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This page is a translated version of the page Gentoolkit and the translation is 2% complete.
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Not to be confused with Genkernel.


Gentoolkit is a suite of tools to ease the administration of a Gentoo system. This document covers the basics of some of the tools present in Gentoolkit.


What is Gentoolkit?

Gentoo is a unique distribution and presents some complexities that simply do not exist for other distributions. As Gentoo developers and contributors discovered some of these complexities, they also wrote tools to help users and administrators work around them. Many tools have been contributed to the Gentoo project and are included in the app-portage/gentoolkit package.

Gentoolkit contains a whole bunch of useful tools to help users manage packages and keep track of what is going on in their systems. Most users - particularly those who update systems often - will benefit from having Gentoolkit installed.



root #emerge --ask app-portage/gentoolkit

Finding documentation

Any documentation that a program might have (other than man pages) is stored in /usr/share/doc/gentoolkit-[version]/[program-name]/.


euse is a tool to see, set and unset USE flags at various places. For more information on USE flags, please refer to the USE Flags. See euse -h for complete help and all options.

Viewing, setting, and unsetting USE flags

The euse -a command reads the current active USE flags and displays them.

There are 5 "columns" that euse now uses to show whether a flag is set/unset and where all the flag has been set. The columns are as follows -- +/-, set in the Environment, set in make.Conf, set in make.Defaults, and set in make.Globals. The output looks like [+ECDG].
user $euse -a
X                   [+ CD ]
aalib               [+    ]
acpi                [+ C  ]
alsa                [+ C  ]
apache2             [+ C  ]
apm                 [+  D ]
avi                 [+  D ]
berkdb              [+  D ]
bitmap-fonts        [+  D ]
bonobo              [+    ]
cdr                 [+ C  ]
crypt               [+ CD ]
cscope              [+ C  ]
cups                [+ CD ]
curl                [+    ]
emboss              [+  D ]
encode              [+  D ]
esd                 [+    ]
fam                 [+    ]
fbcon               [+ C  ]
firefox             [+ C  ]
font-server         [+  D ]
foomaticdb          [+  D ]
fortran             [+  D ]
gd                  [+ C  ]
gdbm                [+  D ]
gif                 [+ CD ]
gimpprint           [+ C  ]
gnome               [+ CD ]
gphoto2             [+    ]
gpm                 [+ CD ]
gstreamer           [+ C  ]
gtk                 [+  D ]
gtkhtml             [+ C  ]
guile               [+    ]
imagemagick         [+    ]
imlib               [+ CD ]
innodb              [+    ]
ipv6                [+  D ]
javascript          [+ C  ]
jpeg                [+ CD ]
kde                 [+  D ]
ldap                [+    ]
libg++              [+ CD ]
libwww              [+ CD ]
mad                 [+ CD ]
mbox                [+ C  ]
md5sum              [+ C  ]
mikmod              [+ CD ]
mmx                 [+ C  ]
motif               [+ CD ]
mp3                 [+    ]
mpeg                [+ CD ]
mpeg4               [+ C  ]
mysql               [+ C  ]
ncurses             [+ CD ]
nls                 [+  D ]
nvidia              [+ C  ]
odbc                [+    ]
offensive           [+    ]
ogg                 [+ CD ]
opengl              [+ CD ]
oss                 [+  D ]
pam                 [+ CD ]
pdflib              [+ CD ]
perl                [+ CD ]
png                 [+ CD ]
python              [+ CD ]
qt                  [+  D ]
quicktime           [+ CD ]
readline            [+ CD ]
ruby                [+    ]
sdl                 [+ CD ]
slang               [+  D ]
spell               [+ CD ]
sse                 [+ C  ]
ssl                 [+ CD ]
svga                [+ CD ]
tcltk               [+ C  ]
tcpd                [+  D ]
tiff                [+ C  ]
truetype            [+ CD ]
usb                 [+ C  ]
vanilla             [+ C  ]
x86                 [+ C  ]
xml                 [+    ]
xosd                [+ C  ]
xv                  [+ CD ]
xvid                [+ C  ]
zlib                [+ CD ]

Similarly the euse -a -g command is used to view active global USE flags. The euse -a -l command does the same for active local USE flags. -g and -l are sub-options to euse and need an option before them (like -a) to function correctly.

user $euse -a -l
bitmap-fonts        [+  D ]
font-server         [+  D ]
fortran             [+  D ]
gimpprint           [+ C  ]
md5sum              [+ C  ]
mpeg4               [+ C  ]
nvidia              [+ C  ]
offensive           [+    ]
truetype            [+ CD ]

euse is able to set or unset USE flags. The commands used for this are euse -E flagname (enable a flag) and euse -D flagname (disable a flag).

Do not use the euse -E or euse -D commands by themselves (without a flag). It will set/unset ALL USE flags in /etc/portage/make.conf. Although a backup is kept at /etc/portage/make.conf.euse_backup, please be careful while using euse -E or euse -D!

Enabling a USE flag:

root #euse -E 3dfx
/etc/portage/make.conf was modified, a backup copy has been placed at /etc/portage/make.conf.euse_backup

The /etc/portage/make.conf file looks like so after the command was ran:

FILE make.confAfter enabling the 3dfx USE flag
USE="alsa acpi apache2 -arts cups cdr crypt cscope -doc fbcon \
     firefox gd gif gimpprint gnome gpm gstreamer gtkhtml imlib \
     innodb -java javascript jpeg libg++ libwww mad mbox md5sum \
     mikmod mmx motif mpeg mpeg4 mysql ncurses nvidia \
     ogg odbc offensive opengl pam pdflib perl png python \
     quicktime readline sdl spell sse ssl svga tcltk tiff truetype usb \
     vanilla X xosd xv xvid x86 zlib 3dfx"

Disabling a USE flag:

root #euse -D 3dfx
/etc/portage/make.conf was modified, a backup copy has been placed at /etc/portage/make.conf.euse_backup

Again, the /etc/portage/make.conf file after the command:

FILE make.confAfter disabling the 3dfx USE flag
USE="alsa acpi apache2 -arts cups cdr crypt cscope -doc fbcon \
     firefox gd gif gimpprint gnome gpm gstreamer gtkhtml imlib \
     innodb -java javascript jpeg libg++ libwww mad mbox md5sum \
     mikmod mmx motif mpeg mpeg4 mysql ncurses nvidia \
     ogg odbc offensive opengl pam pdflib perl png python \
     quicktime readline sdl spell sse ssl svga tcltk tiff truetype usb \
     vanilla X xosd xv xvid x86 zlib -3dfx"
euse does not physically remove the flag from /etc/portage/make.conf. It adds a - (minus) before the flag to unset it. A manual clean up of the /etc/portage/make.conf might be needed to avoid unwanted variables. Otherwise use the -P (purge) option to remove the flag. euse -P 3dfx for example would remove the 3dfx flag.

Other tools


It is not necessary to run this tool for general use. The portage FEATURE preserve-libs makes the original purpose obsolete. The primary purpose of this tool is now ABI changes for specific libraries when instructions are provided by developers.

This tool is Gentoo's Reverse Dependency rebuilder. It will scan the installed ebuilds to find packages that have become broken as a result of an upgrade of a package they depend on. It can emerge those packages for users automatically but it can also happen that a given package does not work with the currently installed dependencies, in which case you should upgrade the broken package to a more recent version. revdep-rebuild will pass flags to emerge which lets you use the --pretend flag to see what is going to be emerged again before going any further.

user $revdep-rebuild -p
 * Configuring search environment for revdep-rebuild
 * Checking reverse dependencies
 * Packages containing binaries and libraries broken by a package update
 * will be emerged.
 * Collecting system binaries and libraries
 * Generated new 1_files.rr
 * Collecting complete LD_LIBRARY_PATH
 * Generated new 2_ldpath.rr
 * Checking dynamic linking consistency
[ 48% ]  *   broken /usr/lib/gstreamer-0.10/ (requires /usr/lib/
[ 64% ]  *   broken /usr/lib/ (requires /usr/lib/
[ 67% ]  *   broken /usr/lib/ (requires /usr/lib/
[ 85% ]  *   broken /usr/lib/python2.6/site-packages/gtk-2.0/gtk/gdkgl/ (requires /usr/lib/
 *   broken /usr/lib/python2.6/site-packages/gtk-2.0/gtk/gtkgl/ (requires /usr/lib/
[ 97% ]  *   broken /usr/qt/3/lib/ (requires -lpng)
[ 100% ]
 * Generated new 3_broken.rr
 * Assigning files to packages
 *   /usr/lib/gstreamer-0.10/ -> media-plugins/gst-plugins-taglib
 *   /usr/lib/ -> x11-libs/gtkglext
 *   /usr/lib/ -> x11-libs/gtkglext
 *   /usr/lib/python2.6/site-packages/gtk-2.0/gtk/gdkgl/ -> dev-python/pygtkglext
 *   /usr/lib/python2.6/site-packages/gtk-2.0/gtk/gtkgl/ -> dev-python/pygtkglext
 *   /usr/qt/3/lib/ -> x11-libs/qt
 * Generated new 4_raw.rr and 4_owners.rr
 * Cleaning list of packages to rebuild
 * Generated new 4_pkgs.rr
 * Assigning packages to ebuilds
 * Generated new 4_ebuilds.rr
 * Evaluating package order
 * Generated new 5_order.rr
 * All prepared. Starting rebuild
emerge --oneshot --pretend  dev-python/pygtkglext:0
These are the packages that would be merged, in order:
Calculating dependencies... done!
[ebuild   R   ] media-plugins/gst-plugins-taglib-0.10.17
[ebuild   R   ] x11-libs/gtkglext-1.2.0
[ebuild   R   ] x11-libs/qt-3.3.8b-r2
[ebuild   R   ] dev-python/pygtkglext-1.1.0
 * Now you can remove -p (or --pretend) from arguments and re-run revdep-rebuild.

To rebuild some packages run revdep-rebuild without the -p flag and the listed packages will be emerged again.


glsa-check is mainly a test tool that keeps track of the various GLSA's (Gentoo Linux Security Advisory) and will eventually be integrated into emerge and equery.


eread is a simple utility to display elog files produced by Portage since version 2.1. The saving of elog files can be enabled by setting a couple of variables in /etc/portage/make.conf:

FILE make.confEnabling elog
This is only one way of saving elog messages. For more information on how Portage's elog system works, please refer to the appropriate page in the Portage Handbook.

Once elog has been set up to satisfaction, run eread to view the log files.

user $eread
This is a list of portage log items. Choose a number to view that file or type
q to quit.
1) app-portage:gentoolkit-0.2.4_pre2:20070320-000256.log
2) app-portage:gentoolkit-0.2.4_pre2:20070320-000258.log
3) app-portage:gentoolkit-0.2.4_pre2:20070320-000319.log
4) app-portage:gentoolkit-0.2.3:20070320-000408.log

Select a number and the file will be displayed using the paging program specified in the PAGER environment variable. If PAGER is not set, it will use less. The PAGER environmental variable can be set using eselect (module pager).

After displaying the elog item, you will be prompted if you want to delete the file.


eclean is a tool to remove old source files and old binary packages from the system.

When building and installing packages, the source files are downloaded and preserved in DISTDIR, usually /var/cache/distfiles. This can accumulate several gigabytes of material over time if it is not cleaned periodically. Users should run eclean-dist to clean source files from DISTDIR.

It is possible to create archives of installed packages by using quickpkg or FEATURES="buildpkg". These archived packages are kept in PKGDIR, usually /var/cache/binpkgs. When they are no longer needed, or if they are too old, eclean-pkg can be ran to remove them from PKGDIR. It is a good way to ensure that any binary packages on the system are only the latest versions.

For more information on eclean and tips on maintaining a cruft-free system, please read man eclean or check the eclean article.

See also

This page is based on a document formerly found on our main website
The following people contributed to the original document: Matt Butcher, John P. Davis, Erwin, Shyam Mani, Xavier Neys, Karl Trygve, José Luis Rivero, Joshua Saddler, Douglas Anderson
They are listed here because wiki history does not allow for any external attribution. If you edit the wiki article, please do not add yourself here; your contributions are recorded on each article's associated history page.