Gentoo Linux Live CD

Live CD project

  1. Step one
    Set a virtual machine and load the live CD “livedvd-amd64-multilib-20160704.iso”

Get the gentoo live cd from

# cd ~

# wget

Characteristics of my Virtual Machine are below. You can modify those setting according to your host machine resources

Load the Virtual Machine using the default option

Once you are inside of the VM, there are three things that you have to change

  1. Active the sshd

sudo /etc/init.d/sshd start

  1. Change the roort password

sudo passwd root

  1. Get your ip


emerge -av squashfs-tools <---- help to create the Filesystem later

*From now, you can access the virtual machine from your favorite terminal (I’m using Debian), if you are in windows, use putty.

Once you get inside of your live cd, you can type

# lsblk

As you can see, I created a 40G HD


fd0      2:0    1    4K  0 disk

sda      8:0    0   40G  0 disk <------Here!

sr0     11:0    1  2.8G  0 rom  /mnt/cdrom

loop0    7:0    0  2.6G  1 loop /mnt/livecd

Well, in order to access those 40G and build our customized LiveCD, we have to create a partition and give it format.

I’m going to use cfdisk in order to create the partition

cfdisk /dev/sda

Give format to the new partition sda1

mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1

Create a new folder and mount the partition

# mkdir -p /mnt/liveCD

# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/liveCD

# mount


vartmp on /var/tmp type tmpfs (rw)

tmp on /tmp type tmpfs (rw)

distfiles on /usr/portage/distfiles type tmpfs (rw)

/dev/sda1 on /mnt/liveCD type ext4 (rw)  <----here!

Get into the work folder

# cd /mnt/liveCD/

We need to use a linux template in order to create our linux. We could use the gentoo LiveCD that we have downloaded but it is to big (almost 3Gs). So lets get something smaller (430M).

# wget

Note: This ISO suppose to be a hybrid version of linux (32bit/64bits). However, it is not. It has a bunch of kernels for different platforms included the 64bits kernel but the squash.img was created from the stage3/32bits. So if you try to compile something for 64 bits, it will not work. Don’t worry, we are going to download our stage3/64bits and our own kernel.

Let’s have fun!

Create a new directory. This is going to be actually our new livecd, everything we put inside of this directory is going to be wrapped into the final ISO

   # mkdir -p /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd

   # mkdir -p /mnt/liveCD/iso

Mount the systemrescuecd iso to /mnt/liveCD/iso

mount -o loop systemrescuecd-x86-4.5.2.iso iso/

mount: /dev/loop1 is write-protected, mounting read-only

Access to the “iso/” folder and copy all the files/folders to the new folder “newlivecd/”

# cd /mnt/liveCD/iso

# cp -R boot/ ../newlivecd

# cp -R efi/ ../newlivecd

# cp -R isolinux/ ../newlivecd

Now, get access to the “newlivecd/”

# cd /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd

The purpose of this tutorial is understand how cdlives works, so I’m going to delete a bunch of stuff from the systemrescuecd. Lets start with something simple but functional. ( I eliminated the hash tags so you can copy the following lines and paste it into your terminal)

Get into the folder isolinux/

# cd /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/isolinux

Delete the following file/folders

rm altker32

rm altker64

rm chain.c32

rm f1boot.msg

rm f2images.msg

rm f3params.msg

rm f4arun.msg

rm f5troubl.msg

rm f6pxe.msg

rm f7net.msg

rm ifcpu64.c32

rm initram.igz

rm kbdmap.c32

rm -rf maps

rm memdisk

rm menu.c32

rm netboot

rm pxelinux.0

rm reboot.c32

rm rescue32

rm rescue64

rm isolinux.old

rm isolinux.cfg

Create a new file

# vi isolinux.cfg

Paste the following code into the file and save it

UI vesamenu.c32

MENU TITLE Gentoo Linux - Mrwhitebp EDITION








menu color title        1;36;44    #b5b3ff #00000000 std

menu color sel          7;37;40    #e0ffffff #311f39 all

menu color tabmsg       31;40      #90ffffff #311f39 std

menu color timeout      1;37;40    #ff0000 #00000000 std

menu color help         37;40      #c0ffffff #00000000 std

menu color msg07        37;40 

default gentoo-x86_64

timeout 150

# ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


label gentoo-x86_64

MENU LABEL Gentoo x86_64(Mrwhite)

kernel /isolinux/gentoo

append root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc aufs looptype=squashfs loop=/image.squashfs cdroot initrd=/isolinux/gentoo.igz nomodeset


Boot Gentoo x86_64


Now create the file “livecd” required to mount the filesystem (legacy and Efi)

# cd /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd

# touch livecd

# cd /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/boot

# touch livecd

Now, it is time to download the stage3 from the Gentoo website

# cd /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd

The stage3 is published every day so do not follow the link below. Basically, go to the Gentoo website and download the stage3 64 bits. here is the link

Now, we are going to create our squashfs that represents the linux filesystem.

# mkdir  -p /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/squashfs

Decompress the stage3 file into the squashfs folder

# tar -axvpf stage3-amd64-[].tar.bz2 -C squashfs/

Get into the folder squashfs

# cd /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/squashfs

Now , we have to mount a few things for compilation purposes (be careful with the slashes, they are meaning a lot)

# mount --rbind /proc/ proc/

# mount --rbind /dev dev/

# mount --rbind /sys  sys/

# cp /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/squashfs/etc/

# cp /proc/config.gz .

It is time to Chroot our new system

# chroot . /bin/bash

# source /etc/profile

# export PS1="(chroot) $PS1"

# ping

Make sure that your Internet is working and run the following command in order to get portage

# emerge-webrsync

# emerge -avuDN --with-bdeps y --keep-going world

Install vim ( personal preferences)

# emerge -av vim

Now, install the kernel sources (personal preferences)

# emerge -av aufs-sources

# update-env

There are some requirements for the kernel so make sure to add the following packages and then install the kernel again

# echo "=sys-fs/aufs-headers-4.0_p20150420 ~amd64" >> /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords

# echo "=sys-kernel/aufs-sources-4.0.5 ~amd64" >> /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords

# echo "=sys-fs/aufs-util-4.0_p20150420 ~amd64" >> /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords

# emerge -av aufs-sources

Now let’s copy the configuration file from our livecd, it is going to save us a lot of time of kernel tuning.

# cd /

# zcat config.gz > usr/src/linux/.config

# cd /usr/src/linux

# make olddefconfig

In case you want to add extra functionality edit the kernel

# make menuconfig

# make

# make modules

# make modules_install

# make install

# emerge -av genkernel

# genkernel intramfs

Ok, We have built our modules and kernel. We will back later!

Now, lets install software into it. In order to avoid errors during the compilation, we have to edit the make.conf file

# vi /etc/portage/make.conf

add the following line at the end of the file


Let’s try LVM2

# emerge -av lvm2

After finish the install Linux volume manager, you can comment the previous line into the make.conf. Otherwise you will be compiling software with only one processor.

Let’s try more software

# emerge -av cryptsetup

# emerge -av mdadm

# emerge -av squashfs-tools

# emerge -av efibootmgr

# emerge -av gptfdisk

# emerge -av cdrkit

# emerge -av dhcpcd

# rc-update add dhcpcd boot

# emerge -av sshd 

# rc-update add sshd boot 

# passwd root  <-----change the root password

Now, it is time to install zfs. Copy the following line and paste the on the terminal

# echo "=sys-fs/zfs-kmod-0.6.4 ~amd64" >> /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords

# echo "=sys-kernel/spl-0.6.4 ~amd64" >> /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords

# echo "=sys-fs/zfs-0.6.4 ~amd64" >> /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords

# emerge -av zfs

# touch /etc/mtab

# zpool status

You can continue adding more software…

Now, we are going to build our ISO

First, exit from the CHROOT

# exit

# cp boot/* ../isolinux/  <---copying the kernel and the initramfs

# umount -l proc/

# umount -l sys/

# umount -l dev/

# cd /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/

# tar -zcvf squashfs_back.tar.gz squashfs/ <---- Backup your filesystem just in case

# cp -R squashfs_back.tar.gz ../   <---- move it out from our work directory

We have to install squashfs also in the gentoo cdlive

   # rm stage3-amd64-20150604.tar.bz2 <-----delete the stage3 file

   # mksquashfs squashfs/ image.squashfs -comp xz

   # rm -rf squashfs/

So, we have our filesyetm ready and our folder should looks like this

# ls

boot  efi  image.squashfs  isolinux  livecd 

We have to rename the kernel and the initramfs according to our isolinux.cfg file

# mv initramfs-genkernel-x86_64-4.0.5-aufs gentoo.igz

# mv  vmlinuz-4.0.5-aufs gentoo

# mv

# mv config-4.0.5-aufs config-gentoo

Now, we have to genereta our grub file for EFI boots

go to the directory

# cd /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/boot/grub

# rm grub-452.cfg

Create the file grub.cfg and paste into the file the following code

# vi gru.cfg

Code below

# Global options

set timeout=90

set default=0


# Display settings

if loadfont /boot/grub/font.pf2 ; then

        set gfxmode=auto

        insmod efi_gop

        insmod efi_uga

        insmod gfxterm

        insmod videotest

        insmod videoinfo

        terminal_output gfxterm



menuentry "Gentoo zfs and efi (64bit, odin blanco)" {

set gfxpayload=keep

linux /isolinux/gentoo root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc aufs looptype=squashfs loop=/image.squashfs cdroot vconsole.keymap=$bootkeymap locale=$bootlang $modeset_opt $nox $acpi_opt console=tty1 nomodeset

        initrd /isolinux/gentoo.igz



It is time to create the ISO and cross our fingers

The struture directory under /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd, should looks like this

boot/  efi/  image.squashfs  isolinux/  livecd

Change to the folder

# /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/boot/grub

# cp /mnt/cdrom/isolinux/efiboot.img /mnt/liveCD/newlivecd/isolinux/

# cd /mnt/liveCD

# mkisofs -o gentoo_light_zfs_mrwhitebp_64bits.iso -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/ -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -eltorito-alt-boot -b isolinux/efiboot.img -no-emul-boot -U -J -joliet-long -r -v -T newlivecd/

Let’s try the new iso.

I copied the ISO from the Virtual machine to my Debian machine

# scp gentoo_light_zfs_mrwhitebp_64bits.iso mrwbp@

I created another virtual machine in Vmware or virtuabox and I used the new ISO

We logged into the new ISO and we were able to test the connection

we are also able to test zfs, there are not pools available but the zfs support is already there.

Finally, we have to test EFI, so I’m going to make some changes on the virtual machine in order to boot with EFi BIOS.

edit the file *.vmx on your vmware (I don’t know about virtualbox sorry)

# vi gentoo-zfs-64.vmx

Add the following lines and save it

firmware = "efi"

bios.forceSetupOnce = "FALSE"

Run the virtual machine again, You will see diffent menu because Grub is responding now.

I’m going to burn this img to a USB and try to boot my laptop, someone at work told me that 64 iso should work on a 32 bits computers. Lets check it out.

I don’t have CD’s so I need to convert this ISO to a USB compatible. In order to do that I’m going to install some packages in Debian

# apt-get install syslinux-utils

# isohybrid path/to/image.iso  <---converting the ISO

# dd if=path/to/image.iso of=/dev/sde <--writing to the the USB


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