AUR User Guidelines

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Purpose


The AUR is a community driven repository for Arch users. The AUR was initially conceived to organize the sharing of PKGBUILDs amongst the wider community and to expedite the inclusion of popular user-contributed packages into the [current] and [extra] repos via the AUR [community] repo.

The User

The normal user plays an essential role in the AUR and without the support, involvement and contribution of the wider user community the AUR cannot fulfil its potential. The lifecycle of an AUR package starts and end with the user and requires the user to contribute in several ways.

Users can share PKGBUILDs using the UNSUPPORTED area in the AUR. It does not contain any binary packages but allows users to upload PKGBUILDs that can be downloaded by others. The AUR provides a comments facility that allows users to feedback improvements and suggestions to the PKGBUILD contributor. However, these PKGBUILDs are completely unofficial and unvetted so should be used with caution and at your own risk.

In contrast the [community] repo is a supplement to the [extra] and [current] repositories where the most popular packages from UNSUPPORTED are maintained by the Trusted Users group on behalf of the users. [community], also in contrast to UNSUPPORTED, contains binary packages that can be installed directly with pacman. Some of these packages may eventually make the transition to the [current] or [extra] repositories as the developers consider them crucial to the distribution.

One of the easiest activties for _all_ Arch users is to browse the AUR and vote for their favourite packages using the online interface. Packages that recieve 25 votes or more are eligible for adoption by a TU for inclusion in [community], enabling everyone easy access to the binary - so it is in everyones interest to vote!

Users can access the AUR [community] repo by adding this to their pacman.conf file:

 [community]
 Server = ftp://ftp.archlinux.org/community/os/i686/

There is as yet no official mechanism for downloading material from UNSUPPORTED but a few scripts can be found on the wiki.

Submitting Packages to UNSUPPORTED

Inside the AUR web interface, a user can submit a tarball (tar.gz) of a directory containing build files for a package. The directory inside the tarball should contain a PKGBUILD, any .install files, patches, etc (ABSOLUTELY no binaries). Examples of what such a directory should look like can be seen inside /var/abs.

When submitting a package, observe the following rules:

  • Check [extra], [current], [unstable], UNSUPPORTED, and [community] for the package. If it is inside any of those repositories in ANY form, DO NOT submit the package (if the current package is broken or is lacking an included feature the please file a bug report in FlySpray http://bugs.archlinux.org/).
  • Verify carefully that what you are uploading is correct. All contributors must read and adhere to the Arch Packaging Guidelines when writing PKGBUILDs. This is essential to the smooth running and general success of the AUR. Remember 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 boards on the forum 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.
  • Gain some experience before submitting packages. Build a few packages to learn the process and then submit.

Maintaining Packages in UNSUPPORTED

  • Check for feedback and comments from other users and try to incorporate any improvements they suggest; consider it a learning process!
  • PLease DO NOT just abandon packages! While in UNSUPPORTED, it is the user'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 pkg using the AUR web interface and/or post a message to the AUR Mailing List

Using Packages in UNSUPPORTED

To install a pkg from UNSUPPORTED you should follow these steps:

  • locate the application in the AUR using the search feature (we'll use foo as an example pkg name here) and click the package name in the list of results. This will bring up the information page for that pkg. On the left side you can see two links side by side:
 Tarball :: Files 
  • Click Tarball to download the necessary build files to you hard drive. This should be called foo.tar.gz, for example, if it has been properly submitted.
  • Copy the foo.tar.gz tarball to a build directory e.g. /var/abs/local and extract it. This should create a new directory, /var/abs/local/foo that contains all the files necessary to build the pkg
  • IMPORTANT: change to the newly created directory and carefully check the PKGBUILD and any .install file for malicious commands - if in any doubt DO NOT build the pkg and seek advice on the forums or mailing list.
  • It is suggested you use fakeroot to build pkgs (see below) so having manually confirmed the integrity of the files simply run makepkg as a normal user in the build dir, the source files will be downloaded, verified and built as normal.

Using fakeroot

fakeroot simply allows a normal user the necessary root permissions to create pkgs in the build environment without being able to alter the wider system. If the build process attempts to alter files outside of the build environment then errors are produced and the build fails - this is very useful for checking the quality/safety/integrity of PKGBUILDs for distribution. By default export USE_FAKEROOT="y" is included in /etc/makepkg.conf so unles you have switched it off it is already enabled