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Thinking of moving back to gentoo, have some questions.
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Sujao
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 3:23 pm    Post subject: Thinking of moving back to gentoo, have some questions. Reply with quote

Hi Gentoo people!

About a year ago I was fed up with an audio problem I had and decided to switch my linux distribution to Fedora. The goal was to have a system that "just works" without having to constantly have to take care of my pc and being able to focus on actual work. Unfortunately Fedora is not perfect either and so I am thinking about moving back to Gentoo. Mostly because of the rolling release system but also because Fedora doesn't "just work" either and in Gentoo I have more ways to fix the problem myself.

Still there are some things that are much simpler in Fedora and I would like to inquire whether these changed in Gentoo. My last Gentoo installation ran for 6 years so I am not up to date with the current installation method.

  1. Is there an automated way to install/boot Gentoo on several partitions all encrypted with LUKS and some kind of key management so that I don't have to enter my passphrase for every partition (I have 8). For my last installation I had to customize the dm-crypt-start.sh script which would feed the key file to cryptsetup.
  2. Is there a way to automate the creation of the initrd image wich is needed to start an encrypted root partition. I remember following a gentoo-wiki post and writing a custom init script which took at least a day of my time because it didn't work out of the box.
  3. Is gentoo using systemd by default already?
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szatox
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2) I'm almost sure genkernel will manage
3) no, but you can change it with profiles and some stuff like gnome attempts to pull systemd anyway
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djdunn
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. its kinda impossible to do the disk formatting without asking you how you want to do it, if you assume that someone knows how you want to format/set up your disks/volume management, which it cant there are way too many possible combinations of FS/encryption/raid/volume management they wont get it right.

closest i can think of is using ZFS filesystem feed it all 8 of your disks, it does all the formatting something that resembles raid 6, or doing a raid10 which would require you to create 4 mirrors of two disks and stripe them together but thats just 5 commands, and from there you use the ZFS volume management to set it up the way you want, using initramfs or grub2 to boot your array. Genkernel makes initramfs for zfs and it works quite well

you can make an initramfs or edit genkernels initramfs to be able to unlock and mount your LUKS partition, id say make a bootable usb "key" that you plug in to boot your computer, put the initramfs on the key with your kernel and bootloader, have the encryption keys encrypted so you decrypt your keys with one command then it uses your keys to assemble/mount your LUKS partition / ZFS / whatever

again there are far too many possibilities, they are literally endless, so 1 automated way to install such a complex system is impossible.

2. Like i said in 1. genkernel can do almost everything you need with initramfs, but there is no reason you can edit the genkernel initramfs yourself after it makes it, or even make your own.

3. not by default, we still use openrc by default but its not hard to install if you choose to do that.
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khayyam
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 11:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Thinking of moving back to gentoo, have some questions. Reply with quote

Sujao wrote:
1. Is there an automated way to install/boot Gentoo on several partitions all encrypted with LUKS and some kind of key management so that I don't have to enter my passphrase for every partition (I have 8). For my last installation I had to customize the dm-crypt-start.sh script which would feed the key file to cryptsetup.

Sujao ... why would you do it this way, you can have one partition with LUKS (sans /boot) and lvm volumes within, this way only one key is required. It may be possible to do something similar with zfs, or btrfs, rather than lvm but that's not something I've looked into.

Sujao wrote:
2. Is there a way to automate the creation of the initrd image wich is needed to start an encrypted root partition. I remember following a gentoo-wiki post and writing a custom init script which took at least a day of my time because it didn't work out of the box.

I can recommend better-initramfs. It supports LUKS, lvm, dropbear (ssh), rescue shell (busybox), suspend/resume, UUID/LABEL, etc. Also, it doesn't need rebuilt on kernel updates, and weighs in at about 2.5mb (uncompressed). Features are configurable at buildtime so you can exclude those you don't need/want. Additionally, as it uses its own build system (Aboriginal Linux) no changes to gentoo (static useflag and rebuild of packages) are required.

Sujao wrote:
3. Is gentoo using systemd by default already?

Thankfully, no.

best ... khay
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Sujao
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for the elaborate replies!
djdunn:
again there are far too many possibilities, they are literally endless, so 1 automated way to install such a complex system is impossible.

It doesn't have to be completely automated. An acceptable solution in Fedora is to have the same passphrase for every partition and it asks only once for it. Also in Fedora and in Debian there is a gui which lets you setup a manual partitioning.
djdunn:
id say make a bootable usb "key" that you plug in to boot your computer, put the initramfs on the key with your kernel and bootloader...

djdunn:
but there is no reason you can edit the genkernel initramfs yourself after it makes it, or even make your own

Sure I could do that, but that means I'd have to do this all manually. I am looking for an assisted installation. Otherwise installing Gentoo will be a 3-5 days task.
khayyam:
Sujao ... why would you do it this way, you can have one partition with LUKS (sans /boot) and lvm volumes within, this way only one key is required. It may be possible to do something similar with zfs, or btrfs, rather than lvm but that's not something I've looked into.

My setup is a liittle more complex. I have a raid1+luks for my /home, 2 simple luks partitions for 2 independent home backups and another lvm for the rest and of course the root partition which is a raid1+luks. There you have at least 5 separate partitions. I don't want to put home into the lvm because I might loose it in case a hdd dies (I don't mirror the lvm)
khayyam:
I can recommend better-initramfs.

Thanks, I will investigate it.
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