Any modern computer will handle decibel Linux and professional audio applications in general, as long as it’s a recent multi-core processor with 16+GB of RAM. You also need a hard drive with a minimum speed of 7200 RPM. An SSD or M.2 boot/work drive is helpful – but not necessary.

Acquire a boot medium. The recommended boot medium is SystemRescueCd. You can use any boot medium that gives you access to your hard drive, allows you to chroot, supports bash, and has dialog/whiptail.

Using these instructions means you assume all risk for data loss. The installer WILL wipe the drive you select. If dual-booting, back up your files.

Only the amd64 architecture is supported. There are no plans to include any other architectures.


To use the installer, boot up with SystemRescueCD and once at the prompt, type:

chmod +x

Note that you need an EFI system for the installer, along with a dedicated hard disk that your system’s BIOS is expecting to boot with.

Dual-Boot Prep for Windows 11

So you just bought a new computer pre-loaded with Windows 11. You’d like to keep Windows and install decibel Linux. Follow these steps to prep a new system for dual-boot using a single hard drive or SSD. These instructions assume you are using System Rescue CD, but you may use a bootable medium of your choice if you know what you are doing.

  1. Disable secure boot in your BIOS.
  2. Boot up with System Rescue CD. Make sure you startx.
  3. Run gparted.
  4. Select the main data partition.
  5. Partition -> Resize/Move.
  6. Change the “Free space following” number to 250000. This creates a partition for decibel Linux 250 GB in size. Adjust this to your preference.
  7. Click “Resize/Move”.
  8. Click the green check mark.
  9. Click Apply.
  10. Select the unallocated space.
  11. Partition -> New.
  12. The defaults should create a new primary partition formatted in ext4. Click Add.
  13. Click the green check mark.
  14. Click Apply. Make note of your new root partition and the boot partition. You will not need to create a swap partition, and a boot partition should already exist. Exit gparted.
  15. Open a terminal window and continue with “Mounting partitions” below. Substitute the correct partitions for /dev/sda4 (root) and /dev/sda2 (boot).

Manual Install

For dual-boot users, you will need to handle the partitioning scheme on your own and adjust these instructions accordingly. Note that if you are dual-booting, you do not want to mklabel, you may or may not be able to apply partition names, and your boot label may or may not already be set. User takes all responsibility for the results of performing these steps.
DO NOT COPY AND PASTE. Type these instructions into your terminal and double-check for typos.

  1. Once you’ve booted with your boot medium, you need to prepare the hard drive using the following steps:
    1. parted -a optimal /dev/sda
    2. mklabel gpt
    3. unit mib
    4. mkpart primary 1 3
    5. name 1 grub
    6. set 1 bios_grub on
    7. mkpart primary 3 131
    8. name 2 boot
    9. mkpart primary 131 643
    10. name 3 swap
    11. mkpart primary 643 -1
    12. name 4 rootfs
    13. set 2 boot on
    14. print
      • You should see this:
        Number Start  End    Size   File system    Name  Flags
         1     1049kB 3146kB 2097kB                grub  bios_grub
         2     3146kB 137MB  134MB  ext2           boot  boot, esp
         3     137MB  2235MB 2097MB linux-swap(v1) swap
         4     2235MB 2000GB 1998GB ext4           rootfs
    15. quit
    1. If you have a BIOS system: > mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2
    2. If you have a UEFI system: > mkfs.fat -F 32 /dev/sda2
  2. mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda4
  3. mkswap /dev/sda3
  4. swapon /dev/sda3

Mounting partitions: Now mount the hard drive and install the base system:

  1. mkdir -p /mnt/gentoo/boot
  2. mount /dev/sda4 /mnt/gentoo (The mount point does not matter. Just substitute whatever you use here.)
  3. mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/gentoo/boot
  4. cd /mnt/gentoo
  5. wget
  6. tar xvjpf decibellinux-stage4.tar.bz2 --xattrs --numeric-owner
  7. rm decibellinux-stage4.tar.bz2

Chrooting: Chroot into the base system and configure:

  1. cp -L /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc/, y to overwrite
  2. mount -t proc /proc /mnt/gentoo/proc
  3. mount --rbind /sys /mnt/gentoo/sys
  4. mount --rbind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev
  5. mount --make-rslave /mnt/gentoo/sys
  6. mount --make-rslave /mnt/gentoo/dev
  7. mount --bind /run /mnt/gentoo/run
  8. mount --make-slave /mnt/gentoo/run
  9. chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash
  10. source /etc/profile
  11. emerge-webrsync (If you happen to install a Gentoo Studio tarball that was produced that day, you may get a warning that the timestamps are the same. This is fine. Proceed to follow the next steps.)
  12. eix-sync
  13. ls /usr/share/zoneinfo
  14. timedatectl set-timezone (your_timezone) (Example: timedatectl set-timezone America/Anchorage or timedatectl set-timezone Europe/Amsterdam)
  15. grub-install:
    1. If you have a BIOS system: > grub-install /dev/sda
    2. If you have a UEFI system: > grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot --removable
  16. nano /etc/fstab
    • If you have a BIOS system, make sure the line for /dev/sda2 has filesystem type ext4.
    • if you have an EFI system, make sure the line for /dev/sda2 has filesystem type vfat.
    • Preferably, look up the UUIDs of your disks by using ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/ and use those UUIDs according to the examples in fstab.
    • Skip the line for swap if you don’t have swap. You do not need a swap partition for decibel Linux – and you should not be using one for pro-audio applications.
    • Either way, your fstab should look something like this (Ctrl-o to save, Ctrl-x to exit):
      • /dev/sda2      /boot      ext4      defaults,noatime      0 2
        /dev/sda4      /          ext4      noatime               0 1
        /dev/sda3      none       swap       sw                   0 0
  17. If you are dual-booting with Windows:
    1. emerge os-prober
    2. Add GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER=false to /etc/default/grub
  18. grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  19. passwd (Sets root password)
  20. useradd -m -G users,wheel,audio,plugdev -s /bin/bash (username) (If you get an error about a mailbox file, ignore it.)
  21. passwd (username)
  22. cpuid2cpuflags >> /etc/portage/make.conf (MAKE SURE THIS IS A DOUBLE BRACKET!)
  23. nano /etc/portage/make.conf and edit the CPU_FLAGS_X86 line so it looks similar to this: CPU_FLAGS_X86="mmx sse sse2"
  24. emerge -auDN --keep-going --with-bdeps=y --backtrack=250 @system @world This recompiles any packages that use CPU-specific flags. Also note that while it’s tempting to skip this step and boot into your system, this world update helps make sure your system is updated and working correctly on first boot. If you encounter Portage errors such as conflicts and blocks and can’t scroll up, it’s fine to reboot into your new system and try it again there.
  25. Shutdown, remove the USB thumb drive, and boot up.
  26. On your first login, you will need to change the session to Xfce using the login manager menu in the upper right corner.

If you are dual-booting with Windows 11, and you notice GRUB doesn’t even show, you may need to start Windows, open a command line as administrator and run:

bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\Boot\bootx64.efi

Before setting this in Windows, double-check this path by booting up with System Rescue CD and mounting the boot partition somewhere.

You should now have a working decibel Linux workstation.


  • Do NOT update /etc/security/limits.conf. Those settings are there for a reason.
  • If you dual-boot with Windows and need to re-install Windows, you will need to chroot into Gentoo Studio, re-install grub and run grub-mkconfig again. Windows installs its own bootloader and you will need to blow it away with Grub.