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 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).

Warning: AUR packages are user produced content. Any use of the provided files is at your own risk.

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 in full (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.

It is also possible to interact with the AUR through SSH: type ssh aur@aur.archlinux.org help for a list of available commands.

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. Existing packages were dropped unless manually migrated to the new infrastructure by their maintainers.

Git repositories for AUR3 packages

The AUR Archive on GitHub has a repository for every package that was in AUR 3 at the time of the migration. Alternatively, there is the aur3-mirror repository which provides the same.

Installing packages

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

  1. Acquire the build files, including the PKGBUILD and possibly other required files, like systemd units and patches (often not the actual code).
  2. Verify that the PKGBUILD and accompanying files are not malicious or untrustworthy.
  3. Run makepkg -si in the directory where the files are saved. This will download the code, resolve the dependencies with pacman, compile it, package it, and install the package.
Note: The AUR is unsupported, so any packages you install are your responsibility to update, not pacman's. If packages in the official repositories are updated, you will need to rebuild any AUR packages that depend on those libraries.

Prerequisites

First ensure that the necessary tools are installed by installing the base-devel group in full which 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 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 several methods for acquiring the build files:

  • Clone the git repository that is labelled as the "Git Clone URL" in the "Package Details". This is the preferred method.
$ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/package_name.git
An advantage of this method is that you can easily get updates to the package via git pull.
  • Download the build files with your web browser by clicking the "Download snapshot" link under "Package Actions" on the right hand side. This will download a compressed file, which must be extracted (preferably in a directory set aside for AUR builds)
$ tar -xvf package_name.tar.gz
  • Similarly, you can download a tarball from the terminal (and extract it):
$ curl -L -O https://aur.archlinux.org/cgit/aur.git/snapshot/package_name.tar.gz

Build and install the package

Change directories to the directory containing the package's PKGBUILD.

$ cd package_name
Warning: Carefully check the PKGBUILD, any .install files, and any other files in the package's git repository for malicious or dangerous commands. If in doubt, do not build the package, and seek advice on the forums or mailing list. Malicious code has been found in packages before. [1]

View the contents of all provided files. For example, to use the pager less to view PKGBUILD do:

$ less PKGBUILD
Tip: If you are updating a package, you may want to look at the changes since the last commit.
  • To view changes since the last git commit you can use git show.
  • To view changes since the last commit using vimdiff, do git difftool @~..@ vimdiff. The advantage of vimdiff is that you view the entire contents of each file along with indicators on what has changed.

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

$ makepkg -si
  • -s/--syncdeps automatically resolves and installs any dependencies with pacman before building. If the package depends on other AUR packages, you will need to manually install them first.
  • -i/--install installs the package if it is built successfully. Alternatively the built package can be installed with pacman -U package.pkg.tar.xz.

Other useful flags are

  • -r/--rmdeps removes build-time dependencies after the build, as they are no longer needed. However these dependencies may need to be reinstalled the next time the package is updated.
  • -c/--clean cleans up temporary build files after the build, as they are no longer needed. These files are usually needed only when debugging the build process.
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!

Submitting packages

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. See AUR submission guidelines for details.

Web interface translation

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

Comment syntax

The Python-Markdown syntax is supported in comments. It provides basic Markdown syntax to format comments. Note this implementation has some occasional differences with the official syntax rules. Commit hashes to the Git repository of the package and references to Flyspray tickets are converted to links automatically. Long comments are collapsed and can be expanded on demand.

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 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 aurvoteAUR, aurvote-gitAUR or aur-auto-vote-gitAUR.

Alternatively, if you have set up ssh authentication, you can directly vote from the command line using your ssh key. This means that you will not need to save or type in your AUR password.

$ ssh aur@aur.archlinux.org vote PACKAGE_NAME

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 should I do?

First, you should flag the package out-of-date indicating details on why the package is outdated, preferably including links to the release announcement or the new release tarball. You should also try to reach out to the maintainer directly by email. If there is no response from the maintainer after two weeks, you can file an orphan request. This means you ask a Trusted User to disown the package base. This is to be done only if the package requires maintainer action, that he/she is not responding and you already tried to contact him/her previously.

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

Note: VCS packages are not considered out of date when the pkgver changes, do not flag them as the maintainer will merely unflag the package and ignore you. AUR maintainers should not commit mere pkgver bumps.

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

You are probably missing something trivial.

  1. Upgrade the system 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.

To check if the PKGBUILD is broken, or your system is misconfigured, consider building in a clean chroot. It will build your package in a clean Arch Linux environment, with only (build) dependencies installed, and without user customization. To do this install devtools and run extra-x86_64-build instead of makepkg. For multilib packages, run multilib-build See DeveloperWiki:Building in a clean chroot for more information. If the build process still fails in a clean chroot, the issue is probably with the PKGBUILD.

ERROR: One or more PGP signatures could not be verified!; what should I do?

Most likely you do not have the required public key(s) in you personal keyring to verify downloaded files. If one or more .sig files are downloaded while building the package, makepkg will automatically verify corresponding file(s) with the public key of its signer. If you do not have the required key in your personal keyring, makepkg will fail to do the verification.

The recommended way to deal with this problem is to import the required public key, either manually or from a key server. Often, you can simply find the fingerprint of the needed public key(s) in the validpgpkeys section of the PKGBUILD.

How do I create 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 reviewed, 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-aur 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
  • Its license prohibits redistribution
  • It helps retrieve user-submitted PKGBUILDs. AUR helpers are unsupported by definition.

See also Rules for Packages Entering the community Repo.

How can I speed up repeated build processes?

See Makepkg#Improving compile times.

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?

It is possible the package has been adopted by a TU and is now in the community repository.

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:

$ comm -23 <(pacman -Qqm | sort) <(curl https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.gz | gzip -cd | sort)

How can I obtain a list of all AUR packages?

See also