Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Adding Software to Arch Linux from the AUR

3rd December 2011

There are packages absent from the Arch Linux repositories that could come in useful. When you are after one of these, then it’s time to search the Arch User Repository (AUR). In here, I have found the likes of Microsoft Core Fonts, Adobe Reader and Dropbox. There may be others but these examples are what comes to mind as I write this. In time, it may be that packages make if from the AUR into the Arch community repository but you have to use the former if you cannot wait.

Just search the AUR for what you want and download the tarball (tar.gz file) from the webpage where you find it. Then, I recommend extracting it to /tmp where clearance¬† at boot time means that you don’t need to do it yourself. Then, going into the appropriate subfolder in /tmp (acroread for Adobe Reader, for instance) and issue the following command:

makepkg

This will attempt to create a package file where you are working for installation by pacman. If dependencies are absent, you will be told and these may need another AUR search in some cases though most are included in the repositories. Once dependencies, have been sorted, just issue the makepkg command again to create the xz file that pacman needs to perform the installation. To do so, issue the following command from the same directory either as root or by using sudo if your user account has such privileges:

pacman -U *.xz

There usually is but one xz archive in a package folder so I have been taking the easy route of not looking up the name all of the time. Of course, you can do that for safety if you want.

With pacman not looking at the AUR, you have to do more work to get upgrades to happen if you want to avoid without having to repeat the above process all of the time. There is a package in the AUR called yaourt that needs package-query from the same place as well. Before any of these, yajl needs to installed from one of the default repositories. Once yaourt is in place, then the following does the updates for you:

yaourt -Syu --aur

Again, it might be best run this as root or using sudo though that gives messages from makepkg about not running it as a privileged user. However, I reckon that those might need to be ignored. When I tried it, the Citrix update failed though the Dropbox one succeeded. This experience might be worth bearing in mind. Saying that, I have found installing and updating software from the AUR not to be too onerous a process so far. Anything that gives a little more freedom only can be a good thing.

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