1. Hardware requirements

Given that the number of selected packages to install makes a lot of difference, there is no general answer. Though the followings are recommended for a default install:

  • Fearless attitude towards text mode

  • Some kind of installation media or set of downloaded packages

1.1. i686

  • A recent (read: Pentium 2 or higher) 32-bit Intel - or compatible - CPU

  • 256MB of RAM

  • 8GB of disk space (1GB for a minimal install)

1.2. x86_64

  • A 64-bit AMD - or compatible, so EM64T is fine - CPU

  • 256MB of RAM

  • 8GB of disk space (1GB for a minimal install)

1.3. arm

  • A Marvell Kirkwood platform (e.g. SheevaPlug, Seagate Dockstar, OpenRD, …)

  • 32MB of RAM

  • 1GB of disk space

2. Choosing installation flavor

Depending on your needs, there are different installers with different characteristics. You can choose which fits you the best.

2.1. Installing from CD

This image contains only a base system, which means the minimal set of packages so that later from the system you can install any other package. It may be handy in case the network installer does not recognize your network card.

Pros: Quick and easy to install, even if you network card does not work out of the box.

Cons: You need to knowledge on how to extend the installed system to the average requirements.

2.2. Installing from DVD

This contains all packages from the main groups.

Pros: a full offline installation is possible.

Cons: Large amount of data must be downloaded, presumably some unnecessary packages too.

2.3. USB isohybrid image

The ISO images you would use to burn the CD now also double as the USB image as well. They are installed the same way as the old USB images were. All you do is copy them directly to the USB stick’s device node.

Pros: No need to burn any CD, you can reuse the media.

Cons: You have to be able to boot from USB.

Writing the image to a USB stick will destroy all the data on the drive. Be careful when specifying target devices / partitions othervise you can easily loose data.

The following command will install the image to the USB stick on any recent Linux system:

Pay attention to see what /dev/sdX device your USB stick is, for example by having a look at the contents of the /dev/disk/by-id/ directory!
# dd if=frugalware-<version>-<arch>-cd1.iso of=/dev/sdX

You might be able to use a similar tool (like this) on Windows systems as well, but it seems only supports partitions not whole disks. If you can find a way to successfully write an USB image under Windows, please share with us.

2.4. TFTP image

This is a floppy image, for a very special case:

  • you want to do a network installation

  • you don’t want to / can’t use CDs

  • you don’t want to / can’t boot from an USB stick

  • you can boot from a network card, but your BIOS does not supports so

  • you have a floppy drive

Pros: In some cases this is the only way you can install Frugalware

Cons: You need a bootable network card and a working TFTP server

2.5. Fwbootstrap (self-contained chroot)

This is a tarball which has to be downloaded and unpacked. Mostly useful for developers who can compile packages in this build environment on a non-Frugalware host system.

Usage example:
  1. Download the tarball

    $ wget ftp://ftp5.frugalware.org/packages/frugalware/pub/frugalware/\
  2. Unpack it

    $ tar xvjf fwchroot-<version>-<arch>.tar.bz2
  3. Enter the chroot.

    $ cd fwchroot-<version>-<arch>
    $ ./fwbootstrap
  4. Use it (build a package or two)

  5. Exit from the shell and fwbootstrap will unmount the necessary dirs for you.

You can get a list of installed packages in the chroot with issuing the pacman-g2 -Q command.

2.6. A manual bootstrap

So you want a complete Frugalware installed into /mnt/foo. First of all, you must have a running Frugalware where you are able to do

# pacman-g2 -Sy core base -r /mnt/foo

which installs the core and base pkgs into it. But beware:

$ pacman-g2 -Qo /etc/profile.d/lang.sh
No package owns /etc/profile.d/lang.sh
$ pacman-g2 -Qo /etc/fstab
No package owns /etc/fstab

so you have to copy or forge them by hand.

A script is available to somewhat automate this bootstrap method.

Manual bootstrap is the only way to install the arm port at the moment. Follow the qemu and real device arm-bootstrap howtos if you need more info.

3. Obtaining a source media

A Frugalware installation media can be obtained from several sources. You can download it freely via HTTP, FTP or rsync. You can also grab it via bittorrent, see Linuxtracker for example.

The following examples explains how you can get the iso images. You have to replace respectively $version$, $arch$ and $media$ to get the wanted iso image.

Via FTP:

$ wget ftp://ftp3.frugalware.org/mirrors/frugalware/pub/frugalware/\


$ wget http://www5.frugalware.org/linux/frugalware/pub/frugalware/\

Via rsync:

$ rsync -avP rsync://rsync4.frugalware.org/ftp/pub/linux/distributions/\
frugalware/frugalware-$version$-iso/frugalware-$version$-$arch$-$media$.iso ./

More info and the full list of mirrors can be found at our download page.

4. Using packages from CD/DVD

You have a skeleton system installed from CD/DVD, and you want to use the packages from the media afterwards. There are two methods.

First is the easiest, but needs quite a lot of space (and caution not to use pacman-g2 -Scc ;) ): mount the media and install all the .fpm’s found in frugalware-i686 (or frugalware-x86_64) dir to /var/cache/pacman/pkg.

Second is a bit more challenging, but more usable. Add a new line to /etc/pacman-g2/repos/frugalware before the other Server lines:

Server = file:///media/dvd/frugalware-i686

On x86_64, use this one:

Server = file:///media/dvd/frugalware-x86_64

The media should be mounted on /media/dvd, or change the Server lines appropriately.

Also you can only install packages then from the given media, so you have to insert the first CD if you install a package from the first CD and so on. This is something you should pay attention for.

5. The installation process

Do not worry if you misconfigured something! Just press <Cancel> in the next dialog and you will see the menu. Just go back to the given part and you can reconfigure it.
  • After downloading and burning the CDs/DVD, insert the first CD/DVD to your CD/DVD drive, and reboot your computer. In the grub menu, you can disable the framebuffer, if a framebuffer with resolution 1024x768 is not suitable for your graphics card or monitor. After that, grub loads the kernel and the initrd image.

  • At the first dialog, you should select your language. If your language is not on the list, you should choose a language fits for you. You can change these options after installing too.

  • The next dialog is only a greetings. Just push <Enter>. Now it is time to select your keyboard type. Pick your one, then hit <OK>!

  • After selecting your keyboard map, setup searches for installation media automatically.

  • If you use a netinstall image follow these sub-steps. Otherwise jump to the partitioning point!

    These steps sets up your network options during the install. When you finished installing Frugalware the installer will ask for network options again. Those options will be the installed system’s options.
    1. Now you should select your connection type. The installer uses the netconfig utility. You can also find the documentation for netconfig in this documentation. See the part called: Networking.

    2. After setting up the network you can choose a mirror for downloading the packages. The installer will try other mirrors too. This feature is useful when you have got a fast local mirror or something similar.

  • The next step is partitioning. Frugalware setup displays a list of your hard disks, you should choose one of them to partition it with a program. You can select the partitioning program in the next dialog, currently fdisk and cfdisk are included. You should create at least one partition with type Linux, and it is recommended to create a swap partition (with type Linux swap). The swap size should be 500-1000MB. When you have finished partitioning, press <Continue>.

  • The following list displays your swap partitions, here you can choose which swap partitions are allowed to be used by Frugalware. Then setup formats your swap partitions. If you have no swap partition just press <Cancel>!

  • In the next window, you should select your root partition first, then you can choose if you wish to format it or keep the existing filesystem on it. After selecting the root partition, you can setup other Linux partitions, optionally format them, and set their mount points. Using a separate partition is supported for /boot, /home, /var, but not for /usr (see here for more info).

  • After having your Linux partitions mounted, you should do the same with your DOS/Windows ones. Setup will display a list of them, if any exists. You should simply choose a mount point for them here.

  • Now it is the time to select if you want to use expert menus or not. If you choose expert menu after selecting the categories you will be able to pick packages one-by-one from the selected categories. So if you select apps and base the installer will give you a list of packages in apps, when you finished picking the packages you will see the packages in base. After picking them the installation begins.

    If you choose the normal menu (it’s the default) then you will only see the groups, but not the individual packages. So after picking the groups installation starts.

  • The next step is to select package categories. If you will not use KDE or GNOME, you may probably want to disable them. In most cases, it is not a good idea to disable other categories. If you selected the expert menu you will see the package list after this dialog.

    If the group list is empty that means you probably misconfigured your network. Please go back and try to fix it. You can also test your connection if you press Alt+F2 and try to ping some servers.
  • Setup will install the packages your selected from the first CD. When it is done, you will be prompted to insert the next Frugalware install. If you have only one disc, feel free to abort installing packages, you can install anything else from the net later.