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Gentoo Introduces Binary Package Support

Dec 31, 2023 — by Giorgio Mendoza 339 views

Gentoo Linux, known for its source-based distribution, has now added support for binary packages, aiming to enhance user convenience and accelerate installations, particularly on slower hardware. While most architectures initially offer binary packages for the core system and weekly updates, amd64 and arm64 users benefit from an extensive library of over 20 GB of packages, including popular software like LibreOffice, KDE Plasma, Gnome, and Docker.

Key Updates:

Setting Up Existing Gentoo Installation:

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Existing Gentoo users can quickly enable binary package usage by following Gentoo Wiki instructions. Create a configuration file in /etc/portage/binrepos.conf/ or consult the comprehensive binary package guide on the Gentoo Wiki.

New Stage/New Installation:

Fresh installations come preconfigured with /etc/portage/binrepos.conf/gentoobinhost.conf settings. Users may consider updating the src-uri setting to point to a local mirror directory for improved performance.

Compile Settings for Packages:

Amd64 binary packages are optimized with CFLAGS for amd64 / x86-64 systems, ensuring compatibility with specific profiles. Arm64 binary packages use tailored CFLAGS designed for arm64 / AArch64 systems and align with corresponding profiles.

Custom Compilations and Supported Architectures:

For users with unique CPU requirements, manual package compilation remains an option. Binary package support encompasses critical components, including the compiler (gcc or clang) and the complete build toolchain.

Cryptographic Signatures and Verification:

All packages are cryptographically signed for security. Portage performs signature verification, and you can enforce verified signatures by setting FEATURES=”binpkg-request-signature” in make.conf.


Gentoo Binary Package Data Size Comparison by Architecture
(click image to enlarge)

Managing Binary Packages and Download Speed:

Resolve signature verification errors by running the Gentoo Trust Tool getuto as root. Ensure your self-made binary packages are trusted by the anchor in /etc/portage/gnupg. Improve download speed by switching to a local mirror in /etc/portage/binrepos.conf, leveraging cryptographic signatures for secure downloads.


Gentoo Linux logo
(click image to enlarge)

Mixing Binary and Source Packages on Merged-usr Systems:

Portage seamlessly integrates binary packages with locally compiled ones while preserving Gentoo’s source-based essence. Report any issues on merged-usr systems for system enhancement.

Compatibility with Profile Versions and ~amd64 Plans:

Packages are specific to profile versions, and cross-version compatibility is not supported. Gentoo does not currently offer binary packages for ~amd64. Users are encouraged to use stable versions and manually introduce testing packages when necessary.

Further information

For complete information, refer to the official Gentoo Linux announcement.

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