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What is GNU Octave?

GNU Octave is a high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations. It provides a convenient command line interface for solving linear and nonlinear problems numerically, and for performing other numerical experiments using a language that is mostly compatible with Matlab. It may also be used as a batch-oriented language.

What is Octave Forge?

Octave-Forge is a central location for the collaborative development of packages for GNU Octave.

The Octave-Forge packages contains the source for all the functions and are designed to work with the GNU Octave package system.

What is g-octave

g-octave is a tool that generates and installs ebuilds for Octave-Forge packages "on-the-fly" to Gentoo Linux, using Portage. It's capable to generate ebuilds and Manifest files for the packages, and to install them using an autogenerated overlay (named g-octave). g-octave can also handle patches to the packages automatically. The command line interface tries to be very similar to the interface of the emerge tool.

At this moment g-octave depends on the Portage package manager to works, but the support to Paludis and pkgcore is planned.


g-octave have some basic dependencies:

g-octave also depends on some files, distributed by the maintainer, like the package database (a tarball with the DESCRIPTION file of all the packages), a file with the dependencies and the blacklist, a tarball with the patches, the eclass octave-forge, and a file that list the updated files.

These files are needed because upstream don't ship a package database (they only distribute a tarball with the sources of all the packages, so we have a script that create the database using this tarball) and because we don't want to do a new release every time that the eclass is changed or that a new patch is added. All these files are automatically fetched by g-octave

At this time, these files are here:


All the settings are centralized on the file /etc/g-octave.cfg. Please read the comments and change what you need. The recommendation is to keep everything as it is. :)


Below is a list of features implemented or planned to the next releases.

  • Selection of the packages by name-version (done)
  • Selection of the packages by name (using the latest version available) (done)
  • Creation of the ebuilds (done)
  • Creation of the Manifest files (done)
  • Creation of the overlay automatically (done)
  • Installation of the packages (done)
  • Update of the packages already installed
  • Remotion of the installed packages (done)
  • Installation of the packages with patches automatically (done)
  • List the packages available to install (done)
  • Show detailed info about a package (done)
  • Multiple versions of the same package on the tree (done)
  • Download auxiliary files (patches, blacklist, dependency list, package database and the eclass) from a mirror using wget (done)
  • The user can choose with which download manager will fetch these files
  • The user can force the recreation of an ebuild (done)
  • The user can force the recreation of the overlay (done)
  • Resolution of the dependencies of packages from the Portage tree, based on the dependency list, provided by the maintainer of g-octave (done)
  • Installation of multiple packages at once (not only the dependencies)
  • Handle updates of the eclass and the auxiliary files automatically (done)
  • Alert the user if the g-octave overlay is not appended to the PORTDIR_OVERLAY environment variable (done)
  • Portage is supported (done)
  • Paludis is supported
  • pkgcore is supported
  • Configuration file to the main settings /etc/g-octave.cfg (done)
  • Use colors on the CLI (done)
  • The user can disable the use of colors on the CLI (done)
  • Log g-octave actions to a file


We have other goals besides implementing the remaining features:

  • Port to Python >= 3.0
  • Improve the code comments
  • Improve the error handling
  • Improve the overlay management
  • Write a man page
  • Convince upstream to distribute the package database
  • Improve the use of g-octave as a normal user, with "--pretend"
  • Improve the script that generate the package database
  • Improve the details available on the packages list
  • more...

CLI options

show program's version number and exit
-h, --help
show this help message and exit
-l, --list
show a list of packages available to install and exit
-i, --info
show a description of the required package and exit
-p, --pretend
don't (un)merge packages, only create ebuilds and solve the dependencies
-a, --ask
ask to confirmation before perform (un)merges
-v, --verbose
Portage makes a lot of noise.
-C, --unmerge
try to unmerge a package instead of merge
-f, --force
forces the recreation of the ebuilds
forces the recreation of the overlay and of the ebuilds
don't use colors on the CLI

Usage Examples

Install the latest version of control:

# g-octave control

Install the version 1.0.11 of control:

# g-octave control-1.0.11

Remove the package control:

# g-octave -C control

Get informations about the package control:

# g-octave -i control

The options verbose, ask and pretend are passed to emerge.

How can I help?

The users can help testing and reporting bugs in our issue tracker. If you can help programming in Python, please take a look at our missing features and at the To-Do list. :)

g-octave ebuilds are available here:


If you experienced some random errors when installing some package, please retry, using the option --force-all, and report the issue to us. If you don't want to lose all your ebuilds, you can try to use the option --force, that will recreate only the affected ebuild.


Rafael Goncalves Martins <rafael at rafaelmartins dot eng dot br>

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