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Pacaur is an Arch User Repository (AUR) helper aiming at speed and simplicity, designed to minimize user prompt interaction and to use an uncluttered interface. It is written in Bash and built upon the well designed cower and expac C backends.

Note: Pacaur is targeted at advanced users who want some degree of automation for repetitive tasks. As such, the user is expected to be familiar with the manual build process.


Pacaur's main feature revolves around a fast workflow idea, that is, spending as little time as possible interacting with package management prompts. Speed, simplicity and the need for an uncluttered interface were also taken into consideration.

Pacaur is:


  • It minimizes user interaction.
  • It has very good performance with a small memory footprint.
  • It retrieves and edits all PKGBUILDs, solves all conflicts and asks about providers before building anything.


  • It does not add a lot of features, but simply extends pacman to manage the AUR.
  • It is a small bash script using existing tiny libraries.
  • It is based on the libalpm C interface directly maintained by a pacman developer.


  • It can be used as a separate AUR frontend, or a single tool to manage official and AUR packages.
  • It prompts automatically for sudo password.
  • It searches with regex support (through cower).
  • It shows current and available versions when checking for updates.
  • It provides binary and AUR package names completion.
  • It detects possible malicious pseudocode in PKGBUILDs, and disposes of an additional full secured mode for paranoid people.


The following binary dependencies need to be installed:

You can then install cowerAUR as a dependency, and then pacaurAUR itself. Both of those packages are available in the AUR.


Invoking pacaur consists of supplying an operation, any applicable options, and usually one or more targets.

usage:  pacaur <operation> [options] [package(s)]
 pacman extension
   -S, -Q          extend pacman operations to the AUR
 AUR only
   -s, --search    search AUR repository for matching strings
   -i, --info      view package information -- pass twice for details
   -d, --download  download target(s) -- pass twice to download AUR dependencies
   -m, --makepkg   download and make target(s)
   -y, --sync      download, make and install target(s)
   -k, --check     check for AUR update(s)
   -u, --update    update AUR package(s)
   -v, --version   display version information
   -h, --help      display help information
   --fixbackend    quickly rebuild backend

 pacman extension - can be used with the -S, -Ss, -Si, -Sii, -Sw, -Su, -Qu, -Sc, -Scc operations
   -a, --aur       only search, install or clean packages from the AUR
   -r, --repo      only search, install or clean packages from the repositories
   -e, --edit      edit target PKGBUILD -- can be combined with the -d, -m, -y, -u flags
   -c, --clean     clean target(s) build files -- can be combined with the -m, -y, -u flags
   -q, --quiet     show less information for query and search
   --devel         consider AUR development packages upgrade
   --ignore        ignore a package upgrade (can be used more than once)
   --noconfirm     do not prompt for any confirmation
   --noedit        do not prompt to edit files
   --rebuild       always rebuild package

Userbase target

Pacaur has two types of users in mind:

  • those who prefer to have one single tool to manage AUR and official repositories,
  • those who prefer to keep their AUR frontend separate from Pacman.

As such there are two sets of commands:

  • commands that wrap the pacman binary (-S, -Ss, -Si, -Sw. -Su, -Qu, -Sc) and extend its functions to the AUR. This behavior can be disabled with the fallback variable in the config file.
  • commands that are AUR specific (-s, -i, -m, -y, -k, -u).


By default, pacaur -Ss package will search the repo, then the AUR if necessary.

$ pacaur -Ss expac
community/expac 1-2
    pacman database extraction utility
aur/expac-git 20110324-1 (24)
    pacman database extraction utility

This behavior is optional and can be disabled with the fallback variable in the config file. When disabled, pacaur -Ss package will search the repo only.

Also, pacaur -Ssr package will be restricted to searching in the repo only, while pacaur -Ssa package will search the AUR.

$ pacaur -Ssr expac
community/expac 1-2
    pacman database extraction utility
$ pacaur -Ssa expac
aur/expac-git 20110324-1 (24)
    pacman database extraction utility

pacaur -s package will search the AUR only.

$ pacaur -s expac
aur/expac-git 20110324-1 (24)
    pacman database extraction utility


Here are the available options in the config file:

# /etc/xdg/pacaur/config

# The following options are commented out with their default values listed.
# If you wish to use different values, uncomment and update the values.
#builddir="${BUILDDIR:-$tmpdir}"       # build directory
#editor="${EDITOR:-vi}"                # PKGBUILD editor
#editpkgbuild=true                     # edit PKGBUILD script
#editinstall=true                      # edit install script
#fallback=true                         # pacman fallback to the AUR
#clean=true                            # clean up after package install
#cleandevel=true                       # clean up devel package
#secure=false                          # enhanced security
#sudoloop=false                        # prevent sudo timeout

See also man pacaur.

Config files

Pacaur fully honors pacman and makepkg configuration files, as well as the sudoers and cower config file (if existing).

In particular, the following options in /etc/pacman.conf can be used for further configuration:

  • Colors to enable colored output.
  • VerbosePkgLists to display the name, version and size of target packages formatted as a table.

Note that pacman and makepkg environment variables ($BUILDDIR, $PKGDEST, $PACMAN, ...) are fully honored.

Sudo configuration

Pacaur is designed to be used with sudo for minimal password prompting and your /etc/sudoers should be configured accordingly.

To avoid password prompt timeout (typically if you went grabbing a coffee while waiting the build to finish), disable it in your sudoers:

Defaults passwd_timeout=0

Alternatively, enable the sudoloop option in the config file.


Host name error

When checking AUR packages for updates, pacaur outputs a lot of "Couldn't resolve host name" and "Timeout was reached" messages in spite of the internet line working correctly.

  • Configure your DNS server to improve queries speed. Try using Google primary DNS ( and
  • Alternatively, tweak cower's config file to decrease the number of threads used in "MaxThread" variable.

Using gvim as editor

When using gvim as editor, gvim opens but the build continues. In the config file, try:

editor="gvim --nofork"

Operation stuck and gpg2keys_hkp using 100% CPU

If pacaur is stuck and the gpg2keys_hkp process is using 100% CPU, it's very likely that you use third party binary repository with faulty database signature. Disabling signature for that database will solve the issue. See also this expac issue.

Improving pacaur


See Internationalization howto.

Bug reports

When reporting problems, please:

  • check whether "makepkg -si" can build and install a package successfully. As pacaur relies exclusively on makepkg to build and install packages, the PKGBUILD must be corrected by its maintainer if makepkg fails.
  • check that the problem is reproducible, and is not caused by a misconfiguration of pacaur/pacman/makepkg/sudoers/etc.
  • post the ouput of "bash -x pacaur <your command>" in the forum thread or on github to help me debug the issue.

Feature requests

Pacaur is considered as being "feature complete" and will most probably not include any new features. However, any improvement request or patch will be considered, and might be implemented as long as the objectives of speed, simplicity, fast workflow, uncluttered interface and the Arch way are respected.

External Links