Project:Portage/Fixing broken portage

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This section will tell you how to manually update/fix your portage installation in case you can't run emerge sys-apps/portage. While not hard it is still to be done with great care, so please follow the listed steps exactly (but apply common sense when necessary).

Getting a portage tarball

The first step to do is to get the tarball of a current portage version. In the following text we will use portage-2.2.8 as an example (as this is the current stable version at the time of this writing), please replace that with a version present in the tree if possible.

Python Version Portage Version
<= Python 2.5 portage-2.1.6.tar.bz2
>= Python 2.6 portage-2.2.8.tar.bz2
These instructions do not work with portage-2.2.13 or later, which is installed by running its script.
If your currently installed version of python reported by python -V is less than 2.6 then you must choose a version of portage that is compatible with it. If you have at least python 2.6 then use portage-2.2.8.tar.bz2. If you have python 2/4 or 2.5 then use portage-2.1.6.tar.bz2.

Depending on the exact reason portage doesn't work for you anymore it may still be possible to use it to fetch the tarball for you, so as a first step try to run emerge --fetchonly sys-apps/portage, only if that doesn't work you have to manually fetch the tarball with:

Fetching portage tarball with wget

After that you should have the tarball available as /var/cache/distfiles/portage-2.2.8.tar.bz2.

Replacing the installed version

The next step is to unpack the tarball to a temporary location, using /root/portage-recover as example the commands to do that are:

Unpacking portage tarball

root #cd /root
root #mkdir portage-recover
root #cd portage-recover
root #tar xfj /var/cache/distfiles/portage-2.2.7.tar.bz2

After you have done this it's just a matter of replacing the python and bash files of your existing installation with the ones from the tarball (in most cases anyway). To do so run:

Replacing installed files

root #cd /root/portage-recover/portage-2.2.7
root #rm -rf /usr/lib/portage/*
root #cp -R pym bin /usr/lib/portage/

If you are not using Gentoo on FreeBSD then you should remove the sed wrapper script since it's not needed and it is known to cause problems with old versions of bash:

Removing the sed wrapper script

root #rm -f /usr/lib/portage/bin/sed
If you accidentally unmerged portage before or lost /etc/make.globals for other reasons you should also copy cnf/make.globals back into /etc, otherwise portage might behave in strange ways.
If the previous version of portage was less than 2.1 then you should now run emerge --metadata before continuing to the next step. This is necessary in order to convert the ebuild metadata to the new format that is used by portage 2.1 and above. It is okay to run this command even if you are not sure what the previous version of portage was.

Now you should have a working portage install again. To ensure a consistent system state however you should now run emerge sys-apps/portage again immediately.

If you get a command not found error message when you try to run emerge you have to recreate the symlink: Recreating the emerge symlink

root #ln -sf ../lib/portage/bin/emerge /usr/bin/emerge

If these steps didn't work for you your problem is likely not a broken portage installation but something else beyond the scope of this document. Please recheck the list of common problems and also look in bugzilla if the problem is reported there.