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equery is a tool to make several common Portage operations simpler. Among other operations, it can display package dependencies, metadata, and installed files.



Equery is part of a toolset installed with the app-portage/gentoolkit package:

root #emerge --ask app-portage/gentoolkit

For information on installing equery or other tools visit the Gentoolkit article.



equery is a tool that displays useful information about the installed packages on the system. equery is based on a system of modules. Every module has a shorthand name. For example, running equery l gcc is the same as running equery list gcc. Invoking the --help option (equery --help) will output global options and list all available modules and their shorthand names. Adding a module name to the end (equery --help module) will display the help screen for that specific module. Lastly, executing man equery will also provide a detailed explanation of all available modules and options along with some useful examples.

Below is a list of features that work over the majority of modules.

user $equery --quiet list gcc
user $equery --quiet list sys-devel/gcc
user $equery --quiet list '>=sys-devel/gcc-4'

Like emerge, equery does not understand partial package names:

user $equery check zilla
!!! No package found matching zilla

Unlike emerge, equery can accept shell-like globbing in the category and/or package name:

user $equery check '*zilla*'
 * Checking www-client/mozilla-firefox-3.0.14 ...
    90 out of 90 files passed
user $equery check www-c*/*
 * Checking www-client/links-2.2 ...
   30 out of 30 files passed
 * Checking www-client/mozilla-firefox-3.0.14 ...
   90 out of 90 files passed

Most equery modules take multiple input:

user $equery hasuse sse sse2
 * Searching for USE flag sse ...
[IP-] [  ] media-libs/flac-1.2.1-r3 (0)
[IP-] [  ] media-libs/speex-1.2_beta3_p2 (0)
 * Searching for USE flag sse2 ...
[IP-] [  ] dev-libs/openssl-0.9.8k (0)
[IP-] [  ] x11-libs/pixman-0.16.0 (0)

A few modules also allow full regular expressions:

user $equery -q list --portage-tree --full-regex '[kr]?flickr.*'
Globbing support replaced a number of older options in equery. For example, to act on all packages in a certain set, use a '*' (asterisk). To act on all packages in a category, use 'category-name/*'.
Do not forget to quote input when using special shell characters like asterisks or greater than/less than signs.

The next few sections in this document give a quick introduction to the different equery modules.


To see a list of all equery's capabilities, simply run it without arguments:

user $equery
Gentoo package query tool
Usage: equery [global-options] module-name [module-options]
modules (short name)
 (b)elongs               list what package FILES belong to
 (c)hanges               list changelog entries for ATOM
 chec(k)                 verify checksums and timestamps for PKG
 (d)epends               list all packages directly depending on ATOM
 dep(g)raph              display a tree of all dependencies for PKG
 (f)iles                 list all files installed by PKG
 h(a)s                   list all packages for matching ENVIRONMENT data stored in /var/db/pkg
 (h)asuse                list all packages that have USE flag
 ke(y)words              display keywords for specified PKG
 (l)ist                  list package matching PKG
 (m)eta                  display metadata about PKG
 (s)ize                  display total size of all files owned by PKG
 (u)ses                  display USE flags for PKG
 (w)hich                 print full path to ebuild for PKG


A common approach to working with equery is to create aliases. When using bash these can usually be placed in the ~/.bashrc file:

FILE ~/.bashrc
alias eqf='equery f'
alias equ='equery u'
alias eqh='equery h'
alias eqa='equery a'
alias eqb='equery b'
alias eql='equery l'
alias eqd='equery d'
alias eqg='equery g'
alias eqc='equery c'
alias eqk='equery k'
alias eqm='equery m'
alias eqy='equery y'
alias eqs='equery s'
alias eqw='equery w'

Finding the package that a file came from with belongs (b)

user $equery belongs -e /usr/bin/glxgears
 * Searching for /usr/bin/glxgears ...
 x11-apps/mesa-progs-7.5.1 (/usr/bin/glxgears)

belongs can search for files matching a regular expression with the -f option. The -e option stops searching after it finds a match. Since no file on your system should be owned by two packages, this is a safe optimization.

A short version of belongs (b) can also be used. For example, to list what package equery belongs to:

user $equery b equery
 * Searching for equery ... 
app-portage/gentoolkit- (/usr/lib/python-exec/python2.7/equery)
app-portage/gentoolkit- (/usr/lib64/python3.3/site-packages/gentoolkit/test/equery)
app-portage/gentoolkit- (/usr/bin/equery -> ../lib/python-exec/python-exec2)
app-portage/gentoolkit- (/usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/gentoolkit/equery)
app-portage/gentoolkit- (/usr/lib/python-exec/python3.3/equery)
app-portage/gentoolkit- (/usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/gentoolkit/test/equery)
app-portage/gentoolkit- (/usr/lib64/python3.3/site-packages/gentoolkit/equery)

Viewing ChangeLog entries with changes (c)

changes lets the user view ChangeLog entries for a package version or range of versions. Imagine after running an emerge --sync Portage prints out a message saying it is going to be upgraded. To see what has changed this command can be used:

user $equery changes portage
*portage- (03 May 2009)
  03 May 2009; Zac Medico <zmedico@gentoo.org> +portage- bump. This fixes bug #268398 (document econf automatic die)
  and bug #267104 (handle insufficient space interaction with userfetch).
  Bug #268228 tracks all bugs fixed since

Verifying package integrity with check (k)

Sometimes it is useful to check a package's integrity. equery can verify MD5 sums as well as timestamps to indicate when a package might have been corrupted, replaced, or removed.

user $equery check gentoolkit
 * Checking app-portage/gentoolkit-0.3.0_rc7 ...
   71 out of 71 files passed

Listing all packages depending on a package with depends (d)

Ever wonder why a certain package has been installed on the system? equery can tell which packages list it as a dependency with depends. Include indirect dependencies with the -D option.

user $equery depends pygtk
 * Searching for pygtk ...
app-admin/pessulus-2.24.0 (>=dev-python/pygtk-2.6.0)
app-editors/gedit-2.24.3 (python ? >=dev-python/pygtk-2.12)
dev-libs/libgweather-2.24.3 (python ? >=dev-python/pygtk-2)
dev-python/gnome-python-base-2.22.3 (>=dev-python/pygtk-2.10.3)
dev-python/gnome-python-desktop-base-2.24.1 (>=dev-python/pygtk-2.10.3)

A second example lists all packages directly depending on udev:

user $equery d udev
sys-auth/consolekit-0.4.5_p20120320 (acl ? >=sys-fs/udev-146-r1)
sys-fs/cryptsetup-1.4.1 (>=sys-fs/udev-124)
sys-fs/lvm2-2.02.88 (>=sys-fs/udev-151-r4)
virtual/dev-manager-0 (sys-fs/udev)
x11-libs/cairo-1.10.2-r2 (drm ? >=sys-fs/udev-136)
This output will include optional dependencies governed by USE flags, i.e. acl USE in (acl ? >=sys-fs/udev-146-r1) above, even if that USE flag is not active. A package would only be a dependency if that USE flag is active.

Getting dependency graphs with depgraph (g)

depgraph is the opposite of depends. It will find all ebuilds that a given package depends on (not the ebuilds that depend on that package). When it finds a dependency, it will recursively search that package's dependencies. Control how deep the tree gets with the --depth option.

user $equery depgraph mozilla-firefox
 * Searching for mozilla-firefox ...
 * dependency graph for www-client/mozilla-firefox-
`-- www-client/mozilla-firefox-
 `-- virtual/jre-1.6.0 (virtual/jre) [java]
  `-- virtual/jdk-1.6.0 (virtual/jdk-1.6.0*)
  `-- dev-java/icedtea6-bin (unable to resolve: package masked or removed)
   `-- dev-java/sun-jdk-
    `-- dev-java/java-sdk-docs- [doc]
     `-- app-arch/unzip-6.0-r1
      `-- app-arch/bzip2-1.0.5-r1 [bzip2]
    `-- sys-libs/glibc-2.9_p20081201-r2
     `-- sys-devel/gettext-0.17 [nls]
      `-- virtual/libiconv-0 (virtual/libiconv)

Notice how jre is a direct dependency and jdk is an indirect dependency if the java USE is set?

Listing files installed by a package with files (f)

equery can list all the files installed by an ebuild with the files module. Try --tree to get an easy to read directory layout. Use --filter to only find a certain type of file. For example, to find where executables were installed use --filter=cmd, or to quickly find the configuration file location try --filter=conf.

user $equery files --tree gentoolkit
 * Searching for gentoolkit ...
 * Contents of app-portage/gentoolkit-0.3.0_rc7:
   > /eclean
      + distfiles.exclude
      + packages.exclude
   > /env.d
      + 99gentoolkit-env
   > /revdep-rebuild
      + 99revdep-rebuild
   > /bin
      + eclean
      + eclean-dist -> eclean
      + eclean-pkg -> eclean
      + epkginfo
      + equery
      + eread
      + euse
      + glsa-check
      + revdep-rebuild
   > /lib
      > /python2.6
         > /site-packages
            > /gentoolkit
            + gentoolkit-0.3.0_rc7-py2.6.egg-info
               + __init__.py
               > /equery
                  + __init__.py
                  + belongs.py
                  + changes.py
                  + check.py
                  + depends.py
                  + depgraph.py
                  + files.py

Another example, to list all files installed by media-sound/ncmpcpp:

user $equery f ncmpcpp
 * Searching for ncmpcpp ...
 * Contents of media-sound/ncmpcpp-0.5.10:

Descriptions of other modules and additional command line flags can be found in the equery man page (man equery).

Looking for packages that have a specific USE flag with hasuse (h)

hasuse can be used to find packages with a given USE flag. hasuse will not indicate if the flag has been enabled or not; it simply outputs a list of ebuilds that have the queried flag as an option. See the EXAMPLES section of hasuse in the equery man page for more tip on getting this kind of information.

user $equery hasuse qt3 qt4
 * Searching for USE flag qt3 ...
[IP-] [  ] app-crypt/pinentry-0.7.5 (0)
[IP-] [  ] net-dns/avahi-0.6.24-r2 (0)
[IP-] [  ] net-wireless/wpa_supplicant-0.6.9 (0)
 * Searching for USE flag qt4 ...
[IP-] [  ] net-dns/avahi-0.6.24-r2 (0)
[IP-] [  ] net-wireless/wpa_supplicant-0.6.9 (0)

Listing packages with list (l)

list is a simple, yet powerful module to list packages that are installed, in the Portage tree or in an overlay.

user $equery list '*'
 * Searching for * ...
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/eselect-1.2.3 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/eselect-ctags-1.10 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/eselect-esd-20060719 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/eselect-fontconfig-1.0 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/eselect-opengl-1.0.8-r1 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/eselect-python-20090824 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/eselect-ruby-20081227 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/eselect-vi-1.1.5 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/perl-cleaner-1.05 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/pessulus-2.24.0 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/python-updater-0.7 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-admin/sudo-1.7.2_p1 (0)

The standard query will search installed packages for the given package name. Passing in '*' displays all packages in the set. In the leftmost field it is possible to see all the above packages are I(nstalled) and from the P(ortage) tree. They are not masked (the second field is blank), and they are all installed in the default slot (0).

Use local options to look for packages in the Portage tree and overlays.

user $equery list -po vim
 * Searching for vim ...
[-P-] [  ] app-editors/vim-7.0.235 (0)
[-P-] [ ~] app-editors/vim-7.0.243 (0)
[-P-] [  ] app-editors/vim-7.1.123 (0)
[-P-] [ ~] app-editors/vim-7.1.330 (0)
[-P-] [  ] app-editors/vim-7.2 (0)
[-P-] [ ~] app-editors/vim-7.2.108 (0)
[IP-] [  ] app-editors/vim-7.2.182 (0)
[-P-] [ ~] app-editors/vim-7.2.238 (0)
[-P-] [ ~] app-editors/vim-7.2.264 (0)

In this is it possible to see version 7.2.182 is installed and there are no versions available from an overlay. Users can see which versions are keyword masked by the ~ in the second field.

Viewing package metadata with meta (m)

Each package in the Portage tree provides at least some metadata about its maintainer, etc. The amount of useful information depends on how much package maintainers decide to provide. With no options, meta returns some basic useful information.

user $equery meta gnucash
 * app-office/gnucash [gentoo]
 Maintainer:  tove@gentoo.org (Torsten Veller)
 Upstream:    None specified
 Location:    /usr/portage/app-office/gnucash
 Keywords:    2.2.9-r1:0: alpha amd64 ppc sparc x86
 Keywords:    2.2.9-r2:0:
 Keywords:    2.3.8:0:
 Keywords:    2.3.10:0: ~alpha ~amd64 ~ppc ~sparc ~x86

Some maintainers provide extra information about the package which be very useful:

user $equery meta --description emacs
 * app-editors/emacs
  GNU Emacs is an extensible, customizable text editor - and more. At its core
  is an interpreter for Emacs Lisp, a dialect of the Lisp programming language
  with extensions to support text editing. The features of GNU Emacs include:
   * Content-sensitive editing modes, including syntax coloring, for a wide
     variety of file types including plain text, source code, and HTML.
   * Complete built-in documentation, including a tutorial for new users.
   * Support for many languages and their scripts, including all the European
     "Latin" scripts, Russian, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai,
     Vietnamese, Lao, Ethiopian, and some Indian scripts.
   * Highly customizable, using Emacs Lisp code or a graphical customization
   * A large number of extensions that add other functionality, including a
     project planner, mail and news reader, debugger interface, calendar, and
     more. Many of these extensions are distributed with GNU Emacs; others are
     available separately.

Finding package sizes with size (s)

Ever been curious to find out how much space a specific package is occupying? Since a package could have its files over a number of directories, the usual du -hc command might not give the correct figure. Not to worry, equery to the rescue!

user $equery size openoffice-bin
 * app-office/openoffice-bin-3.1.1
         Total files : 4624
         Total size  : 361.38 MiB

Using size prints the total space used in human-readable units and lists the total number of files the package has. To get the total size in bytes use --bytes.

Listing per-package USE flags with uses (u)

equery's uses module can provide information about what USE flags are available for a specific package and which of those flags is currently enabled.

user $equery uses gst-plugins-meta
 * Searching for gst-plugins-meta ...
[ Legend : U - flag is set in make.conf       ]
[        : I - package is installed with flag ]
[ Colors : set, unset                         ]
 * Found these USE flags for media-plugins/gst-plugins-meta-0.10-r2:
 U I
 + + X      : Adds support for X11
 - - a52    : Enables support for decoding ATSC A/52 streams used in DVD
 + + alsa   : Adds support for media-libs/alsa-lib (Advanced Linux Sound
 - - dvb    : Adds support for DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting)
 + + dvd    : Adds support for DVDs
 + + esd    : Adds support for media-sound/esound (Enlightened Sound Daemon)
 + + ffmpeg : Enable ffmpeg-based audio/video codec support
 + + flac   : Adds support for FLAC: Free Lossless Audio Codec
 - - mad    : Adds support for mad (high-quality mp3 decoder library and cli
 + + mpeg   : Adds libmpeg3 support to various packages
 - - mythtv : Support for retrieval from media-tv/mythtv backend
 + + ogg    : Adds support for the Ogg container format (commonly used by
              Vorbis, Theora and flac)
 - - oss    : Adds support for OSS (Open Sound System)
 + + theora : Adds support for the Theora Video Compression Codec
 + + vorbis : Adds support for the OggVorbis audio codec
 - - xv     : Adds in optional support for the Xvideo extension (an X API for
              video playback)

Here a number of USE flags are enabled in gstreamer's plugin meta-package, but it can be seen that there are other USE flags available. For more information on USE flags, please refer to the USE Flags chapter of the Gentoo Handbook.

Finding the ebuild path with which (w)

which is a simple script to help users quickly find the file path to an ebuild. If an unversioned package name is passed using which it will return the path to the newest installable ebuild version. In other words, it would return the ebuild Portage would use if emerge example/package was typed. which also accepts a versioned package to get the path to that ebuild.

user $equery which gnome

Lastly, if none of the above features of equery have provided an answer, try using which to manually search an ebuild with programs like cat, less or grep:

user $grep HOMEPAGE $(equery which gentoolkit)
Be aware that equery currently changes the format of the output if it is sent through a pipe. The piped format is intended to be easier to parse by tools, but it can be turned off by adding the --no-pipe option. When writing scripts that employ equery be aware of this behavior.

See also

  • Q applets - A collection of small and fast Portage helper tools written in C.
  • eix - A set of utilities for searching and diffing the local Portage tree and overlays using a binary cache.
  • Gentoolkit - A suite of tools to ease the administration of a Gentoo system.