Arch Linux is a lightweight, flexible and independently developed general purpose GNU/Linux distribution. And if there is a unique and special distribution of Linux, then it has got to be Arch Linux. Experienced users can build their very own Arch Linux system from the ground up.
Recommended Read: 10 Reasons to Use Arch Linux
What is AUR?
One of the most important things about Arch Linux is the AUR (Arch User Repository). It is a community-driven software repository for Arch Linux users which contains PKGBUILDs, allowing users to compile and build their own packages that do not exist in the official repository from the source.
Many new packages start in AUR before entering in the official repository and users can also contribute packages that they have developed to this repo. More importantly, Users can search and download PKGBUILDs from here, build them and install. But some users prefer to use AUR helpers that make it easy to install PKGBUILDs other than the method above.
In this article, we shall look at some of the best AUR helpers that users can rely on to easily install PKGBUILDs all of which are using the Arch user repo as source.
1. Yay (Yet another Yogurt)
Yay is command-line based and the best AUR helper on Arch, it is recommended for new Arch users before they can start using other AUR helpers. It is an equivalent of Pacman and has some of the following advantages: its commands and options match that of Pacman in many ways, has colored output, it also supports backups and can upgrade your system with few or no additional prompts.
If you are switching from another AUR helper, you can simply install Yay with that helper. Alternatively, you can install Yay by cloning the PKGBUILD and building with makepkg:
$ sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git $ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git $ cd yay $ makepkg -si
Pakku is a Pacman wrapper with additional features, such as searching/installing packages from AUR, viewing files and changes between builds, building packages from repositories, removing make dependencies after building, etc.
You can install Pakku by cloning the PKGBUILD and building with makepkg.
$ sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git $ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/pakku.git $ cd pakku $ makepkg -si
Pacaur is also a command-line based AUR helper that helps to minimize user interaction and uses cower as a backend. It is best for advanced Arch Linux users because of its complexity.
Pacaur has got the following advantages: it has the same operation syntax as Pacman, it also adds seamless access to AUR, colored output, has great search, and above all minimizes user prompts. Its only limitation is that it mostly works fine for advanced Arch users.
You can install Pacaur by cloning the PKGBUILD and building with makepkg.
$ sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git $ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/pacaur.git $ cd pacaur $ makepkg -si
Trizen is a lightweight, command-line based and speed oriented AUR helper which allows users to search and install packages, read AUR package comments.
It also has a built-in interaction with Pacman and acts as a text file editor at the same time. Trizen helps boost security while installing packages since the code is written in Perl and can not be executed silently.
You can install Trizen by cloning the PKGBUILD and building with makepkg.
$ sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git $ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git $ cd trizen $ makepkg -si
Aura is a package manager that is intended to function as an AUR helper and also perform many other functionalities. It supports many Pacman operations and there are sub-options with even more options having a specific meaning in Aura.
It has some of the following pros: similar operation syntax to Pacman, users can run it with root privileges and build as a normal user, it is written in Haskell. But users normally face difficulties in system upgrade when using Aura.
You can install Aura by cloning the PKGBUILD and building with makepkg.
$ sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git $ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/aura.git $ cd aura $ makepkg -si
Pikaur is a command-line AUR helper and Pacman wrapper with minimal dependencies, which is inspired by yaourt, apacman, and pacaur.
You can install Pikaur by cloning the PKGBUILD and building with makepkg.
$ sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git $ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/pikaur.git $ cd pikaur $ makepkg -fsri
The idea of AUR is a great one and this is just one of the unique and important things about Arch Linux. Having looked at all these amazing AUR helpers, you can choose the one you think will work best for you.
If you are using an AUR helper that you feel works well for you but is not on this list, you can let us know in the comments section below.