User:Maffblaster/Drafts/Gentoo Primers/Developing Gentoo from Windows

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This article contains experimental ideas about developing Gentoo from a single computer system without physical partitions dedicated to a native Gentoo installation.


As mentioned in the lead-in paragraph, situations exist where it is not ideal to dedicate physical disk partition(s) to a native Gentoo installation. Some the reasons include:

  • The an increase to the complexity and and the work effort required for the restructuring of the existing physical partitions on the disk to create the room needed to hold the Gentoo installation.
  • The [optional] installation and maintenance of a secondary bootloader such as GRUB or systemd-boot which will be used to select which kernel to load at boot time. This step could be considered optional, since in theory both kernels can be booted via EFI-stubs selected directly from the motherboard's firmware, however this is not normative of most setups and not presented as a possible setup within the Gentoo Handbook.
    • Using a secondary bootloader often becomes a trouble spot for installations are are dual boot capable after major Windows updates. Windows does not care to notice if there are other operating systems present on the same disk as itself. As far as the developers at Microsoft is concerned, if Windows is natively installed on a physical disk, then it is the ONLY OS that is installed. This occasionally results in the re-installation of the secondary bootloader after major Windows "Feature" updates.
  • The aspect of the losing the system's chain of trust when moving away from a having one operating system control the hardware.

The initial setup spawns the work required to plan and manage the installation. In the event that the dual booted computer system will be repurposed or sold, the rollback of these changes requires relatively minor work efforts: delete the physical partitions dedicated to Linux,resize the Windows partition to fill in the space, then perform a factory reset.

Windows native tooling

Due to hardware virtualization, operating system containerization, and cloud technologies, modern versions of Windows include a variety of technologies that make it possible to develop Gentoo (or any Linux distribution) from a Windows installation. A separate article will be created concerning the development of Gentoo from a cloud platform, therefore it will be excluded from the options below.

  1. Containers
    • Pros
      • Lightweight, resulting in quick task turn around.
    • Cons
  2. Hypervisors
    • Pros
    • Cons
      • More resources

Container options

  • Docker Desktop
    • Note that Docker Desktop will require the installation of WSL 2.
  • Podman and Podman Desktop
    • Note that Podman will require the installation of WSL 2.

Hardware virtualization options

  • HyperV
  • Virtual Box
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).
    • Note that Docker Desktop and Podman both utilize WSL 2 for their container runtime management.

See also