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Update: this post is now obsolete with the advent of official exherbo installation instructions.

As the Exherbo developers say, this distribution is not finished/supported/full featured and is very volatile. The project has been alive for less than a year, and there is a significant amount of work to be done before it will be ready for the mainstream.

That said, this is what I did to get it working…

This information should be used to get an idea of Exherbo’s status, not as a reference for installation. If you are unfamiliar with any of these steps, you probably shouldn’t try Exherbo.

Get the latest stage:

Extract it.

Mount /dev and /proc:
mount -o bind /dev dev/
mount -t proc /proc/ proc/

Chroot into the environment.

Look at what is available (edit – see comments about the problem with this approach):
paludis –sync
(failed, said that a directory wasn’t a git repository)
cd arbor_directory; git init
paludis –sync
ls -R packages/ | less

paludis –report
(indicates that 12 installed packages no longer exist – the versions have been replaced within the last 5 days (the stage I downloaded was 5 days old))

paludis -i world
(error about group permissions on /var/tmp/paludis/build – interestingly enough, they were set to a nonexistent user and group – 107 and 1004)
paludis -i world
(similar error about /var/cache/paludis/distfiles)
paludis -i world
(error about group writing permissions to the same directory)
paludis -i world
(successful update!)

So, nothing too bad/hard… I still have to setup the kernel and boot into it, but I’ll leave that to another day (school is somewhat pressing).


    • Anders Ossowicki
    • Posted September 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Actually, your way of determining available packages is flawed as you only look at packages in arbor, our main tree. There are bunch of packages that won’t enter arbor because they aren’t packages we deem central to a working distribution. This includes, for example, packages, KDE packages, Gnome packages and misc. media packages. The complete list of our repositories is available at

    The best way to query for a package at the moment, is really to use exherbo’s unavailable repository along with the repositories you generally want. If a package is available from a repository you haven’t configured paludis to use, unavailable will pick it up 🙂
    Ciaran wrote about unavailable here:
    The repository type is also listed in the paludis documentation as well.

  1. Good point, I definitely overlooked that. Although it appears that quite a few unavailable repositories are installed by default, looking at the arbor directory wouldn’t show what packages are available from the unavailable repositories.

    Looking at things, running ‘inquisitio * | less’ seems to be an adequate (but by no means comprehensive) way to get a decent idea of what packages exist.

  2. I hope you continue with the part 2
    i already add the repos and i installed Xorg and try to boot but i get a lot of errors .

    Thanks a lot for this guide .

  3. Well, if you read Exherbo’s faq they say that they “don’t provide a usable init system.” I suspect that they just mean that they haven’t set up a management system for the init scripts or runlevels, but regardless you could just start X from the chrooted environment.

    I’m not sure when I’ll get around to the other part, as school is eating up *large* amounts of my time.

    If you’re serious about using Exherbo, you could look at djcapelis’ post on “Exhertoo“.

  4. At this point, Exherbo VM images are available on, so I probably wouldn’t recommend setting it up in a chroot – but the other commands may be of some use.

  5. If I had known about this earlier I would have used this instead of Gentoo. I love the installation guide as it is very short and to the point. I also like the Paludis command rather then the way Portage does things. I thought about wiping my system clean so maybe will try this one day.

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