This document is a work in progress and should not be considered official yet.
Gentoo on the Genesi Efika MX Open Client
Installing Gentoo in the Efikamx is pretty simple. You can either use a
sufficiently sized SD card (>=2GB for ease) or the internal SSD drive. If you
are familar with the Gentoo Linux installation process, there is not much
To be able to install Gentoo, you'll need the following:
- A Genesi Efika MX Open Client
- One SD card
- A network connection
Booting the installation environment
The Efika MX comes with Ubuntu on it from the manufactor. In order to install
Gentoo on the internal drive you can't be booted from it. It is probably easiest
to extract a SD card image because if the SD card has a kernel and rootfs on it,
the efikamx will automatically boot from that. You can find a basic Gentoo image
The installation on this device is more or less the same as any other kind of machine.
So please read and follow the ARM Handbook from the beginning, just skip the 10th
chapter, as its irrelevant for our machine. I'll just explain what we have to
do differently. Please read below first so you know when you have to go back to
this document during the installation.
Installation on SD card
If you are comfortable keeping the installation on the SD card that you made
from above, that is fine. You can start customizing the installation as you see
Installation on internal drive
This document assumes that you will not want to keep the Gentoo installation on
the SD card, as such, more detailed instructions are below.
As I already explained, we don't need a boot partition, although you can create
it anyway if you want to have your kernels and initramfs separated from the
main partition. The key here for those unfamilar with u-boot is that the first
partition should be vfat. Your partition table should look similar to this:
Code Listing 1.1: Example partition layout
efikamx ~ # fdisk -l /dev/sda
Disk /dev/sda: 3858 MB, 3858333696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 469 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00018d94
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 4 32098+ c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/sda2 5 469 3735112+ 83 Linux
Warning: One critical item is that you will probably run out of inodes on the
second partion, you should mkfs with the -i 4096 parameter. ext4 is
Here's some information about the stages.
- Architecture: arm
- Subarchitecture: armv7a
- CHOST: armv7a-unknown-linux-gnueabi
- Profile: default/linux/arm/10.0
We'll be using the new EABI, also called gnueabi, instead of the old ABI. That
is armel on Debian. There's no exact reason for why we should use this
EABI and not the old one, apart that this one is better than the old.
Therefore, we need an armv7a-unknown-linux-gnueabi stage3, available under the
releases/arm/autobuilds directory in your favorite mirror
Configuring and installing the kernel
The Efika MX is not yet supported in the mainline kernel. You can find source
and binaries at the Power Developer
site. I suggest using the binaries at first, at least until you are able
to get a working system. Place the uImage, u-boot.bin, and type-id.bin file in
partition 1, place the kernel modules on partition 2.
Enabling SSH access
Now we add sshd to the startup of our system so we can access it when we
boot into our new system.
Code Listing 4.1: Adding sshd to the startup
# rc-update add sshd default
Enabling serial console access
By default the ttyS0 port is configured. However, the machine is configured with
ttymxc0 at 115200bps. So this should be added to the /etc/inittab file:
Code Listing 4.2: Configuring serial console
# nano -w /etc/inittab
s0:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 115200 ttymxc0 vt100
Also, need to add ttymxc0 to /etc/securetty so that root can log in on
the serial console, should you need to.
Finishing the installation
This is pretty much all the installation, read all the recommendations of the
handbook, and remember to change the root password and/or create some users.
Booting to our new system
Once you've finished the installation of Gentoo into your Efika MX, you can
simply power it down and remove the SD card. Then it will boot from the internal
drive. If it does not boot, then you can put in the SD card and reboot to fix
You may find more documentation about the device itself and Linux-related at
the following links:
Gentoo would like to thank Genesi
since they provided us some hardware to do this porting and they've been very
The contents of this document, unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under the CC-BY-SA-2.5 license. The Gentoo Name and Logo Usage Guidelines apply.