You can support us by downloading this article as PDF from the Link below. Download the guide as PDF

Arch User Repository commonly referred to as AUR is the software repository for Arch users developed and driven by the community. Arch User Repository basically contains developed packages that Arch Linux does not directly endorse.

Let us say you develop a program that you would wish other Arch users to install and use, what you would do is to make it accessible to the masses via the community repositories. Now, after you have made your program available via the community repositories there is no way users can access it via Arch Linux’s Pacman command. And that is where AUR Helpers come into the scene because they help automate the usage of AUR packages consequently making the lives of users good.

In this article, we shall catch a glimpse of various AUR Helpers, install them and check out how they fair. If one or two catches thine heart, then you are free to elope with it. And let us begin.

1. yay – Yet Another Yogurt – An AUR Helper Written in Go

Yay is based on the design of yaourt, pacman and pacaur. It is developed with these objectives in mind:

  • Provide an interface for pacman
  • Yaourt-style interactive search/install
  • Minimal dependencies
  • Minimize user input
  • Know when git packages are due for upgrades

Top Yay Features

Before you get the juice offered by Yay, check out the features it has below:

  • Perform advanced dependency solving
  • Download PKGBUILDs from ABS or AUR
  • Tab-complete the AUR
  • Query user up-front for all input (prior to starting builds)
  • Narrow search terms (yay linux header will first search linux and then narrow on header)
  • Find matching package providers during search and allow selection
  • Remove make dependencies at the end of the build process
  • Run without sourcing PKGBUILD

Installation of yay

And now onto the most interesting part in the guide. Let us go ahead and install Yay then look at what it can do for us. If you are migrating from another AUR helper, you can simply install Yay with that helper. Alternatively, the initial installation of Yay can be done by cloning the PKGBUILD and building with makepkg:

We shall begin by making sure that we have the base-devel package group installed. Run the commands below:

sudo pacman -S --needed git base-devel
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git
cd yay
makepkg -si

Example of using Yay

You can use Yay to install a package as shown below:

sudo yay -S <package-name>

Upgrade all the packages on your system as follows:

sudo yay -Syu

Remove a package using yay as follows:

sudo yay -Rns <package-name>

2. aurutils

From its main GitHub page, aurutils is a collection of scripts to automate usage of the Arch User Repository, with different tasks such as package searching, update checks, or computing dependencies kept separate. The chosen approach for managing packages is local pacman repositories, rather than foreign (installed by pacman -U) packages.

Installation

aurutils can be installed from either if the sources listed below. Install one of the following packages but aurutils team recommends aurutils.

  • aurutils for the release version (recommended).
  • aurutils-git for the master branch.

To install, run the commands below:

sudo pacman -S aurutils

Examples of using aurutils

You can search an application using aurutils as follows:

aurutils -Ss <package-name>

To install a package from AUR using aurutils, do the following:

aurutils -S <package-name>

3. pikaur

pikaur is another AUR helper that you need to consider in your hunt for the perfect partner. It is one helper that is adorned with minimal dependencies. You get to review PKGBUILDs all in once, then build them all without user interaction.

Installation of pikaur

To install pikaur, we shall begin by making sure that we have the base-devel package group installed. Run the commands below:

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/pikaur.git
cd pikaur
makepkg -fsri

How to Use Pikaur AUR

Pikaur uses the same syntax as pacman. In case you have used Pacman extensively, you will not have any problems when using Pikaur. To install a package from AUR using Pikaur, use the following command.

$ pacaur -S <package-name>

4. pacaur

Pacaur is an Arch User Repository (AUR) helper aiming at speed and simplicity and is designed to minimize user prompt interaction. It uses an uncluttered interface and makes use of the full secured RPC interface to solve the dependency tree. It will also automatically prompt for sudo access when needed. It is built upon the well designed auracle C++ and expac C backends.

Before you get excited, pacaur has a target audience! 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 AUR manual build process with makepkg and its configuration options, as well as being knowledgeable about sudo and gpg configuration.

Two sets of command line options are provided: commands which call the pacman binary and extend it with AUR functions (-S, -Ss, -Si, -Sw, -Su, -Qu, -Sc, -Scc), and -a/–aur can be added to only apply these to the AUR.

System configuration of pacaur

Pacaur honors a system-wide config file which will be looked for first at the following file:

$XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/pacaur/config

In case that file is missing, the system will fall back to:

/etc/xdg/pacaur/config

There is a user-specific configuration file as well. User-defined configuration files overriding the general settings will be looked for first at the following location.

$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pacaur/config

and in case that file is unavailable, then the system will fall back to:

$HOME/.config/pacaur/config

Installing Pacaur

You can install Pacaur using another AUR helper and is the quickest way to get it installed. The example below will get Pacaur installed using yaourt.

$ yaourt -S --noconfirm pacaur

The package should install smoothly.

Install from source code in Git

sudo pacman -S git
git clone https://github.com/E5ten/pacaur.git
cd pacaur
makepkg -si

Install a package with Pacaur

To install your favorite package, simply do the following:

pacaur -S <package-name>

Apart from that, you can easily check if all your packages are up-to-date with the following command.

pacaur -Syyuu

5. pakku

Pakku is a pacman wrapper with additional features, such as AUR support.

Features of pakku

  • Installing packages from AUR
  • Viewing files and changes between builds
  • Building packages from official repositories
  • Removing make dependencies after building
  • Searching and querying AUR packages
  • Reading comments for AUR packages
  • PKGBUILD retrieving
  • Pacman integration

The following principles were the basis of the program:

  • Pacman-like user interface
  • Pacman options support (–asdeps, –needed, etc)
  • Pacman configuration support (output settings, ignored packages, etc)
  • Download, ask all questions, and only after that start building
  • No PKGBUILD sourcing

Installing pakku

Get pakku installed in your computer by running the commands below. Make sure you have git application installed.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/pakku.git
cd pakku
makepkg -si

Examples of using pakku.

You can use pakku as illustrated below:

####Build packages from source####

pakku -S --build linux linux-headers

####Query all "dependency islands####
pakku -Qdttt

Conclusion

There are many software in the Arch User Repository that continue to benefit a lot of people around the world. While they may not have direct endorsement by Arch Linux and not accessible via the pacman command, AUR helpers are here for the rescue. It is now a breeze to access all of the packages on the Arch User Repository using tools such as discussed above. Pick one or two that you have developed fondness for and get your favorite packages on your Arch/Manjaro laptop or computer.

You can support us by downloading this article as PDF from the Link below. Download the guide as PDF