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GLEP 65: Post-install QA checks
Type Standards Track
Status Draft
Author Michał Górny <>
Replaced by (none)
Post History


This GLEP provides a mechanism for running QA checks on installation image after src_install phase exits. The checks can be provided by the Package Manager, repositories, packages (installed system-wide) and the system administrator. The QA checks can inspect the installation image, output and store both user- and machine-oriented QA warning logs, manipulate the files and abort the install, as necessary.


The current Portage versions have two main QA check mechanisms: repoman and post-install QA checks. While repoman is usually considered more important, it has severe limitations. In particular, it is run on repository without executing the ebuild, therefore it is incapable of inspecting the installed files. This is where post-install QA checks become useful.

Over time, many different QA checks have been added to Portage. That includes checks corresponding to generic Gentoo rules (like filesystem hierarchy, security requirements), checks enforcing Gentoo team policies and correct eclass uses. Some of the checks depend on external tools being present.

Keeping those checks directly in Portage sources has two major disadvantages:

  1. The checks can not be properly updated without Portage upgrade. In particular, a change in QA check becomes fully effective when the relevant Portage version becomes stable and the user upgrades. There is no easy way to keep QA checks in sync with eclasses.
  2. Gentoo-specific checks are enforced for all repositories and derived distributions. Modifying the QA check list requires forking Portage.


QA check format & locations

QA checks are stored as bash scripts. The checks are identified and ordered by file name. If files with same names are present in multiple locations, the file in location with the highest priority is used.

The specification defines four types of QA checks, listed in the order of increasing priority:

  1. internal checks included in the Package Manager,
  2. repository-specific QA checks,
  3. package-installed QA checks,
  4. sysadmin-defined QA checks.

The internal checks are stored in Package Manager-specific location and should be installed along with the Package Manager. It is recommended that only generic checks are included in the Package Manager and not checks specific to Gentoo policies, packages or eclasses included in Gentoo.

Repository-specific QA checks are included in metadata/install-qa-check.d directory of a repository. For an ebuild in question, the repository containing it and its masters are traversed for QA checks, with priority decreasing with each inheritance level.

The package-installed QA checks are located in /usr/lib/install-qa-check.d and are intended to be installed by packages. The sysadmin-defined QA checks are located in /usr/local/lib/install-qa-check.d.

QA check script format

QA checks are sourced as bash scripts by the Package Manager. QA scripts are run in an isolated subshell, and therefore can safely alter the environment and change the working directory. QA scripts must always end with a command terminating with a successful exit code.

The QA checks are executed after the src_install ebuild phase finishes and before the binary package is built or the pkg_preinst phase is executed. They can use the same commands as allowed in src_install, and use the installation image ${D} and the temporary directory ${T}. Aside to standard PMS functions, two additional commands are provided:

  1. eqawarn to output QA warnings to user,
  2. eqatag to store machine-readable information about QA issues.

In case of severe QA issues, the checks are allowed to alter the contents of the installation image in order to sanitize them, or call the die function to abort the build.

Repository-defined QA checks are allowed to inherit eclasses from the repository providing the check or any of its masters. The same inheritance rules apply as to ebuilds in the particular repository. Sourced eclasses do not affect the final ebuild metadata or phase functions.

Function specification


Synopsis: eqawarn <message>...

Output the specified message to the user as a QA warning, if the QA warning output is enabled. The message can contain escape sequences, and they will be interpreted according to the rules for echo -e bash built-in.

The mechanism for enabling QA warning output and the specific output facilities are defined by the Package Manager.


Synopsis: eqatag [-v] <tag> [<key>=<value>...] [<file>...]

Tag the package with specific QA issues. The tag parameter is a well-defined name identifying specific QA issue. The tag can be additionally associated with some data in key-value form and/or one or more files. The file paths are relative to installation image (${D}), and need to start with a leading slash.

If -v (verbose) parameter is passed, the function will also output newline-delimited list of files using eqawarn. This is intended as a short-hand for both storing machine-readable and outputting user-readable QA warnings.

The mechanism used to store tags is defined by the Package Manager. The tag names are defined by the specific QA checks. However, it is recommended that tags are named hierarchically, with words being concatenated using a dot ., and that the first word matches QA check filename. For example, the tags used by 60bash-completion check would be named bash-completion.missing-alias and bash-completion.deprecated-have.


QA check format & locations

The multiple locations for QA checks aim to get the best coverage for various requirements.

The checks installed along with the Package Manager are meant to cover the generic cases and other checks that rely on Package Manager internals. Unlike other categories of QA checks, those checks apply to a single Package Manager only and can therefore use internal API. However, it is recommended that this category is used scarcely.

Storing checks in the repository allows developers to strictly bind them to a specific version of the distribution and update them along with the relevant policies and/or eclasses. In particular, rules enforced by Gentoo policies and eclasses don't have to apply to other distributions using Portage.

The QA checks are applied to sub-repositories (via masters attribute) likewise eclasses. This makes sure that the common repositories don't lose QA checks. The QA checks related to eclasses are inherited the same way as eclasses are. Similarly to eclasses, sub-repositories can override (or disable) QA checks.

System-wide QA checks present the opportunity of installing QA checks along with packages. In the past, some QA checks were run only conditionally depending on existence of external checker software. Instead, the software can install its own QA checks directly.

The administrative override via /usr/local is a natural extension of system-wide QA checks. Additionally, it can be used by the sysadmin to override or disable practically any other QA check, either internal Portage or repository-wide.

Sharing the QA checks has the additional advantage of having unified QA tools for all Package Managers.

QA check script format

Use of bash is aimed to match the ebuild format at src_install phase. The choice of functions aims at providing portability between Package Managers.

The scripts are run in isolated subshell to simplify the checks and reduce the risk of accidental cross-script issues.

The script need to end with a successful command as a result of bash limitation:

CODE The method of sourcing scripts
source foo || die "source failed"

The source call either returns the exit code of last command in the script or unsuccessful exit code in case of sourcing error. In order to distinguish between the two, we need to guarantee that the script always returns successfully.

The extra eqawarn log function aims to provide the user with distinction between important user-directed warnings and developer-oriented QA issues. The eqatag function aims to store check results in a machine-readable format for further processing.

Inheriting eclasses makes it possible to reuse code and improve maintainability. The possibility is mostly intended for eclass-specific checks that may want to e.g. obtain search paths from the eclass.

Inheriting is allowed only in repository-specific since it is the only location where availability of eclasses can be assumed. For system-wide checks, we can't assume that the source repository will be available when ebuild in question is processed.

Function specification


This function is already considered well-defined at the time of writing. It is supported by Portage and stubbed in eutils.eclass. Therefore, the specification aims to be a best match between the current implementation and the PMS definition of ewarn function. The latter specifically involves making the output and output control mechanisms PM-defined.


This functions is defined in order to allow external tools to parse results of QA checks easily, tinderbox in particular. The name eqatag alludes to the process of 'tagging' files with QA labels.

The original proposal has used the name eqalog but it was rejected because of potential confusion with user-oriented elog function.

The tags can be associated both with files and abstract data to accommodate the widest range of checks. The additional data is provided in key-value form to allow extending or changing the format easily. The file path format is meant to match the canonical /usr/bin/foo paths.

The requirement of leading slash allows the function to safely distinguish between key-value data (assuming the key name must not start with a slash) and files.

The -v argument works as a short-hand for an expected-to-be-common practice of:

CODE Example QA check output code
eqawarn "The following files are frobnicated incorrectly:"
eqatag -v frobnicate "${files[@]}" 
eqawarn "Please consult for more details."

which would be output as:

CODE Output of the example QA check
* The following files are frobnicated incorrectly:
 *   /usr/bin/frobnicatee
 *   /usr/bin/other-frobnicatee
 * Please consult for more details.

The mechanism for storing the results is left implementation-defined because both the method of running builds and their location varies through Package Managers. The original proposal used a well-defined format in ${T}/qa.log.

Backwards Compatibility

Past versions of the Package Managers will only use their own built-in checks, and will not be affected by the specification.

Compliant versions of the Package Manager will split the built-in checks into multiple files. When particular checks are moved into the repository, the name will be retained so that the repository copy will override the built-in check and no duplicate checking will happen.

The transferred checks will be removed in the future versions of the Package Manager. However, since they will support this GLEP, the relevant checks will be used from the repository anyway.

Reference implementation

The reference implementation is available in Portage starting with version 2.2.15 (released 4 Dec 2014).


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