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rlmaers
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:15 am    Post subject: Gentoo Forever: The diary of a returning Gentoo user Reply with quote

My name is Rafael. I'm 24 years old and live in Norway.

It all started back in 2002 when I went to high school and a friend of mine began to experiment with GNU/Linux while the rest of us were computer game addicted teenagers. While my friends couldn't be bothered, I was excited about his experiment and the new playground he revealed. Unfortunately my first try with RedHat wasn't as successful as his take GNU/Linux. However, after some convincing on giving it another try and a little help to get me started he introduced to the fantastic world of free and open source software, and especially Gentoo Linux.

From that point onwards I used Gentoo Linux as my main operating system at home, and even at work where I was managing a GNU/Linux server. The years passed by, and unknowingly I learned a lot by just making it work. In 2007 I started studying mathematics at university, and after three years I changed career and moved to northern Norway. I didn't bring my desktop, but it didn't really matter as I didn't have time to use it anyway.

Now, two years later, I've ordered parts for a new desktop. My first operating system of choice is Gentoo Linux, and I'll use this thread to post my experiences. At worst, this thread will become very short, die out and be forever lost in the realms of the Gentoo Linux forums. At best it will be a log which other new or returning users might benefit of.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's pretty much guaranteed that you'll get at least three wb-posts, so I'll start.

Welcome back, enjoy your stay and don't hesitate to ask questions, since Gentoo's running better than ever, we've got more time for answers :lol:
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back :P
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't need a high-powered desktop machine to enjoy Gentoo -- I use it on my work laptop. This is a Lenovo X301 with ULV dual core; it can't even play an HD movie without GPU acceleration.

My server machine is a Gentoo install without X, so world updates finish in seconds -- no heavy packages except gcc/glibc.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can put a well used tool away for awile but some you never forget how well they worked.

after ten years of using gentoo in every place and system possible i still come back for those reasons. welcome back sir and good luck continuing your endeavors :wink:
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back! I am starting to see what all the fuss is about, as I am quite new to Gentoo, and while I thought I knew a lot about the various Linux projcets before I used Gentoo, I just realized that I did not know as much as I thought...

After Arch Linux updates killed my installation about 3 times in the past 6 months I realized that Arch is probably not the distro for me, and decided to give Gentoo a shot. About 3 days later I got it figured out on my Thinkpad X220 with some pretty good USE flags set up (so far! I still need to tweak them some, since I haven't spent too much time looking into them yet), I'm extremely happy!

I love how easy and quick it is to customize things on a deeper level than just installing and removing packages. I ended up having to compile a lot on Arch Linux anyway, since I used the AUR a lot (probably my problem in the first place).

Arch was great, but I enjoy Gentoo a lot more! I think my stay will be a long one.
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rlmaers
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

avx wrote:
It's pretty much guaranteed that you'll get at least three wb-posts, so I'll start.

Welcome back, enjoy your stay and don't hesitate to answer questions, since Gentoo's running better than ever, we've got more time for answers :lol:


d2_racing wrote:
Welcome back :P


ali3nx wrote:
You can put a well used tool away for awile but some you never forget how well they worked.

after ten years of using gentoo in every place and system possible i still come back for those reasons. welcome back sir and good luck continuing your endeavors :wink:


Thanks everyone! :)

---

I was bored as I anxiously waited for the parts to arrive, and thought I'd check out the installation process to see if there were any changes. To my surprise I didn't recall that stage1/stage2 installations weren't supported anymore, which actually makes this thread a bit awkward as I don't think I'll stumble upon as many problems as I originally thought I would. However, this is Gentoo Chat, so it doesn't really matter. :P

The setup I'm going for is a mix of parts from two of my old computers and new ones, which arrived yesterday. I built most of the system yesterday, and somehow forgot to get a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter for my SSD (duh). So I got the last few parts today and finished the build a few hours ago. Now I'm about to install Gentoo Linux (:D), but since I don't have a CD / DVD / BD drive I'll try with a USB memory stick. Wish me luck!

SUCCESS

System specification if anyone's interested:
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V
CPU: Intel i5 3570K
RAM: 8GB
HDD: Samsung 830 128GB SSD

And to my surprise I found some goodies in my old computers:
PSU: Mist 500W, modular cables (don't think you'll get those anywhere else but in Scandinavia, but it's high quality)
HDD: 5 x SATA Seagate Barracuda 200GB+
HW-RAID: unknown (anyone who might know which brand or even model this might be?)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rlmaers wrote:

HW-RAID: unknown (anyone who might know which brand or even model this might be?)


Unless i'm mistaken that looks like a 64bit pciX (classic 64bit pci) raid card which wouldn't work with any modern pc. you can use a 32bit pci card in a 64bit slot but IIRC the reverse scenario will not work. I have a 64bit pci firewire 800 card that came with an smp tyan 200 series opteron server I built years ago I haven't been able to use that looks very similar.

If you do end up needing a very reliable and extremely well performing pci express raid controller you could buy an LSI 9260-4i or 9260-8i on ebay for fairly cheap. If your lucky you'll find one that includes the battery backup unit.

I own two of them myself and they've been flawless. One of them runs a 9260-4i card connected to 4x 2TB sata 3 raid 5 that can pump out 500MB/s read and write.

The second one has 10x 2TB sata 3 in raid 5 and it gets just shy of 1GB/s read speed and 850MB/s write :twisted:

If your interested here's some details on my "helm" I often use for pc gaming.

http://multiboxing.com/forums/f30/xartins-battlestation-5083.html
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that's a PCI-X card.

We have been upgrading our servers over the past couple years and I've been seeing quite a few of those getting thrown into the parts bin, lol.

Kind of sucks, since they still work, but that's technology, eh?

Those LSI cards look nice, I might have to look into those when it's upgrade time on my desktop...
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, you're probably right. The setup wouldn't boot up the card installed, which is a real bummer as I looked forward to having HW-RAID. It's an LSI as well, and I've been pretty happy with it, so I might just get another which is compatible with today's standards. :)

The installing isn't going very well by the way. I thought it wouldn't be a problem to use the minimal-iso for amd64 on a USB, but it won't boot. I'm on it though. :)
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not use SysRescCD on USB stick?

Honestly, I don't know why Gentoo still releases minimal install images -- they are ~%50 smaller than the SysRescCD images, but not nearly as functional. Everyone should have a SysRescCD emergency USB stick anyway.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rlmaers wrote:
The installing isn't going very well by the way. I thought it wouldn't be a problem to use the minimal-iso for amd64 on a USB, but it won't boot. I'm on it though. :)


I usually always use the current minimal iso even with usb sticks. I haven't downloaded any of gentoo's iso's larger than a minimal in probably half a decade because they often just aren't required. if i have putty or ssh access and a minimal iso downloading a larger image isn't going to do much more to aid my tasks.

Could be personal preference but avoiding total boredom while working on a gentoo install is easily accomplished by working remotely via putty or ssh while you watch a movie or play video games :wink:

If i ever need to make a usb stick unetbootin works great both on *nix and windows to make the usb stick.

http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

For gentoo usb sticks ignore the distribution section just using the iso diskimage feature and select the iso you want to convert into a usb stick.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'd recommend using something with some more punch.

Because my laptop has UEFI (and I wanted to boot in UEFI mode), I ended up using an Archboot image on a USB stick in order to boot up in UEFI mode, and just did the installation from that live environment, since I don't need Gentoo specific commands until after it's in the chroot anyway. Worked out pretty well, whereas the minimal image isn't UEFI compatible (perhaps that's why your system isn't booting? I see you have some very modern parts in there)

Hope this helps!
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rlmaers
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hypnos wrote:
Why not use SysRescCD on USB stick?

Honestly, I don't know why Gentoo still releases minimal install images -- they are ~%50 smaller than the SysRescCD images, but not nearly as functional. Everyone should have a SysRescCD emergency USB stick anyway.


Thanks for the suggestion. If I don't get the minimal image to boot from USB, I'll try it out. I'm learning by doing. ;)

ali3nx wrote:
rlmaers wrote:
The installing isn't going very well by the way. I thought it wouldn't be a problem to use the minimal-iso for amd64 on a USB, but it won't boot. I'm on it though. :)


I usually always use the current minimal iso even with usb sticks. I haven't downloaded any of gentoo's iso's larger than a minimal in probably half a decade because they often just aren't required. if i have putty or ssh access and a minimal iso downloading a larger image isn't going to do much more to aid my tasks.

Could be personal preference but avoiding total boredom while working on a gentoo install is easily accomplished by working remotely via putty or ssh while you watch a movie or play video games :wink:

If i ever need to make a usb stick unetbootin works great both on *nix and windows to make the usb stick.

http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

For gentoo usb sticks ignore the distribution section just using the iso diskimage feature and select the iso you want to convert into a usb stick.


Yeah, I haven't used anything but the minimal image myself. It's a nostalgic and I learn a lot by trying to make it work. Also, I've tried using unetbootin, but I get an error about operating system missing on the boot device.

mrmylanman wrote:
Yeah, I'd recommend using something with some more punch.

Because my laptop has UEFI (and I wanted to boot in UEFI mode), I ended up using an Archboot image on a USB stick in order to boot up in UEFI mode, and just did the installation from that live environment, since I don't need Gentoo specific commands until after it's in the chroot anyway. Worked out pretty well, whereas the minimal image isn't UEFI compatible (perhaps that's why your system isn't booting? I see you have some very modern parts in there)

Hope this helps!


Yeah, it might be an UEFI thing, but it seems to support legacy booting as well. Are there any benefits to UEFI boot in place of legacy?

---

Alright. So I've tried several things to get this thing to boot, the promising being unetbootin. As I wrote above, I got an error message saying there was no operating system on the boot device. I don't know if that's an issue with unetbootin or the system. To exclude the latter I updated BIOS, which is a good thing even though it didn't help. :D

As for now I'm following this guide. Problem is that I can't be arsed to figure out fdisk on Mac OS X, as I suspect it won't get the job done anyway. My solution is to download SysRescCD and boot that on my Macbook in order to format the drive on there.

I'm learning the hard way.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's 03:37 AM. No luck. Going strong.

Last edited by rlmaers on Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a couple of different ASUS motherboards, I was only able to boot into UEFI mode from cdrom/dvd. I'm not saying that it's the only way.. Just saying that it was the way "I" could get a UEFI boot option from hitting F8. Maybe someone with a little more knowledge might figure out how to use the UEFI shell to boot a usb stick and maybe on some other boards other than the ones I was playing with, it will be possible to boot a stick.

Good luck.. and enjoy.

joe
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You had me worried there for a moment, but I finally managed to get the minimal image for amd64 on USB booting on my system. I feel dumb, now that I know how simple it was to overcome the problem. Long story told short: I simply had to boot a GNU/Linux live cd, format the USB stick to ext2 (with boot flag on) and use unetbootin with the minimal amd64 image.

There were some minor problems in between though. The following is for anyone who might struggle with this in the future:

  • Not all GNU/Linux live cds work on a Macbook (late 2006). I used Ubuntu 10.10.
  • Unetbootin requires p7zip to work. I downloaded the package file from the internet, as I couldn't find it in the package manager.
  • During boot it might not find the USB stick drive when it's mounting. I added 'slowusb' to the kernel parameters at boot.
  • Not sure if this is critical, but I also disabled XHCI-support in BIOS before booting from the USB stick.


My summer vacation is at it's end, and I'm driving back north (960 miles) tomorrow. I want to finish install though, so I'll stay up a few more hours even though I've been up all night.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully you got it!

UEFI allows for GPT partitioning which is preferred if you are using SSDs, as well as very large disks (2TB+). I also just wanted to boot in UEFI mode knowing that I did it "right", since it was possible. I know a bunch of people who boot in BIOS mode, however and there's not really any huge downsides I'd imagine to that.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrmylanman wrote:
Hopefully you got it!

UEFI allows for GPT partitioning which is preferred if you are using SSDs, as well as very large disks (2TB+). I also just wanted to boot in UEFI mode knowing that I did it "right", since it was possible. I know a bunch of people who boot in BIOS mode, however and there's not really any huge downsides I'd imagine to that.


You don't need UEFI to use GPT partition tables (except you use Windows, because it cannot boot from GPT itself). You can still use GPT with Windows dualboot if you use GRUB2 as bootloader...
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

disi wrote:
mrmylanman wrote:
Hopefully you got it!

UEFI allows for GPT partitioning which is preferred if you are using SSDs, as well as very large disks (2TB+). I also just wanted to boot in UEFI mode knowing that I did it "right", since it was possible. I know a bunch of people who boot in BIOS mode, however and there's not really any huge downsides I'd imagine to that.


You don't need UEFI to use GPT partition tables (except you use Windows, because it cannot boot from GPT itself). You can still use GPT with Windows dualboot if you use GRUB2 as bootloader...


My laptop may be unique, then, as it will not boot GPT disks in BIOS mode. Strange.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrmylanman,

Your GPT disks will provide a 'protective' MSDOS Partition table, which the BIOS will see.

Run fdisk - ignore the dire warnings about the GPT partition table and set the bootable flag on the one MSDOS partition in the MSDOS Partition table.
The will tell the BIOS thst the disk is bootable.

The BIOS cannot read the GPT partition table but the bootloader can, once the BIOS can be convinced to load it from the MBR.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't sure how much space I should allocate to the partitions, and while I was searching I found several sites on alignment. Didn't find any complete answers, and I'll research more once I got the system up and running. Now I'm about to install the kernel, but for some reason portage wants to emerge perl and I get an error.

Edit: Seems like GCC 4.5.3 doesn't support -march=corei7-avx, so I used core2 instead. :)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rlmaers wrote:
I wasn't sure how much space I should allocate to the partitions, and while I was searching I found several sites on alignment. Didn't find any complete answers, and I'll research more once I got the system up and running.


On my desktops I use the Handbook default partition schema: boot, swap, root.

rlmaers wrote:
Now I'm about to install the kernel, but for some reason portage wants to emerge perl and I get an error.
Edit: Seems like GCC 4.5.3 doesn't support -march=corei7-avx, so I used core2 instead. :)


It is recommended to use -march=native unless you have special requirements.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's conclude this thread.

As I expected, I ran into a few problems along the way, but in the end I got the system up and running. I only posted some of the problems I ran into, but for any future reference I usually found a solution by using man, Google or asking someone else nicely in the chat room.

I couldn't decide on the partition scheme, so to get the system up and running I created a boot, swap and root partition. Now that I know approximately how much space a system install of all necessary software uses, I'm going to do a clean re-install in the nearest future. For some reason I prefer getting all the immutable details right.

@mimosinnet: Thanks for the tip. :)

So what else is up?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rlmaers,

LVM is your friend, provided you choose filesystems that can be resized.
You can even have root on LVM if you wish but thats not quite striaghtforward.
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