What is the make.conf file? What is its purpose?
Make.conf is portage's and Funtoo's main configuration file. It contains many variables that define how a package will installed in a Funtoo system. You can customize portage internal variables, such as, portage tree location, sources tarball location, overlays, to name a few. You can customize hardware specs, such as TMPFS, disk limits, GCC compilation flags to achieve best performance, etc. A great deal of this customization is done through the make.conf file. This page will attempt to explain the uses of the make.conf file, different variables that can be added to it, and their uses.
Where does this file reside?
make.conf file is found at
/etc/make.conf is its deprecated location.
# nano /etc/portage/make.conf
/etc/portage/make.conf: example make.conf variables
* CFLAGS="-march=amdfam10 -O2 -pipe"
* CXXFLAGS="-march=amdfam10 -O2 -pipe"
* VIDEO_CARDS="vesa nouveau"
* MAKEOPTS="-j 2"
* USE="mmx sse"
* PYTHON_ABIS="2.7 3.3"
* PYTHON_TARGETS="2.7 3.3"
Relocate Source Compile Directory
By default portage unpacks and compiles sources in /var/tmp/ it appends portage/pkg-cat/pkg to compile a package elsewhere such as /tmp/portage/pkg-cat/pkg
/etc/portage/make.conf: unpack & compile sources in alternate location
several options for the video cards variable exist. see Video
MAKEOPTS can be used to define how many parallel compilations should occur when you compile a package, which can speed up compilation significantly. A rule of thumb is the number of CPUs (or CPU threads) in your system plus one. If for example you have a dual core processor without hyper-threading, then you would set MAKEOPTS to 3:
/etc/portage/make.conf: set portage to use 3 threads
If you are unsure about how many processors/threads you have then use /proc/cpuinfo to help you.
(chroot) # grep "processor" /proc/cpuinfo | wc -l
Set MAKEOPTS to this number plus one:
/etc/portage/make.conf: set portage to use 17 threads
Use processors +1 if you use Completely Fair Queuing I/O scheduler. If you use BFQ use only as many jobs as you have CPUs. However chances are that you use CFQ.
USE flags define what functionality is enabled when packages are built. It is not recommended to add a lot of them during installation; you should wait until you have a working, bootable system before changing your USE flags. A USE flag prefixed with a minus ("-") sign tells Portage not to use the flag when compiling. A Funtoo guide to USE flags will be available in the future. For now, you can find out more information about USE flags in the Gentoo Handbook.
LINGUAS tells Portage which local language to compile the system and applications in (those who use LINGUAS variable like OpenOffice). It is not usually necessary to set this if you use English. If you want another language such as French (fr) or German (de), set LINGUAS appropriately:
/etc/portage/make.conf: set system language to french