GLEP 24: Consistent Gentoo tool naming scheme

Author Donnie Berkholz <>
Type Standards Track
Status Deferred
Version 1
Created 2004-03-16
Last modified 2014-01-17
Posting history 2004-03-17, 2004-10-25
GLEP source glep-0024.rst


This GLEP proposes to create a more consistent, logical and usable naming scheme for Gentoo-specific configuration and update tools. It proposes changing the scheme to gentoo-config-<toolname> and gentoo-update-<toolname>.

Status Update

The author notes that this GLEP "needs significant work", which is unlikely to occur until either winter vacation or next summer. Marking as deferred for the time being.


A consistent prefix on these tools will allow users to easily find them on the system by merely entering "gentoo-<tab><tab>" for a complete listing or "gentoo-config-<tab><tab>" or "gentoo-update-<tab><tab>" to get a listing of the specific category.

In the current situation, it is trivial to miss a configuration tool unless one reads a portage log of installed files for a package. Revamping the naming scheme would enable users to find these tools more easily.


The following packages and tools are affected (gentoo- prefix removed for ease of reading, current name follows suggested name):

x11-base/opengl-update -> config-opengl (opengl-update)
sys-devel/distcc -> config-distcc (distcc-config)
app-admin/zope-config -> config-zope (zope-config)
app-sci/blas-config -> config-blas (blas-config)
dev-java/java-config -> config-java (java-config)
dev-ruby/ruby-config -> config-ruby (ruby-config)
net-www/webapp-config -> config-webapp (webapp-config)
sys-devel/cc-config -> config-cc (cc-config)
sys-devel/gcc-config -> config-gcc (gcc-config)
dev-lang/python -> update-python (python-updater)
sys-apps/baselayout -> update-modules (modules-update)
sys-apps/baselayout -> update-env (env-update)
sys-apps/baselayout -> update-etc (etc-update)
sys-apps/baselayout -> config-rc (rc-update)


Three primary options were presented for the naming scheme:

  • The current scheme, *-config and *-update. This scheme makes finding a tool difficult, since there is no consistency in the beginning of the name. However, it may be easier for people who already know such a tool exists and remember that its name correlates with the package to be configured (except in the case of many of the *-update tools).
  • A slightly modified version of the proposed scheme, with an abbreviated prefix, shorter than gentoo-*. For example, the current gcc-config would become gen-config-gcc or g-config-gcc. Although this is shorter to type, the availability of tab completion renders that point largely moot. It may also contribute to confusion through inexact specification of what it is.
  • The proposed scheme, gentoo-{config,update}-*. It provides a streamlined way to discover and use various Gentoo-specific tools, even if one does not remember the exact name. A minor downside is the length of the names, but again this caveat is largely moot because of tab completion.

In an example of another distribution, Red Hat moved to a redhat-config-* scheme within the past couple of years to provide more consistent and easier-to-find tools.

After two discussions on gentoo-dev, the majority favored this unified prefix for the tools, with a minority in objection, variously favoring one of the first two schemes above.

Backwards Compatibility

To ensure a smooth transition, a wrapper script will be provided in the old location. This wrapper will print a warning, sleep 5 seconds, then run the tool from its new location. The wrapper script should be provided for the next two new ebuilds for the package, whether they are revision or version bumps. On the third update, the wrapper script will be removed.

In addition, einfo warnings will be added in the ebuilds for the first three new ebuilds. They will run in one more ebuild beyond removal of the wrapper script.