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.
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 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. Yaourt(Yet Another User Repository Tool)
It is command-line based and the most common 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.
Yaourt has some disadvantages and these include: breaking when updating packages as superuser, it also prompts users for input for each package build which can be nagging sometimes.
This is one of the best AUR helpers available for Arch users, designed to be simple with a pacman-like interface. It is command-line based and has got many advantages that include the use of the same syntax as pacman and it can be used to install pacman packages, it also works fast and quickly compared to other AUR helpers among others.
Some of its disadvantages are that it does not support shell autocomplete functionality and the project is not actively maintained.
It is also a command-line based AUR helper that helps to minimize users 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 as cower, and above all minimizes user prompts.Its only limitation is that it mostly works fine for advanced Arch user.
This 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.
It 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 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.
If you’re one of those that prefer using GUI tools, then this is the best AUR helper for you. Users can install many packages at once in simple steps, search, select, enter the password and install the packages. PacmanXG has one limitation, though, users can not request the whole list of AUR packages.
It is a pacman wrapper forked from packer AUR helper, it is also command-line based and offers many user options to increase its efficiency. One problem with it could probably be the fact that packer is bot actively being maintained.
The idea of AUR is a great one and this is just one of the unique and important things about Arch Linux. Having looked 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.