Bootable media

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Gentoo offers bootable media that can be used to install, maintain, or try out Gentoo Linux.

There are currently at least three bootable media images available for download on the Minimal Installation CD, the Admin CD, and the LiveGUI USB Image.

These image files may be written to media in order to boot a physical machine, or used to boot a virtual machine.

A bootable media live image file isn't commonly used "as is" to boot physical hardware: images should not usually just be "placed" on a disk as a file with a "copy" command, but rather "interpreted as an entire disk", with the aid of specialized software. See the LiveUSB article for more information.

Minimal Installation CD

The minimal Installation CD provides a very light CLI environment which may be used for Gentoo installation. Note that the emerge command is not available.

The amd64 minimal Installation CD can be downloaded from here: install-amd64-minimal/. The downloaded file will have a name along the lines install-amd64-minimal-20240225T170409Z.iso.

Minimal Installation CD images for some other architectures are available in the sub-directories here (note that live images are not available for all architectures).

Admin CD

A hardened version of the Minimal Installation CD with some additional packages to support advanced installs, recovery diagnostics of existing installs, perform additional hardware testing, and provide a better value to users wishing to utilize the full 700MB of CD-R capacity.

Additional included packages can be seen in this diff: minimal/admincd diff

The admin CD can be downloaded from here: admincd-amd64/ for amd64, admincd-x86/ for x86. Downloaded files will have a name along the lines admincd-amd64-20240225T170409Z.iso.

LiveGUI USB Image

Writable directly to a USB stick or a dual-layer DVD, this amd64 image boots into KDE Plasma and is supplied with many useful packages such as office applications, Internet suite, graphics tools, system administration packages etc.

The LiveGUI can be useful for system maintenance, and is designed to show off what a full Gentoo installation can look like.

The list of packages included is found in the catalyst specification file. Portage may be used to install more packages, but changes aren't persistent.

See the release announcement for more information.

In the past, some "LiveDVDs" were produced by the loosely affiliated, community run, "Gentoo Ten" project, but the latest effort is a separate endeavor and was created by Andreas K. Hüttel (dilfridge) .

The amd64 admin CD can be downloaded from here: livegui-amd64/. The downloaded file will have a name along the lines livegui-amd64-20240225T170409Z.iso.

See also

  • Installation — an overview of the principles and practices of installing Gentoo on a running system.
  • Live image — an operating system (OS) environment contained within a file that can be used to boot a system
  • LiveUSB — explains how to create a Gentoo LiveUSB or, in other words, how to emulate a x86 or amd64 Gentoo LiveCD using a USB drive.
  • Stage file — an archive containing a minimal Gentoo environment, typically serving as a seed for a Gentoo install.

External resources