Installation

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Please do help with sorting out the current wiki documentation, as soon as exploring around the further pages gives you a grasp good enough to sort out the further things precisely and nicely as well.

Hdd mount.png




This page will get you started, but it can also help to skim through the Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQ) (also part of the left sidebar).

Typical Hardware Requirements

  • At least 100 MB of RAM (A graphical desktop system may require up to 1 GB minimum.)
  • A writable storage device. (Required for the "sys" or "data" runtime modes (see below). Optional for saving the configuration of systems running in "diskless" mode.)

Installation Overview

(To install on ARM systems that do not support .iso images refer to Alpine on ARM instead.)

As with most linux distributions, the first installation steps usually consist of:
(additional details below)


1.) Downloading and verifying the proper stable-release ISO image for your computer's architecture, and the corresponding sha256 (checksum) and GPG (signature) files.

2.) Either burning the ISO image onto a blank CD/DVD/Blue-ray disk with your favorite disk burning software, or flashing the image onto a bootable storage device (USB-device, CF-/MMC-/SD-card, floppy, ...).

3.) Booting the computer from the prepared disk or storage device.


The boot process first copies the entire system into the RAM memory, and then runs it completely from RAM. So that the started command line environment does not depend on reading from the (slow) initial boot media anymore.

Log-in as the user root with its initially empty password.

Now an interactive script called setup-alpine, as well as more specific setup-scripts, the apk package manager, and all the general command line tools of course, can be used to configure the initial Alpine Linux system, to install further packages, and to prepare the system for the next boot.

Note that setup-alpine supports to configure the system to boot into one of three general Alpinelinux runtime modes:

diskless mode This is the default boot mode of the .iso images. setup-alpine configures this if selecting to install to "disk=none", and it means that the whole operating system and the applications run extremely fast from within RAM (saving unnecessary disk spin-ups, power and wear). A customized configuration and package selection may still be completely preserved on permanent storage media by using the "local backup utility" lbu and a local package cache. [Fixme: setup-alpine still needs this detour to prepare a partition for this:] In setup-alpine, select to store configs and the package cache on a partition. (That mounted partition may later also be used by configuring some important applications to keep their data on it.)

data mode This mode is still accelerated by running the system from RAM, however swap storage and the whole /var directory tree gets mounted from a persistent storage device (two newly created partitions). This location holds e.g. all log files, mailspools, databases, etc., as well as lbu backup commits and the package cache. The mode is useful for having RAM accelerated servers with amounts of variable user-data that exceed the available RAM size, and to let the entire current system state (not just the boot state) survive a system crash according to the particular filesystem's guarantees. [Fixme: Storing lbu configs to disk is not auto-configured after configuring the data partition, one still has to select saving configs to "none" first (the new data partition is not listed), and to manually set e.g. LBU_MEDIA=sda2 in /etc/lbu/lbu.conf and echo "/dev/sda2 /media/sda2 vfat rw 0 0" >> /etc/fstab afterwards.] The boot device may remain to be the one initially used, and can even be immutable (read-only).

sys mode This is a traditional hard-disk install. If this mode is selected, the setup-alpine script defaults to create three partitions on the selected storage device, /boot, swap and / (the filesystem root). This mode may be used for generic desktop and development machines, for example.

Questions asked by setup-alpine

The setup-alpine script offers to configure:

  • Keyboard map (e.g. us and variant of us-nodeadkeys)
  • Hostname (The name for the computer.)
  • Network (e.g. automatic DHCP IP address discovery)
  • DNS Servers (For privacy reasons, it is NOT recommended to use servers like google's 8.8.8.8 etc.)
  • Timezone
  • Proxy ("None" for direct connections to the internet.)
  • SSH (Openssh is part of the default images.)
  • NTP (Chrony is part of the default images.)
  • Runtime Mode (Select between "diskless" (disk=none), "data" or "sys", all described above.)

Additional Details

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This material needs expanding ...

This "Additional Details" section needs to be consolidated with the work at https://docs.alpinelinux.org (not finished) (Restructuring things there, moving and linking from here or there?).

Verifying the downloaded image file

Commands to verify the checksum and GPG signature of a downloaded image file on different systems.
OS type sha265 check sha265 calculation (to be compared manually) GPG signature verification
Linux sha256sum -c alpine-*.iso.sha256 curl https://alpinelinux.org/keys/ncopa.asc | gpg --import ;

gpg --verify alpine-<version>.iso.asc alpine-<version>.iso

Windows (PowerShell installed) - ? - Get-FileHash .\alpine-<image-version>.iso -Algorithm SHA256 - ? -

Booting from external devices

Insert the boot media to a proper drive or port of the computer and turn the machine on, or restart it, if already running.

If the computer does not automatically boot from the desired device, one needs to bring up the boot menu selection for choosing the media to boot from. Depending on the computer the menu may be accessed by quickly (repeatedly) pressing a key when booting starts, or sometimes it is needed to press the button before starting the computer and keep holding it when it boots. Typical keys are: `F9`-`F12`, sometimes `F7` or `F8`. If these don't bring up the boot menu, it may be necessary to enter the BIOS configuration and adjust the boot settings, for which typical keys are: `Del.` `F1` `F2` `F6` or `Esc.`

Rebooting and testing the new system

After the installation is completed, the system may be power-cycled or rebooted to confirm that everything is working. If the configured runtime mode was "sys", then remove the initial installation media to boot the newly installed system.

The relevant commands for this are reboot or poweroff.

Further Documentation

Installing


Post-Install

Further Help and Information



Tip: Alpine linux packages stay close to the upstream design. Therefore, all upstream documentation about configuring a software package, as well as good configuration guides from other distributions that stay close to upstream, like e.g. in the Arch Wiki, are to a large degree also well applicable to configure the software on alpine linux, thus can be very useful.

See Also

There may still be something useful to find and sort out of the newbie's install notes in this wiki, moving godd things into the structured handbook style documentation.

  1. Newbie_Alpine_Ecosystem
  2. Alpine newbie install manual
  3. Alpine_newbie Install section
  4. https://mckayemu.github.io/alpineinstalls/ All informatin for Spanish users