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laci92
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:55 pm    Post subject: Installing Gentoo on a laptop Reply with quote

I have decided to install Gentoo on my Thinkpad E520 this summer, so I have a few questions about the installation, because I have never installed any distribution of Linux on a laptop before. I have Windows 7 installed and I'd like to dualboot. I will use SystemRescueCD for the installation (64bit system). I have read the handbook, but I will probably read it again a couple of times.

1. I am using the laptop for college (engineering), web surfing, listening to music, watching films etc. I'm planning to install MATLAB and Xilinx ISE, and because they are large (especially Xilinx), I'd like to now if a 60GB / and a 2GB swap partition would be enough? Or should I make the / bigger? Also, can I install Gentoo on a logical partition?

2. I have 2 partitions currently, the first one has Windows 7 on it and the second one is data. Can I use the data partition in Gentoo, too? I.e. if I download something onto it while in Gentoo, will I be able to see that thing from Windows (and vice versa)?

3. Are the USE flags that are set by choosing a profile a sane default or will I have to add more things? Is it enough just to choose a profile, and then handle the other flags on a per package basis?

4. I am not comfortable with compiling a kernel by hand, so I am planning to use genkernel to compile a kernel. Is a genkernel generated kernel fully functional? Can I be sure that all (or most) of my hardware will be recognised? Should I expect some troubles with genkernel?

5. What tips do you have for installing Gentoo? What things should a beginner pay attention to?

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance.
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Hu
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find 60GB to be plenty without having installed those two packages. I have no idea how much space you need for the two named packages or how easily you can get them installed on Gentoo.

You can use the data partition in Gentoo if your kernel has read-write support for the filesystem you use for that partition. If you share the partition between systems, you must ensure that it is not mounted by more than one system at once. Unmount it before hibernating Gentoo. Do not mount it in Gentoo if Windows hibernated with it mounted.

USE flags are sane on install, but they may need to be customized to make the system work the way you want.

No comment on genkernel. It is likely that at least some of your hardware will require you to enable the relevant kernel configuration. Depending on the hardware, this may require some research on your part to find what option lets the kernel drive the device. You are welcome to post here with questions if you need help identifying the proper option. I believe genkernel will, at least in some cases, take the approach of enabling everything that might be relevant. This can be helpful to get your hardware working, but imposes a substantial amount of extra build time for compiling all the unneeded features.

For tips: be prepared to make mistakes. Know how much or little state you need to redo when you go back to fix a mistake. Make a backup of anything important on Windows before you begin manipulating the partition table, especially if this is your first dual-boot system. If you do not have at least one full system backup, create that, so that you have a backup that remembers you activated Windows. It would be frustrating to realize you saved all your personal data, but cannot use the reinstalled Windows due to its DRM not recognizing that you are a legitimate user.
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laci92
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the reply, Hu.

Quote:
I find 60GB to be plenty without having installed those two packages. I have no idea how much space you need for the two named packages or how easily you can get them installed on Gentoo.


I will probably need about 20GB for those programs (MATLAB is ~5GB, Xilinx ISE is ~16GB big, on Windows).

Quote:
Unmount it before hibernating Gentoo. Do not mount it in Gentoo if Windows hibernated with it mounted.


Unmount only before hibernating, or also before shutting down?
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Hu
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That depends on whether you perform a clean shutdown or just hold down the power button until the machine dies. A clean shutdown will automatically unmount it on the way down.
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schentuu
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:35 am    Post subject: Re: Installing Gentoo on a laptop Reply with quote

laci92 wrote:
1. I am using the laptop for college (engineering), web surfing, listening to music, watching films etc. I'm planning to install MATLAB and Xilinx ISE, and because they are large (especially Xilinx), I'd like to now if a 60GB / and a 2GB swap partition would be enough? Or should I make the / bigger? Also, can I install Gentoo on a logical partition?

60 GB should be enough. For example i use gentoo in a VM on my computer at work, because my company gave me windows7 and i'm not alowed to alter that. The size of my VM is 40 GB, i installed the Mate-desktop, libre office, and some development enviroments like eclipse ...
Including the information from others, that Matlab and Xilinx take about 5+16 GB, i assume that 60 GB should be enough.

laci92 wrote:

2. I have 2 partitions currently, the first one has Windows 7 on it and the second one is data. Can I use the data partition in Gentoo, too? I.e. if I download something onto it while in Gentoo, will I be able to see that thing from Windows (and vice versa)?

there are 3 ways to do so.

The most easy way is to use a FAT Partition for exchange. Both Operating systems are able to use it.

I prefered to use an EXT2 driver with windows in the past to allow both OS to share a partition. But since i did not used Dualboot for some years i dont know if this information is up to date. for example i'm not shure if a 64 bit version of that driver is available.
Have a look here http://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsd/
But keep in mind that ext2 is a bit old fashioned.
It does not allow Journaling. For me this was okay, but only for the "transfer files between OS" Partition.
Maybe you'll find more information if you'll google for "ext driver windows".
As i said, my knowlage about that is a bit older since i don't use dualboot any more.
I use a plan installation of gentoo and have Windows in a VM, for the rare case i need it.
On work its the oter way ... Gentoo in a VM on Windows ...

There is also a way to write to NTFS Partitions with linux.
But that is something someone else needs to answer about. I did not managed it.


laci92 wrote:
3. Are the USE flags that are set by choosing a profile a sane default or will I have to add more things? Is it enough just to choose a profile, and then handle the other flags on a per package basis?

The profile gives you a good default.
You may set more flags in make.conf to fit more your system (like not all computers have CDR)
Some people use flags like -GNOME when thy want to use KDE or vice versa.

Use as many global use flags as needed, but as few as possible.
All other settings shal be made on package.use basis.

laci92 wrote:
4. I am not comfortable with compiling a kernel by hand, so I am planning to use genkernel to compile a kernel. Is a genkernel generated kernel fully functional? Can I be sure that all (or most) of my hardware will be recognised? Should I expect some troubles with genkernel?

For a beginner, genkernel is a good choise. At least it makes a kernel that makes your system bootable to have a fallback if a handmade kernel fails.
I would prefer a handmade kernel. It is not that hard as it sounds. The gentoo handbook is a good help.
So in doubt, use genkernel as a fallback solution and then try to build your own kernel later.
If you used gentoo for a while, you'll skip genkernel.


laci92 wrote:
5. What tips do you have for installing Gentoo? What things should a beginner pay attention to?

Its a tough desiccion for a beginner to start with gentoo.
Gentoo is not easy giong like linux mint for example, because you'll configure everything yourself, by hand.
On the other side, this is exactly what makes gentoo the distro i love.

In the far past, i used other distros and was able to use linux. But i did not realy understood how linux works. I was stuck at being a window klicker at KDE, using a lot of colorfull klicky-tools for configuring something.
Then i tryed gentoo :) {{ insert angel choirs and a bright light here }}
That was the moment i started to learn, what linux is all about. Using gentoo as a beginner was hard, but i learned a lot.
So if you are really willing to learn linux, and you have some frustration tollerance (because in the beginning things will break and you'll need time to learn why they broke and how to fix them) then gentoo is a great choise to dive deep into linux.
I got gentoo addicted that hard way :wink:
Nowdays i could not think about using another distributuion.

The major advantage of gentoo is that you are in controll over what will be installed and what not, not some distro makers from a country far far away.
Gentoo gives you YOUR linux sytem, YOU want.
But the way to go there is harder than with other distros.
You need to learn a lot, but you'll also have the chance to learn way more.
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laci92
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hu, schentuu, thank you for your replies.

I will start installing Gentoo as soon as I do a backup.
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schentuu
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have fun and good luck!

Installing gentoo isn't that hard.
But since you're a Linux beginner, you may need to try it serval times.
Calculate about 2 days to create a basic system without graphics, because of the learning curve :)

Read the documentation well, including the portage documentation!

Make updates regular to avoid problems with huge updates.
Many smaller ones are better, because if something fails, ist easyer to find out what went wrong.

If you own a SSD drive, read about how to alter your system to prevent it from destroying the SSD.
Portage could generate a lot of temporary files during complilation. You won't want them to make your SSD age more then needed with a lot of write access.

If gentoo brakes (and it will break some day, because you are new and will make small mistakes) don't panik!
Read the error message carefully. Try to find out what went wrong. Learn about what went wrong and why.
If you can't find a solution, ask at the forum. Most of us are nice guys :)
But a lot of Problems can be solved with brainpower, google and some endurance.

And again, read the documentation!
Gentoo ist one of the best documented distros on this planet.
The documentation also provides some descriptions, why things have to be done. So you'll learn a lot about how Linux works.

Have fun, good luck, and wellcome to Linux :-)
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