pkgcore vs. eix → pix (find packages in Gentoo)

For a long time it bugged me, that eix uses a seperate database which I need to keep up to date. But no longer: With pkgcore as fast as it is today, I set up pquery to replace eix.

The result is pix:

alias pix='pquery --raw -nv --attr=keywords'

(put the above in your ~/.bashrc)

The output looks like this:

$ pix pkgcore
 * sys-apps/pkgcore
    repo: gentoo
    description: pkgcore package manager
    keywords: ~alpha ~amd64 ~arm ~hppa ~ia64 ~ppc ~ppc64 ~s390 ~sh ~sparc ~x86

It’s still a bit slower than eix, but it operates directly on the portage tree and my overlays — and I no longer have to use eix-sync for syncing my overlays, just to make sure eix is updated.

Some other treats of pkgcore

Aside from pquery, pkgcore also offers pmerge to install packages (almost the same syntax as emerge) and pmaint for synchronizing and other maintenance stuff.

From my experience, pmerge is hellishly fast for simple installs like pmerge kde-misc/pyrad, but it sometimes breaks with world updates. In that case I just fall back on portage. Both are Python, so when you have one, adding the other is very cheap (spacewise).

Also pmerge has the nice pmerge @glsa feature: Get Gentoo Linux security updates. Due to it’s almost unreal speed (compared to portage) checking for security updates now doesn’t hurt anymore.

$ time pmerge -p @glsa
 * Resolving...
Nothing to merge.

real    0m1.863s
user    0m1.463s
sys     0m0.100s

It differs from portage in that you call world as set explicitely — either via a command like pmerge -aus world or via pmerge -au @world.

pmaint on the other hand is my new overlay and tree synchronizer. Just call pmaint sync to sync all, or pmaint sync /usr/portage to sync only the given overlay (in this case the portage tree).


Using pix as replacement of eix isn’t yet perfect. You might hit some of the following:

  • pix always shows all packages in the tree and the overlays. The keywords are only valid for the highest version, though. marienz from #pkgcore on is working on fixing that.

  • If you only want to see the packages which you can install right away, just use pquery -nv. pix is intended to mimik eix as closely as possible, so I don’t have to change my habits ;) If it doesn’t fit your needs, just change the alias.

  • To search only in your installed packages, you can use pquery --vdb -nv.

  • Sometimes pquery might miss something in very broken overlay setups (like my very grown one). In that case, please report the error in the bugtracker or at #pkgcore on

    23:27 <marienz> if they're reported on irc they're probably either fixed pretty quickly or they're forgotten
    23:27 <marienz> if they're reported in the tracker they're harder to forget but it may take longer before they're noticed

I hope my text helps you in changing your Gentoo system further towards the system which fits you best!

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