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Gentoo Offline Package Install

Posted on February 6, 2017
Tags: gentoo, linux, devops

I had a desktop with a Gentoo Linux installation that was way out of date. Normally, updating it would be a simple emerge --sync && emerge -uDNav @world, but there was an issue: the desktop was physically too far away from the router/switch for any of my ethernet cables. Have no fear, for I have a Linux-compatible USB WiFi modem!

Loading the Firmware

After some research online using my Internet-enabled laptop, I compiled the necessary kernel modules on the offline machine for anything that was prefixed with ATH9K. I rebooted, and alas:

$ dmesg | grep ath9k_htc
usb 5-2: ath9k_htc: Firmware htc_9271.fw requested
usbcore: registered new interface driver ath9k_htc
usb 5-2: firmware: direct-loading firmware htc_9271.fw
usb 5-2: ath9k_htc: Firmware - htc_9271.fw download failed
usb 5-2: ath9k_htc: USB layer deinitialized
$ find /lib64/firmware -name htc_9271.fw
# no results

Womp. No firmware. I searched for some firmware online, and transfered via USB stick a recent linux-firmware_1.157.8.tar.gz. I confirmed the signature and untarred into the firmware directory:

$ sudo tar -xvzf linux-firmware_1.157.8.tar.gz --strip=1 -C /lib64/firmware/

After a quick reboot, I now have working firmware!

$ dmesg | grep ath9
usb 5-2: ath9k_htc: Firmware ath9k_htc/htc_9271-1.4.0.fw requested
usbcore: registered new interface driver ath9k_htc
usb 5-2: ath9k_htc: Transferred FW: ath9k_htc/htc_9271-1.4.0.fw, size: 51008
ath9k_htc 5-2:1.0: ath9k_htc: HTC initialized with 33 credits
ath9k_htc 5-2:1.0: ath9k_htc: FW Version: 1.4
ath9k_htc 5-2:1.0: FW RMW support: On
ath9k_htc 5-2:1.0 wlp7s0u2: renamed from wlan0

Installing Network Packages

$ nmtui
zsh: command not found: nmtui

Unfortunately, the installation didn’t have networking packages such as NetworkManager or wpa_supplicant to connect to WiFi. wpa_supplicant is really all I need, but if I’m planning to go through the hassle of installing all these packages, then I might as well bring in NetworkManager to make my life easier, as it also contains wpa_supplicant as a dependency. I’ll be transferring dependencies over sneakernet.

On the offline machine, I created the list of things required to install the package I wanted:

$ sudo mount /dev/<DEVICE> /mnt/usb
# -p for pretend, -f for fetchonly
$ emerge -pf networkmanager > /mnt/usb/distfiles_list.txt
$ sudo umount /mnt/usb

On my Internet-enabled laptop, I downloaded all the necessary files, including the dependencies:

$ sudo mount /dev/<DEVICE> /mnt/usb
$ mkdir /mnt/usb/distfiles
$ cat /mnt/usb/distfiles_list.txt | grep '^http' | cut -d' ' -f1 | xargs wget -P /mnt/usb/distfiles/
# these should be the same count, otherwise figure out what didn't download
$ ls /mnt/usb/distfiles | wc -l
$ cat /mnt/usb/distfiles_list.txt | grep '^http' | wc -l
$ sudo umount /mnt/usb

On the offline machine, I extracted them into /usr/portage/distfiles, where our package manager expects them to be. I then installed the target package:

$ sudo mount /dev/<DEVICE> /mnt/usb
$ cp /mnt/usb/distfiles/* /usr/portage/distfiles
$ sudo umount /mnt/usb
$ sudo emerge -av networkmanager

The installation finished without a hitch! I could now use nmtui to configure and connect to the WLAN.

Updating the World

$ sudo su -c'emerge --sync && emerge -uDNav @world'

And now my machine’s world is back up to date.