Funtoo Linux First Steps

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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:

root # 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 (Template:-p) option, you can see what emerge would do, without actually doing it:

root # 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:

root # emerge -a emacs

root ##g##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 

root ##b##Would you like to merge these packages? [Yes/No]##!b##  y

USE Variables

In the above emerge output, you can see some text beginning with {{{1}}} 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 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:

root # 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)
root # 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:

root # eselect vi set vim


You may have heard that Funtoo Linux and Gentoo Linux are metadistributions, which means that rather than being a one-size-fits-all kind of Linux, they allow you to customize your system to your liking. We have already taken a look at USE variables, and there are also various other settings that can affect the features that are installed when you emerge a package.

In Funtoo Linux, we have a system of profiles which can be used to enable various useful settings at once. In fact, a number of profiles are already enabled on your system. For example, on my desktop system, typing

root # epro show

produces the following output:

=== Enabled Profiles: ===

        arch: x86-64bit
       build: current
     subarch: generic_64
      flavor: desktop
     mix-ins: gnome
     mix-ins: hardened

=== All inherited flavors from desktop flavor: ===

                     workstation (from desktop flavor)
                            core (from workstation flavor)
                         minimal (from core flavor)

=== All inherited mix-ins from desktop flavor: ===

                               X (from workstation flavor)
                           audio (from workstation flavor)
                             dvd (from workstation flavor)
                           media (from workstation flavor)
      mediadevice-audio-consumer (from media mix-in)
                mediadevice-base (from mediadevice-audio-consumer mix-in)
      mediadevice-video-consumer (from media mix-in)
                mediadevice-base (from mediadevice-video-consumer mix-in)
        mediaformat-audio-common (from media mix-in)
          mediaformat-gfx-common (from media mix-in)
        mediaformat-video-common (from media mix-in)
                  console-extras (from workstation flavor)
                           print (from desktop flavor)

In case you're curious, these various profile settings live within /usr/portage/profiles/funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu. You can find the profile settings for (inherited) mix-in X by looking in /usr/portage/profiles/funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/X, for example.

Under the list of Enabled profiles, you'll see that I have an x86-64bit arch profile. In Funtoo Linux, all systems have a single arch profile defined, and this is where settings specific to your system architecture are defined. Besides the architecture, there is also a sub-architecture profile, which allows you to enable builds options which make the system even more optimised towards the specific set of CPU instructions you might have at your disposal. Like in case of architecture, only a single sub-architecture can be defined at any time for a single system. In addition, I have a build profile of current. All Funtoo Linux systems have a single build profile defined, and this tells Portage what masks to apply to the Portage tree -- in other words, what selection of packages you will have available to emerge. If you are using funtoo-stable, your build profile will be stable and you will have a more limited set of packages that you can merge by default -- the stable set.

You will also see that I have a flavor profile. Unlike the arch, subarch, and build profiles, which should not be changed, you can choose another flavor if you want. In fact, we encourage you to do so. The flavor is used to define the general type of system you are creating. You can only have one flavor profile enabled, and since this command was run on a desktop-type system, I have enabled the desktop flavor. This enables a variety of settings, primarily USE flags, suitable for desktop systems.

You'll also see that I have a couple of mix-ins (explicitly) enabled. In Funtoo Linux, you can have zero or more mix-ins enabled -- I have gnome enabled, which sets various settings that are optimal for the use of the GNOME desktop environment, and then I am also using the hardened mix-in, since I have set up a so-called "hardened" system with various protections against malicious attacks.


Take advantage of Funtoo Linux's enhanced Media mix-ins to help you easily get the level of media support you want for your system.

Followed by the general information about enabled profiles and mix-ins come two lists - one showing any number of flavors that are inherited by the flavor you picked within profile settings, and one showing a listing of all the different mix-ins that got pulled-in by the flavor you have selected. As you can see, the desktop flavor itself inherits (and builds upon) flavors workstation, core, and minimal. On the other hand, all of these different flavors pull in a number of mix-ins. Each mix-in shows which flavor has pulled it in. For example, the X mix-in comes with the workstation flavor, while the print mix-in comes from the desktop flavor. Some mix-ins are pulled-in by other mix-ins, as you can see for the mix-in mediaformat-audio-common - which is pulled-in by the media mix-in (which, in turn, is pulled in by the workstation flavor).

For now, it is not necessary to get too deep into profiles, but if you are creating a desktop system, I suggest you set the desktop flavor. To do this, type the following command as the root user:

root # epro flavor desktop

You will now have the desktop flavor set for your system. Type epro show to see your new settings.

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:

root # 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.

root # 

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:

root # 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 /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. It's important to note that whenever you ask emerge to install anything, such as metalog or vim, those packages will be automatically added to the world package set. In this way, emerge learns what packages you care about and want to keep updated. If you want to see what's in your world package set, take a look at /var/lib/portage/world:

root # cat /var/lib/portage/world

Also note that some packages may have been added to the world set by Metro when your stage3 tarball was built.

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:

root # 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
root # 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.

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

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

root # 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.