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Portage File List (PFL) can be used to search for files (or strings) provided by packages that are not yet installed, and optionally installs a little cronjob to update the database on the internet with the information that is available to be queried.


USE flags

USE flags for app-portage/pfl Searchable online file/package database for Gentoo

network-cron Adds a cron job which does a weekly submit of the package database


You can install app-portage/pfl with the following command:

root #emerge --ask app-portage/pfl


The database can be used online to search for files installed by ebuilds. Lets say you want to run glxgears but it isn't installed. Recently the program was removed from media-libs/mesa itself, so you could search for glxgears online to find the related package: search online

user $e-file udev

Search time comparison with equery

Here is a result of search times compared to equery:

user $time equery b iwlist
 * Searching for iwlist ...
net-wireless/wireless-tools-30_pre9 (/sbin/iwlist)

real    0m8.412s
user    0m8.217s
sys     0m0.173s
user $time e-file iwlist
[I] app-shells/bash-completion
        Available Versions:     2.1
        Last Installed Ver:     1.3-r2(Thu 09 May 2013 00:12:25 CEST)
        Description:            Programmable Completion for bash
        Matched Files:          /usr/share/bash-completion/iwlist;

[I] net-wireless/wireless-tools
        Available Versions:     27-r0 27 28_pre9-r0 28_pre9 28_pre8-r1 28_pre14-r 28_pre13-r 29-r1 28_pre10-r 30_pre9 28-r0 29 27-r1 30_pre7-r0 30_pre8-r0 29_pre22-r0 29_pre21-r0 29_pre10-r0 29_pre10-r 29-r0
        Last Installed Ver:     30_pre9(Wed 05 Dec 2012 22:20:22 CET)
        Description:            A collection of tools to configure IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN cards
        Matched Files:          /usr/sbin/iwlist; /sbin/iwlist;

 *  net-misc/pxes
        Available Versions:     1.0
        Matched Files:          /opt/pxes-1.0/stock/extra/wireless/bin/iwlist;

real    0m1.172s
user    0m1.033s
sys     0m0.100s

PFL is much quicker to search files (even if not installed locally), while equery is more powerful and gives more options to search.

See also

  • Equery — a tool to make several common Portage operations simpler.