Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gentoo on a Gateway 200ARC!!!

I have been working on installing gentoo on an old laptop (Gateway 200arc).

As far as I have been able to test, everything works to some degree right now - from booting without errors (and quickly) to the build in wireless card. As it is now, though, it is only a console - no X. I am new to gentoo, and have done the install mostly through chrooting from an installed working version of Ubuntu Feisty 7.04.

I am doing this because I believe a good linux user should be familiar with multiple distributions. I have the most experience with Debian (and its derivatives), but have also sued Slackware and Suse in the past. I guess it is time to swim with the big fish now and Gentoo sounds geeky and l33t :)

I followed the handbook for the most part. Gentoo is actually not that difficult to install if you are comfortable with the commandline and can read/follow directions - the handbook is very well written.

Like I said, I have not used a cd iso or anything, I downloaded the single page html handbook, a stage 3 tarball, and a portage snapshot (just read the book - it will tell you what and where) all from a completely different distribution. I did everything over the other distro's wireless. I made a small file with the instructions on how to chroot into the environment, and used it whenever I needed back in (since I take many breaks). The most time consuming/nail biting experience is the kernel - but I went through every item, and made educated guesses based on lspci, lsmod, and dmesg outputs in my working distro.

The most difficult thing so far has been getting my wireless to work. I first tried compiling the driver (ipw2200) into the kernel, then as a module - both ways left me without wireless working still :( I even jumped on irc (best thing I never tried before) without resolution of the problem - then on some foreign language page I could not read - I found instructions that listed the phrase, "emerge ipw2200-firmware" which I did and everything works! It even works with each kernel :)

Well, I will keep on working at it - this is becoming fun as things work. I will be adding X soon and think I may go xfce + compiz-fusion or Enlightenment 17 - who knows - any suggestions???

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