Install Gentoo Linux On A PC

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So recently I’ve been playing around with Gentoo Linux. And your right it can be a nightmare. So why would I consider trying to install Gentoo Linux? Below I list a few reasons.

  • It’s Faster Then Any Other Linux Distro (It make take for ever to install programs and the system itself, because you have to compile everything from source but after everything is built things run faster and more smoothly)
  • It’s A Meta Distrobution (Because you have to install everything from source, means most linux based programs will work on Gentoo. Where Fedora users run into times when they can’t run certain programs because dependencies are for Ubuntu Linux or Debian Linux. Sometimes the programs themselves are for other distros. The same is true when Ubuntu or Debian users want to run a Fedora program. This is not the case with Gentoo)
  • The system is up to date (Linux users who install a given Linux Distro like Fedora or Ubuntu usually have to apply updates to their system imediately after they install the system. Unless they install the system the day the version was released)
  • Very Few Hardware Requirements (Gentoo Linux can run on a PC with just 256MB RAM which makes it great for bring old PCs back to life)

Prepping Everything

Before we can install Gentoo we need to make sure we have everything we need. Below is list of what we need.

Assuming you have all of the above. We will first copy our Linux Distribution onto our media. We can use any Linux distribution we want to install Gentoo. However for this article we will be using the Gentoo Live image for simplicity. Follow the below instructions to burn the image onto a DVD.

Linux Terminal Method

Linux has several different command line disk burning utilities so if your not a GUI user because you want to conserve resources you may want to use the command line tools to burn the image to disk. Here are a few ways to burn the image to disk using the Linux Terminal.


We can use Wodim to burn the disk image to a blank DVD. If we choose to use wodim, we will first need to check if it is installed. To check if it is installed we will type wodim into our terminal. If it is not installed we will get a message that says bash: wodin: command not found. In that case we will install it with our package manager. After it has been installed we now can burn our Linux image to a disk, by using the following commands.

wodim -eject -tao speed=2 dev=/dev/sr1 -v -data livedvd.iso

Wait until it is done burning and ejects the disk. And your all done.

Genesis ISO

To burn the image using Genesis ISO we will first check if the software is installed. If it isn”t we will install it with our package manager, then we will run the following commands.

growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/sr1=livedvd.iso


Bashburn is very easy command line utility since it is a wizard the walks you threw. To check if it is installed type bashburn in the terminal. If you get an error that says bash: bashburn: command not found then we will need to install it with our package manager. After it is installed we will type bashburn into our terminal. When we do this we will be presented with a list of options.

In my bashburn the list of options are as follows.

  • 0) Audio
  • 1) Data
  • 2) ISO
  • 3) Bim/Cue
  • 4) Multisession
  • 5) Configure BashBurn
  • 6) Advanced
  • 7) Mount/Unmount CD
  • 8) Check Program Paths
  • 9) Define burn data
  • 10) Quit

If we want to quit Bashburn we choose the 10th option. By typing the number 10 and pressing enter. But since we want to burn an ISO image we will use the ISO option. In my case that is number two. So we type the number 2 then press enter. And follow the instructions each time on the screen. If we run into any problems we may want to exist bashbuurn. Then type the following.

sudo umount /dev/sr1

Linux Graphical Method

Since their are many GUI disk burning tools in Linux, and many of them are meant for different GUI Desktop Envirenments there are many ways to do this. I will list some of the GUI tools. It should be self explanitory on burning the image to Disk using these tools.

  • Brasero (Commonly found in Gnome Desktop Envirenments)
  • K3B (Found in KDE Desktop Envirenments)
  • GnomeBaker (Lite weight GUI disk burning tool made for Gnome but is often found in LXDE envirenments)


Every version of Microsoft Windows after the release of Windows 7 has a built in ISO burning feature. We simply navigate to the location of our Linux ISO image and then right click on it then click Burn Disk Image.


Just like in Windows burning the ISO image is pretty easy. In Mac OSX we simply open up a FInder window. Then we navigate to the location of our Linux ISO image. Next we single click on the ISO image. And after we single click the image it becomes highlighted. Now that is highlighted we will go to File > Burn Disk Image.

If your using a PC mouse with your Mac you can simply navigate to the ISO file using Finder then Right Click and choose Burn Disk Image.

Burn Image To USB Drive

The way I usually setup Linux ISO images is by putting them on a USB drive. I do this simply because I’m not wasting any blank DVD’s. Using a USB drive means I can simply reformat it when I’m done using it, and I can use the USB drive for something else in the future. To copy the ISO to a USB drive follow the appropriate instructions below.

Linux Terminal

To copy the image to USB drive from the terminal we will use the dd command. Since dd comes with almost every single Linux Distribution by default. But before we use dd to copy the image lets format the USB drive. To do this first we will type the following. Replacing sdb with your drive.

fdisk -l /dev/sdb

Now that we are in the fdisk tool. We will type the letter d on our keyboard. Then press Enter. Fdisk will tell you how many partitions are on the USB drive. If there is 1 it will say press one to delete the only partition. If there is two or three partitions it will say press 1 to delete first partition 2 to delete second and so on. If there are more then one partition press d followed by the partition number and repeat the process for all the partitions. When done, press w to save the changes and quit fdisk.

Next we will format our USB drive. To format it we type the following. Remember to replace sdb with your USB drive.

sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb

When that is done we have successfully formatted our USB drive. Next we will unmount the drive and then copy the Linux ISO image onto the drive.

sudo umount /dev/sdb
sudo dd if=livedvd.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1

Once that is done we have copied the Linux system to the USB and are ready to boot it up.

GUI For Windows Mac and Linux

If your using a GUI Desktop envirenment in Linux and want a GUI app to copy the image to the USB drive then untetbootin will do just this and it is for Linux, Windows and Mac and works the same way on all of them. On Linux use your package manager to install it. On Windows you can download it here. And Mac users can download it here. Once Unetbootin is installed you can start it up. After Unetbootin has started up check the radio button that says Disk Image then if the drop down box does not say ISO, then select ISO from the drop down box. Next you click the button with the three dots and navigate to the location of your Linux image file then you select the Linux Image file. It should look like the following.

If it looks similar to the above image click okay. If all goes well you have now copied the Linux image to the USB drive. And your ready to start installing Gentoo on your computer. In my next post I will walk you through the process of installing Gentoo on the PC so stay tuned.
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