even install software from it's environment if need be as well. The LiveDVD is very recent and should be up to date with most wifi drivers.


I second the LiveDVD, I used it to install recently and was very pleased with the features and performance I found on it. It was also great to have wifi working for me without needed to mess around with module loading or firmware.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

critanime,

Welcome to Gentoo.

I can't add anything useful to what others have said but I have a few clarifications.

When you install Gentoo, nothing from you boot media ends up in your install. The boot media just provides tools to facilitate the install. As a result, you can install from anything that will give you a root shell.
There is one restriction - you must boot a 64 bit kernel to be able to do a 64 bit install.
You can for example boot your mint install, do
Code:
mkdir /mnt/gentoo
so you have somewhere to attach your Gentoo install, then just follow the Gentoo Handbook. Others have posted links, so I will be lazy.

The /boot partition has a long history. Read the Large Disk HOWTO on tldp.org for the full story.
Short story ... on some PCs, the BIOS is not capable of reading the entire hard drive. A small /boot partition at the front of the drive, at lest in the BIOS readable area, ensures that all of the files needed to boot can be read by the BIOS.
This is required as bootloaders make BIOS calls to load things like the kernel and initrd.

Large hard drives first became a problem at 528Mb (yep, just 0.5G)
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Computer users fall into two groups:-
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critanime
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok so /boot is not really a needed thing then these days. I knew it was for something but I couldn't remember what LOL. Also I know what restrictions are like because I have just sorted a 4gb HDD for my Amiga 600 and if I want to use a larger one then I have to make a small partition with some files and drivers needed to make it work with larger drives.

Interesting.

As I said in an earlier post this is a recon mission thus far. I am working shifts at the moment and posting from my BlackBerry phone. So I might be been a little lazy by asking certain questions but it's because I simply cant get to a PC to read the handbook so my eyes dont implode reading from a small screen :(

I am interested in the Live DVD install option. I know it doesn't contain a installer but I gather this would be something like copying the entire disk over to the existing EXT4 partition.

And thanks for all this information. :D
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

critanime,

There is a Gentoo installer - go and look in the bathroom mirror if you want to see it.

Do not install the binary packages from the liveDVD, even though you can. There are several reasons.

1. It will give you a Gentoo install that reflects the portage tree as it was on the day the liveDVD was created. I think thats several months old now.
Updating to todays Gentoo might be a challenge - depending on what has changed.

2. You need to do the manual install to understand and get to grips with Gentoo maintainace. Its far less painul to mess up an embryonic install than an install you don't understand which is full of user data.

3. The binaries on the liveCD are made the way and with options somebody (likewhoa) set. They are not your choices. Gentoo is about choice and by installing binaries, you are giving up your choice.
OK, you can change and rebuild later ... but why?

Something that is not always obvious to newcomers is that Gentoo does not have releases. LiveDVDs, Gentoo minimal CDs and Gentoo Stage3 files do but your installed Gentoo does not.
e.g. My 32 bit install was done in mid 2002 using a Gentoo minimal 1.4-rc4 CD. However, its todays gentoo. Oh, its been through three hardware platforms but its the same install.
The portage tree on the mirrors is updated every 30 minutes, so I don't really have todays Gentoo, its as recent as my portage tree, which is 03:00 UTC Sun 4 March
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NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
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critanime
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lol this installer is looking a little tired and rough around the edges. Maybe it needs a rest from work ;)

So I suppose what your saying is that once I get the install and know the inner workings of my machine I will always know that my install is the perfect fit instead of some release that might not be the best fit at all.

OK I can dig that.

So the only thing that I really will want to upgrade is the kernel then. Again sorry if this all sounds a bit special lol.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

critanime,

You are getting there.

You will want to upgrade lots more than just the kernel. You should update your entire Gentoo once a month.
After a year, there is so much change that its often faster to reinstall than to update.
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NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
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critanime
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That supports the use of /home as a partition then lol.

Is there a pdf version of the handbook floating around. So I can stick it on my Kindle.
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