How to install Sabayon Linux via the command line using the ‘text installer’
September 16, 2014 16 Comments
If you have trouble installing Sabayon Linux from one of the ISOs that include KDE, GNOME or Xfce, you could try installing from the
‘SpinBase’ ISO or ‘Minimal’ ISO instead and add a desktop environment later.
And sometimes the Sabayon Linux installer is unable to install the distribution correctly for the GPU or IGP in your machine, so installing the distribution to use the X.Org VESA video driver then later trying another video driver can also be a way to get you to a working installation.
Whichever ‘spin’ of Sabayon Linux I try to install, I find my success varies considerably with the release of ISO. So, if you end up with a blank screen when you reboot after installing the distribution, try installing it again with a different ISO, such as a Monthly release instead of a Daily release. If none of the current ISOs result in a working installation, you may have to wait a few days for a new Daily release to be uploaded. Despite the name, the Daily ISOs are not necessarily released daily.
I recommend you practice installation in VirtualBox before trying with an actual HDD. You can do this on a PC running VirtualBox under Windows, Mac OS or Linux. N.B. If the console goes black at any time in VirtualBox, press
Enter to refresh the contents.
The steps below worked for me with a Sabayon Linux ISO dated 14 September 2014 in VirtualBox running under Windows 8.1 on a machine with Intel HD Graphics IGP. In the steps below I configure the installation for the time zone in which São Paulo is situated and specify British English and Brazilian Portuguese as the languages to be used. Obviously you should choose instead the time zone and language that you want in your installation.
1. Download the Daily SpinBase ISO (Sabayon_Linux_DAILY_x86_SpinBase.iso) from one of the ISO repositories (see the Download link on the distribution’s Web site).
2. Create a LiveDVD from the ISO (see my post Help for Windows users: How to create a Linux LiveCD, LiveDVD or LivePenDrive from an ISO file if you don’t know how to do that).
3. Boot the LiveDVD.
4. You have two choices here, really. Try (a) first and, if the LiveDVD will not continue to load the OS or it will but you end up with an installation that does not work, then re-boot the LiveDVD and perform (b) instead.
a) Press ‘
Enter‘ at the Sabayon Linux boot menu, to start the OS from the LiveDVD.
F5 at the Sabayon Linux boot menu, then
Esc to close the pop-up list of boot parameters. Then delete the “
---” at the end of the list of kernel boot parameters, delete the “
vga=791“, add “
xdriver=vesa” to the end of the list and press ‘
Enter‘ to start the OS from the LiveDVD. Note that, unlike the other Sabayon Linux ISO releases, the SpinBase ISO does not include video drivers for X Windows. However, by booting the LiveDVD with
xdriver=vesa the installation on the HDD will include that parameter in
In either case, Sabayon Linux on the LiveDVD should start in text mode and you should see a root user prompt:
5. Enter the following command and follow the prompts to enter the relevant information to install Sabayon to your HDD:
2) 'Use text mode' then work your way through steps 1 to 5, answering the installer’s prompts:
When you select Step 5 (Install Destination) you will be presented with three ‘Autopartitioning Options’ (Replace Existing Linux System(s); Use All Space; Use Free Space). When you make your choice from those three options, you will then be presented with the options for partitioning:
You may find that the installer crashes if you have selected either the default LVM partition scheme or the BTRFS partition scheme. If it does crash, run the installer again but select Option 1 instead (Standard Partition), which will create standard ext4 partitions. Actually, I prefer this option.
Quite a few Python-related error messages may be displayed towards the end of the installation process. I just ignore them.
6. Once the installer has completed installation, press
Enter to quit, and you will see a root user prompt again.
7. Enter the following command to reboot (If you installed using VirtualBox, make sure you remove the ISO from the virtual CD/DVD drive, or you will just reboot from the ISO instead of the virtual HDD):
If you still have the LiveDVD in the drive, select ‘Boot from first hard drive’ in the LiveDVD’s boot menu.
8. You will see a log-in prompt:
Log-in as user ‘root’ with the root user’s password you specified during installation.
9. List the available time zones:
(Press the Space Bar to page through the list, and the Q key to exit the list.)
10. Specify the timezone you want:
11. List the current locale:
12. If you want to change the current locale or add a locale, edit the
I wanted to have just British English and Brazilian Portuguese, so I made the file contain only the following:
en_GB.UTF-8 UTF-8 en_GB ISO-8859-1 pt_BR.UTF-8 UTF-8 pt_BR ISO-8859-1
If I only wanted one language (I’ll use Brazilian Portuguese as an example), I would have made it contain the following instead:
pt_BR.UTF-8 UTF-8 pt_BR ISO-8859-1
13. Generate the locale(s) you want:
14. List the locales you have configured, just to be sure:
15. Set the language you want to use:
16. List the console keymaps available:
17. Chose the console keymap you wish to use:
N.B. The above systemd command does not change the console keymap specified in
/boot/grub/grub.cfg, which remains as “
vconsole.keymap=us“. You will have to fix that later by editing
/etc/default/sabayon-grub and running
grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg, as I show further on.
18. List the X11 keymaps available:
19. Chose the X11 keymap you wish to use:
20. Update the environment variables and profile to adopt what you specified:
21. Reboot (Remove the LiveDVD if still have not already done so):
22. Log-in as the root user.
23. Fix the console keymap specified in grub.cfg:
and replace “
vconsole.keymap=us” with “
24. Make sure the Entropy package database in your installation is up to date:
25. Roll (upgrade) all installed packages to their latest version:
If you are prompted regarding any package licences, just accept them.
26. Update any superseded configuration files:
27. Check if there are any missing/incorrect dependencies:
28. Check if there are any missing/incorrect libraries:
29. Install the X.Org VESA video driver:
This is needed because the VESA video driver does not get installed even if you specify “
xdriver=vesa” initially in the kernel boot parameter list when booting a LiveDVD using SpinBase.
30. Install the desktop environment of your choice (I’ll choose KDE):
31. If you are installing KDE, also install the KDE language pack(s) for the locale(s) configured earlier:
32. Install the Sabayon Linux theme for KDE and KDM (I find this package is not installed automatically, and stops KDM from working if it is not present):
34. Log-in as the root user and, if you installed KDE, enable KDM as the desktop manager (log-in screen):
35. Then reboot:
The installation on your HDD should now boot to the KDM log-in screen. You should be able to enter your user name and password, and the installation should launch the Desktop Environment and display the Desktop. From here you will be able to open a Konsole/Terminal window and install other packages. If you want to change the video driver from the X.Org VESA driver to a driver for an AMD, Intel or NVIDIA GPU/IGP, you will need to install the relevant driver package and edit
/etc/default/sabayon-grub accordingly (and regenerate
grub.cfg). Post in the Sabayon Linux Forums to ask for help if you need it. Good luck!