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If a user selects a package to be installed gentoo adds it to /var/lib/portage/world. Hence it can be used to install the same software on many systems by copying this file and run # emerge -uDN world afterwards.

How can I manage a set of packages that should be installed on all machines (setA) and another set of packages which should only go to the local machine (setB)?

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/etc/portage/sets/* and /var/lib/portage/world_sets can be used to accomplish this.

Read more about it in man portage.

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will I have to create /etc/portage/sets/mynetbook and /etc/portage/sets/myofficepc and add @mynetbook to /var/lib/portage/world_sets and then share /etc/portage/sets/* on all machines? – Jonas Stein May 12 '13 at 11:51
and how will I install new software then? emerge foo would change the worldfile, but I want to sort foo to /etc/portage/sets/basesystem – Jonas Stein May 12 '13 at 12:12
Yes, you can do it that way. To install new software, you need to adjust the set file and emerge @world. Note that this only upgrades when you specify -u and only rebuilds based on USE flags if you specify -N, therefore if you don't specify these two options you can use it to just emerge a new package. You may be able to more easily accomplish things by writing some bash functions in your .bash_profile that manipulate these files for you. – Tom Wijsman May 12 '13 at 15:22

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