If you’re using Arch Linux or an Arch-based distribution like Manjaro, Archbang, or EndeavourOS, you’ve probably seen the term AUR. What is it? How can you use it? Find out what AUR is and how to use AUR in Arch Linux.
What Is AUR?
The Arch User Repository (AUR) is a place where you can find software that’s not tested by Arch’s creators and maintainers but by its users. Thanks to this, you can access more software that’s not in the official repositories.
How to use AUR in Arch Linux
There are two ways to access AUR’s collection of software. Most people prefer to use AUR Helpers, which works similarly to Arch’s default package manager, Pacman. This approach automates pulling and building source code from AUR while using familiar commands. Alternatively, you can download the package directly from AUR and compile it manually.
Use AUR with a Helper
There are many AUR helpers you can use. Yay is probably the most popular today, so for this article, we’ll go with that.
1. Install the necessary development tools and git, if they’re not already available in your distribution:
sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git
You’ll probably be presented with multiple software additions and asked to choose which you’d like to install.
Go for the default option, “all,” by hitting Enter on your keyboard.
2. Type “y” and press Enter when asked if you’d like to proceed with the installation.
3. To bring yay onboard, first pull its code:
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git
4. Everything you downloaded will be in a subfolder named “yay.” Enter it with:
5. While in that folder, build the actual package with:
6. Answer “y” when asked if you’d also like to install the built package.
Using YAY to Install AUR Packages
Yay uses a similar syntax as Pacman. So you can easily install AUR packages, use the command:
yay -Ss package
For example, to install Google Chrome, you can use:
yay -Ss google-chrome
What’s great with AUR helpers like yay is that they also deal automatically with dependencies. Those are the extras needed by anything you’re trying to install that you’d otherwise have to hunt down and install yourself.
Uninstalling AUR packages
To uninstall anything installed through yay, you’ll have to use yay again. For that, you can use the
-R parameter, but it’s better if you go for
-Rns, which does a better clean-up job. For example, to remove Google Chrome:
yay -Rns google-chrome
You can also remove extra packages and any remnants from past installations with yay with:
Graphical Approach to Install and Manage AUR Packages
If you prefer a graphical approach, much like the software center in Ubuntu, you can install pamac with Yay.
To install pamac, use the command:
yay -S pamac-aur
After the installation, you can run the “Add/Remove Software” application in your App menu.
Click on the hamburger icon and go to the “Preferences” section. Under the “AUR” section, toggle to enable AUR support.
Now you can search for AUR packages and install/remove them.
Installing AUR Packages Manually
If you decide to do things the manual way, you can download the packages from the AUR repository, compile, and install them. Here are the steps:
1. Ensure you have the base development tools and git installed with:
sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git
2. Clone Google Chrome’s git locally:
git clone https://aur/archlinux.org/google-chrome.git
3. Turn it into a package and install it:
Soon after, you’ll find Google Chrome among the rest of your installed apps.
The Fresh Apps and Perils of AUR
AUR gives you (almost) the whole wide world since you can find almost any applications/packages there. However, you have to keep in mind the software in the AUR repository hasn’t been extensively tested. In some cases, a package could not be installed (due to missing dependencies/gpg error, missing files, etc.), or cause problems to your system. It is always best to double-check before installing anything from AUR.
If you are getting started with Arch Linux, you may want to get familiar with Pacman first instead of AUR.
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