At the heart of Gentoo is the Portage software management system. Based on the FreeBSD Ports system, Portage enables you to find, download, configure, build, and install the exact software you choose.
Using the Portage system can give you some excellent insights into how Linux is created. As Daniel Robbins said, " .. .we are documenting how to build a Linux system at the same time we are moving Gentoo Linux development forward."
Those developing software are encouraged not only to contribute their software to the Gentoo project but also to contribute the scripts they use to build that software. Portage tools and build scripts open up Linux technology beginning at the source-code level.
Key components of the Portage package management system include the emerge command and the package build scripts (contained in the /usr/portage directory). You can use these tools to build the entire Gentoo distribution from scratch, or rely on some prebuilt binaries to save some compile time. In most cases, you won't have to modify any configuration files to get a solid Gentoo installation.
For examples of how to use the emerge command with Gentoo, refer to the section "Getting Software with emerge" later in this chapter.
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