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Removal of sys-apps/net-tools from portage

net-tools team drops development in favour of iproute2:

Test to remove net-tools rollback possible at any time. For more technical information, read the bug report:

TL;DR: - Testing - Is it safe for gentoo to remove hostname USE flag system dependency from net-tools for all times.

Tested of 3 gentoo machines. works here.

Get USE flags

Test current settings set for:

  • net-tools
  • coreutils

Verify net-tools

  • All linux IP kernel networking is done by iproute2 already
  • only operative USE flag left is hostname
user $eix -I net-tools
[I] sys-apps/net-tools
     Available versions:  2.10{tbz2,gpkg} **9999*l {+arp +hostname ipv6 nis nls plipconfig selinux slattach static}
     Installed versions:  2.10{tbz2,gpkg}(11:26:49 12/11/23)(arp hostname ipv6 nls -nis -plipconfig -selinux -slattach -static)
     Description:         Standard Linux networking tool

State: USE hostname - set

Verify coreutils settings

hostname USE flag will be mandatory here, currently it is unset:

user $eix -I coreutils
[I] sys-apps/coreutils
     Available versions:  8.32-r1^t 9.1-r2^t{tbz2} 9.3-r2^t 9.3-r3^t{tbz2,gpkg} 9.4^t{gpkg} **9999*l^t {acl caps gmp hostname kill multicall nls +openssl selinux +split-usr static test vanilla verify-sig xattr}
     Installed versions:  9.4^t{gpkg}(12:56:01 16/01/24)(acl nls openssl split-usr xattr -caps -gmp -hostname -kill -multicall -selinux -static -test -vanilla -verify-sig)
     Description:         Standard GNU utilities (chmod, cp, dd, ls, sort, tr, head, wc, who,...)

State: USE hostname - unset

Set USE flags

Apply mandatory USE flags for the test for hostname:

Set coreutils

Set the USE flag hostname to sys-apps/coreutils:

root #echo "sys-apps/coreutils hostname" > /etc/portage/package.use/coreutils

Unset net-tools

Unset all existing USE flags for package net-tools:

root #echo "sys-apps/net-tools -arp -hostname -ipv6 -nis -nls -plipconfig -selinux -slattach -static" > /etc/portage/package.use/net-tools

The same as above, different template:

echo "sys-apps/net-tools -arp -hostname -ipv6 -nis -nls -plipconfig -selinux -slattach -static" >  /etc/portage/package.use/net-tools


In order to move hostname USE flag to coreutils. Remove the net-tools. Portage will display blocking USE flags for:


Get quick overview over potentional breakage:

user $cd /etc

Grep for following entries in your /etc, or other placec where especially home-backed networkings scripts are stored:

grep netstat -R *
grep ifconfig -R *
grep route -R *
grep iptunnel -R *
grep ipmaddr -R *
grep mii-tool -R *
grep nameif -R *
Do not get exited about the amount of displayed matches. Most of that should and will be already working using iproute2 only

If you know your linux network scripts, here the URL to Iproute2#iproute2_for_net-tools_swappers. Table overview how to swap net-tools commands with corelating iproute2 commands. drop-in replacement of commands overview.

  • Change your script
  • Test


Client have simple IP networking setups. No breakage.


Server setups, setup scripts, network check scripts, containing following:

  • netstat
  • ifconfig
  • route
  • iptunnel
  • ipmaddr
  • mii-tool
  • nameif

Remove net-tools

Remove sys-apps/net-tools for

Potentional portage breakage notificiation.
root #emerge -C sys-apps/net-tools
emerge -C sys-apps/net-tools
 * This action can remove important packages! In order to be safer, use
 * `emerge -pv --depclean <atom>` to check for reverse dependencies before
 * removing packages.

!!! 'sys-apps/net-tools' is part of your system profile.
!!! Unmerging it may be damaging to your system.

    selected: 2.10 
   protected: none 
     omitted: none 

All selected packages: =sys-apps/net-tools-2.10

>>> 'Selected' packages are slated for removal.
>>> 'Protected' and 'omitted' packages will not be removed.

>>> Waiting 5 seconds before starting...
>>> (Control-C to abort)...
>>> Unmerging in: 5 4 3 2 1
>>> Unmerging (1 of 1) sys-apps/net-tools-2.10...

 * GNU info directory index is up-to-date.

Emerge coreutils, portage will build now the package using the hostname USE flag.

root #emerge -vaUD sys-apps/coreutils


Run 3 basic tests while net-tools is not available on the system:


Verify using the hostmame --version command, if hostname has (GNU coreutils)

root #hostname --version
hostname --version
hostname (GNU coreutils) 9.4
Packaged by Gentoo (9.4 (p0))
Copyright (C) 2023 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

Written by Jim Meyering.


Verify the linux TCP/IP stack works:

user $ping localhost
user $ping
user $ip route

No need to test IPv6 here, it will be working as before.


Check if your gentoo box is now able to reach IP targets out there. net-tools is gone.

user $ping

Comands should run without any problems.

Install net-tools (again)

Now emerge net-utils package again. All USE flags will be disabled. It will build some binaries..

root #emerge -va sys-apps/net-toolkit

Now portage builds net-tools with 0 USE flags enabled. but still installs:

   >>> /bin/netstat
   >>> /bin/ifconfig
   >>> /bin/route
   --- /sbin/
   >>> /sbin/iptunnel
   >>> /sbin/ipmaddr
   >>> /sbin/mii-tool
   >>> /sbin/nameif

But the binary hostname is now build from sys-apps/coreutils.

You are done here.

Test 2

While everything is build, reboot the gentoo box.

root #reboot

Verify during the booting sequence and look for potential, networking setup, NIC etc. related errors. Using a workstation or laptop, there will be no bigger problems.

Final state

Stable portage will still pull both packages currently. The most important detail is, that **all** USE flags are disabled on net-tools:

user $eix -I net-tools
eix -I net-tools
[I] sys-apps/net-tools
     Available versions:  2.10{tbz2,gpkg} **9999*l {+arp +hostname ipv6 nis nls plipconfig selinux slattach static}
     Installed versions:  2.10{tbz2,gpkg}(21:24:45 17/01/24)(-arp -hostname -ipv6 -nis -nls -plipconfig -selinux -slattach -static)
     Description:         Standard Linux networking tools

State: USE hostname - unset

Experienced gentoo users can now sys-apps/net-tools play around blocking or soft-blocking the package.

Final test is here:

root #emerge -C net-tools
root #reboot

Verify everything runs w/o net-tools. Portage will pull net-tools anyway. If this all works good, gentoo can start planning removal of that particular net-tools package.

Blocking net-tools

Apply following steps only if you are really gentoo experienced.

Removing the package completely. Create a /etc/portage/profile/package.provided/net-tools file

Create the path

root #mkdir -p /etc/portage/profile/package.provided/

Block the sys-apps/net-tools

root #echo "sys-apps/net-tools-2.10" > /etc/portage/profile/package.provided/net-tools

Remove net-tools:

root #emerge -C sys-apps/net-tools

Now test workstion if everything works as it should w/o this ebuild.

root #reboot