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Working with the VDR Overlays

1.  Configuration and usage of the overlays

What is an overlay?

An overlay is simply the place where people put third party ebuilds. These ebuilds undergo extensive testing before they can be put into the Portage tree. Currently there are two overlays available: vdr-testing and vdr-1.5. If you want software around the VDR which is tested to become finally part of the main tree you can use the vdr-testing overlay. If you want the most recent development versions of the VDR you have to use the vdr-1.5 overlay. In the following we use the vdr-testing overlay as example.

Installing and configuring layman

Before we can install packages from an overlay, we need to install layman, an overlay manager. For more information, see the layman project page.

Code Listing 1.1: Emerging layman

# emerge -av layman

Even though we've installed layman, we can't install packages just yet. First you will need to tell Portage you want to use a local repository. This can be done with these simple commands:

Code Listing 1.2: Configuring Portage for layman

(First we create a needed file. It's alright if it already exists.)
# touch /usr/portage/local/layman/make.conf
# echo "source /usr/portage/local/layman/make.conf" >> /etc/make.conf

Next, we'll have layman check out (svn co) the repository for /usr/portage/local/layman/vdr-testing/:

Code Listing 1.3: using the vdr-overlays

# layman -a vdr-testing
* Successfully added overlay "vdr-testing".

Installing sources from our overlays

Now you can start using the ebuilds from the VDR overlay. Point your browser to and choose a few packages.

These packages will be masked by an ~arch keyword. Before you can emerge them, you will need to add them to your /etc/portage/package.keywords. Here are a couple of examples:

Code Listing 1.4: Unmasking packages

# echo "media-tv/vdrseriestimer" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords
# echo "media-plugins/vdr-burn" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords

Now you can install them with a simple emerge:

Code Listing 1.5: Installing VDR packages

# emerge -av vdrseriestimer vdr-burn

Note: Packages in the VDR overlays are under rapid development. Packages listed in this guide may not always be available: they may have been moved to the official Portage tree, or they may have been removed from the overlays for technical reasons.

Don't forget to keep your VDR overlays up to date:

Code Listing 1.6: Syncing the overlays

# layman -S


Page updated October 15, 2007

Summary: This document explains how to install software straight from our overlays.

Dimitry Bradt

Joshua Saddler

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