This page is supposed to show people coming from or going to a different distribution how some things compare with gentoo. It's a pragmatic comparison and doesn't judge which one is better.
This is very incomplete. Please add anything you know about any distro you think is important. Please note, some distros are using another distro's CLI interface (for example, the same package manager), in that case, please use the name of the distribution which was the first to use it.
Where Gentoo has portage and emerge, Debian has, among others, apt. This is to show you how you use either to handle updates, installs, and so forth. Debian has mainly two package management tools: apt and aptitude ( the first with supercow powers, checkout apt-get moo; the second unfortunately not ). This TIP will show commands with both tools for the sake of clarity.
Updating package database on your system
apt-get update aptitude update
Note: The use of aptitude is recommended over apt-get due to more intelligent dependency handling
Updating packages on your system
Updating all packages, only pretending the operation:
emerge --deep --update --pretend world
emerge -Dupv world
To keep the consistency of your system (with clean), it's better to type :
emerge -DNauv world emerge --depclean -av revdep-rebuild
apt-get upgrade --simulate aptitude upgrade --simulate
Update a particular package
emerge --update package1 package2
emerge -u package1 package2
apt-get upgrade package1 package2 aptitude upgrade package1 package2
pacman -S package1 package2
emerge package1 package2
apt-get install package1 package2 aptitude install package1 package2
Debian source compile:
apt-get build-dep package1 apt-get source package1
(optional: customize the build by modifying the debian/rules makefile) (or set environmental variables like DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS) (note that this will make your bug reports invalid to the maintainer)
dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -uc -b dpkg -i generatedpackagename
Simplified source compile:
apt-get build-dep package1 apt-get -b source package1 (the packages are automatically generated using the -b switch above)
Apt-Build, clean and easy way ( install the package apt-build )
apt-build install package1 package2
pacman -S package1 package2
Reinstall a particular package
emerge --oneshot package1 package2
apt-get install --reinstall package1 package2 aptitude reinstall package1 package2
for those of us who tinker with things we should not, reinstalling does not always work, for those occasions we can use
dpkg --purge --force-depends apache2-common
apt-get install apache2-common
pacman -Sf package1 package2
Searching package database
To search the package names and descriptions:
emerge --searchdesc searchword
On Gentoo, it's actually much better to install and use either the esearch package or the eix package to do a search. You use them like this:
apt-cache search searchword aptitude search searchword
Both emerge, aptitude and apt-cache search support regular expressions. To get the long package information on Debian (searching only in package names):
aptitude show searchword
pacman -Ss searchword
To get more information about a package in Arch Linux, run
pacman -Si packagename
List of Packages Installed
equery is part of the gentoolkit package. If you don't have it, emerge that first:
pacman -Qs #This will list all packages with their descriptions pacman -Q #This lists all packages with their versions pacman -Qq #This lists just the package names
emerge --unmerge package1 package2
emerge -C package1 package2
apt-get remove package1 package2 aptitude remove package1 package2
or to remove along with all configuration files
apt-get remove --purge package1 package2 aptitude purge package1 package2
pacman -R package1 package2
Only downloading packages
This can be useful e.g. if you're on a dial-up connection and want to download everything first and install later.
emerge --fetchonly package1 package2
emerge -f package1 package2
apt-get install --download-only package1 package2 aptitude install --download-only package1 package2
pacman -Sw package1 package2
Cleaning up downloaded packages
Compressed packages that were downloaded for installation can easily consume gigs of hdd space.
rm -rf /usr/portage/distfiles/*
To only remove outdated packages you will need to install the gentoolkit package and use eclean:
Cleaning temporary files from emerging packages:
rm -rf /var/tmp/portage/*
apt-get clean aptitude clean
Only remove outdated packages:
apt-get autoclean aptitude autoclean
pacman -Scc #Removes ALL packages pacman -Sc #Only removes the packages that are not installed on the system and/or not the latest version of the package
GUI frontends for package management
himerge, kuroo, portato, porthole
aptitude, dselect (both ncurses based and a bit cryptic), synaptic (gtk), adept (qt)
jacman, gtkpacman, alunn, guzuta, pacmon-svn, pacmanager-svn, kpacupdate, YAPG, shaman
Reverse dependencies are a major drawback of Gentoo's current portage implementation: It does not take care of them at all at the moment. This means that you can uninstall packages needed by others without being warned about it. E.g. you can remove the x server package without portage warning you that kde (which you have installed as well) depends on it. This way you can actually break your entire system (e.g. by removing glibc).
In Debian, reverse dependencies are taken care of by dpkg.
Also automatically removed when needed.
Runlevel & Initscripts
Runlevels work pretty conventionally on Debian. On Gentoo, they are a bit different.
Directories and files
In Debian runlevels are named conventionally (0-6 and S). They are represented by directories in Template:Filename called rc*.d (when the default sysv-rc boot loader package is installed; file-rc can be installed instead, and then the relevant file is runlevel.conf).
In Gentoo, runlevels have the same names, but these are mapped to more self explanatory ones (in Template:Filename): "boot", "default", "nonetwork", with the option to add more. The directories that represent them are in Template:Filename:
In Gentoo, if a service is not explicitly started in a runlevel, it is stopped when switching to that runlevel! There is no explicit stopping of runlevels as in Debian (/etc/rc?.d/K??service).
In both Debian and Gentoo, which things are started (and stopped) in which runlevels is controlled by links in the runlevel directories to scripts in Template:Filename, e.g.: Template:Box Code Template:Box Code
Runlevel management: rc-update, update-rc.d
To manage which things to start in which runlevels, use the following commands:
rc-update rc-status --all (To see the current status and other runlevels)
To add the cupsd to the default runlevel, do:
rc-update add cupsd default
To remove alsasound from the boot runlevel, do:
rc-update del alsasound boot
Also see this wiki page about gentoo runlevel management with rc-update
Configure cupsd to be started in runlevels 2, 3, 4, 5, and stopped in 0, 1, 6, with sequence code 20:
update-rc.d cupsd start 20 2 3 4 5 . stop 20 0 1 6 .
update-rc.d cupsd defaults
Remove cupsd from all runlevels:
update-rc.d -f cupsd remove
/etc/make.conf and use flags
While in gentoo there are a large number of configuration files which exist to control the behaviour of the package management system, there are comparatively fewer in Debian, as there is no need to dictate how to compile software which is downloaded and tweak/alter this purpose. In gentoo, the file Template:Filename is used for much configuration; this includes USE flags, which influence which elements of packages are compiled, and which libraries to build support for - common USE flags (USE or -USE to specifically negate support) include 'gtk gnome' for gnome users (and a corresponding -qt -kde -arts) and 'qt kde arts' for kde users. A gentoo user's complete set of use flags may look something like this:
USE="-kde -arts -qt xv truetype bluetooth crypt slang readline gpm berkdb mmx gdbm tcpd pam libwww ssl nls ethereal perl python esd gif imlib sdl oggvorbis mpeg gnome gtk X motif opengl avi png tiff nptl pcmcia nptl ldap eds"
arch and repositories
Also in Template:Filename is the ACCEPT_KEYWORDS setting, with (for an X86-based processor) two settings, x86 for stabler packages, and ~x86 for bleeding edge packages. It is however not recommended to make this change in Template:Filename. Rather configure this per-package in Template:Filename. It's enough to put a line into that file naming the package. That file might look like this:
app-crypt/gpg-agent app-text/docbook-xsl-stylesheets =app-text/docbook-xml-dtd-4.3-r1
The last line says, that only version 4.3-r1 should be unmasked. Older and newer versions will still be ignored.
Setting this in Debian is slightly more complicated, and is accomplished by setting different 'repositories' in Template:Filename - along with which 'tree' to use for packages; in debian, these are stable, testing, and unstable. An Template:Filename file for a debian testing user may look something like this:
deb http://mirrors.kernel.org/debian testing main non-free contrib deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org testing main deb http://security.debian.org testing/updates main contrib non-free
To configure your ethernet interfaces, take a look at:
Note that this has changed recently. For more information please refer to http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook-x86.xml?part=4
To configure your X server, take a look at:
X --configure cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf
To get a basic X configuration at Template:Filename in Debian Stable (codenamed Etch) and unstable (codenamed sid):
In the older stable release (codenamed sarge) used XFree86 4.3, which uses Template:Filename:
other configuration files; zh:TIP Converting from or to Debian