GLEP 5: Extending metadata.xml

Author Heinrich Wendel <>
Type Standards Track
Status Deferred
Version 1
Created 2003-07-02
Last modified 2014-01-17
Posting history 2003-07-02, 2004-11-11
GLEP source glep-0005.rst


As the latest development in Gentoo and Portage added the metadata.xml file to each package, which provides information about the package and its maintainers, this GLEP proposes to extend this format in order to simplify the .ebuild format.


Timed out


The metadata.xml [1] standard was accepted and it already contains some information about the packages (longdescription).


Add the tags <description> <homepage> <license> to the metadata.xml [1] and remove them from the .ebuild files. All ebuilds and the emerge -S feature have to be changed to use the new format.


The three tags description, homepage and license are mostly the same in all versions of an ebuild, but they must be added to each version. In order to simplify the .ebuild format they can be moved to the new metadata.xml [1] file. This would also allow different descriptions for different languages (lang attribute) and there are no problems when a program changes it license (restrict attribute).

Backwards Compatibility

As it will take some time to do the changes on every ebuild, portage should still support the old format for some time.