Creating Your Own Meta-Repo and Kits

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This page documents how to set up a local development environment that will allow full local testing of changes. This includes generating your own meta-repo and kits with your custom changes, as well as getting metro set up for unit tests.


For our local development setup, we will be using gitolite on our development workstation. Gitolite will make things quite a bit easier by managing git repositories for us. Think of it as your own private GitHub that has no Web user interface (we modify its settings by pushing to its special gitolite-admin repo) and you'll have a pretty good idea of what gitolite does.

Once gitolite is set up, we will use use a variety of source repositories from Funtoo Linux to generate our own meta-repo and kits, which we can then test using Metro. This process is totally automated by the Funtoo Linux merge scripts.


This document assumes you have basic knowledge of ssh-keygen and how to generate public/private SSH key pairs. If you don't know how to to this, see Generating SSH Keys for quick steps or OpenSSH Key Management, Part 1 for a more detailed introduction. For this article, you'll probably want to generate a private keys without a passphrase, which is more convenient but a much greater security risk if the private key gets compromised, or one with a passphrase but using keychain to manage ssh-agent for you.



To set up gitolite on your LAN, first choose a system that will be used to house your meta-repo and kits git repositories. You can do this on the same system you will be using for testing (and even development), or you can set it up on a dedicated system. It's actually fine to set this up anywhere on the Internet, as git will use ssh to access this repository, but for the purposes of this article, we're assuming you're setting it up somewhere on your LAN. We will refer to this system as repohost.

On this system, perform the following steps as root:

root # useradd -m repos

The repos user will be a dedicated user account on the system that will have gitolite enabled and will house our git repositories. Now, we are going to su to this new user on repohost and perform gitolite configuration:

root # su repos
user $ git clone
user $ install -d ~/bin

Now, as the repos user, add the following to the end of your ~/.bashrc file:

export PATH=$HOME/bin:$PATH

What we're doing is setting up a bin directory where the gitolite command will be installed, which will be in your path, so that you can use it more easily. With this done, perform the following steps:

user $ source ~/.bashrc
user $ gitolite/install -ln

Now, your repos account is almost ready to be used for hosting repositories. The way gitolite works is that it is going to basically take over ssh access to the account, so that when you connect via ssh with git, it will perform its own authentication. For this to work, you will need to enable your own "master key" to access gitolite. To do this, you'll want to decide from which account you'll want to administer gitolite itself. I prefer to use my "drobbins" account on my development workstation, so I will copy my ssh public key from ~/.ssh/ to /var/tmp/ on the gitolite system, and then perform the following steps to "prime" gitolite with this admin public key:

user $ gitolite setup -pk /var/tmp/

Gitolite will now be initialized to recognize the drobbins remote account as an administrator. This is important because we will be performing the rest of gitolite setup over ssh, using this account.


OK, gitolite is installed on repohost! From this point forward, we will be using the drobbins (or equivalent) account on your development workstation to configure gitolite remotely.

gitolite-admin Clone

Now that gitolite is ready, we can do everything else remotely. I am going to use the drobbins account on my development workstation, and you will use whatever account is associated with the public key you loaded into gitolite. I like storing my development repos in /var/src, so I'll go ahead and clone the gitolite-admin repo to that location so it can live along all my other git repos. Feel free to put this git repo wherever you like to store git repos that you develop on:

user $ cd /var/src
user $ git clone repos@repohost:gitolite-admin
user $ cd gitolite-admin

We are now ready to configure gitolite. We'll do this by modifying conf/gitolite.conf in the git repo and adding new ssh public keys to keydir/ as needed. You will see that the initial public key you used to "prime" gitolite already exists in keydir/. Once we change the configuration, and potentially add new public ssh keys that we want to grant access to gitolite-managed repositories, we'll perform a git commit and git push, and if gitolite doesn't complain about our changes, they'll take effect immediately. We'll go through our initial configuration steps below.

gitolite Configuration

To properly configure gitolite, we are going to need a public key that is associated with the root user of the workstation that is going to be generating meta-repo and kits. The system that I am using to do this is my personal development workstation, named ryzen, so this key is going to be called

You will want to copy this key into the keydir directory in the gitolite-admin repo, and add it to git:

user $ scp keydir/
user $ git add keydir/

Now, we're ready to edit conf/gitolite.conf so that it looks like this:

# group = list of .pub keys in keydir:

@drobbins = drobbins
@repomgr = rzyen-root

# To enable read-only access to your meta-repo and kits, use this along with
# commented-out line under wildrepo. You will need to add and
# to keydir/ as well. This is good for boxes that will be testing
# your meta-repo and kits only but should not be able to modify them.

#@reporead = box1-root box2-root

# repositories:

# SPECIAL ADMIN REPO BELOW -- modify with care!

repo gitolite-admin
    RW+     =   @drobbins

# AUTO-CREATED (wild) REPOS: gitolite will auto-create repos under wildrepo/ for us
# upon initial clone of any path within, if the repo doesn't already exist.

repo wildrepo/..*
    C       =   @repomgr
    RW+     =   @repomgr @drobbins
# NOTE: to enable read-only access for certain boxes, uncomment this line:
#   R       =   @reporead



Funtoo Linux uses "merge scripts" to create its kits. These scripts work by sourcing ebuilds from various overlays, and combining them using special algorithms to yield the kits you use. A meta-repo is also generated, which points to the specific kits generated that are designed to work together.

The Code

You can find the code that does this on GitHub, housed at The script that does all the heavy-lifting is called Let's clone it from git, on the machine that will be generating new kits and meta-repo. In our example, this will be as the root user on ryzen:

root # cd /root
root # git clone

While it is possible to use your own custom merge script repository, we recommend starting by using our official merge-scripts repository on GitHub, and progress to using your own fork of merge-scripts only when you need to.


Now that merge-scripts is cloned, we will need to create a /root/.merge configuration file. Use the following file as a starting point:


flora =
kit-fixups =
gentoo-staging =


base_url = repos@repohost:wildrepo/staging


flora = master
kit-fixups = master
meta-repo = master


merge-scripts = /root/merge-scripts
source = /var/git/source-trees
destination = /var/git/dest-trees

Sources Section

Let's walk through this configuration file. The [sources] section defines locations of repositories that the merge scripts will use as sources for creating kits and meta-repo. In the above sample config, we are using the official Flora repository from Funtoo, and the official gentoo-staging repository used by Funtoo, but we are using our own fork of, which will allow us to add new ebuilds that will appear in kits, such as bug fixes to existing ebuilds in kits, as well as security fixes. For a core Funtoo Linux developer, this is a good way to start. If you are more interested in contributing third-party ebuilds, then you may instead choose to create your own fork of, and use our standard kit-fixups repository. Or, you could choose to create forks of both. The recommended best practice is to use our upstream repos when possible, and fork only those repos you want to customize. This way, you'll ensure that you have the most up-to-date versions of ebuilds in those unforked repos.

Branches Section

The [branches] section is used to define the default branches that are used by the merge-scripts. In general, sticking with master is fine, but if you need the flexibility, you can point the merge scripts to a particular feature branch to use instead, for example.

Work Section

The [work] section is used to define paths where the merge-scripts will do their work. merge-scripts should point to the path where you cloned your merge-scripts repository, as will use this location to look for package-set definitions. These are files that define which catpkgs go in which kits. The source and destination settings above are good defaults, and define where the merge-scripts will clone source repositories and destination (written to) repositories, such as kits and meta-repo. These are kept in two separate hierarchies so they don't get mixed up.

Generating New Kits

With this all configured, you are ready to generate new kits. These kits will be generated as root on your development system, and will be stored on repohost. Here are the steps you'd perform:

root # cd /root
root # python3 push will proceed to create new kits and meta-repo, and will push them up to repos@repohost:wildrepo/staging/meta-repo, repos@repohost:wildrepo/staging/core-kit, etc. This process can take quite a while but has been optimized to run quickly on multi-core systems.

Using New Kits

Now that the new meta-repo and kits are created, here's how you'll use them on an existing Funtoo system, instead of your official Funtoo meta-repo and kits. First, we'll want to modify /etc/ego.conf as follows:


sync_user = root
sync_base_url = repos@repohost:wildrepo/staging/{repo}

# You can have whatever [kits] section you want, below...

You will want to make sure that whatever system is connecting to repohost is permitted by gitolite, and has its /root/.ssh/ file stored and committed to the gitolite-admin repository's keydir/ and is referenced in conf/gitolite.conf. Otherwise, gitolite will not allow this system to connect. Of course, if you are configuring this on the system that's running, it already has RW permissions to these repositories. Otherwise, you will want to make sure that gitolite has the system's keys as part of its @reporead group.


We change the sync_user to root to force ego sync to use /root/.ssh/id_rsa for authentication. By default, ego sync will attempt to use the portage user which does not have a private key installed, and thus will not be able to authenticate with gitolite.

Now, let's move the current meta-repo out of the way -- you can also simply delete the existing meta-repo. And then we'll re-run ego sync:

root # cd /var/git
root # mv meta-repo meta-repo.official
root # ego sync

Ego will now sync your custom repository. If you type emerge -auDN @world, ego will now be using your custom kits, rather than the official Funtoo ones :)