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1.a. Portage Files
Portage comes with a default configuration stored in /etc/make.globals. When you take a look at it, you'll notice that all Portage configuration is handled through variables. What variables Portage listens to and what they mean are described later.
Since many configuration directives differ between architectures, Portage also has default configuration files which are part of your profile. Your profile is pointed to by the /etc/make.profile symlink; Portage' configurations are set in the make.defaults files of your profile and all parent profiles. We'll explain more about profiles and the /etc/make.profile directory later on.
If you're planning on changing a configuration variable, don't alter /etc/make.globals or make.defaults. Instead use /etc/make.conf which has precedence over the previous files. You'll also find a /etc/make.conf.example. As the name implies, this is merely an example file - Portage does not read in this file.
You can also define a Portage configuration variable as an environment variable, but we don't recommend this.
We've already encountered the /etc/make.profile directory. Well, this isn't exactly a directory but a symbolic link to a profile, by default one inside /usr/portage/profiles although you can create your own profiles elsewhere and point to them. The profile this symlink points to is the profile to which your system adheres.
A profile contains architecture-specific information for Portage, such as a list of packages that belong to the system corresponding with that profile, a list of packages that don't work (or are masked-out) for that profile, etc.
When you need to override Portage's behaviour regarding the installation of software, you will end up editing files within /etc/portage. You are highly recommended to use files within /etc/portage and highly discouraged to override the behaviour through environment variables!
Within /etc/portage you can create the following files:
More information about the /etc/portage directory and a full list of possible files you can create can be found in the Portage man page:
$ man portage
Changing Portage File & Directory Locations
The previously mentioned configuration files cannot be stored elsewhere - Portage will always look for those configuration files at those exact locations. However, Portage uses many other locations for various purposes: build directory, source code storage, Portage tree location, ...
All these purposes have well-known default locations but can be altered to your own taste through /etc/make.conf. The rest of this chapter explains what special-purpose locations Portage uses and how to alter their placement on your filesystem.
This document isn't meant to be used as a reference though. If you need 100% coverage, please consult the Portage and make.conf man pages:
$ man portage $ man make.conf
1.b. Storing Files
The Portage Tree
The Portage tree default location is /usr/portage. This is defined by the PORTDIR variable. When you store the Portage tree elsewhere (by altering this variable), don't forget to change the /etc/make.profile symbolic link accordingly.
If you alter the PORTDIR variable, you might want to alter the following variables as well since they will not notice the PORTDIR change. This is due to how Portage handles variables: PKGDIR, DISTDIR, RPMDIR.
Even though Portage doesn't use prebuilt binaries by default, it has extensive support for them. When you ask Portage to work with prebuilt packages, it will look for them in /usr/portage/packages. This location is defined by the PKGDIR variable.
Application source code is stored in /usr/portage/distfiles by default. This location is defined by the DISTDIR variable.
Even though Portage cannot use RPM files, it is able to generate them using the ebuild command (see The Ebuild Application). The default location where Portage stores RPM files is /usr/portage/rpm and is defined by the RPMDIR variable.
1.c. Building Software
Temporary Portage Files
Portage's temporary files are stored in /var/tmp by default. This is defined by the PORTAGE_TMPDIR variable.
If you alter the PORTAGE_TMPDIR variable, you might want to alter the following variables as well since they will not notice the PORTAGE_TMPDIR change. This is due to how Portage handles variables: BUILD_PREFIX.
Portage creates specific build directories for each package it emerges inside /var/tmp/portage. This location is defined by the BUILD_PREFIX variable.
Live Filesystem Location
By default Portage installs all files on the current filesystem (/), but you can change this by setting the ROOT environment variable. This is useful when you want to create new build images.
1.d. Logging Features
Portage can create per-ebuild logfiles, but only when the PORT_LOGDIR variable is set to a location that is writable by Portage (the portage user). By default this variable is unset.
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