How to Install and Use Pacaur on Arch Linux

In this guide, we're going to look at the installation and usage of Pacaur on Arch Linux. Pacaur is an AUR helper which aims at minimizing user prompts and interactions. It works with both official Arch repositories and AUR.  If you're new to Arch User Repository ( AUR), it is a community-driven repository for Arch users.

AUR was created with to make the process of sharing community packages easier and organized. It contains package descriptions (PKGBUILDs) that allow you to compile a package from source with makepkg and then install it via tools like pacaur.

Pacaur is also referred to as AUR helpers since it automates the process of installing a package from AUR. Think of it as an automated way to build packages on a Linux server from source. Instead of manually downloading the package, run ./configure, then make and finally make install, all this is done for you automatically.

Installing Pacaur on Arch Linux using other AUR helper

The quickest way to install Pacaur is by using another AUR helper. This will take care of building everything and installation process for you. Such helpers include yaourt, packer e.t.c. The example below install pacaur using yaourt.

$ yaourt -S --noconfirm pacaur

The package should install without asking you many questions.

Installing Pacaur on Arch Linux from source

The first step when doing a Pacaur installation is to make sure your system is up to date. Do this by running the command.

$ sudo pacman -Syu --noconfirm

This will update all installed packages including system ones like Kernel and its headers. Also, install dependency packages we'll need to build Pacaur on Arch.

$ sudo pacman -S binutils make gcc fakeroot expac yajl git --noconfirm

Next part is to create a temporary working directory for installing Pacaur.

$ mkdir -p /tmp/pacaur_install
$ cd /tmp/pacaur_install

The other dependency we need for Pacaur is "cower".  Cower is used to get information and download packages from AUR. Install it using the command.

$ curl -o PKGBUILD
$ makepkg PKGBUILD --skippgpcheck
$ sudo pacman -U cower*.tar.xz --noconfirm

This command generates a .tar.xz file which we can install using Pacman command as shown/

Install pacaur from AUR

Now it's time to install Pacaur. Download the files from git and build a .tar.xz file then install it.

$ curl -o PKGBUILD
$ makepkg PKGBUILD
$ sudo pacman -U pacaur*.tar.xz --noconfirm

Now clean up your system by deleting temporary directory created earlier.

$ rm -r /tmp/pacaur_install
$ cd -

You should now have pacaur installed and ready for use.

Using Pacaur

Once you have Pacaur installed, you can start installing packages available on AUR with it. Pacaur is targeted at advanced users who want some degree of automation for repetitive tasks, though anyone with average Arch Linux use should operate it just fine. It has bash completion enabled:

Two sets of command line options are provided by Pacaur: these commands call the pacman binary and extend it with AUR functions:

  • -S, -Ss, -Si, -Sw, -Su, -Qu, -Sc, -Scc

The other commands  are AUR specific:

  • sync, search, info, buildonly, upgrade, check, clean, cleanall

Below are few examples that demonstrate usage of Pacaur.

1) Install a package with Pacaur

To install a package with usual prompts, use:

$ pacaur -S <package-name>

2) Install a package without editing the installation files

With this option, you don't have to edit any file during installation.

$ pacaur -S --noedit <package-name>

3) Install a package without editing the installation files or confirmation from the user

There is no answering a single question of editing any installation file.

$ pacaur -S --noedit --noconfirm <package-name>


4) Silence Pacaur output

If you don't want any output while using Pacaur, use the --silent option.

$ pacaur -S <package-name> --silent

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