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icu is the "International Components for Unicode", a library used by other programs requiring Unicode support.


USE flags

USE flags for dev-libs/icu International Components for Unicode

debug Enable extra debug codepaths, like asserts and extra output. If you want to get meaningful backtraces see
doc Add extra documentation (API, Javadoc, etc). It is recommended to enable per package instead of globally
examples Install examples, usually source code
static-libs Build static versions of dynamic libraries as well
test Enable dependencies and/or preparations necessary to run tests (usually controlled by FEATURES=test but can be toggled independently)
verify-sig Verify upstream signatures on distfiles


The dev-libs/icu package usually doesn't need to be installed manually; it should be pulled in as-required when installing other software that uses it.

root #emerge --ask dev-libs/icu


When a new version of dev-libs/icu becomes available, trying to update one's system via emerge can result in copious output along the lines of:

WARNING: One or more updates/rebuilds have been skipped due to a dependency conflict:


 (dev-libs/icu-74.1:0/74.1::gentoo, ebuild scheduled for merge) USE="-debug -doc -examples -static-libs -test -verify-sig" ABI_X86="32 (64) (-x32)" conflicts with
   dev-libs/icu:0/73.1= required by (dev-libs/xerces-c-3.2.4-r2:0/0::gentoo, installed) USE="iconv icu -curl -doc -examples -static-libs -test -threads" ABI_X86="(64)" CPU_FLAGS_X86="sse2"
   dev-libs/icu:0/73.1= required by (x11-libs/vte-0.74.2:2.91/2.91::gentoo, installed) USE="crypt icu introspection vala -debug -gtk-doc -systemd -vanilla" ABI_X86="(64)"
   dev-libs/icu:0/73.1=[abi_x86_64(-)] required by (net-fs/samba-4.18.8:0/0::gentoo, installed) USE="acl client cups pam regedit system-mitkrb5 zeroconf -addc -ads -ceph -cluster -debug (-fam) -glusterfs -gpg -iprint -json -ldap -llvm-libunwind -profiling-data -python -quota (-selinux) -snapper -spotlight -syslog (-system-heimdal) -systemd (-test) -unwind -winbind" ABI_X86="(64) -32 (-x32)" CPU_FLAGS_X86="aes" PYTHON_SINGLE_TARGET="python3_11 -python3_10"

The simplest way to upgrade is to directly ask emerge to install the new version. For example, if the new version is 74.1:

root #emerge --ask --ignore-world dev-libs/icu:0/74.1

Once installation is completed, rebuild the relevant libraries:

root #emerge @preserved-rebuild

However, note that if any installed packages require an older version of dev-libs/icu, emerge will want to downgrade the package to that version; in that case, those packages will need updates before the latest version of dev-libs/icu can be used on the system.

See also