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 group package is installed (pacman -S base-devel).
  • Read the remainder of this article for more info and a short tutorial on installing AUR packages.
  • Visit the AUR Web Interface to inform yourself on updates and happenings. There you will also find statistics and an up-to-date list of newest available packages available in AUR.
  • Glance over the #FAQ for answers to the most common questions.
  • You may wish to adjust /etc/makepkg.conf to better 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.conf for more information.


The following items are listed for historical purposes only. They have since been superseded by the AUR and are no longer available.

At the beginning, there was, 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).


The AUR web interface can be found here, and an interface suitable for accessing the AUR from a script (for example) can be found here.

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 folder set aside just for builds from the AUR) with tar xzf foo.tar.gz.
  3. Run makepkg in the directory where the files are saved (makepkg -s will automatically resolve dependencies with pacman). This will download the code, compile it and pack it.
  4. Look for a README file in src/, as it might contain information needed later on.
  5. Install the resulting package with pacman:
# pacman -U /path/to/pkg.tar.xz

AUR Helpers add seamless access to the AUR. They vary in their features but can ease in searching, fetching, building, and installing from PKGBUILDs found in the AUR. All of these scripts can be found in the AUR.

Note: There is not and will never be an official mechanism for installing build material from the AUR. All users should be familiar with the build process.

What follows is a detailed example of installation of a package called "foo".


First ensure that the necessary tools are installed. The package group base-devel should be sufficient; it includes make and other tools needed for compiling from source.

Warning: Packages in the AUR assume the base-devel group is installed, and AUR packages will not list members of this group as dependencies even if the package cannot be built without them. Please ensure this group is installed before complaining about failed builds.
# pacman -S base-devel

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. Examples of commonly used directories are:


or if using ABS (the Arch Build System):


For more information on ABS read the Arch Build System article. The example 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.

Download the necessary build files by clicking on the "Download tarball" 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).

Build the package

Extract the tarball. Change directories to the build directory if not already there and extract the build files.

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

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

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 foo.install

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

$ makepkg -s

The -s switch will use sudo to install any needed dependencies. If the use of sudo is undesirable, manually install required dependencies beforehand and exclude the -s in the above command.

Install the package

Install the package using pacman. A tarball should have been created named:

<application name>-<application version number>-<package revision number>-<architecture>.pkg.tar.xz

This package can be installed using pacman's "upgrade" command:

# pacman -U foo-0.1-1-i686.pkg.tar.xz   

These manually installed packages are called foreign packages — packages which have not originated from any repository known to pacman. To list all foreign packages:

$ pacman -Qm 
Note: The above example is only a brief summary of the package building process. A visit to the makepkg and ABS pages will provide more detail and is highly recommended, especially for first-time users.


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 [community], and the vote count is one of the considerations in that process; it is in everyone's interest to vote!

Sharing and maintaining packages

The user plays an essential role in the AUR, which cannot fulfill its potential without the support, involvement, and contribution of the wider user community. The life-cycle of an AUR package starts and ends with the user and requires the user to contribute in several ways.

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

After logging in to the AUR web interface, a user can submit a gzipped 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 if the Arch Build System was installed.

The tarball can be created with the following command:

$ makepkg --source 

Note that this is a gzipped tarball; assuming you are uploading a package called libfoo, when you create the file it should look similar to this:

$ tar tf libfoo-0.1-1.src.tar.gz

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. 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 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.
  • 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.
  • If you submit a package.tar.gz with a file named 'package' in it you will get an error: 'Could not change to directory /home/aur/unsupported/package/package'. To resolve this, rename the file named 'package' to something else, for example, 'package.rc'. When it is installed in the pkg directory you may rename it back to 'package'. Make sure to also read Arch Packaging Standards#Submitting packages to the AUR.

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 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 go to the aur-general mailing list for TUs and other users to decide upon.
  • Include package name and URL to AUR page, preferably with a footnote [1].
  • Disownment requests will be granted two weeks after the current maintainer has been contacted by email and 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 on the mailing list.
  • Removal requests require the following information:
    • Package name and URL to AUR page
    • 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-general mailing list.
    • Include supporting details, like when a package is provided by another package, if you are the maintainer yourself, it's renamed and the original owner agreed, etc.

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


The [community] repository, maintained by Trusted Users, contains the most popular packages from the AUR. It is enabled by default in /etc/pacman.conf. If [community] has been disabled or removed, it can be enabled by uncommenting or adding these two lines:

Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

This repository, unlike the AUR, contains binary packages that can be installed directly with pacman and the build files can also be accessed with the ABS. Some of these packages may eventually make the transition to the [core] or [extra] repositories as the developers consider them crucial to the distribution.

Users can also access the [community] build files by editing /etc/abs.conf and enabling the [community] repository in the REPOS array.

Git Repo

A Git Repo of the AUR is maintained by Thomas Dziedzic providing package history among other things. It is updated at least once a day. To clone the repository (several hundred MB):

$ git clone git://

More informations: Web interface, readme, forum thread.