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sys-apps/portage is Gentoo's package manager, and is installed by default as part of the stage3 install. See the Gentoo Handbook for more details.


In addition to the official repository (colloquially known as "portage tree" because of its traditional placement in /usr/portage/), there are additional repositories which in Gentoo are called overlays.

You can search through the ebuilds available in the overlays on http://overlays.gentoo.org/ by using the eix tool.

Command-line interface: emerge

emerge is the command-line interface to the Portage system. This is how most users will interact with Portage. The emerge command has many possible options. For a complete list of all options see its man page:

user $ man emerge

Below you see an exemplary invocation of emerge. The options (-atv) are shortcuts for --ask, --tree and --verbose. They trigger emerge to ask before proceeding, display the dependency tree of packages to be installed, and to be verbose with its output. While in the context of Portage, the term "package" can also be referred to as an "atom." Don't be confused if you see the term "atom" used instead of the term "package."

# emerge -atv package

These are the packages that would be merged, in reverse order:

Calculating dependencies... done! [ebuild U ] category/package-3.0-r2 [2.0] USE="enabled -disabled toggled* new% (-unavailable)" MAKE_OPTIONS="-disabled" 777 kB [ebuild UD ] category/package-2.0 [3.0] 777 kB [ebuild R ] category/package-1.0 777 kB [ebuild N ] category/package-0.5 777 kB

Total: 4 packages (1 new, 1 reinstall, 1 upgrade, 1 downgrade), Size of downloads: 3108 kB

Would you like to merge these packages? [Yes/No]

GUI interfaces

There are a few GUI interfaces that exist for Portage, although some of them have become unmaintained.


app-portage/porthole: A GTK+-based frontend to Portage.

app-portage/kuroo4: Graphical Portage frontend based on KDE4/Qt4.



Alternatives to Portage

sys-apps/paludis: An alternative package manager written expressly for Gentoo-based systems.

See also

Relevant Gentoo Wiki pages

Official docs

Related sections of the Gentoo Handbook

Other official docs