Gentoo NetBSD/Install Guide

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As of April 20, 2017, the information in this article has been deprecated. It may or may not be relevant for contemporary usage. Handle with care!

This guide contains installation instructions written by the old Gentoo NetBSD project.


What is NetBSD?

NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from 64-bit Opteron machines and desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices.

Back in 1993 when development of 386BSD stopped, two projects were born: FreeBSD which focuses mainly on the x86 platform, and NetBSD, commonly known to run on a huge number of architectures.


Unfortunately the Gentoo NetBSD project currently has no official installation media, so you have to download an ISO image of a NetBSD LiveCD which can be found here.

Burn this image to a CD and use it boot your computer. Please log in as user 'root', using 'NetBSD' as a password. Once logged in, you have to create and format partitions for your Gentoo NetBSD installation. If you're unsure on how to do this, please consult the section "Adding a new hard disk" of the NetBSD manual.

When necessary substitute X to reflect the proper disk and Y with the appropriate partition.

Create a partition:

root #fdisk -u wdX

Mark the partition as active:

root #fdisk -a wdX

Provide the disk a label:

root #disklabel -i wdX

Create a new file system on the disk:

root #newfs /dev/wdXY

When disk setup is finished, create a mount point for the previously created partitions:

root #mkdir /var/gentoo
root #mount /dev/wdXY /var/gentoo

Now that the target partition has been mounted, it is time to fetch and unpack a stage3 tarball and sync with the main Gentoo repository:

root #cd /var/gentoo
root #tar -xjpf gentoo-netbsd-stage3-051106.tar.bz2
root #chroot /var/gentoo /bin/bash
root #env-update
root #emerge --sync
root #echo "x86-nbsd" >> /usr/portage/profiles/arch.list
root #emerge metadata

Congrats, you now should be able to update your Gentoo NetBSD installation using Portage! But in order to be able to boot your new system later on, you will have to install a boot manager or add Gentoo NetBSD to your current boot loader's configuration. Additionally you will have to populate your /dev dirctory with the necessary device nodes. Finally you'll have to edit /etc/fstab to reflect the system's partition layout.

root #cd /dev
root #./MAKEDEV all
root #fdisk -B /dev/wdX
root #installboot -v /dev/rwdXY /usr/mdec/bootxx_ffsv1

Adjust the following files accordingly:

  • /etc/fstab
  • /etc/rc.conf

We hope you will enjoy your new Gentoo NetBSD system and will have fun using it!

This page is based on a document formerly found on our main website
The following people contributed to the original document: Damian Florczyk (author), Michael Kohl (author/editor) on March 25, 2006.
They are listed here because wiki history does not allow for any external attribution. If you edit the wiki article, please do not add yourself here; your contributions are recorded on each article's associated history page.