User:Veremit/catalyst HOWTO

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Catalyst is a release-buildcing tool for Gentoo. If you use Gentoo and want to roll your own live CD or bootable USB stick, this is the way to go. First, get a Gentoo development box and install the necessary tools:

   # emerge -av dev-util/catalyst

Configure catalyst by editing `/etc/catalyst/catalyst.conf`, which is well commented. This sets up defaults such as hashing algorithms and storage directories. The defaults will probably be fine unless disk space is an issue.

Assembling a starting point


Portage snapshot 00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)~

Create a snapshot of your current Portage tree (you may want to `emerge --sync` first):

   # catalyst --snapshot 20130131
   # ls /var/tmp/catalyst/snapshots/
   portage-20130131.tar.bz2
   portage-20130131.tar.bz2.CONTENTS
   portage-20130131.tar.bz2.DIGESTS

where the storage location is relative to the default `$storedir=/var/tmp/catalyst`.

Stage3 tarball 00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)-- veremit (talk) 00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)

Get a stage3 tarball (containing the build tools you'll need to construct your stage1) from your local https://www.gentoo.org/downloads/mirrors/[Gentoo mirror].

   $GENTOO_MIRROR/releases/$ARCH/current-stage3/

For example,

   http://distfiles.gentoo.org/releases/amd64/autobuilds/current-stage3-amd64/stage3-amd64-20121213.tar.bz2

Grab the tarball and put it where catalyst will find it:

   # wget http://?/stage3-amd64-20121213.tar.bz2
   # wget http://?/stage3-amd64-20121213.tar.bz2.CONTENTS
   # wget http://?/stage3-amd64-20121213.tar.bz2.DIGESTS.asc
   # sha512sum -c stage3-amd64-20121213.tar.bz2.DIGESTS.asc
   # gpg --verify stage3-amd64-20121213.tar.bz2.DIGESTS.asc
   # mv stage3-amd64-20121213.tar.bz2* /var/tmp/catalyst/builds/default/

where the storage dir is `$storedir/builds/$source_subpath` (`$storedir` from `catalyst.conf`, `$source_subpath` from your `*.spec` file).

`.*spec` files 00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)-- veremit (talk) 00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)

`.*spec` files tell catalyst about the system you're trying to build. There are a number of examples distributed with catalyst. Look in `/usr/share/doc/catalyst-*/examples/`. A minimal `*.spec` file for this example is:

   # cat default-stage1-amd64-2013.1.spec
   subarch: amd64
   version_stamp: 2013.1
   target: stage1
   rel_type: default
   profile: default/linux/amd64/10.0/no-multilib
   snapshot: 20130131
   source_subpath: default/stage3-amd64-20121213

You may need to adjust the `subarch`, `snapshot`, and `source_subpath` fields of the `*.spec` to match your target host, Portage snapshot, and stage3 tarball name respectively.

For more details on what can go into a `*.spec` file, see `catalyst-spec(5)`.

Building stage1


Now that everything's setup, run catalyst:

   # catalyst -f default-stage1-amd64-2013.1.spec

which will build the target and install something like:

   # ls /var/tmp/catalyst/builds/default/stage1-amd64-2013.1.*
   /var/tmp/catalyst/builds/default/stage1-amd64-2013.1.tar.bz2
   /var/tmp/catalyst/builds/default/stage1-amd64-2013.1.tar.bz2.CONTENTS
   /var/tmp/catalyst/builds/default/stage1-amd64-2013.1.tar.bz2.DIGESTS

The name is an expansion of `$storedir/builds/$rel_type/$target-$subarch-$version_stamp?`.

Building stage2 and stage3


Once you've built the stage1 from your seed stage3, you can use that stage1 to build a stage2 and stage3. The `*.spec` files are similar:

   $ diff -u default-stage{1,2}-amd64-2013.1.spec
   --- default-stage1-amd64-2013.1.spec
   +++ default-stage2-amd64-2013.1.spec
   @@ -1,7 +1,7 @@
    subarch: amd64
    version_stamp: 2013.1
   -target: stage1
   +target: stage2
    rel_type: default
    profile: default/linux/amd64/10.0/no-multilib
    snapshot: 20130131
   -source_subpath: default/stage3-amd64-20121213
   +source_subpath: default/stage1-amd64-2013.1
   $ diff default-stage{2,3}-amd64-2013.1.spec
   --- default-stage2-amd64-2013.1.spec
   +++ default-stage3-amd64-2013.1.spec
   @@ -1,7 +1,7 @@
    subarch: amd64
    version_stamp: 2013.1
   -target: stage2
   +target: stage3
    rel_type: default
    profile: default/linux/amd64/10.0/no-multilib
    snapshot: 20130131
   -source_subpath: default/stage1-amd64-2013.1
   +source_subpath: default/stage2-amd64-2013.1

Gentoo stages


You can't compile a big pile of source code without an already compiled toolchain, which is where Gentoo's stages come in. The ?base system? contains the necessary build tools and supporting infrastructure to get things going. The stages are:

[options="header",frame="topbot",grid="none"] |======================================================================================= | Source | Action | Result | seed stage3 | Build packages listed in your profile's `packages.build` | stage1 | stage1 | Rebuild the toolchain with the package tree's `bootstrap.sh` | stage2 | stage2 | Compile the base `@system` packages | stage3 | stage3 | Compile additional `@world` packages | stage4 |=======================================================================================

For stage1, Catalyst builds the stuff your profile says you need to get started, using the tools in the seed stage3. It uses Portage's ability to merge packages into an alternatively-rooted filesystem (`/tmp/stage1root`, using `ROOT` in `make.conf`). This ensures that only freshly-built packages end up in stage1.

A fresh stage1 has newly-compiled versions of everything you need to build a full system, but all of the stage1 binaries were built with tools from the seed stage3. For stage2, Catalyst rebuilds a number of critial packages (GCC, glibc, binutils, ...) using the `bootstrap.sh` script distributed with the package tree. Rebuilding the packages using the packages themselves (instead of the seed stage3 tools) gives an extra layer of separation from any crazy output that the seed tooling may have generated.

Once we have a stage2, Catalyst builds all of the base system packages for stage3, rebuilding any that were already built in stage2 (`emerge -e @system`). The `@system` set of packages is defined by `packages` files in your cascading profile. See https://dev.gentoo.org/~ulm/pms/5/pms.html#x1-520005.2.6[the Package Manager Specification] for details.

For more details on the differences between the stages, look at the target helper scripts (e.g. `targets/stage1/*.sh`).

Building with a kernel


If you're shooting for a live CD or bootable USB stick, you'll need to compile your own kernel. Here's how that works.

Genkernel 00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)-- veremit (talk) 00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)

When you don't know exactly which kernel options you need, add something like the following to your `*.spec`:

   boot/kernel: gentoo
   boot/kernel/gentoo/sources: gentoo-sources

You can still set `boot/kernel/<label>/config` when you're using genkernel if you want to give genkernel some hints.

Genkernel alternatives 00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)00:40, 29 March 2020 (UTC)~~

If you don't want to use a genkernel, your options are fairly limited. The currently suggested route is to create your own binary kernel package.

Stage4


`examples/stage4_template.spec` is a good template for building a stage4 tarball. Besides setting `target: stage4` and adjusting `source_subpath`, I usually use `stage4/packages`, `stage4/rcadd`, and the `boot/kernel` stuff described above. This gives an almost bootable stage that you can dump on a USB flash drive.

Live CDs


Live CDs should be built in two stages: `livecd-stage1` (based on a stage3 source) for building extra packages (along the same lines as a stage4) and `livecd-stage2` (based on `livecd-stage1`) for setting up the kernel, bootloader, filesystem, and other details. See `examples/livecd-stage*_template.spec` for some ideas.

Live USBs


The easiest way to create a live USB is currently to install a live CD ISO using http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/Doc/isolinux#HYBRID_CD-ROM.2FHARD_DISK_MODE[isohybrid] and `dd`:

   # isohybrid filename.iso
   # dd if=filename.iso of=/dev/sdX

replacing `X` with the appropriate drive letter for your USB disk. See https://bugs.gentoo.org/251719[bug 251719] for details.

Running catalyst from a Git checkout


If you're developing catalyst, you'll want to test your altered version. An easy way to run it without reinstalling is to setup a local configuration file. The checkout also includes a testpath file which when sourced adds it's bin/ to PATH and it's checkout dir to PYTHONPATH. That terminal will then use the checkout bin/catalyst and the checkout's python modules.

cd into the checkout directory and run:

   # source ./testpath
   # catalyst -c catalyst.conf -f path/to/your.spec

The local configuration file can use all the defaults except for `sharedir`, which you should change to point to your development directory:

   sharedir="/home/wking/src/catalyst"