Funtoo Linux First Steps

This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.

If you are brand new to Gentoo Linux or Funtoo Linux, this page will help you to get familiar with your new system, and how it works.

Intro to Emerge: Installing an Editor

By default, Funtoo Linux has the nano and vi editors installed. nano is the default editor.

If you are new to Funtoo Linux, you have probably heard about emerge, the Funtoo and Gentoo Linux command for installing packages from the Portage tree. Funtoo Linux has a git-based Portage tree, which is located at /usr/portage by default. It contains scripts called ebuilds that describe how to build and install packages from source. emerge is used to run these scripts and install packages, as follows:

# emerge vim

An important note about any commands you specify on an emerge command-line -- Portage will automatically add them to your "selected" set, which means that Portage now understands that you want to keep this package updated as part of your system.

Using the --pretend (-p) option, you can see what emerge would do, without actually doing it:

# emerge -p vim

Another equally handy option is the -a, or --ask option, which will display the packages to be merged, and then ask for confirmation from you as to whether you would like to proceed and merge the packages, or not:

# emerge -a emacs

These are the packages that would be merged, in order:

Calculating dependencies... done!
[ebuild  N     ] app-admin/eselect-emacs-1.13 
[ebuild  N     ] net-libs/liblockfile-1.09 
[ebuild  N     ] app-emacs/emacs-common-gentoo-1.3-r1  USE="-X -emacs22icons" 
[ebuild  N     ] app-editors/emacs-23.4-r1  USE="alsa gif gpm jpeg png tiff xpm ##!r#-X -Xaw3d (-aqua) -athena -dbus -gconf -gtk -gzip-el -hesiod -kerberos -livecd -m17n-lib -motif -sound -source -svg -toolkit-scroll-bars -xft" 
[ebuild  N     ] virtual/emacs-23 

Would you like to merge these packages? [Yes/No]  y

USE Variables

In the above emerge output, you can see some text beginning with USE= on the app-editors/emacs line. This means that this package has a number of optional build-time features which can be controlled using Portage USE variables.

It is possible to enable USE variables globally in /etc/make.conf, on a per-package basis in /etc/portage/package.use, or as logical sets by using Funtoo Profiles. It's recommended that you first take a look at Funtoo Profiles and see if there may be sets of USE variables that you want to enable as a group. You can set your system flavor to more accurately reflect the intended use of your Funtoo system, and by doing so, many more USE variables will be set (or unset) to reasonable defaults for your intended use.

These USE variables can be set globally by adding a line such as this to /etc/make.conf:

/etc/make.conf (bash source code)
USE="gif jpeg png tiff xpm"

Or, alternatively, you can enable just these USE variables for emacs by adding the following line to /etc/portage/package.use:

/etc/portage/package.use (bash source code)
app-editors/emacs gif jpeg png tiff xpm

However, it's generally best to find a Funtoo Profile flavor or mix-in that serves your purpose. For example, setting your system to be a desktop by running epro flavor desktop or adding the appropriate mix-in via epro mix-in +mediaformat-gfx-common gives you more opportunity to dial in sets of related USE variables with a single command.

See the emerge page for more information on various emerge command-line options and best practices.

Default editor

Funtoo Linux also has a special meta-command called eselect, which can be used to set many default system settings. One of the things it is used for is to set the default editor used by things like crontab -e, etc that will automatically start an editor when run. Here is how to use eselect to change the default system editor:

# eselect editor list
Available targets for the EDITOR variable:
  [1]   /bin/nano
  [2]   /bin/ed
  [3]   /usr/bin/ex
  [4]   /usr/bin/vi
  [ ]   (free form)
# eselect editor set 4
Setting EDITOR to /usr/bin/vi ...
Run ". /etc/profile" to update the variable in your shell.
After logging in again, or typing source /etc/profile in the current shell, the new system editor will be active.

Note that if you want to use vim instead of a vi through busybox you also need to run:

# eselect vi set vim

Updating your system

Sometimes, you may want to update the packages on your system. Often, this is done after you run emerge --sync, which will grab Portage tree updates from the main Funtoo Linux Portage tree:

# emerge --sync

>>> Starting git pull...
remote: Counting objects: 1791, done.        
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (206/206), done.        
remote: Total 980 (delta 811), reused 931 (delta 764)        
Receiving objects: 100% (980/980), 185.04 KiB, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (811/811), completed with 754 local objects.
From git://
   7a17140..b836bc8 -> origin/
Updating 7a17140..b836bc8
>>> Git pull in /usr/portage successful

 * IMPORTANT: 1 news items need reading for repository 'gentoo'.
 * Use eselect news to read news items.


You may also want to update your system after you have changed USE flag settings. To take advantage of the USE flags you have just enabled, it's necessary to recompile everything that includes them.

Below, you'll find a recommended emerge command for updating your entire system. The -a option will cause emerge to prompt you for confirmation before starting the merge:

# emerge -auDN world

-u tells emerge to update any already-installed but out-of-date packages that we specify on the command-line. The -D option tells emerge to perform a deep dependency tree graph, so it will include sub-dependencies of packages that we have specified on the command line as well. This allows emerge to perform as thorough an update of your system as possible.

The -N (--newuse) option tells Portage to check for any new USE flags that have been enabled or disabled, and rebuild packages so that all USE flags are set as currently defined in Funtoo Profiles, /etc/make.conf and /etc/portage/package.use.

world is a "meta-package" or "package set" which includes every package that you have manually installed plus all packages in the system set. If you want to see a list of all these packages, look at /var/lib/portage/world:

# cat /var/lib/portage/world

Updating a few packages

If we simply wanted to rebuild a few packages to reflect updated USE flag settings, we could specify it instead of world. Be sure to include the -N option:

# emerge -auDN vim emacs

Useful applications for daily usage

Here are some other packages you may want to consider installing via emerge:

Allows you to have persistent login sessions.
Similar to screen -- some people prefer it.
Grant root privileges to selected users and command combinations.
Colorful and informative text-based process list.
Similar to htop, includes disc I/O and network I/O in display.
Quick portage package search
Portage utils
GNU Midnight Commander is a text based file manager --- some will recall MS-DOS XtreeGold
Command-line interface to various pastebins; very useful in providing info along with bugs reports
A modular textUI IRC client with IPv6 support; a powerful tool to get help from Funtoo Community on IRC channel. Nice companion to app-text/wgetpaste
# emerge --jobs app-misc/screen sudo htop eix gentoolkit app-misc/mc wgetpaste net-irc/irssi

Creating a user account

It's a good idea to create a normal user account that you can use for general Linux tasks. Before rebooting, create a user account for everyday use. Adjust the groups in the example below to match your needs. Some of them may not exist yet on your system. Replace "<user_name>" with the name you're going to use for your everyday user. The "-m" option instructs useradd to create a home directory for your user. See man useradd for more info.

# useradd -m -g users -G audio,video,cdrom,wheel <user_name>

Don't forget to set a password for your new user:

# passwd <user_name>

Installing a graphical environment

If you intend on using your Funtoo Linux installation for more than system administration, chances are you're going to want to have a GUI (graphical user interface). In the past, setting one up involved wading through text files and man pages. Thanks to modern tools like udev this is no longer the case.

Unlike most operating systems, Funtoo does not ship with a GUI pre-installed. If you've used Windows or Mac OS, you'd also know that their interfaces cannot be replaced easily. With Linux, the opposite is true -- you are free to choose from a huge selection of GUIs. From window managers such as Blackbox, IceWM, and xmonad, to fully-featured desktop environments like GNOME and KDE, the possibilities are vast in number.

The first step in setting up a graphical environment is to set up the X Window System. Then, you will be able to install the graphical environment of your choice. GNOME is a popular option for new users. KDE Plasma and XFCE are popular alternatives.