Access the Unstable Repositories

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Overview

Warning: Software downloaded and installed from the Unstable repositories may break your system! They should therefore only be used by more experienced users and Manjaro testers. Less experienced users may therefore wish to Access the Testing Repositories instead.


One of the many features that sets Manjaro apart from other Arch-based distributions is that it uses its own dedicated software repositories, rather than relying on those provided by Arch itself. In fact, to ensure continued stability and reliability, Manjaro actually uses three distinct types of software repositories:


  • Unstable repositories: These are used to store software packages that have known or suspected stability and/or compatibility issues. This software may therefore be subject to patching by the Manjaro developers prior to being released to the testing repositories. Although the very latest software will be located here, using the unstable respositories may consequently break your system!


  • Testing repositories: These are used to store patched software packages from the unstable repositories, as well other new software releases that are considered at least sufficiently stable. This software will be subject to further checks by developers and testers for potential bugs and/or stability issues, prior to being released to the stable repositories for public use.


  • Stable repositories: These are the default repositories used by Manjaro systems to provide updates and downloads to the general user base.


A consequence of using this model is that Manjaro's default stable repositories will be updated slightly later than Arch's, in order to accommodate the patching and testing processes. However, experienced users may wish to bypass both the stable repositories and testing repositories completely by enabling direct access to the unstable repositories instead.


Enabling Access to the Unstable Repositories

Change Repository Branch

With the pacman-mirrors command we can easily change the repository branch. Open a terminal and run the following command.

sudo pacman-mirrors -g -b unstable

-b will change the branch name, in this case to unstable. -g is necessary to recreate the mirrorlist, it will rebuild the pacman mirrorlist and will sort the available servers depending on their access time.

Now you can synchronise with the unstable repositories and update your system from them. To do so, enter the following command in the terminal:

sudo pacman -Syyu
note: This method is TEMPORARY and if you run sudo pacman-mirrors -g you will again be switched to stable. To make persistent changes, amend the Repository Branch as given below.


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Alternative: Amend the Repository Branch

You will need to first open your terminal in order to edit the pacman mirrors configuration file. The syntax of the command to do this is:

sudo [text editor] /etc/pacman-mirrors.conf


For example, if you wish to edit the file within the terminal using nano (a standard terminal-based text editor) then enter:

sudo nano /etc/pacman-mirrors.conf


Otherwise, if you have installed the full version of Manjaro and not the NET-Edition, you may find it easier to use the pre-installed gedit text editor instead. This will open the configuration file up as a document, making it easier to read and edit. To use gedit instead, the command is:

sudo gedit /etc/pacman-mirrors.conf

All you have to do now is change the branch value, as in the example provided below, with the necessary amendments to the repository names coloured in green for illustrative purposes:

## Branch Pacman should use (stable, testing or unstable)
Branch=unstable

Once your amendments have been completed, save your changes and close the configuration file by:

  • nano: Press CTRL and 'x' to exit, 'y' to save, and <enter> to finish, or
  • gedit: Select the 'save' option and then close the window.


After changing the branch value, you have to recreate the mirrorlist by running the following command. This will rebuild the pacman mirrorlist and will sort the available servers depending on their access time.

sudo pacman-mirrors -g

Once the mirrorlist is updated, it will be necessary to synchronise with the unstable repositories and to update your system from them. To do so, enter the following command in the terminal:

sudo pacman -Syyu


Now you will have access to the very, very latest bleeding edge software, without having to wait for it to be transferred to stable or even testing repositories.

Note: Manjaro unstable comes directly from Arch stable.

Tip: Why not become and active part of the Manjaro community by becoming a tester? Just let us know of any bugs by reporting them via our feedback form.

Reverting Back to the Stable Repositories

Change Repository Branch

You may at any time revert back to the Stable Repositories, if you wish. To do so, we can do this once again by running pacman-mirrors:

sudo pacman-mirrors -g -b stable

Now synchronise and update your entire system, and you're ready to go again. The pacman -Suu is necessary to downgrade packages, this will prevent fatal conflicts.

sudo pacman -Syy
sudo pacman -Suu


Alternative: Amend the Repository Branch

Edit the pacman mirrors configuration file using your terminal. To edit the file within the terminal using the nano text editor, enter the command:

sudo nano /etc/pacman-mirrors.conf


Otherwise, to use gedit in your desktop environment, enter the command:

sudo gedit /etc/pacman-mirrors.conf


Once the pacman mirrors configuration file has been opened, you can revert back to the stable repositories simply by changing the branch back to stable. An example of the original / reverted branch value has been provided below. The reversions have been coloured in green for illustrative purposes:

## Branch Pacman should use (stable, testing, unstable)
Branch=stable


Once your amendments have been completed, save your changes and close the configuration file by:

  • nano: Press CTRL and 'x' to exit, 'y' to save, and <enter> to finish, or
  • gedit: Select the 'save' option and then close the window.


After changing the branch value back to stable, you have to recreate the mirrorlist again by running the following command. This will rebuild the pacman mirrorlist and will sort the available servers depending on their access time.

sudo pacman-mirrors -g

Now the mirrorlist is updated, it will be necessary to synchronise with the stable repositories and to update your system from them. To do so, enter the following commands in your terminal, just like before:


1. First, to synchronise with the stable repositories enter the command:

sudo pacman -Syy


2. And Second, to to update your entire system enter the command:

sudo pacman -Suu


You have now successfully reverted back to using the stable repositories.