How Pacman works

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Note: This page's goal is to describe how pacman works. It is a work in progress, and until reviewed, not to be considered correct or accurate.

Arch linux uses binary packages. This means that the code is already compiled when you download it, and accounts for the speed by which packages are installed. Packages live in repositories. The repositories are named in: /etc/pacman.conf. For example the core repository can be specified as follows:

[core]
SigLevel = Never
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

This means the actual location of the core repository is specified by the URL's in /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

The actual packages are downloaded to the *cache*, which is normally located at: /var/cache/pacman/pkg. You might find several versions of a given package here:

% ls linux-3*
linux-3.6.10-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz  
linux-3.6.8-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz   
linux-3.8.4-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz