Installation

This section describes how to install Chimera in different scenarios.

System requirements

Chimera is supported on various types of computers. The documentation is going to cover those that are officially supported and have binary package repositories.

You will need the following:

Architecture Requirements
x86_64 Any UEFI or BIOS-based 64-bit computer
ppc64 PowerPC 970 (G5) or better
ppc64le POWER8 or better (OpenPOWER, PowerVM)
aarch64 UEFI devices supported by mainline kernel, or below
riscv64 UEFI devices supported by mainline kernel, or below

In general, for a console-based system, you will need at least 128MB or more RAM for the system to be truly usable. A graphical desktop will need more, depending on the desktop (1GB is recommended for GNOME installs).

OCI containers are available for x86_64, ppc64e, aarch64 as well as riscv64 at chimeralinux/chimera:latest. They will run in any environment where you can get Docker, Podman, or another similar/compatible solution working.

AArch64 devices

In addition to generic UEFI targets supported by mainline kernel, there are also devices with device-specific images, typically using U-Boot.

Currently, officially supported are the following:

  • 64-bit Raspberry Pi (3/4 and variants such as 400 and compute modules)
  • PINE64 Pinebook Pro
  • MNT Reform 2 with i.MX8MQ SOM

You will need to obtain the correct image for these. The list is subject to expansion.

RISC-V devices

This is similar to AArch64.

Officially supported are the following:

  • SiFive HiFive Unmatched
  • Qemu virtual machines (with and without OpenSBI)

This list is also subject to expansion.

Downloading system media

All system media are available here. In general you will want to pick those with the latest date.

In general, for all architectures the following is available:

  • Live images in ISO format
  • Device-specific images if available
  • Root filesystem tarballs

Live ISOs

For generic computers, this is usually preferred. Use these if you are not installing on a device that requires device-specific media, such as all Intel or AMD x86_64 computers, most POWER architecture systems, and supported AArch64/RISC-V systems with UEFI.

Device-specific images

Use these if your device is explicitly supported. Device images are typically meant to be flashed onto an SD card, but this may vary based on the device. Do note that SD card images have the root filesystem journal disabled.

Root filesystem tarballs

As a bit of a special case, Chimera also provides root file system tarballs. This is a small, pre-packaged Chimera installation. The following flavors are always available:

  • Bootstrap tarballs (bootstrapped from the base-bootstrap metapackage) are suitable for setting up small containers that you can add more software into, e.g. with Docker. They only contain a bare userland and apk.
  • Minimal tarballs (bootstrapped from the base-minimal metapackage) are suitable for setting up bare bootable systems. They do not contain a kernel or a bootloader, but they do contain an init system suite, a getty and user management tools.
  • Core tarballs (bootstrapped from base-core metapackage) are larger and contain packages suitable for most deployments. Like minimal tarballs they do not contain a kernel or a bootloader, but they do contain programs such as those for manipulating filesystems and networks.

They are handy for chroot-style installations that are fully manual, mostly to save time bootstrapping with apk from scratch.

In addition to this, tarball counterpart for every device-specific image is available. You can use these for manual installation on such devices, or you can create device images using Chimera’s mkimage.sh using these.

Verifying system media

In each media bundle, the sha256sums.txt file contains SHA256 checksums of every file. Use this to check that your downloaded file is not corrupt.

The sha256sums.txt file is signed with minisign. The signing key is unique for each release batch. You can use this to make sure the release has not been tampered with.

If you are running Chimera, the public keys are available in a package called chimera-image-keys. If you are not running Chimera, you can grab them from cports.

To verify the media, install minisign using your package manager. On Chimera, it’s a dependency of chimera-image-keys already. Then download the checksums file, in this case for 20230915:

$ fetch https://repo.chimera-linux.org/live/20230915/sha256sums.txt

As well as the signature:

$ fetch https://repo.chimera-linux.org/live/20230915/sha256sums.txt.minisig

Then you can verify it with the matching public key:

$ minisign -Vm sha256sums.txt -p /usr/share/chimera-image-keys/20230915.pub

Installing

Proceed to the section relevant to you.