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pacaur - an AUR helper that minimizes user interaction


Usage: pacaur <operation> [ options ] [ target(s) ]


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 cower and expac C backends.

Invoking pacaur consists of supplying an operation, any applicable options, and usually one or more targets. A target is usually a package name or a search string.


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 commands which are AUR specific (sync, search, info, buildonly, upgrade, check, clean, cleanall). As such, pacaur can be used by users who prefer to have a single tool to manage the official and AUR repositories, or by users who prefer to keep their AUR frontend separated from pacman.


Pacman extension operations

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

Pacaur wraps all pacman operations and by default extends respectively its sync, search, info, download only, system upgrade, upgrades check, clean and clean all functions to the AUR. This extension behavior is optional and can be disabled with the fallback variable in the config file. Pacaur will also pass any other pacman operations and their related options to the pacman binary.

AUR specific operations


Clone build files, build and install target(s). Missing dependencies will be automatically installed as needed.

Search for packages with the target(s) as the search term(s). Queries with multiple targets will return the result of the intersection of all query results. Extended regex patterns as defined by POSIX are allowed. The output will display the name, version, votes and popularity values of each package. The flagged status will also be indicated by a <!> symbol or a colored version string if colored output is enabled.


Show info for target(s).


Clone build files and build target(s). Missing dependencies will be installed as needed for the build process, and removed automatically afterwards.


Update foreign packages in the AUR. Without any arguments, all manually installed packages will be upgraded. If target(s) are supplied, only those packages will be upgraded.


Check foreign packages for upgrades in the AUR. Without any arguments, all manually installed packages will be checked. If target(s) are supplied, only those packages will be checked.


Clean foreign packages and clones. Offer to remove all non locally installed built packages from defined PKGDEST cache, all non development files from defined SRCDEST cache, and all uninstalled clones from AUR clones directory. If target(s) are supplied, only those specific clones will be removed.


Clean all foreign packages and clones. Offer to remove all built packages from defined PKGDEST, all sources in defined SRCDEST, and all local clones from clones directory.

General operations

-v, --version

Display version and quit.

-h, --help

Display the help message and quit.


Pacman extension options

-a, --aur

When used with pacman extended operations, only search, build, install, upgrade or clean target(s) from the AUR. When combined with -Syu, only the -Sy operation is run for the repositories.

-r, --repo

When used with pacman extended operations, only search, build, install, upgrade or clean target(s) from the repositories.

General options

-e, --edit

Edit build files when cloning or building target(s). Overrides the displaybuildfiles config option and always fully shows the build files. Can also be used as a standalone command.

-q, --quiet

Show less information for search and query operations. Search will only show package names and not version, group, and description information.


When used with upgrade and check operations, also consider AUR development packages. Supported are cvs, svn, git, hg, bzr and darcs development packages, as well as daily and nightly build packages.


When used with buildonly, sync and upgrade operations, also consider already installed foreign dependencies when solving the dependency tree.

--ignore target(s)

Ignore a target upgrade. Can be used more than once. Also accepts a comma delimited list as a single argument. Packages listed in pacman and cower's IgnorePkg directive are honored.


Do not reinstall target(s) that are already up-to-date. The build of development packages that are found up-to-date after the source checkout will be skipped. Supported are svn, git, hg and bzr development packages, as well as daily and nightly build packages.


Perform commands without confirmation from the user.


Perform commands without editing any installation files. Overrides the --edit option.


Always rebuild packages regardless of any existing file in $PKGDEST directory, and regardless of up-to-date status of development packages.


Silence output. This will send the output of each packaging functions to text files in the clone directory named pkgname-pkgver-pkgrel-arch-function.log. Additional pacman output for providers and cached packages installation will also be hidden.

Search options

--by <FIELD>

When searching the AUR, search by FIELD where FIELD is name, name-desc, or maintainer to search for packages by their name, name and description, or by the package maintainer, respectively. The default is to search by name-desc.

--ignore-ood, --no-ignore-ood

When searching the AUR, ignore all results marked as out of date or do not ignore results marked as out of date, respectively. The default is to not ignore results marked as out of date. This can be changed with the IgnoreOOD option in the cower config file.


When searching the AUR, disable regex search and interpret target as a literal string.

--sort <KEY>, --rsort <KEY>

When searching the AUR, sort the results in ascending or descending order, respectively, by KEY where KEY is name, votes or popularity.

Other options

--domain <FQDN>

Point at a domain other than the default


system config

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


and falling back to

user config

User-defined configuration files overriding the general settings will be looked for first at


and falling back to

other config

In addition, pacaur fully honors cower's config file. See cower(1).


The available options are:


Define the editor. Default is $VISUAL, with a fallback on $EDITOR and nano.


Display PKGBUILD and install script viewing prompt. Possible values are full to always display the full build files, diff to only display the difference since last build, and none to disable the viewing prompt. Default is diff.


Extend pacman commands to the AUR. Default is true.


Enable silent output. The makepkg output will be collected in the clone directory or the $LOGDEST directory should any error occur. Default is false.


When searching the AUR, sort the results by name, number of votes or popularity. Default is popularity.


When searching the AUR, sort the results in ascending or descending order. Default is descending.


Prevent sudo timeout. This option overrides the system-wide passwd_timeout sudo configuration and refreshes the sudo timestamp automatically in a loop when building packages. Default is true.



Determines where the packages build files (PKGBUILD, .SRCINFO and install script files) will be cloned. The -Sc and -Scc clean operations allow to remove the untracked cloned files and the non locally installed cloned files, and all cloned files, respectively.

If this environment variable is not defined, the clone directory will be set to


with a fall back to


In addition, makepkg environment variables are fully honored. See makepkg(8). In particular, the following variables are useful:


Determines where the built packages will be stored. If using the existing /var/cache/pacman/pkg pacman cache directory, ensure your user has proper write permissions. Additionally, if added to the CacheDir path option of pacman.conf, the -Sc and -Scc clean operations will enable removal of non locally installed cached files and all cached files, respectively.


Determines where the source of packages will be stored. This will speed up the upgrade of development packages. The -Sc and -Scc clean operations allow to remove the non development packages source files and all source files, respectively.


Determines where the build logs will be stored. By default, the --silent option will write build logs in the clone directory if the build fails, but will remove them if the build succeeds.


Determines where the packages will be built. By default, build will happen in the defined clone directory, but build speed can be improved by using /tmp located in volatile memory. This is however not recommended if big packages need to be built on a low-memory machine.


sudo configuration

To be used with minimal password prompting, sudo should be configured accordingly to allow sudo access. See sudoers(5). If you disable the sudoloop config option, you might also want to disable the passwd_timeout sudo parameter to avoid password prompt timeout.

pacman misc options

Miscellaneous options enabled in pacman.conf are taken into account. Thus, colored output can be enabled with the Color option, while a detailed interface displaying name, version and size of packages formatted as a table is available through the VerbosePkgLists option.

build files comparison

To allow build files comparison, the displaybuildfiles default config option is set to diff. Although the clone directory (set by default to $XDG_CACHE_HOME/pacaur) can be changed through the alternative $AURDEST environment variable, it should always be set to a persistent location.


By default, any operation will be applied on the binary repositories, then the AUR if necessary. This behavior is optional and can be disabled with the fallback config option. When disabled, any operation will be restricted to the binary repositories similarly to pacman, while AUR operations can be applied explicitly with the --aur option.

interactive PKGBUILDs

Packages requiring user input while building are not supported and might fail to install properly. There is currently no official directive about these interactive PKGBUILDs, but some of the official pacman developers expressed the opinion that PKGBUILDs should always provide default compilation options.

host name error

If a lot of "Could not connect to the AUR" and "Timeout was reached" messages are displayed while searching or requesting info for packages despite the internet connection working correctly, ensure your local DNS server is correctly configured to improve name lookups. Using Google's primary DNS ( and might also help.


cower(1), pacman(8), makepkg(8), sudoers(5)


Remy Marquis <>

If you feel great pity for the present maintainer that has to constantly cope with users that don't want to read man pages and refuse to take responsibility for their own system, you can send me funny cat pictures. Alternatively, you can send a donation via PayPal to the above email address.

I would also suggest to donate to a charitable organization of your choice should you believe that your money could make a bigger difference there. Thank you!

Absolutely no support is provided, unless you are ready to pay for it.

All credits go to all direct or indirect contributors. Many thanks to all of you!


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