Gentoo Handbook

Sven Vermeulen  Author

Updated June 7, 2007

1. The Gentoo Handbook Effort

Available languages

The Gentoo Handbook is available in the following languages:

German | English | French | Italian | Polish | Simplified Chinese | Spanish


Welcome to the Gentoo Handbook page. This page will give you some explanation about the Gentoo Handbook and should answer most of your questions regarding the handbook. We will talk about the ideas behind the handbook, its current status, the future plans, how bug reports are handled, etc.

2. View the Handbook

Format Description Links
HTML Latest version, one page per chapter, perfect for online viewing x86, sparc, amd64, ppc, ppc64, alpha, hppa, mips, ia64, arm
HTML Latest version, all in one page x86, sparc, amd64, ppc, ppc64, alpha, hppa, mips, ia64, arm
HTML Latest version, all in one page, printable version x86, sparc, amd64, ppc, ppc64, alpha, hppa, mips, ia64, arm
HTML 2007.0 Specific Networkless Installation Instructions 2007.0 Gentoo Handbooks

We also have release-specific handbooks which include the installation instructions for networkless installations using the released CDs. If you are interested in performing a networkless installation, please consult the Gentoo Linux 2007.0 Handbook for your architecture.

Historical Releases

For historical reasons we also keep the handbook versions for older releases (since 2004.2). Printable versions of individual pages can be reached through the "Print" link on the top right corner. To have an all-in-one-page version, add ?full=1 to the URL.

Warning: These handbooks are not maintained.

Release Architectures
2004.2 alpha, amd64, hppa, mips, ppc, sparc, x86
2004.3 amd64, hppa, ppc, sparc, x86
2005.0 alpha, amd64, hppa, ppc, sparc, x86
2005.1 alpha, amd64, hppa, ppc, ppc64, sparc, x86
2006.0 alpha, amd64, hppa, ppc, ppc64, sparc, x86
2006.1 alpha, amd64, hppa, ppc, ppc64, sparc, x86

3. Information about the handbook


The goal of the Gentoo Handbook is to create a coherent document that describes every possible aspect of Gentoo Linux. It combines already existing guides in one consistent book so that the same document is used for every possible architecture, every install, every user. This not only makes it easier for us to maintain, but also for the user to see that the differences are slim, and that other architectures are not seen as a separate entities.

It also allows us to elaborate about difficult points and give more examples. We aren't forced to write all documentation into a single displayed page anymore making the documentation read more fluently.


At this time, the fourth part on Gentoo Network Configuration is finished and officially available. This part contains an in-depth coverage of the networking configuration options for the now stable baselayout.

If you are interested in the development of the Handbook, please use the gentoo-doc mailinglist for all feedback.

Reporting bugs and enhancement requests

If you find a bug in the handbook, please visit our Gentoo Linux Bugzilla and create a bug for Documentation, Component Installation Handbook.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

Can't you magically have the handbook dynamically created for each choice?

Everything is possible, but we have opted not to do this for several reasons.

Maintaining the guide would be a lot more difficult. Not only will we have to map bug reports to certain decisions (far from all bug reports would tell us what choices they made before) but it would be more difficult to write the guide fluently: we would have to pay more attention to the line in the handbook, the consistencies, etc.

Although we currently only have an online version, other formats could be developed, such as PDF versions. If we created PDFs for every architecture and option, we would have to provide numerous PDFs of which only a few sections differ. Talk about a waste of resources :).

The choices that the user makes are made in different places. This would make it more difficult for the user to just print out the handbook -- we would first have to inform the user of all possible options before they can begin, probably scaring them away.

The part on "Installing Gentoo" is not the only part of the Gentoo Handbook. It is the first, but all following parts are independent of the choices the user made. Dynamically creating the handbook just for the installation instructions would be overkill.

By not separating the instructions for each possible option, the user can view the results of the other choices easily. This provides a better view on the installation instructions for the user.

I can't find stage1 information in the Gentoo Handbook

Instructions on using a stage1 or stage2 tarball are now available in the Gentoo FAQ. A stage3 installation is the only supported installation as of now.

I disagree with ...

Please report your idea; disagreeing without providing us with constructive feedback doesn't help the situation. Documentation is made for the community, so community feedback is well appreciated.

However, you must know that most decisions made while developing documentation are based on a consensus-model. It is impossible to write/structure documentation in such a way that everybody is happy with it. You must be able to accept a "No" with the reason that we believe the current implementation benefits most people.