I want to make a list of utilities that come in handy in Gentoo? What tools and commands do you use and consider helpful in administration of a Gentoo system/server?

  • ok, re-opened. But do try to play like you're on "Jeopardy" -- phrase it in the form of a question! Jun 15, 2009 at 9:19
  • I think you've swapped the descriptions of "equery" and "eclean".
    – cd1
    Jun 24, 2009 at 3:05
  • I have removed the list from the question to keep it simple and clear.
    – Flow
    Sep 3, 2013 at 16:54

7 Answers 7


dispatch-conf for handling modified configuration files.

  • eix-sync

    Since eix-test-obsolete was mentioned here, apart from eix itself, I thought I'd write a recommendation. This is the only way I sync my portage nowadays: It performs a sync, updates the eix database and prints out a diff all in one go. I recommend invoking it as eix-sync -C '-q', which suppresses the typically verbose output of emerge --sync.

    Package: app-portage/eix, of course :)

  • q, together with its plugins such as quse, qlop or qsize

    Very useful set of portage-related functions, that can give similar information to equery and more. Part of app-portage/portage-utils.

  • quickpkg

    A part of the core sys-apps/portage. Very helpful for building a tarball from an installed package if you want to temporarily downgrade/upgrade it for testing purposes. You get back to the packaged version using the -K (capital "K") switch to emerge. Tip: use quickpackage --include-config=y to include current configuration files in the package.

  • demerge

    Lets you save the current list of installed packages in case you'd later want to revert. Kind of a "system checkpointing" tool.

    Package: app-portage/demerge



  • Utility for cleaning distfiles and binary packages.
  • Usage example: eclean distfiles
  • Usage example output: Cleans out the files in /usr/portage/distfiles. Pretty handy.

eix includes some neat obsolete checks like eix-test-obsolete which checks for bad entries in the /etc/portage/package.* files.



  • utility for adding stuff in the boot list, allows different "runlevels" (priorities)
  • usage example: rc-update -s shows the currectly active boot list
  • usage example: rc-update add script_from_init_d default

The portage-utils suite with the q tool and it's many aliases. It gives you much information on things like which files are in a package, what use flags are used, their descriptions and much more. Quite indispensible.

For configuration file updating, my tool of choice is dispatch-conf, which is part of the standard portage install and saves a lot of work updating unchanged config files compared to etc-update.


I hope everybody uses it nowadays, but eselect is a must. It's pretty much the tool to handle which software version, which binutils, which toolchain, which opengl, which whatever you use.


It's been a while since I stopped using Gentoo, but apart from all the utilities already suggested I used to like localepurge. It basically frees up disk space on the system by deleting unnecessary locale files and man pages.

Small use guide.

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