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Joined: 13 Apr 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Southeast US

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:41 am    Post subject: Portage gripes Reply with quote

Overall, I think portage has become a very useful package manager that is full of great features, but there are a few things I wish it had. I figured I'd throw them out here to see if there are any plans on implementing these features in the future.
  1. Portage does not use diffs when doing package upgrades.

    The big advantage of doing this would be that the files you have to download in order to upgrade a package from one version to the next would only be a diff from from the currently installed version to the new one, and the size of these files is usually at least an order of magnitude smaller than the full file. IIRC, Sorcerer Linux did this a few years back (it may still do this, but I haven't kept up with it since it flopped a few years back), and it seemed to work well for it. This would be especially helpful for people with slow internet connections.

    For instance, when a new kernel version comes out, Portage downloads the full version of the new kernel (30-40MB) instead of the patch from the previous kernel version (less than 6MB, but usually under 3MB). This may be an extreme example, but there are quite a few packages that are upgraded often, and each time the full source is downloaded (www-apps/gallery and sys-kernel/genkernel come to mind).

  2. There is no "built-in" way to remove or list unneeded distribution files.

    If you have had Gentoo installed for a decent amount of time, take a look at the size of the /usr/portage/distfiles/ directory. I've had Gentoo installed on this computer for about 9 months and that directory is taking up 7 GB of HD space! There are countless package files in there that I no longer have installed on my system because I either upgraded to a newer version or uninstalled the package. I could always just do a rm -f *, but then if that file is needed again (for a new revision for example) then it would have to be downloaded again.

  3. Pre- and post-installation comments are often gone unnoticed.

    I'm talking about the comments in green or red that are displayed before and/or after a package is installed. Sometimes there is important information in these comments which should be read over. If only one package is being installed this is generally not a big deal; the comments will be easy to notice since they will be near the very beginning or the very end of the output. However, if multiple packages are being installed, these messages can just fly by as the screen is filled up with another package's installation output. It would be nice if these messages were compiled into a message list which would be kept until the end of all of the package installations and then displayed - this way they could all be read.

If any of this functionality exists already, I am sorry for asking for it again, but please let me know of it's existence. Also, if anybody has anything to add to this, it would be nice to get a request list going.
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Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 704
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Well it does that for minor revision like with your kernel example. Updating from gentoo-dev-sources-2.6.10-r6 to -r7 requires just downloading a couple of pathces if the kernel source is in /usr/portage/distfiles
2. I don't know how you can remove the source code from /usr/portage/distfiles and expect an update to work without it so you either keep the distfiles around or you don't there doesn't seem to be another possible way to do it.
3. All you can really do is set PORT_LOGDIR in /etc/make.conf and look at the log files it creates there this I agree is not good enough.
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 4920
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. See

2. See the FAQ SA1: Running out of diskspace

3. See

Moved from Portage & Programming (Gentoo Chat would have been the correct place to post this)
Please read our FAQ Forum, it answers many of your questions.
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