"To understand much of Gentoo's progress over the past few
years, you'll need a basic understanding of Gentoo's packages
— called ebuilds. They are essentially bash scripts with a
number of helper functions and a primitive form of inheritance.
Ebuilds build packages by stepping through a series of bash
functions called phases. Each phase corresponds to a conceptual
step like unpacking the tarball, patching the code, configuration,
compilation, or installation. The key difference from the RPM or
deb packages used in binary distributions is that ebuilds must
allow for flexibility regarding how the package is built, so
they're full of conditionals about how to configure, build, and
install specific features.
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