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aurman - AUR helper with almost pacman syntax

aurman GitHub license

aurman in the AUR

aurman (

When encountering wrong behavior, consider opening issues in the GitHub repository to help improving the overall stability of aurman.


Even though it may seem like an AUR helper is targeted at inexperienced users, the opposite is the case. aurman is targeted at advanced users, who are familiar with pacman, makepkg and most of all with the AUR.

aurman is an AUR helper, it can't and will never be a replacement for the sometimes needed concept of "human interaction". If you ever encounter an issue whereby aurman e.g. is not able to find a dependency solution, and you do not know how to solve the problem either, you should not use an AUR helper. Even though the specific problem may be a bug in the aurman implementation, it is always expected that you as a Turing-complete user know what to do.

If you do not, do not use aurman.

Also: If you are already failing to install aurman, because you do not know e. g. how to import PGP keys or how to fulfill aurman dependencies manually, you should not use aurman. Last but not least: The GitHub issues are not for support, they are only for feature requests, bug reports or general discussions. To reduce the noise by users who should not use aurman, but still do, users who fill out issues in a non-sensible way may be banned from this repository without further warning.

How to install

Notice: The only supported way to install aurman, is to install it from the AUR. There are linux distributions, shipping prebuilt aurman versions, that is not supported in any way.



aurman < operation > [ options ] [ targets ] - see also


aurman is a pacman wrapper. All pacman operations are supported, and calling aurman with an operation besides --sync or -S passes the arguments to pacman.

Native pacman options for --sync or -S that are passed to pacman:
  • -r, --root
  • -v, --verbose
  • --cachedir
  • --color
  • --debug
  • --gpgdir
  • --hookdir
  • --logfile
  • --noconfirm
  • --confirm
  • --overwrite
  • --asdeps
  • --asexplicit
  • --needed
  • --ignore
  • --ignoregroup
  • -s, --search
  • -i, --info
  • -u, --sysupgrade
  • -y, --refresh
  • -c, --clean
Native pacman options for --sync or -S that are also used by aurman:
  • --color - Note: By default, aurman respects the presence of the Color option in pacman.conf.
  • --noconfirm
  • --needed
  • --ignore
  • --ignoregroup
  • -s, --search
  • -i, --info
  • -u, --sysupgrade
  • -c, --clean
Options for --sync or -S exclusive to aurman:
  • --noedit: Do not show changes of PKGBUILDs, .install, and other relevant files. It assumes you will be okay with the changes.

  • --always_edit: Edit the files of packages even when there are no new changes.

  • --show_changes: Show changes of PKGBUILDs, .install, and other relevant files without asking.

  • --devel: Fetch current development versions of packages to check if a new version is available.

  • --devel_skip_deps: Skips dependency checks when determining development packages versions (makepkg -odc instead of makepkg -oc) - see: #245

  • --deep_search: Dependency solving will ignore currently fulfilled dependencies and try to solve the problem for systems with zero packages installed. If aurman is not able to find a solution, try re-running with this flag. It could take some time to find a solution.

  • --pgp_fetch: Fetch needed PGP keys without asking.

  • --keyserver: Specify a keyserver to fetch the PGP keys from.

  • --aur: -Ss just searches for AUR packages and -Sc cleans only the aurman cache.

  • --repo: -Ss just searches for repo packages and -Sc cleans only the pacman cache.

  • --domain: Change the base URL for AUR requests ( is the default).

  • --solution_way: Print what exactly will be done (order of installing/removing packages).

  • --holdpkg: Specify installed packages that must not be removed. Separate package names with space to specify more than one package.

  • --holdpkg_conf: Append packages from the pacman.conf to --holdpkg.

  • --do_everything: -u for repo packages will be handled by aurman and not pacman. May be useful if (1) the aurman config is used to fetch repo packages from other repos than they would normally be installed from or if (2) you want to confirm the installation of packages only once ("full batch interaction"). This is not recommended since the pacman call -Syu is executed in this order: split to -Sy, do calculations, and upgrade the system. With aurman handling -u, it still may result in a partial upgrade, not just because of splitting -Syu, but because the dependency solver of aurman may yield wrong results.

  • --optimistic_versioning: In case of an unknown version of a provider for a versioned dependency, assume that the dependency is fulfilled.

  • --ignore_versioning: Assume all versioned dependencies to be fulfilled, even if the versions are known and they do not match.

  • --rebuild: Always rebuild packages before installing them.

  • --sort_by_name: Sort -Ss AUR results by name.

  • --sort_by_votes: Sort -Ss AUR results by votes.

  • --sort_by_popularity: Sort -Ss AUR results by popularity.

  • --skip_news: Skips being shown unseen news.

  • --skip_new_locations: Skips being shown new locations of packages.

Config and cache directory

aurman conforms to the XDG Base Directory Specification:

  • The configuration file is $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/aurman/aurman_config
  • The cache directory used to remember internal state and to store downloaded AUR package sources is $XDG_CACHE_HOME/aurman/

Config Options

Command-line defaults

A number of aurman's command-line flags can be enabled by default, by listing them with the leading -- removed in the [miscellaneous] section. In a case of conflict between a command-line flag and a config option, the command-line flag always wins.

Available (example) defaults:


Notice: Use of do_everything is not recommended since the usage of this flag is in general not recommended.

Notice: Use of optimistic_versioning is not recommended since this flag should only be used when needed.

Notice: Use of ignore_versioning is not recommended since this flag should only be used when needed.

Choose between multiple package sources

By default aurman assumes the following priorities in a case where multiple packages with the same names are available (high to low):

The order of repositories in the configuration file matters; repositories listed first will take precedence over those listed later in the file when packages in two repositories have identical names, regardless of version number.

  • AUR packages

Overriding this priority has to be done via the aurman config.

For AUR packages create a section [aur_packages] and list the names of the AUR packages.

For repo packages create a section [repo_packages] and list the names of the repo packages followed by = and the name of the repo.

Notice: These packages will be excluded from the pacman --sysupgrade by --ignore. Otherwise pacman would replace these packages.




Disable notifications about packages that are not in known repos or the AUR

Create a key called no_notification_unknown_packages in the section [miscellaneous].



You may also disable the notification for certain packages.

Create a section [no_notification_unknown_packages] and list the names of the packages.



Disable background sudo loop

Create a key called no_sudo_loop in the section [miscellaneous].



Set the preselected answer for the question: Do you want to see the changes of x? to yes.

Create a key called default_show_changes in the section [miscellaneous].



Notice: Not setting this option retains the default, which is no.

Ignore missing or incomplete arch fields in the build script, (passing -A to makepkg during package building)

Create a key called ignore_arch in the section [miscellaneous].



Set packages that are to be treated as development packages

List the names of the packages in the section [devel_packages].



Specify a non-default folder to save aurman cache files

Create a key called cache_dir in the section [miscellaneous].



Specify the timeout for AUR RPC and feed requests (in seconds) (default is 5)

Create a key called aur_timeout in the section [miscellaneous].



Set interval in which to call sudo -v (sudo loop) (in seconds) (default is 120)

Create a key called sudo_timeout in the section [miscellaneous].



Make use of the undocumented --ask flag of pacman

Create a key called use_ask in the section [miscellaneous].




aurman will use --ask=4 if this config option is set. You will not have to confirm things like the installation of packages or the removal of conflicting packages again. "Again" - meaning again for pacman. You will still see the overview of aurman, which only predicts what will happen, and you will have to confirm unless --noconfirm was set. To be clear: aurman only predicts what will happen in every case. When using --ask=4, it may be possible that a conflict will not be detected by aurman. Hence, using --ask=4 may lead to unintended removal of package(s). All in all it comes down to: "redundant" confirmations of actions (less prone to errors) or "not redundant" confirmations of actions (more prone to errors).


  • Threaded sudo loop in the background so you only have to enter your password once.
  • Reliable dependency resolving.
  • Conflict detection.
  • Split package support.
  • Development package support.
  • Distinction between explicitly and implicitly installed packages.
  • Lets you see and edit all needed PKGBUILDs before starting AUR package building.
  • Fetching of needed PGP keys for package building.
  • Pacman --search for repo and AUR packages (results sorted by popularity).
  • Search function supports regex for searching the AUR. The first span of at least two consecutive non-regex characters is being used. These results will be filtered by the regex expression afterwards.
  • Differentiate between the sources of packages in case of identical names in different known repos and/or the AUR.
  • Show unread news from
  • Be notified about new locations of packages, e.g. moving from AUR to a known repository.
  • Be notified about orphans after installation of packages has finished.

Dependency solving description including benchmarks

Using aurman just as a dependency solver

In order to discover available updates, search for potential packages to install and more, it is useful to get machine-readable descriptions of the potential sync/install/update transactions aurman can propose.

aurmansolver [options] answers this need, by providing a json description of the equivalent aurman [options] transaction, but without carrying out any changes.

One example use is with -Su, in order to list packages which have updates available.

See for a detailed explanation



aurman wants to remove packages that should not be removed - what's the matter?


Please check if the problem arises because aurman has assumed .so dependencies to be unfulfilled. E.g. which requires a specific version of the mentioned .so. This may be the case because a providing AUR package only lists as being provided without specifying the version. Hence aurman cannot be sure if the version will match, since this can only be known after building the package, and thus assumes that the dependency is not fulfilled. You may change this behavior by yielding --optimistic_versioning via the commandline. Now, aurman (optimistically!) assumes the dependency will be fulfilled. However, you should make sure that the version in the built package is going to be the needed one, otherwise the optimism was misplaced and aurman's behavior when installing the packages will be undefined.

This behavior may also occur when there are no .so dependencies involved. Check if the dependencies are really fulfilled. If they are not, because you forced installations of packages with pacman -d, this behavior is explicitly wanted. It warns you about broken package dependencies in the system. To remove this output of aurman you will have to fulfill the dependencies.

Notice: aurman will never remove packages on its own. aurman just predicts what will happen.


How do I change the editor used by aurman for editing PKGBUILDs etc.?


aurman uses the environment variables VISUAL and EDITOR, hence you will have to change these variables.

If VISUAL is set, aurman uses this,

else if EDITOR is set, aurman uses this,

else aurman resorts to /usr/bin/nano.


How to install packages whose names are saved in a file with aurman?


aurman does not implement this functionality. Instead you may use standard shell command substitution. e.g.: aurman -S $(cat ~/packages_names.txt).


Does aurman support ignoring packages and groups via pacman.conf?




I get a UnicodeEncodeError or a UnicodeDecodeError when executing aurman - how to fix it?


See: #88.


I am using Arch ARM and I am getting expac errors when executing aurman, what to do?


see: #200

tl;dr - install the latest expac-git version from the AUR and everything works


If I want to run aurman from scripts, which settings should I use?


Use --ask (description) via the aurman config file.

And use the options --noedit, --pgp_fetch, --skip_news, --noconfirm, --skip_new_locations and --overwrite \*


I changed dependencies in a PKGBUILD, aurman does not respect the changes. Why?


aurman relies on the AUR RPC for dependency solving. .SRCINFO and PKGBUILD files are not taken into account.