Config files

Here a brief overview of the most important configuration files. Gentoo has a protection mechanism to not automatically overwrite the config files (in the protected directories, usually /etc) during updates. To know what got changed, can be found out using the /var/lib/portage/config file that holds the checksums of the original files. There are also GUI tools not dedicated to a single Linux distribution to maintain and configure Linux:

emerge webmin

Files that will be customized

It might be worth to have a backup (See


Configuration of boot loader grub


Link to timezone


Contains domain name


Contains name of this computer


Contains default gateway and network settings


Contains devices to be mounted FD, CD ROM, HD, or default settings for mounting


Defines group membership of users


Contains other hosts and their IP addresses


Is the most important of them all contains CPU info usefags and more


Modules (e.g. HW) that have to be loaded at start up


Defines user accounts


Contains global configuration settings e.g. unicode


Configuration of X server

Files usually not to be customized

They however influence system behavior significantly:


USE variables e.g. kde qt


Contains path to programs and default editors, points to /etc/profile.env witch is produced automatically by env-update contains variables


Contains domain name and nameserver IP

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