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Gentoo Linux Installer 0.3 Release Announcement


1.  Version 0.3

The Gentoo Linux Installer team would like to announce version 0.3 of the installer. This release will be an official part of the 2006.0 Gentoo release. The old universal and package CDs have been replaced by the Installer LiveCD for the x86 architecture. An experimental AMD64 Installer LiveCD will also be released under /experimental, and will have similar capabilities, but it is not officially supported.

2.  Improvements

As always, there are many improvements (and bugfixes) since the last version.

  • Improved support for preserving existing partitions (many, many bugfixes).
  • Complete rewrite of the GRP handling code: We no longer use quickpkg and emerge -K, which has cut the install time for GRP about in half.
  • GTK+ frontend redesign: the listing of steps that was previously in the separate panel on the left has been replaced by the "Future Bar" (as named and designed by blackace). This allows more space for each screen, and it prevents the problem of the steps going off the bottom of the screen.
  • More sub-progress reporting: any install step that takes more than a few seconds will now report on its progress in a secondary progress bar (or as part of the main progress bar in gli-dialog). Included is stuff like partitioning, downloading a tarball, unpacking a tarball, emerging packages, etc.
  • Recommended partition layout: If you have at least 4GB of consecutive unallocated space, the installer can create a partitioning layout for you consisting of a 100MB /boot, a swap with a size calculated based on amount of physical memory, and a / taking up the remaining space.
  • Graceful cleanup after install failure in both frontends.

3.  Reporting Bugs

As always with improvements, there are new bugs created to go along with them. If you do encounter a bug, make sure to save your /tmp/installprofile.xml and /var/log/installer.log.failed from the LiveCD right after the install fails. File a bug at Select the "Gentoo Linux" product and the "GLI" component.

4.  Speed Record

With the installer, we have set a new world speed record for a Gentoo install. Using gli-dialog, a local (on disk or on a local ftp/http server) stage3 tarball, the portage snapshot on the LiveCD, and the GRP option, we have completed an install in just under 7 minutes. This was in VMWare on a box with an Athlon64 3200+, 1GB of memory (512MB allocated to VMWare), and a SATA disk. The same install in the GTK+ frontend took 10:40 on a Athlon64 4200+ with 1GB of memory (384MB allocated to VMWare) and a SATA disk, but the GTK+ frontend does a few things (displaying the install logfile and compile output) that the dialog frontend does not do.

5.  Screenshots & Videos

There are updated screenshots of both frontends available. There are also some videos of different types of installs using both frontends. The videos should be available via the Gentoo bittorrent tracker. The three install types are:

  • basic: minimal install, dynamic stage3, GRP for logger, cron, and bootloader
  • gnome GRP: dynamic stage3, GRP option, gnome added to extra packages
  • speed test: minimal install, local stage3 tarball, GRP for logger, cron, and bootloader

The first two types are both networkless.

6.  Future

As mentioned in the release announcement for 0.2, there is also a web-based frontend in the works. It is the profile creation component of the network deployment system called GLIMD (Gentoo Linux Installation Management Daemon). GLIMD is designed to deploy multiple machines (optionally with different profiles) simultaneously. While we have had a few successful test installs with this method, it is still *extremely* alpha.


Page updated 28 Feb 2006

Summary: Information regarding the 0.3 release of the Gentoo Linux Installer.

Andrew Gaffney


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