Arch User Repository

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The Arch User Repository (AUR) is a community-driven repository for Arch users. It contains package descriptions (PKGBUILDs) that allow you to compile a package from source with makepkg and then install it via pacman. The AUR was created to organize and share new packages from the community and to help expedite popular packages' inclusion into the community repository. This document explains how users can access and utilize the AUR.

A good number of new packages that enter the official repositories start in the AUR. In the AUR, users are able to contribute their own package builds (PKGBUILD and related files). The AUR community has the ability to vote for or against packages in the AUR. If a package becomes popular enough — provided it has a compatible license and good packaging technique — it may be entered into the community repository (directly accessible by pacman or abs).

Getting started

Users can search and download PKGBUILDs from the AUR Web Interface. These PKGBUILDs can be built into installable packages using makepkg, then installed using pacman.

  • Ensure the base-devel package group is installed (pacman -S --needed base-devel).
  • Glance over the #FAQ for answers to the most common questions.
  • You may wish to adjust /etc/makepkg.conf to optimize for your processor prior to building packages from the AUR. A significant improvement in compile times can be realized on systems with multi-core processors by adjusting the MAKEFLAGS variable. Users can also enable hardware-specific optimizations in GCC via the CFLAGS variable. See makepkg for more information.

History

In the beginning, there was ftp://ftp.archlinux.org/incoming, and people contributed by simply uploading the PKGBUILD, the needed supplementary files, and the built package itself to the server. The package and associated files remained there until a Package Maintainer saw the program and adopted it.

Then the Trusted User Repositories were born. Certain individuals in the community were allowed to host their own repositories for anyone to use. The AUR expanded on this basis, with the aim of making it both more flexible and more usable. In fact, the AUR maintainers are still referred to as TUs (Trusted Users).

Between 2015-06-08 and 2015-08-08 the AUR transitioned from version 3.5.1 to 4.0.0, introducing the use of Git repositories for publishing the PKGBUILDs.

Searching

The AUR web interface can be found at https://aur.archlinux.org/, and an interface suitable for accessing the AUR from a script can be found at https://aur.archlinux.org/rpc.php.

Queries search package names and descriptions via a MySQL LIKE comparison. This allows for more flexible search criteria (e.g. try searching for tool%like%grep instead of tool like grep). If you need to search for a description that contains %, escape it with \%.

Installing packages

Installing packages from the AUR is a relatively simple process. Essentially:

  1. Acquire the tarball which contains the PKGBUILD and possibly other required files, like systemd units and patches (but often not the actual code).
  2. Extract the tarball (preferably in a directory set aside just for builds from the AUR) with tar -xvf pkgname.tar.gz.
  3. Verify that the PKGBUILD and accompanying files are not malicious or untrustworthy.
  4. Run makepkg -sri in the directory where the files are saved. This will download the code, resolve the dependencies with pacman, compile it, package it, install the package, and finally remove the build-time dependencies, which are no longer needed.

Prerequisites

First ensure that the necessary tools are installed:

# pacman -S --needed base-devel

The package group base-devel should be sufficient; it includes make and other tools needed for compiling from source.

Note: Packages in the AUR assume that the base-devel group is installed, i.e. they do not list the group's members as dependencies explicitly.

Next choose an appropriate build directory. A build directory is simply a directory where the package will be made or "built" and can be any directory. The examples in the following sections will use ~/builds as the build directory.

Acquire build files

Locate the package in the AUR. This is done using the search feature (text field at the top of the AUR home page). Clicking the application's name in the search list brings up an information page on the package. Read through the description to confirm that this is the desired package, note when the package was last updated, and read any comments.

There are three well-known methods to aquire the build files without the use of an AUR helper:

  • Download the necessary build files by clicking on the "Download snapshot" link under "Package Actions" on the right hand side. This file should be saved to the build directory or otherwise copied to the directory after downloading. In this example, the file is called foo.tar.gz (standard format is pkgname.tar.gz, if it has been properly submitted).
  • Alternatively you can download the tarball from the terminal, changing directories to the build directory first:
$ cd ~/builds
$ curl -L -O https://aur.archlinux.org/cgit/aur.git/snapshot/foo.tar.gz
  • It is also possible to clone the Git repository that is labeled as the "Git Clone URL" in the "Package Details":
 $ cd ~/build-repos
 $ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/foo.git

Build and install the package

Change directories to the build directory if not already there, then extract the previously downloaded package:

$ cd ~/builds
$ tar -xvf foo.tar.gz

This should create a new directory called foo in the build directory.

Note: In the case of a git clone, the extraction process is unnecessary. The git clone has already created the directory foo.
Warning: Carefully check all files. cd to the newly created directory and carefully check the PKGBUILD and any .install file for malicious commands. PKGBUILDs are bash scripts containing functions to be executed by makepkg: these functions can contain any valid commands or Bash syntax, so it is totally possible for a PKGBUILD to contain dangerous commands through malice or ignorance on the part of the author. Since makepkg uses fakeroot (and should never be run as root), there is some level of protection but you should never count on it. If in doubt, do not build the package and seek advice on the forums or mailing list.
$ cd foo
$ nano PKGBUILD
$ nano foo.install

Make the package. After manually confirming the integrity of the files, run makepkg as a normal user:

$ makepkg -sri

The -s/--syncdeps switch will automatically resolve and install any dependencies with pacman before building, -r/--rmdeps removes the build-time dependencies after build, as they are no longer needed, and -i/--install will install the package itself.

Note: The above example is only a brief summary of the build process. It is highly recommended to read the makepkg and ABS articles for more details.

Feedback

The AUR Web Interface has a comments facility that allows users to provide suggestions and feedback on improvements to the PKGBUILD contributor. Avoid pasting patches or PKGBUILDs into the comments section: they quickly become obsolete and just end up needlessly taking up lots of space. Instead email those files to the maintainer, or even use a pastebin.

One of the easiest activities for all Arch users is to browse the AUR and vote for their favourite packages using the online interface. All packages are eligible for adoption by a TU for inclusion in the community repository, and the vote count is one of the considerations in that process; it is in everyone's interest to vote!

Sharing and maintaining packages

Note: Please see Talk:Arch User Repository#Scope of the AUR4 section before making changes to this section.

Users can share PKGBUILDs using the Arch User Repository. It does not contain any binary packages but allows users to upload PKGBUILDs that can be downloaded by others. These PKGBUILDs are completely unofficial and have not been thoroughly vetted, so they should be used at your own risk.

Submitting packages

Warning: Before attempting to submit a package you are expected to familiarize yourself with Arch packaging standards and all the articles under "Related articles".

Rules of submission

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with Arch packaging standards#AUR packages.Merge-arrows-2.png

When submitting a package, observe the following rules:

  • Check the official package database for the package. If any version of it exists, do not submit the package. If the official package is out-of-date, flag it as such. If the official package is broken or is lacking a feature, then please file a bug report.
  • Check the AUR for the package. If it is currently maintained, changes can be submitted in a comment for the maintainer's attention. If it is unmaintained, the package can be adopted and updated as required. Do not create duplicate packages.
  • Verify carefully that what you are uploading is correct. All contributors must read and adhere to the Arch packaging standards when writing PKGBUILDs. This is essential to the smooth running and general success of the AUR. Remember that you are not going to earn any credit or respect from your peers by wasting their time with a bad PKGBUILD.
  • Packages that contain binaries or that are very poorly written may be deleted without warning.
  • If you are unsure about the package (or the build/submission process) in any way, submit the PKGBUILD to the AUR mailing list or the AUR forum on the Arch forums for public review before adding it to the AUR.
  • Make sure the package is useful. Will anyone else want to use this package? Is it extremely specialized? If more than a few people would find this package useful, it is appropriate for submission.
  • The AUR and official repositories are intended for packages which install generally software and software-related content, including one or more of the following: executable(s); config file(s); online or offline documentation for specific software or the Arch Linux distribution as a whole; media intended to be used directly by software.
  • Gain some experience before submitting packages. Build a few packages to learn the process and then submit.

Authentication

For write access to the AUR, you need to have an SSH key pair. The content of the public key needs to be copied to your profile in My Account, and the corresponding private key configured for the aur.archlinux.org host. For example:

~/.ssh/config
Host aur.archlinux.org
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/aur
  User aur

You should create a new key pair rather than use an existing one, so that you can selectively revoke the keys should something happen:

$ ssh-keygen -f ~/.ssh/aur
Tip: You can add multiple public keys to your profile by seperating them with a newline in the input field.

Creating a new package

In order to create a new, empty, local Git repository for a package, simply git clone the remote repository with the corresponding name. If the package does not exist on AUR yet, you will see the following warning:

$ git clone git+ssh://aur@aur.archlinux.org/package_name.git
Cloning into 'package_name'...
warning: You appear to have cloned an empty repository.
Checking connectivity... done.

If you have already created a git repository, you can simply create a remote for the AUR git repository and then fetch it:

$ git remote add remote_name git+ssh://aur@aur.archlinux.org/package_name.git
$ git fetch remote_name

where remote_name is the name of the remote to create (e.g., "origin"). See Git#Using remotes for more information.

The new package will appear on AUR after you push the first commit. You can now add the source files to the local copy of the Git repository. See #Uploading packages.

Warning: Your AUR commits will be authored according to your git user name and email address and it is very difficult to change commits after you push them (see FS#45425). If you want to push to AUR under a different name/email, you can change them for this package via git config user.name [...] and git config user.email [...]. Review your commits before pushing them!

Uploading packages

Tango-view-fullscreen.pngThis article or section needs expansion.Tango-view-fullscreen.png

Reason: Recommend to add * to .gitignore and use git add -f to keep the working directory clean as much as possible, see dotfiles#Using gitignore (Discuss in Talk:Arch User Repository#gitignore)

The procedure for uploading packages to the AUR is the same for new packages and package updates. You need at least PKGBUILD and .SRCINFO in the top-level directory to push your package to AUR.

To upload, add the PKGBUILD, .SRCINFO, and any helper files (like .install files or local source files like .patch) to the staging area with git add, commit them to your local tree with a commit message with git commit, and finally publish the changes to the AUR with git push.

For example:

$ makepkg --printsrcinfo > .SRCINFO
$ git add PKGBUILD .SRCINFO
$ git commit -m "useful commit message"
$ git push
Tip: If you initially forgot to commit the .SRCINFO and added it in a later commit, the AUR will still reject your pushes because the .SRCINFO must exist for every commit. To solve this problem you can use git rebase with the --root option or git filter-branch with the --tree-filter option.

Maintaining packages

  • If you maintain a package and want to update the PKGBUILD for your package just resubmit it.
  • Check for feedback and comments from other users and try to incorporate any improvements they suggest; consider it a learning process!
  • Please do not leave a comment containing the version number every time you update the package. This keeps the comment section usable for valuable content mentioned above. AUR helpers are suited better to check for updates.
  • Please do not just submit and forget about packages! It is the maintainer's job to maintain the package by checking for updates and improving the PKGBUILD.
  • If you do not want to continue to maintain the package for some reason, disown the package using the AUR web interface and/or post a message to the AUR Mailing List.

Other requests

  • Disownment requests and removal requests can be created by clicking on the "Submit Request" link under "Package Actions" on the right hand side. This automatically sends a notification email to the current package maintainer and to the aur-requests mailing list for discussion. Trusted Users will then either accept or reject the request.
  • Disownment requests will be granted after two weeks if the current maintainer did not react.
  • Package merging has been implemented, users still have to resubmit a package under a new name and may request merging of the old version's comments and votes.
  • Removal requests require the following information:
    • Reason for deletion, at least a short note
      Notice: A package's comments does not sufficiently point out the reasons why a package is up for deletion. Because as soon as a TU takes action, the only place where such information can be obtained is the aur-requests mailing list.
    • Supporting details, like when a package is provided by another package, if you are the maintainer yourself, it is renamed and the original owner agreed, etc.
    • For merge requests: Name of the package base to merge into.

Removal requests can be disapproved, in which case you will likely be advised to disown the package for a future packager's reference.

Git repositories for AUR3 packages

On 08/08/2015 unmaintained packages have been removed from the AUR with the migration to a Git backend. A Git repository of the old AUR contents is available at git://pkgbuild.com/aur-mirror.git. It was generally updated once per day and is now read-only. If the repository's commit history is not needed, then cloning with the --depth=1 option will be much quicker:

$ git clone --depth=1 git://pkgbuild.com/aur-mirror.git

You can also visit http://pkgbuild.com/git/aur-mirror.git/tree/<packagename> directly as trying to load http://pkgbuild.com/git/aur-mirror.git/tree in a web browser is going to use a lot of time and memory.

For more information, see the following: Git Web interface, forum thread.

There is also the AUR Archive on GitHub with a repository for every package that was in AUR 3 during the migration to AUR 4.

Web interface translation

See i18n.txt in the AUR source tree for information about creating and maintaining translation of the AUR web interface.

FAQ

What is the AUR?

The AUR (Arch User Repository) is a place where the Arch Linux community can upload PKGBUILDs of applications, libraries, etc., and share them with the entire community. Fellow users can then vote for their favorites to be moved into the community repository to be shared with Arch Linux users in binary form.

What kind of packages are permitted on the AUR?

The packages on the AUR are merely "build scripts", i.e. recipes to build binaries for pacman. For most cases, everything is permitted, subject to the abovementioned usefulness and scope guidelines, as long as you are in compliance with the licensing terms of the content. For other cases, where it is mentioned that "you may not link" to downloads, i.e. contents that are not redistributable, you may only use the file name itself as the source. This means and requires that users already have the restricted source in the build directory prior to building the package. When in doubt, ask.

How can I vote for packages in the AUR?

Sign up on the AUR website to get a "Vote for this package" option while browsing packages. After signing up it is also possible to vote from the commandline with aurvote-gitAUR.

What is a Trusted User / TU?

A Trusted User, in short TU, is a person who is chosen to oversee AUR and the community repository. They are the ones who maintain popular PKGBUILDs in community, and overall keep the AUR running.

What is the difference between the Arch User Repository and the community repository?

The Arch User Repository is where all PKGBUILDs that users submit are stored, and must be built manually with makepkg. When PKGBUILDs receive enough community interest and the support of a TU, they are moved into the community repository (maintained by the TUs), where the binary packages can be installed with pacman.

Foo in the AUR is outdated; what do I do?

For starters, you can flag packages out-of-date. If it stays out-of-date for an extended period of time, the best thing to do is email the maintainer. If there is no response from the maintainer after two weeks, you can file an orphan request. When we are talking about a package which is flagged out of date for more than 3 months and is in general not updated for a long time, please add this in your orphan request.

In the meantime, you can try updating the package yourself by editing the PKGBUILD - sometimes updates do not require any changes to the build or package process, in which case simply updating the pkgver or source array is sufficient.

Foo in the AUR does not compile when I run makepkg; what should I do?

You are probably missing something trivial.

  1. Run pacman -Syyu before compiling anything with makepkg as the problem may be that your system is not up-to-date.
  2. Ensure you have both "base" and "base-devel" groups installed.
  3. Try using the "-s" option with makepkg to check and install all the dependencies needed before starting the build process.

Be sure to first read the PKGBUILD and the comments on the AUR page of the package in question. The reason might not be trivial after all. Custom CFLAGS, LDFLAGS and MAKEFLAGS can cause failures. It is also possible that the PKGBUILD is broken for everyone. If you cannot figure it out on your own, just report it to the maintainer e.g. by posting the errors you are getting in the comments on the AUR page.

How do I make a PKGBUILD?

The best resource is the wiki page about creating packages. Remember to look in AUR before creating the PKGBUILD as to not duplicate efforts.

I have a PKGBUILD I would like to submit; can someone check it to see if there are any errors?

If you would like to have your PKGBUILD critiqued, post it on the aur-general mailing list to get feedback from the TUs and fellow AUR members. You could also get help from the IRC channel, #archlinux on irc.freenode.net. You can also use namcap to check your PKGBUILD and the resulting package for errors.

How to get a PKGBUILD into the community repository?

Usually, at least 10 votes are required for something to move into community. However, if a TU wants to support a package, it will often be found in the repository.

Reaching the required minimum of votes is not the only requirement, there has to be a TU willing to maintain the package. TUs are not required to move a package into the community repository even if it has thousands of votes.

Usually when a very popular package stays in the AUR it is because:

  • Arch Linux already has another version of a package in the repositories
  • The package is AUR-centric (e.g. an AUR helper)
  • Its license prohibits redistribution

See also DeveloperWiki:Community repo candidates and Rules for Packages Entering the community Repo.

How can I speed up repeated build processes?

If you frequently compile code that uses GCC - say, a Git or SVN package - you may find ccache, short for "compiler cache", useful.

What is the difference between foo and foo-git packages?

Many AUR packages are presented in regular ("stable") and development versions ("unstable"). A development package usually has a suffix such as -cvs, -svn, -git, -hg, -bzr or -darcs. While development packages are not intended for regular use, they may offer new features or bugfixes. Because these packages download the latest available source when you execute makepkg, a package version to track possible updates is not directly available for these. Likewise, these packages cannot perform an authenticity checksum, instead it is relied on the maintainer(s) of the Git repository.

See also System maintenance#Use proven software packages.

Why has foo disappeared from the AUR?

Packages may be deleted, if they did not fulfill the #Rules of submission. See the aur-requests archives for the reason for deletion.

If the package used to exist in AUR3, it might not have been migrated to AUR4. See the #Git repositories for AUR3 packages where these are preserved.

How do I find out if any of my installed packages disappeared from AUR?

The simplest way is to check the HTTP status of the package's AUR page:

#!/bin/bash
for pkg in $(pacman -Qqm); do
    if ! curl -sILfo /dev/null -w '%{http_code}' "https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/$pkg" | grep -q '^2'; then
        echo "$pkg is missing!"
    fi
done

If you use an AUR helper, you can shorten this script by replacing the curl command with whatever command queries the AUR for a package.

See also