Gentoo Boot via YUMI

2013-12-07 19:15 - Linux

In pursuit of other things, I recently figured out how to get the Gentoo live media to work with YUMI, a tool to put multiple boot media onto a single bootable USB drive. It supports a wide range of tools natively, but not any of the bootable Gentoo media. It does have a "Try Unlisted ISO" option. These appear at first not to work with Gentoo media. They just need some tweaking.

First let me mention in passing the tool Rufus, which will format, and optionally install a single bootable media, USB drives. It's really nice, but I want to use YUMI to install multiple bootable tools onto one drive.

The first thing you'll need is the bootable ISO images to start with. I've been working with the amd64 64-bit bootable media recently. The Gentoo LiveDVD named livedvd-amd64-multilib-20121221.iso, and the Gentoo minimal LiveCD named install-amd64-minimal-20131010.iso. (The minimal LiveCD is small and fast. The LiveDVD is the only bootable linux media I currently know of with both LUKS and ZFS support.)

First open YUMI. Let it properly FAT format this USB drive and set it bootable. Then pick "Try Unlisted ISO (via SYSLINUX)" as the distribution to install, pick the right ISO, and let it go. When I do this, I'm left with E:\multiboot\install-amd64-minimal-20131010 filled with the files that the ISO contained. Some of these files assume they are at the root of the drive, but YUMI has changed this. That's what we need to fix, to make it work again.

Within this directory that YUMI put the LiveCD in, find the isolinux directory, and the isolinux.cfg file there. There should be two lines looking something like:

  append root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc  dokeymap looptype=squashfs loop=/image.squashfs  cdroot initrd=gentoo.igz vga=791

We need to fix the loop= parameter, to point to that file's location within the USB drive. I edited that line to look like:

  append root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc  dokeymap looptype=squashfs loop=/multiboot/install-amd64-minimal-20131010/image.squashfs  cdroot initrd=gentoo.igz vga=791

Plus the same changes to the gentoo-nofb entry. Finally, we need to move the (empty) livecd file up to the top of the USB drive. This is how the Gentoo LiveCD boot system validates that it has found the drive it expects. As far as I can tell, it will only look in the root.

At this point you can follow the same steps for the LiveDVD. Which like I said has ZFS support, and also is a full/graphical live linux environment.

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