Updates, maintenance, backups and system checks in a TUI menu driven bash shell script for an Arch based Linux distro
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  • Name: cylon
  • Title : Arch Linux distribution maintenance program.
  • Description: A TUI(terminal user interface) which provides updates, maintenance, backups and system checks for an Arch based linux distribution. This program provides numerous tools to Arch Linux users. The program is menu-based and written in bash. The program is mainly text based but also uses dialog GUI's at a few points mainly for directory and file selection. It can also display desktop notifications. A detailed list of the over 100 options and features is provided below in features section.
  • Main Author: Gavin Lyons

Table of contents


cylon is installed by PKGBUILD on a Arch based Linux system. The PKGBUILD file is available in the AUR - Arch user repository. Install it using an AUR helper program or installations instructions on Arch user repository page of Arch linux wiki. The program will work on any arch based system. Arch, manjaro, antergos etc.


The program installs an icon in system application menus under system.


It can be also run in a terminal by typing cylon:

cylon -[options]

Options list (standalone cannot be combined):

Option Description
-h --help Print cylon information and exit
-s --system Print system information and exit
-v --version Print version information and exit
-c --config Opens the cylon config file for editing and exit
-d --default Bleachbit system clean , this will execute options selected in bleachbit GUI or bleachbit config file
-b --bleachbit Opens the bleachbit select menus
-m --maint Runs Automatic system maintenance scan This carries many of the menu functions in system maintenance menu in a single sweep, It will not change system just create report files
-u --update Runs a full update report with various execution options. Report provides Arch news rss reader & arch-audit vulnerable packages output CVE data(Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) & number and type of updates available for all repos
-p --print print the package lists (REF1)
-r --rss print arch news reader with option to fetch number of items
-z --delete display the AUR package removal dialog menu function
-l --lint shortcut to open rmlint wrapper menu
-n --notify Display a desktop notifications with update information, also gives some terminal output

Files and setup

Cylon files installed by package build are listed below:

File Path Description
/usr/bin/cylon The main shell script
/usr/lib/cylon/modules/*_module 12 library files containing functions
/usr/share/doc/cylon/readme.md Help file
/usr/share/doc/cylon/changelog.md History file
/usr/share/licenses/cylon/license.md copyright file
/usr/share/pixmaps/cylonicon.png cylon icon
/usr/share/applications/cylon.desktop desktop entry file
/usr/share/man/man7/cylon.7 manpage
$HOME/.config/cylon/cylonCfg.conf config file, optional, user made, not installed

README.md is displayed to screen by a menu option on cylon info page. Type "man cylon" to display manpage. The manpage is a truncated version of the readme file. More information on the modules files can be found in modules_info.md in documentation folder.

Config file: The user can create an optional config file, used mainly for custom system backup. If the user is not using the system backup option or ccrypt menu function or custom clamav scan option, the user does not need config file.

  • NAME: cylonCfg.conf
  • PATH: $HOME/.config/cylon/cylonCfg.conf This Path can be overwritten by environmental variable see next section.
  • SETTINGS: "DestinationX" is the path for backups. "gdrivedestX" is remote google drive directory file ID (see gdrive readme for setup and how to get file id numbers) and "gdriveSourceX" is the local directory source. "rsyncsource" and "rsyncdest" provide the source and destination paths for rsync option in backup menu. "myccfile" is a setting for ccrypt utility, a path to a default file for ease of use. If config file missing the System uses hard-coded dummy defaults. The config file can be edited from a main menu option or by option -c

cylonCfg.conf file setup example: Just copy and paste this into file and change paths for your setup. alternatively a config file template with dummy values is in documentation folder of the repository.















Output and environment variables

CYLONDEST, CYLON_CONFIG and CYLON_COLOR_OFF are three optional custom environmental variables used by program. If variable CYLONDEST and CYLON_CONFIG are not set or do not exist, cylon uses the default path. CYLON_COLOR_OFF is used for turning off colored text output. For information on setting environment variables see arch linux wiki.


Most system output (logfiles, downloads and updates etc) is placed at below path, unless otherwise specified on screen. Output folders are created with following time/date stamp syntax HHMM-DDMONYY-X where X is output type i.e download, update etc. The default path is:


This optional Environment variable is provided for users who wish to use different destination path for program output folder.


The default path for config file is


This optional Environment variable is provided for users who wish to use different destination path for program config file.


if it does not exist or is not set cylon uses colored output. This optional Environment variable is provided for users who wish to see no colour in terminal. Set it equal to "on"

EDITOR "nano" is used as default text editor for editing config files IF $EDITOR user environment variable is not set.



Some functions require dependencies packages to be installed. There are three dependencies and the rest are optional dependencies. The optional dependencies are left to user discretion. Software will check for missing dependencies and report if user tries to use a function which requires a missing one. Software will display installed dependencies packages on cylon info page. also "n/a" is usually displayed besides uninstalled options in menus.

gnu-netcat and openbsd-netcat peform same function, only 1 can be or needs to be installed, both included because of conflicts. There are used to check that network is "up" at various points in program.

Auracle and trizen are both AUR helpers you can install one or both depending on preference. Auracle is a more minimalist helper. trizen is more fully featured. Auracle is recommended as in addition to menu options it is used for -u and -n functions, plus step 24 of the package list maker(REF1) Auracle is new and still in development hence the -git extension, it replaced cower in version 5.1-3, as cower is obsolete. Trizen replaced pacaur in version 5.2-4 as pacaur is no longer maintained and is a wrapper of cower. The original pacaur and cower code modules are still available in documentation folder for reference.

libnotify should be installed on the vast majority of Arch systems already.

gdrive readme for config https://github.com/prasmussen/gdrive , gdrive option syncs will Delete extraneous remote files as of V3.4-5.

dialog should already be installed in an arch linux system installed by the arch linux installation guide on wiki. If you install Arch some other way It may not be there, so included as depends.

expac is used a lot and will be already installed on many systems.

pacman_contrib contains numerous tools(checkupdates pacache etc)related to pacman , used to be part of pacman before version 5.0. In cylon 5.3 added as a dependency.

Dependencies Usage
dialog used to make GUIs menus (Non-optional)
expac used to create package lists (Non-optional)
pacman-contrib Misc pacman related tools (Non-optional)
libnotify used for desktop notifications
ccrypt used for encrypting
bleachbit for system clean and shredding
clamav for malware check
gnu-netcat to check for internet connection
openbsd-netcat to check for internet connection
rkhunter to check for rootkits
rmlint to check for lint and duplicates
rsync for rsync backup function
lynis system audit
speedtest-cli testing internet bandwidth
Arch-audit Uses data collected by the Arch CVE team
lostfiles to scan for lostfiles
trizen(AUR) AUR helper
auracle-git(AUR) AUR helper
gdrive(AUR) to sync to google drive


main menu

The program functions are divided into 6 sections: update, maintenance, backup, security, network and miscellaneous.

The update section is the core of the program and provides a wrapper for pacman, trizen and auracle. It provides an extension to auracle to allow it to install and update packages. It also provides a full system update report function and various other options.

The maintenance section provides a variety of scans and checks, it also a provides command line wrapper for rmlint and bleach-bit.

The backup section provides a wrapper for gdrive program. as well as ability to backup system using various tools.

The security section provides a wrapper for ccrypt and an extended launcher for various security tools as well as a password generator.

The network section provides various tools to check network and configuration.

Other misc functions include an option to edit config file, information menus for system and cylon. Weather forecast and terminal launcher.

There is more detailed information in documentation folder, see "see also" section.

1: System update section

  • pacman options

    • Check for updates (no download)
    • Upgrade packages
    • Display extensive information for package in database
    • Install Package
    • Search for packages in the database
    • Remove Package
    • Search for already installed packages
    • Display extensive information for installed package
    • List all files owned by a given package
    • Verify packages(option for one or all)
    • Prune older packages from cache with paccache
    • Prune all uninstalled packages from cache with paccache
    • Write installed package lists to files (REF1)
    • Remove all packages not required as dependencies
    • Back-up the local pacman database
    • Arch news rss reader
    • arch-audit gather CVE data
    • List a dependency tree of a package with pactree
    • Show packages that depend on a package with pactree
    • Edit pacman config file
    • View pacman log
    • optimise pacman
  • AUR helper auracle options

    • Check arch url and for AUR updates ( NO downloads)
    • Get Information for AUR package
    • Search for AUR package
    • Download AUR package and install
    • Download AUR package no install
    • Sync and download AUR packages, i.e. update AUR packages on system.
    • Display AUR packages with no Maintainer
    • Display Foreign packages not in AUR
    • Write installed package lists to files (REF1)
    • Read AUR Package comments
    • Desktop and terminal notifications same as cylon -n option
    • Remove foreign packages menu
  • AUR helper trizen options

    • Check arch url and for AUR updates ( NO downloads)
    • Search for AUR package
    • Get Information for AUR package
    • Update AUR packages
    • Download build and install AUR package
    • Download and build only
    • Download only
    • Delete trizen clone dir files. default = /tmp/trizen-$USER
    • Edit trizen config file $HOME/.config/trizen/trizen.conf
    • Update all packages in all repositories, trizen -Syu
    • Write installed package lists to files (REF1)
    • trizen statistics display page
    • Remove foreign packages menu
    • Read AUR Package comments
    • Display the AUR packages maintained by a given user
    • Display the PKGBUILD of a given AUR package
  • Full System update

    • Runs the same report that is called by cylon -u, see usage section, uses auracle

2: System maintenance section

  • System maintenance menu
    • All Failed Systemd Services and system status
    • All Failed Active Systemd Services
    • Check log Journalctl for Errors
    • Check log Journalctl for fstrim SSD trim (check for SSD in system)
    • Analyze system boot-up performance
    • Check for broken symlinks
    • Check for files not owned by any user or group
    • Lostfiles scan, relaxed and strict
    • Diskspace usage
    • Old configuration files scan, output to files
    • Find system inode usage
    • Find largest files
    • Print sensors information
    • Vacuum journal files
    • Delete core dumps
    • Shred specific files with bleachbit
    • Shred specific folders with bleachbit
    • Delete Trash
    • Delete Download directory
    • Delete Cylon output folder $HOME/Documents/Cylon/ or $CYLONDEST
    • Display hardware information
    • Clean system with bleachbit
      • Preset option based on the same options as in the GUI
      • Custom options involved for user to pick cleaners and options
        • preview
        • clean (without overwrite, BB checks the config in GUI).
        • clean + overwrite (with overwrite permanent deletion)
    • Rmlint remove duplicates and other lint
      • Find bad UID, GID or files with both.
      • Find bad symlinks pointing nowhere.
      • Find empty directories.
      • Find empty files.
      • Find nonstripped binaries.
      • Find duplicate files.
      • Find duplicate directories.
      • option to view results file
      • option to execute shell script with results
    • List all open files

3: System backup section

  • System backup
    • Optional destination path as defined in script or custom path
    • Make copy of MBR or GPT primary partition with dd
    • Make a copy of etc dir
    • Make a copy of home dir
    • Make tarball of all except tmp dev proc sys run
    • Make copy of package lists (REF1)
    • Rsync backup option
    • gdrive options
      • List all syncable directories on drive
      • Sync local directory to google drive (path 1 config file)
      • Sync local directory to google drive (path 2 config file )
      • Sync local directory to google drive (path 3 config file)
      • Sync local directory to google drive (path 4 config file)
      • List content of syncable directory
      • Google drive metadata, quota usage
      • List files
      • Get file info

4: System security section

  • System security menu
    • Lynis system audit (summary of logfiles feature)
    • ClamAv anti-malware scan *malware testfile fetch and scan function *Check for updates and logging feature *Various options for scan location and type.
    • RootKit hunter scan (check for updates feature)
    • ccrypt - encrypt and decrypt files:
      • config file path option for ease of use.
      • Encrypt a file
      • Decrypt a file
      • Edit decrypted file
      • Change the key of encrypted file
      • View encrypted file
    • password generator
    • Audit SUID/SGID Files in system
    • check user password expiry information

5: Network section

  • Network options
    • Display real-time wifi information
    • Run speedtest-cli to measure bandwidth with options for server list and file save
    • various miscellaneous networking commands
    • firewall status and details check

6: Miscellaneous section

  • Option to open xterm terminal at output folder path in new window

  • Config file view/edit option.

  • Computer information display

    • Displays detailed information on system and package setup
    • Function also run by -s standalone option.
  • Cylon information:

    • Dependencies installation check, info and display readme file to screen
    • Function can also run by option -h
  • 3 day weather forecast by wttr.in

Return codes

  • 0 - Normal non-error controlled exit.
  • 2 - Error occurred and was handled by exithandlerFunc function.

See Also

(REF1): Packages files list referenced above at marker REF1 can be viewed in package_lists.md, which is in the sub-folder documentation of repository. The package files list is a collection of 26 lists describing the system.

There are 6 screenshots in the repository screenshot folder

In the repository documentation folder, there are various support documents.

File Name description
changelog.md version control history file
license.md copyright details file
cylon.7 manpage which is truncated version of readme.md
cylonCfg.conf A dummy copy of config file for user setup convenience
modules_info.md An overview of the modular library files and the functions
package_lists.md An overview of the packages files list generated by program
features_info.md Extra information for some features


If you should find a bug or you have any other query, please send a report. Pull requests, suggestions for improvements and new features welcome.


  • First Commit to AUR: version 1.3-1 08-09-16
  • See changelog.md in documentation section for version control history
  • Github Contributors: "binaryplease" "uros-stegic"


Copyright (C) 2016 Gavin Lyons This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public license published by the Free Software Foundation, see LICENSE.md in documentation section for more details