Arch User Repository
Although Manjaro is one-hundred percent Arch Linux compatible—being based on Arch Linux itself—it is not possible to access their official repositories for use in Manjaro. Instead, Manjaro uses its own repositories in order to ensure that any software packages that are accessible (e.g. system updates and applications) have been fully tested and are stable before release.
With that said, it is still possible to access additional software packages from the Arch User Repository (AUR). The AUR is managed by the Arch Linux user community itself. Although this repository is unofficial, software packages first placed here can ultimately make their way into Arch Linux's official (community) repository if they become popular enough. Unfortunately, as a community maintained repository, using the AUR does still present potential risks and problems. Risks, such as, the AUR providing:
- Multiple versions of the same packages.
- Out of date packages.
- Broken or only partially working packages.
- Improperly configured packages (e.g. downloading unnecessary dependencies, or not downloading necessary dependencies, or both).
- Malicious packages (although extremely rare) .
As such, although much of the software packages provided by the AUR should work, do not expect the installation process to always be quite as straight-forward as when you are using the official Manjaro repositories. On occasion, it may be necessary to manually identify and install dependencies yourself (e.g. after an aborted installation attempt). Again, there is no guarantee that any installed software will work properly (if at all).
Accessing the AUR
All the necessary software needed to access and use the AUR should have already been pre-installed for you in Manjaro (since 0.8.4). If you installed your system with an earlier release of Manjaro, it may be necessary to install these packages manually. They are:
1. The base-developer group of packages: Rather than downloading pre-compiled software packages for installation, you will instead be downloading the instructions for Manjaro to build and compile them on your system. The base-developer group package is required to do this.
2. yaourt: This is used to search and download from the AUR, rather like pacman is used to search and download from from Manjaro's official repositories. Just like pacman it will also automatically find and download the necessary dependencies for downloaded software as well, provided that the software packages themselves have properly stated which dependencies are needed.
To install the base-developer group and yaourt, enter the following command in your terminal:
sudo pacman -S base-devel yaourt
Searching for and Installing Software From the AUR
Yaourt must be used in the terminal, and is itself very similar to pacman to use. Furthermore, as with pacman, it is not necessary to specify precise or complete package names in order to search for or download software. For example, if wishing the download the Avant Window Navigator (a popular dock/toolbar), simply entering 'avant' will yield a list of potential matches to browse and select from. While the use of the sudo command is a convention when using pacman to install files (e.g. sudo pacman -S [software package name]), it is not necessary to use this with yaourt.
To search for and install software packages from the AUR, the syntax is:
yaourt [software package name]
For example, to search for the Avant Window Navigator, the following command would be entered:
As illustrated, a search for the Avant Window Navigator undertaken has resulted in ten possible matches being listed. Any combination of listed packages can be downloaded by simply entering their numbers. For example, entering 3 would install the package avant-window-navigaor-bzr. Adding 5 after this would also install extra applets for for this package:
==> Enter No of packages to be installed (ex: 1 2 3 or 1-3) ==> ------------------------------------------------------- 3 5
Once the number(s) of your chosen software package(s) have been entered, and the installation process has begun, user comments from the AUR website will also be displayed. You may also be presented with a standard warning that the download package is unsupported and potentially dangerous.
You may also be asked if you wish to Edit PKGBUILD. Unless you know what you are doing, always type n for 'no' when asked. The purpose of this option is to allow experienced users to inspect the instructions that will be used to build the package(s) to be installed. As dependencies may also have to be installed first in the process, it is possible to be prompted to edit these as well.
Although you should just keep entering 'no' to these prompts, be aware that you will also be prompted on occasion to continue the installation as well. So make sure you read each prompt properly before entering anything, else you could end up aborting the installation by accident!