GLEP 82: Repository configuration file (layout.conf)

Author Michał Górny <>
Type Standards Track
Status Draft
Version 1.0
Created 2021-05-19
Last modified 2021-05-31
Posting history 2021-05-19
GLEP source glep-0082.rst


The metadata/layout.conf file format is specified as used by Portage and pkgcore. A standard set of configuration keys is described including the keys currently used in the Gentoo repository.


The metadata/layout.conf file was first added to the Gentoo repository in Oct 2011, to facilitate setting of hashes used in Manifest2 files. In Mar 2012, it was used to indicate the transition to the new md5-dict cache format. In Jul 2013, it started being used to indicate the repository's masters and effectively became obligatory for all repositories.

Today, layout.conf is used for various repository configuration knobs that can be expressed as simple values and therefore do not justify adding new files to the repository. This primarily involves the configuration of development tools but also includes a few keys relevant to the behavior of the package manager.

However, layout.conf is currently not covered by any formal specification. The PMS neglects its existence entirely, and the keys used are roughly defined by their first use of Portage or pkgcore. This GLEP aims to overcome this by providing a formal specification for the file, as well as an up-to-date list of permitted configuration keys.


layout.conf file format

Every ebuild repository must contain a metadata/layout.conf file. The file uses a line-oriented key-value format:

# comments are allowed
key = value
key2 = value2

Lines starting with a hash sign (#) represent comments and are ignored, as are lines consisting entirely of whitespace.

Key can be any string and must not contain spaces. The exact form of value depends on the key. For some keys, the value is permitted to contain spaces, and it must not be quoted. In some cases an empty value is permitted. The whitespace between the elements is optional and is ultimately stripped. Every key must occur no more than once in the file.

Configuration keys

This GLEP specifies a number of standard configuration keys. New keys may be added to it in the future. It is strongly recommended that any new keys are added to the specification before being used.

The package manager can implement a subset of the listed keys. Unknown keys should be ignored.

The following keys must be present in a layout.conf file:

masters = <space-separated repository names>

Specifies the master repositories of this repository. For stand-alone repositories, this must be set to an empty value. Otherwise, it can list one or more repositories, separated by spaces. This key must be specified.


# most common case
masters = gentoo
# stand-alone repository
masters =
# multiple masters
masters = gentoo python

The following keys are optional:

manifest-hashes = <space-separated hash names>

Specifies the list of hashes that should be used for new distfiles in the Manifest files. The development tools may create a subset of the specified hashes if it is not updating the checksums for the specified distfile, or does not support the hash in question. The hash names are specified in GLEP 74. [1] The default set of hashes is implementation-defined.


manifest-hashes = BLAKE2B SHA512
manifest-required-hashes = <space-separated hash names>
Specifies the list of hashes that must be used in Manifest files. The development tools must support all the hashes listed there, and update distfile checksums to use these hashes (refetching if necessary). This must be a subset of manifest-hashes. If not specified, all hashes from manifest-hashes (or the default set) are considered required.
use-manifests = strict, true or false
Indicates the policy for creating and using Manifest files. If set to strict, Manifest files are created and files are required to match digests found in Manifests. If set to true, Manifests are created but digest mismatches are ignored. If set to false, Manifests are not used at all. The default is strict.
update-changelog = true or false
Indicates whether the development tools should write ChangeLog files. The default is false.
cache-formats = <space-separated format names>

Specifies one or more cache formats used by the repository. The currently defined values are pms for the original format specified in the PMS and md5-dict for the md5-dict format introduced in Portage 2.2.0_alpha68. The default is implementation-defined.


# modern repo
cache-formats = md5-dict
# backwards compatibility case
cache-formats = md5-dict pms
eapis-deprecated = <space-separated EAPI names>

Specifies one or more EAPIs that are to be considered deprecated by the development tools for use in ebuilds, i.e. their use should trigger a warning. If not specified, no EAPIs are deprecated. This key does not apply to EAPI use in profiles.


eapis-deprecated = 0 1 2 3 4
eapis-banned = <space-separated EAPI names>
Specifies one or more EAPIs that are to be considered banned by the development tools for use in ebuilds, i.e. their use should be blocked. If not specified, no EAPIs are banned. This key does not apply to EAPI use in profiles.
repo-name = <string>
Specifies the repository name. If specified, it must be equal to the contents of profiles/repo_name. If not specified, it defaults to the same value. Discouraged.
aliases = <space-separated names>

Specified one or more additional names that can be used to reference the repository (e.g. in repository dependencies). If not specified, no aliases are defined.


# gen2 is a fork of Gentoo that can be used in place of the Gentoo
# repository
repo-name = gen2
aliases = gentoo
thin-manifests = true or false
If enabled, Manifest files in the package directory must contain only DIST entries. If disabled, Manifest files in the package directory must list digests for all files found in the package directory and the files directory. The default is false.
sign-commits = true or false
Indicates whether git commits are to be signed (using git commit --gpg-sign. The default is false.
sign-manifests = true or false
Indicates whether individual package Manifests should be PGP-signed. Note that this refers to the historical behavior of signing individual Manifests, not the GLEP 74 behavior of signing the top-level Manifest. [1] The default is true if PGP signing is configured.
properties-allowed = <space-separated property tokens>

Specifies the list of PROPERTIES tokens that are permitted to be used in ebuilds. If present, the development tools should issue a warning if PROPERTIES contains any tokens that are not listed here. If not specified, all tokens are permitted.


properties-allowed = live
restrict-allowed = <space-separated restrict tokens>
Same as properties-allowed, except for RESTRICT.
profile-formats = <space-separated format names>

Specifies the format used by profiles and/or extensions to it. The default is pms indicating the format specified in the PMS. Other values are implementation-defined.


profile-formats = portage-1
profile-formats = portage-2 profile-set

Complete example

The following is an example configuration for a git repository with Gentoo set as a master:

masters = gentoo

# git: do not use ChangeLog, use thin, unsigned Manifests
update-changelog = false
thin-manifests = true
sign-manifests = false

# force the new md5-dict cache format
cache-formats = md5-dict


This GLEP is written almost 10 years after layout.conf was originally introduced. This made it necessary to write it in such a way that both the modern and historical implementations in Portage and pkgcore, as well as the use in the Gentoo repository and a reasonably large subset of the other repositories would remain compliant.

The historical default of assuming masters = gentoo when unspecified is omitted as it is not portable and verbosely deprecated for many years in Portage. All repositories are required to explicitly specify their masters, or an empty value if they are stand-alone.

The default for Manifest hashes and cache formats are left to be implementation-defined, as the defaults changed over time and do not match between package managers. In particular, Portage attempts to autodetect the cache format currently used in a given repository.

The repo-name key has been originally added as an alternative to profiles/repo_name. However, the latter file is still required for PMS compliance. Furthermore, given that it is much easier to parse, there seems to be no appealing reason to work towards replacing that file. This means that for all practical reasons, the repo-name key is redundant and is listed here for completeness only.

The profile-formats key has been introduced to permit Portage-specific extensions to the profile directory without having to introduce custom EAPIs. The exact extensions are considered outside the scope of this specification.

Backwards Compatibility

The existing implementations found in Portage and pkgcore conform to this specification, so does the metadata/layout.conf file found in the Gentoo repository.

Reference Implementation

The support for metadata/layout.conf is already a part of Portage and pkgcore.


[1](1, 2) GLEP 74: Full-tree verification using Manifest files (