Before proceeding with the installation process, minimum hardware requirements should be met in order to successfully install Gentoo for the sparc system architecture.
|Please check the Gentoo Linux/SPARC64 compatibility list or the UltraLinux FAQ
|Currently support is limited to SPARC64 CPUs
|1.5 GB (excluding swap space)
|At least 256 MB
Below we cover how to install Gentoo Linux on a sparc system using the minimal installation CD. Gentoo also supports installation from a TFTP netboot image. For more information, please see the Sparc/Netboot article for setting up a netboot server, and find the TFTPBoot images on the Gentoo mirrors under experimental/sparc/tftpboot/sparc64/.
Gentoo Linux installation media
While it's recommended to use the official Gentoo boot media when installing, it's possible to use other installation environments. However, there is no guarantee they will contain required components. If an alternate install environment is used, skip to Preparing the disks.
Minimal installation CD
The Gentoo minimal installation CD is a small, bootable image: a self-contained Gentoo environment. This image is maintained by Gentoo developers and designed to allow any user with an Internet connection to install Gentoo. During the boot process, the hardware is detected, and appropriate drivers are automatically loaded.
Minimal Installation CD releases are named using the format: install-<arch>-minimal-<release timestamp>.iso.
The occasional Gentoo LiveDVD
Occasionally, a special DVD image is crafted which can be used to install Gentoo. The instructions in this chapter target the Minimal Installation CD, so things might be a bit different when booting from the LiveDVD. However, the LiveDVD (or any other official Gentoo Linux environment) supports getting a root prompt by just invoking sudo su - or sudo -i in a terminal.
What are stage files?
A stage file is an archive which serves as the seed for a Gentoo environment.
Stage 3 files can be downloaded from releases/sparc/autobuilds/ on any of the official Gentoo mirrors. Stages are updated frequently and are therefore not included within official live images.
For now, stage files can be ignored. They will be described in greater detail later when they are needed
Historically, the handbook described installation steps for stage files with versions lower than 3. These stages contained environments unsuitable for typical installations, and are no longer covered in the handbook.
Obtain the media
The default installation media used by Gentoo Linux are the minimal installation CDs, which provide a very small, bootable, Gentoo Linux environment. This environment contains the necessary tools to install Gentoo. The images themselves can be downloaded from the downloads page (recommended) or by manually browsing to the ISO location on one of the many available mirrors.
If downloading from a mirror, the minimal installation CDs can be found by:
- Connect to the mirror, typically using a local one found at Gentoo source mirrors.
- Navigate to the releases/ directory.
- Select the directory for the relevant target architecture (such as sparc/).
- Select the autobuilds/ directory.
- For amd64 and x86 architectures select either the current-install-amd64-minimal/ or current-install-x86-minimal/ directory (respectively). For all other architectures navigate to the current-iso/ directory.
Some target architectures such as arm, mips, and s390 will not have minimal install CDs. At this time the Gentoo Release Engineering project does not support building .iso files for these targets.
Inside this location, the installation media file is the file with the .iso suffix. For instance, take a look at the following listing:
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20231112T170154Z.iso.asc 2023-11-12 20:41 488
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20231119T164701Z.iso.asc 2023-11-19 18:41 488
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20231126T163200Z.iso.asc 2023-11-26 18:41 488
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20231203T170204Z.iso.asc 2023-12-03 18:41 488
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20231210T170356Z.iso.asc 2023-12-10 19:01 488
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20231217T170203Z.iso.asc 2023-12-17 20:01 488
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20231224T164659Z.iso.asc 2023-12-24 20:41 488
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20231231T163203Z.iso.asc 2023-12-31 19:01 488
[ ] install-amd64-minimal-20240107T170309Z.iso 2024-01-07 20:42 466M
[ ] install-amd64-minimal-20240107T170309Z.iso.CONTENTS.gz 2024-01-07 20:42 9.8K
[ ] install-amd64-minimal-20240107T170309Z.iso.DIGESTS 2024-01-07 21:01 1.3K
[TXT] install-amd64-minimal-20240107T170309Z.iso.asc 2024-01-07 21:01 488
[ ] install-amd64-minimal-20240107T170309Z.iso.sha256 2024-01-07 21:01 660
[TXT] latest-install-amd64-minimal.txt 2024-01-08 02:01 653
In the above example, the install-amd64-minimal-20240107T170309Z.iso file is the minimal installation CD itself. But as can be seen, other related files exist as well:
- A .CONTENTS.gz file which is a gz-compressed text file listing all files available on the installation media. This file can be useful to verify if particular firmware or drivers are available on the installation media before downloading it.
- A .DIGESTS file which contains the hash of the ISO file itself, in various hashing formats/algorithms. This file can be used to verify ISO file integrity.
- A .asc file which is a cryptographic signature of the ISO file. This can be used to verify image integrity and authenticity - that the download is indeed provided by the Gentoo Release Engineering team, free from tampering.
Ignore the other files available at this location for now - those will come back when the installation has proceeded further. Download the .iso file and, if verification of the download is wanted, download the .iso.asc file for the .iso file as well.
The .DIGESTS file is only needed if the signature in the .iso.asc file is not verified.
Verifying the downloaded files
This is an optional step and not necessary to install Gentoo Linux. However, it is recommended as it ensures that the downloaded file is not corrupt and has indeed been provided by the Gentoo Infrastructure team.
The .asc file provides a cryptographic signature of the ISO. By validating it, one can make sure that the installation file is provided by the Gentoo Release Engineering team and is intact and unmodified.
Microsoft Windows-based verification
To first verify the cryptographic signature, tools such as GPG4Win can be used. After installation, the public keys of the Gentoo Release Engineering team need to be imported. The list of keys is available on the signatures page. Once imported, the user can then verify the signature in the .asc file.
Linux based verification
On a Linux system, the most common method for verifying the cryptographic signature is to use the .asc file.software. With this package installed, the following command can be used to verify the cryptographic signature in the
When importing Gentoo keys, verify that the fingerprint (
Gentoo keys can be downloaded from hkps://keys.gentoo.org using fingerprints available on the signatures page:
gpg --keyserver hkps://keys.gentoo.org --recv-keys 13EBBDBEDE7A12775DFDB1BABB572E0E2D182910
gpg: directory '/root/.gnupg' created gpg: keybox '/root/.gnupg/pubring.kbx' created gpg: /root/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created gpg: key BB572E0E2D182910: public key "Gentoo Linux Release Engineering (Automated Weekly Release Key) <firstname.lastname@example.org>" imported gpg: Total number processed: 1 gpg: imported: 1
Alternatively you can use instead the WKD to download the key:
gpg --auto-key-locate=clear,nodefault,wkd --locate-key email@example.com
gpg: key 9E6438C817072058: public key "Gentoo Linux Release Engineering (Gentoo Linux Release Signing Key) <firstname.lastname@example.org>" imported gpg: key BB572E0E2D182910: public key "Gentoo Linux Release Engineering (Automated Weekly Release Key) <email@example.com>" imported gpg: Total number processed: 2 gpg: imported: 2 gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found pub dsa1024 2004-07-20 [SC] [expires: 2025-07-01] D99EAC7379A850BCE47DA5F29E6438C817072058 uid [ unknown] Gentoo Linux Release Engineering (Gentoo Linux Release Signing Key) <firstname.lastname@example.org> sub elg2048 2004-07-20 [E] [expires: 2025-07-01]
Or if using official Gentoo release media, import the key from /usr/share/openpgp-keys/gentoo-release.asc (provided by ):
gpg --import /usr/share/openpgp-keys/gentoo-release.asc
gpg: directory '/home/larry/.gnupg' created gpg: keybox '/home/larry/.gnupg/pubring.kbx' created gpg: key DB6B8C1F96D8BF6D: 2 signatures not checked due to missing keys gpg: /home/larry/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created gpg: key DB6B8C1F96D8BF6D: public key "Gentoo ebuild repository signing key (Automated Signing Key) <email@example.com>" imported gpg: key 9E6438C817072058: 3 signatures not checked due to missing keys gpg: key 9E6438C817072058: public key "Gentoo Linux Release Engineering (Gentoo Linux Release Signing Key) <firstname.lastname@example.org>" imported gpg: key BB572E0E2D182910: 1 signature not checked due to a missing key gpg: key BB572E0E2D182910: public key "Gentoo Linux Release Engineering (Automated Weekly Release Key) <email@example.com>" imported gpg: key A13D0EF1914E7A72: 1 signature not checked due to a missing key gpg: key A13D0EF1914E7A72: public key "Gentoo repository mirrors (automated git signing key) <firstname.lastname@example.org>" imported gpg: Total number processed: 4 gpg: imported: 4 gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found
Next verify the cryptographic signature:
gpg --verify install-amd64-minimal-20240107T170309Z.iso.asc
gpg: assuming signed data in 'install-amd64-minimal-20240107T170309Z.iso' gpg: Signature made Sun 07 Jan 2024 03:01:10 PM CST gpg: using RSA key 534E4209AB49EEE1C19D96162C44695DB9F6043D gpg: Good signature from "Gentoo Linux Release Engineering (Automated Weekly Release Key) <email@example.com>" [unknown] gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature! gpg: There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner. Primary key fingerprint: 13EB BDBE DE7A 1277 5DFD B1BA BB57 2E0E 2D18 2910 Subkey fingerprint: 534E 4209 AB49 EEE1 C19D 9616 2C44 695D B9F6 043D
To be absolutely certain that everything is valid, verify the fingerprint shown with the fingerprint on the Gentoo signatures page.
It's generally good practice to mark an imported key as trusted, once it's certain the key is trustworthy. When trusted keys are verified, gpg will not say unknown and warn about the signature being untrusted.
Writing the boot media
Of course, with just an ISO file downloaded, the Gentoo Linux installation cannot be started. The ISO file must be written to bootable media. This generally requires that the image is extracted to a filesystem, or written directly to a device.
Writing a bootable USB
Most modern systems support booting from a USB device.
Writing with Linux
dd is typically available on most Linux distros, and can be used to write the Gentoo boot media to a USB drive.
Determining the USB device path
Before writing, the path to the desired storage device must be determined.
dmesg will display detailed information describing the storage device as it is added to the system:
Alternatively, lsblk can be used to display available storage devices:
sdd 8:48 1 28.9G 0 disk ├─sdd1 8:49 1 246K 0 part ├─sdd2 8:50 1 2.8M 0 part ├─sdd3 8:51 1 463.5M 0 part └─sdd4 8:52 1 300K 0 part
Once the device name has been determined, this can be added to the path prefix /dev/ to get the device path /dev/sdd.
Using the base device path, ie. sdd opposed to sdd1, is recommend as the Gentoo boot media contains a full GPT partition scheme.
Writing with dd
Be sure to check the target (of=target) path before executing dd, as it will be overwritten.
With the device path (/dev/sdd) and boot media install-amd64-minimal-<release timestamp>.iso ready:
dd if=install-amd64-minimal-<release timestamp>.iso of=/dev/sdd bs=4096 status=progress && sync
if= specifies the input file, of= specifies the output file, which in this case, is a device.
bs=4096 is used as it speeds up transfers in most cases, status=progress displays transfers stats.
Burning a disk
Burning with Microsoft Windows 7 and above
Versions of Microsoft Windows 7 and above can both mount and burn ISO images to optical media without the requirement for third-party software. Simply insert a burnable disk, browse to the downloaded ISO files, right click the file in Windows Explorer, and select "Burn disk image".
Burning with Linux
The cdrecord utility from the package can burn ISO images on Linux.
To burn the ISO file on the CD in the /dev/sr0 device (this is the first CD device on the system - substitute with the right device file if necessary):
cdrecord dev=/dev/sr0 install-sparc-minimal-20141204.iso
Users that prefer a graphical user interface can use K3B, part of the Tools and use Burn CD Image.package. In K3B, go to
Booting the installation CD
Insert the Gentoo installation CD in the CD-ROM and boot the system. During startup, press Stop + A to enter OpenBootPROM (OBP). Once in the OBP, boot from the CD-ROM:
The SILO boot manager (on the installation CD) is then started. Hit Enter for more help. Type in gentoo and press Enter to continue booting the system:
Once the Installation CD is booted, a root ("#") prompt will be displayed on the current console. There will also be a root prompt on the serial console (ttyS0).
Extra hardware configuration
When the Installation medium boots, it tries to detect all the hardware devices and loads the appropriate kernel modules to support the hardware. In the vast majority of cases, it does a very good job. However, in some cases it may not auto-load the kernel modules needed by the system. If the PCI auto-detection missed some of the system's hardware, the appropriate kernel modules have to be loaded manually.
In the next example the 8139too module (which supports certain kinds of network interfaces) is loaded:
Optional: User accounts
If other people need access to the installation environment, or there is need to run commands as a non-root user on the installation medium (such as to chat using irssi without root privileges for security reasons), then an additional user account needs to be created and the root password set to a strong password.
To change the root password, use the passwd utility:
New password: (Enter the new password) Re-enter password: (Re-enter the password)
To create a user account, first enter their credentials, followed by the account's password. The useradd and passwd commands are used for these tasks.
In the next example, a user called john is created:
useradd -m -G users john
New password: (Enter john's password) Re-enter password: (Re-enter john's password)
To switch from the (current) root user to the newly created user account, use the su command:
su - john
Optional: Viewing documentation while installing
To view the Gentoo handbook from a TTY during the installation, first create a user account as described above, then press Alt+F2 to go to a new terminal (TTY) and login as the newly created user. Following the principal of least privilege, it is best practice to avoid browsing the web or generally performing any task with higher privileges than necessary. The root account has full control of the system and therefore must be used sparingly.
During the installation, the links web browser can be used to browse the Gentoo handbook - of course only from the moment that the Internet connection is working.
To go back to the original terminal, press Alt+F1.
When booted to the Gentoo minimal or Gentoo admin environments, seven TTYs will be available. They can be switched by pressing Alt then a function key between F1-F7. It can be useful to switch to a new terminal when waiting for job to complete, to open documentation, etc.
The Screen utility is installed by default on official Gentoo installation media. It may be more efficient for the seasoned Linux enthusiast to use screen to view installation instructions via split panes rather than the multiple TTY method mentioned above.
Optional: Starting the SSH daemon
To allow other users to access the system during the installation (perhaps to support during an installation, or even do it remotely), a user account needs to be created (as was documented earlier on) and the SSH daemon needs to be started.
To fire up the SSH daemon on an OpenRC init, execute the following command:
rc-service sshd start
If users log on to the system, they will see a message that the host key for this system needs to be confirmed (through what is called a fingerprint). This behavior is typical and can be expected for initial connections to an SSH server. However, later when the system is set up and someone logs on to the newly created system, the SSH client will warn that the host key has been changed. This is because the user now logs on to - for SSH - a different server (namely the freshly installed Gentoo system rather than the live environment that the installation is currently using). Follow the instructions given on the screen then to replace the host key on the client system.
To be able to use sshd, the network needs to function properly. Continue with the chapter on Configuring the network.