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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.
Warning: Since version 4.2, pacaur supports split packages and solves the dependency tree using the fully secured extended RPC AUR interface by default. Packages which are missing AUR metadata may however not provide correct dependency information and a warning will be displayed. All packages uploaded to the AUR before 2014-05-27 18:35 UTC (AUR 3.0.0 release) and packages that use architecture-specific fields uploaded to the AUR before 2014-12-29 02:37 UTC (pacman 4.2 release in [core]) are concerned and should be reuploaded by their respective maintainers. If you encounter such packages, please notify their maintainer about their missing AUR metadata status.


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.

A few characteristics:


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


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


  • fully supports split packages with proper independent subpackages installation.
  • solves the dependency tree entirely through the AUR RPC interface.
  • searches with regex support (through cower).
  • prompts automatically for sudo password.
  • can be used as a separate AUR frontend, or a single tool to manage official and AUR packages.
  • shows current and available versions when checking for updates.
  • provides binary and AUR package names completion.


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] [target(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
   -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

 pacman extension - can be used with the -S, -Ss, -Si, -Sii, -Sw, -Su, -Qu, -Sc, -Scc operations
   -a, --aur        only search, install or clean target(s) from the AUR
   -r, --repo       only search, install or clean target(s) from the repositories
   -e, --edit       edit target(s) PKGBUILD and view install script
   -c, --clean      clean target(s) build files -- can be combined with the -m, -y, -u operations
   -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)
   --needed         do not reinstall already up to date target(s)
   --noconfirm      do not prompt for any confirmation
   --noedit         do not prompt to edit files
   --rebuild        always rebuild package(s)

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.
# The Color and VerbosePkgLists options can be enabled in /etc/pacman.conf.
#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
#sortbyvotes=true                      # sort search results by votes
#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.

Auto completion


Because of speed issue, AUR completion is disabled by default.

You can enable it by uncommenting this line in the /usr/share/bash-completion/completions/pacaur file:

   # S) _pacman_pkg Slq; _cower_pkg;; # disabled. Too slow and no fallback var support.


You can disable AUR completion using the following zstyle:

   zstyle ':completion:*:pacaur:*' remote-access false

The name `remote-access` mimics other completion zstyles like _cvs and _scp that use this for deciding whether to complete remote files or not.


Note: Most complicated errors result from out-dated pacaur/cower package in your system, in case you didn't even understand what the error is about and/or cannot find any solution, try explicitly updating your pacaur/cower first.

No results found for error

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with AUR helpers.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: This is due to a soname bump in libalpm, and other AUR helpers are affected by this (Discuss in Talk:Pacaur#)

If pacman or its dependencies are updated, pacaur may output "no results found for error". If this occurs, you may need to rebuild the cowerAUR backend.

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"

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 whether the package and its dependencies provide AUR metadata.
  • check that the problem is reproducible, and is not caused by a misconfiguration of pacaur/pacman/makepkg/sudoers/gpg/etc.
  • post the ouput of "bash -x pacaur <your command>" in the forum thread or on github to help 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.

See also