pacman - package manager utility
pacman <operation> [options] [targets]
Pacman is a package management utility that tracks installed
packages on a Linux system. It features dependency support, package groups,
install and uninstall scripts, and the ability to sync your local machine
with a remote repository to automatically upgrade packages. Pacman packages
are a zipped tar format.
Since version 3.0.0, pacman has been the front-end to
libalpm(3), the “Arch Linux Package Management”
library. This library allows alternative front-ends to be written (for
instance, a GUI front-end).
Invoking pacman involves specifying an operation with any
potential options and targets to operate on. A target is usually a
package name, file name, URL, or a search string. Targets can be provided as
command line arguments. Additionally, if stdin is not from a terminal and a
single hyphen (-) is passed as an argument, targets will be read from
Operate on the package database. This operation allows
you to modify certain attributes of the installed packages in pacman’s
database. It also allows you to check the databases for internal consistency.
See Database Options below.
Query the package database. This operation allows you to
view installed packages and their files, as well as meta-information about
individual packages (dependencies, conflicts, install date, build date, size).
This can be run against the local package database or can be used on
individual package files. In the first case, if no package names are provided
in the command line, all installed packages will be queried. Additionally,
various filters can be applied on the package list. See Query Options
Remove package(s) from the system. Groups can also be
specified to be removed, in which case every package in that group will be
removed. Files belonging to the specified package will be deleted, and the
database will be updated. Most configuration files will be saved with a
.pacsave extension unless the --nosave option is used. See
Remove Options below.
Synchronize packages. Packages are installed directly
from the remote repositories, including all dependencies required to run the
packages. For example, pacman -S qt will download and install qt and all the
packages it depends on. If a package name exists in more than one repository,
the repository can be explicitly specified to clarify the package to install:
pacman -S testing/qt. You can also specify version requirements: pacman -S
"bash>=3.2". Quotes are needed, otherwise the shell interprets
">" as redirection to a file.
In addition to packages, groups can be specified as well. For
example, if gnome is a defined package group, then pacman -S gnome will
provide a prompt allowing you to select which packages to install from a
numbered list. The package selection is specified using a space- and/or
comma-separated list of package numbers. Sequential packages may be selected
by specifying the first and last package numbers separated by a hyphen (-).
Excluding packages is achieved by prefixing a number or range of numbers
with a caret (^).
Packages that provide other packages are also handled. For
example, pacman -S foo will first look for a foo package. If foo is not
found, packages that provide the same functionality as foo will be searched
for. If any package is found, it will be installed. A selection prompt is
provided if multiple packages providing foo are found.
You can also use pacman -Su to upgrade all packages that are
out-of-date. See Sync Options below. When upgrading, pacman performs version
comparison to determine which packages need upgrading. This behavior
operates as follows:
1.0a < 1.0b < 1.0beta < 1.0p < 1.0pre < 1.0rc < 1.0 < 1.0.a < 1.0.1
1 < 1.0 < 1.1 < 1.1.1 < 1.2 < 2.0 < 3.0.0
Additionally, version strings can have an epoch value
defined that will overrule any version comparison, unless the epoch values
are equal. This is specified in an epoch:version-rel format. For example,
2:1.0-1 is always greater than 1:3.6-1.
Check dependencies; this is useful in scripts such as
makepkg to check installed packages. This operation will check each dependency
specified and return a list of dependencies that are not currently satisfied
on the system. This operation accepts no other options. Example usage: pacman
-T qt "bash>=3.2".
Upgrade or add package(s) to the system and install the
required dependencies from sync repositories. Either a URL or file path can be
specified. This is a “remove-then-add” process. See Upgrade
Options below; also see Handling Config Files for an explanation on how pacman
takes care of configuration files.
Query the files database. This operation allows you to
look for packages owning certain files or display files owned by certain
packages. Only packages that are part of your sync databases are searched. See
File Options below.
Display version and exit.
Display syntax for the given operation. If no operation
was supplied, then the general syntax is shown.
-b, --dbpath <path>
Specify an alternative database location (the default is
/var/lib/pacman). This should not be used unless you know what you are doing.
NOTE: If specified, this is an absolute path, and the root path is not
-r, --root <path>
Specify an alternative installation root (default is /).
This should not be used as a way to install software into /usr/local instead
of /usr. NOTE: If database path or log file are not specified on either
the command line or in pacman.conf(5), their default location will be
inside this root path. NOTE: This option is not suitable for performing
operations on a mounted guest system. See --sysroot instead.
Output paths such as the Root, Conf File, DB Path, Cache
Specify an alternate architecture.
Specify an alternative package cache location (the
default is /var/cache/pacman/pkg). Multiple cache directories can be
specified, and they are tried in the order they are passed to pacman.
NOTE: This is an absolute path, and the root path is not automatically
Specify when to enable coloring. Valid options are
always, never, or auto. always forces colors on;
never forces colors off; and auto only automatically enables
colors when outputting onto a tty.
Specify an alternate configuration file.
Display debug messages. When reporting bugs, this option
is recommended to be used.
Specify a directory of files used by GnuPG to verify
package signatures (the default is /etc/pacman.d/gnupg). This directory should
contain two files: pubring.gpg and trustdb.gpg. pubring.gpg holds the public
keys of all packagers. trustdb.gpg contains a so-called trust database, which
specifies that the keys are authentic and trusted. NOTE: This is an
absolute path, and the root path is not automatically prepended.
Specify a alternative directory containing hook files
(the default is /etc/pacman.d/hooks). Multiple hook directories can be
specified with hooks in later directories taking precedence over hooks in
earlier directories. NOTE: This is an absolute path, and the root path
is not automatically prepended.
Specify an alternate log file. This is an absolute path,
regardless of the installation root setting.
Bypass any and all “Are you sure?”
messages. It’s not a good idea to do this unless you want to run pacman
from a script.
Cancels the effects of a previous
Disable defaults for low speed limit and timeout on
downloads. Use this if you have issues downloading files with proxy and/or
Specify an alternative system root. Pacman will chroot
and chdir into the system root prior to running. This allows mounted guest
systems to be properly operated on. Any other paths given will be interpreted
as relative to the system root. Requires root privileges.
TRANSACTION OPTIONS (APPLY TO -S, -R AND -U)¶
Skips dependency version checks. Package names are still
checked. Normally, pacman will always check a package’s dependency
fields to ensure that all dependencies are installed and there are no package
conflicts in the system. Specify this option twice to skip all dependency
Add a virtual package "package" with version
"version" to the transaction to satisfy dependencies. This allows to
disable specific dependency checks without affecting all dependency checks. To
disable all dependency checking, see the --nodeps option.
Adds/removes the database entry only, leaving all files
Do not show a progress bar when downloading files. This
can be useful for scripts that call pacman and capture the output.
If an install scriptlet exists, do not execute it. Do not
use this unless you know what you are doing.
Only print the targets instead of performing the actual
operation (sync, remove or upgrade). Use --print-format to specify how
targets are displayed. The default format string is "%l", which
displays URLs with -S, file names with -U, and pkgname-pkgver
Specify a printf-like format to control the output of the
--print operation. The possible attributes are: "%n" for
pkgname, "%v" for pkgver, "%l" for location,
"%r" for repository, and "%s" for size. Implies
UPGRADE OPTIONS (APPLY TO -S AND -U)¶
Retrieve all packages from the server, but do not
Install packages non-explicitly; in other words, fake
their install reason to be installed as a dependency. This is useful for
makepkg and other build-from-source tools that need to install dependencies
before building the package.
Install packages explicitly; in other words, fake their
install reason to be explicitly installed. This is useful if you want to mark
a dependency as explicitly installed so it will not be removed by the
--recursive remove operation.
Directs pacman to ignore upgrades of package even if
there is one available. Multiple packages can be specified by separating them
with a comma.
Directs pacman to ignore upgrades of all packages in
group, even if there is one available. Multiple groups can be specified
by separating them with a comma.
Do not reinstall the targets that are already
Bypass file conflict checks and overwrite conflicting
files. If the package that is about to be installed contains files that are
already installed and match glob, this option will cause all those
files to be overwritten. Using --overwrite will not allow overwriting a
directory with a file or installing packages with conflicting files and
directories. Multiple patterns can be specified by separating them with a
comma. May be specified multiple times. Patterns can be negated, such that
files matching them will not be overwritten, by prefixing them with an
exclamation mark. Subsequent matches will override previous ones. A leading
literal exclamation mark or backslash needs to be escaped.
QUERY OPTIONS (APPLY TO -Q)¶
View the ChangeLog of a package if it exists.
Restrict or filter output to packages installed as
dependencies. This option can be combined with -t for listing real
orphans - packages that were installed as dependencies but are no longer
required by any installed package.
Restrict or filter output to explicitly installed
packages. This option can be combined with -t to list explicitly
installed packages that are not required by any other package.
Display all packages that are members of a named group.
If a name is not specified, list all grouped packages.
Display information on a given package. The -p
option can be used if querying a package file instead of the local database.
Passing two --info or -i flags will also display the list of
backup files and their modification states.
Check that all files owned by the given package(s) are
present on the system. If packages are not specified or filter flags are not
provided, check all installed packages. Specifying this option twice will
perform more detailed file checking (including permissions, file sizes, and
modification times) for packages that contain the needed mtree file.
List all files owned by a given package. Multiple
packages can be specified on the command line.
Restrict or filter output to packages that were not found
in the sync database(s). Typically these are packages that were downloaded
manually and installed with --upgrade.
Restrict or filter output to packages that are found in
the sync database(s). This is the inverse filter of --foreign.
-o, --owns <file>
Search for packages that own the specified file(s). The
path can be relative or absolute, and one or more files can be
Signifies that the package supplied on the command line
is a file and not an entry in the database. The file will be decompressed and
queried. This is useful in combination with --info and
Show less information for certain query operations. This
is useful when pacman’s output is processed in a script. Search will
only show package names and not version, group, and description information;
owns will only show package names instead of "file is owned by pkg"
messages; group will only show package names and omit group names; list will
only show files and omit package names; check will only show pairs of package
names and missing files; a bare query will only show package names rather than
names and versions.
-s, --search <regexp>
Search each locally-installed package for names or
descriptions that match regexp. When including multiple search terms, only
packages with descriptions matching ALL of those terms are returned.
Restrict or filter output to print only packages neither
required nor optionally required by any currently installed package. Specify
this option twice to include packages which are optionally, but not directly,
required by another package.
Restrict or filter output to packages that are
out-of-date on the local system. Only package versions are used to find
outdated packages; replacements are not checked here. This option works best
if the sync database is refreshed using -Sy.
REMOVE OPTIONS (APPLY TO -R)¶
Remove all target packages, as well as all packages that
depend on one or more target packages. This operation is recursive and must be
used with care, since it can remove many potentially needed packages.
Instructs pacman to ignore file backup designations.
Normally, when a file is removed from the system, the database is checked to
see if the file should be renamed with a .pacsave extension.
Remove each target specified including all of their
dependencies, provided that (A) they are not required by other packages; and
(B) they were not explicitly installed by the user. This operation is
recursive and analogous to a backwards --sync operation, and it helps
keep a clean system without orphans. If you want to omit condition (B), pass
this option twice.
Removes targets that are not required by any other
packages. This is mostly useful when removing a group without using the
-c option, to avoid breaking any dependencies.
SYNC OPTIONS (APPLY TO -S)¶
Remove packages that are no longer installed from the
cache as well as currently unused sync databases to free up disk space. When
pacman downloads packages, it saves them in a cache directory. In addition,
databases are saved for every sync DB you download from and are not deleted
even if they are removed from the configuration file pacman.conf
Use one --clean
switch to only remove packages that are no longer
installed; use two to remove all files from the cache. In both cases, you will
have a yes or no option to remove packages and/or unused downloaded databases.
If you use a network shared cache, see the CleanMethod
option in pacman.conf(5).
Display all the members for each package group specified.
If no group names are provided, all groups will be listed; pass the flag twice
to view all groups and their members.
Display information on a given sync database package.
Passing two --info or -i flags will also display those packages
in all repositories that depend on this package.
List all packages in the specified repositories. Multiple
repositories can be specified on the command line.
Show less information for certain sync operations. This
is useful when pacman’s output is processed in a script. Search will
only show package names and not repository, version, group, and description
information; list will only show package names and omit databases and
versions; group will only show package names and omit group names.
-s, --search <regexp>
This will search each package in the sync databases for
names or descriptions that match regexp. When you include multiple search
terms, only packages with descriptions matching ALL of those terms will be
Upgrades all packages that are out-of-date. Each
currently-installed package will be examined and upgraded if a newer package
exists. A report of all packages to upgrade will be presented, and the
operation will not proceed without user confirmation. Dependencies are
automatically resolved at this level and will be installed/upgraded if
Pass this option twice to enable package downgrades; in this case,
pacman will select sync packages whose versions do not match with the local
versions. This can be useful when the user switches from a testing
repository to a stable one.
Additional targets can also be specified manually, so that -Su
foo will do a system upgrade and install/upgrade the "foo"
package in the same operation.
Download a fresh copy of the master package database from
the server(s) defined in pacman.conf(5). This should typically be used
each time you use --sysupgrade or -u. Passing two
--refresh or -y flags will force a refresh of all package
databases, even if they appear to be up-to-date.
DATABASE OPTIONS (APPLY TO -D)¶
Mark a package as non-explicitly installed; in other
words, set their install reason to be installed as a dependency.
Mark a package as explicitly installed; in other words,
set their install reason to be explicitly installed. This is useful if you
want to keep a package installed even when it was initially installed as a
dependency of another package.
Check the local package database is internally
consistent. This will check all required files are present and that installed
packages have the required dependencies, do not conflict and that multiple
packages do not own the same file. Specifying this option twice will perform a
check on the sync databases to ensure all specified dependencies are
Suppress messages on successful completion of database
FILE OPTIONS (APPLY TO -F)¶
Download fresh package databases from the server. Use
twice to force a refresh even if databases are up to date.
List the files owned by the queried package.
Interpret each query as a regular expression.
Show less information for certain file operations. This
is useful when pacman’s output is processed in a script, however, you
may want to use --machinereadable instead.
Print each match in a machine readable output format. The
format is repository\0pkgname\0pkgver\0path\n with \0 being the
NULL character and \n a linefeed.
HANDLING CONFIG FILES¶
Pacman uses the same logic as rpm to determine action
against files that are designated to be backed up. During an upgrade, three
MD5 hashes are used for each backup file to determine the required action:
one for the original file installed, one for the new file that is about to
be installed, and one for the actual file existing on the file system. After
comparing these three hashes, the following scenarios can result:
original=X, current=X, new=X
All three files are the same, so overwrites are not an
issue. Install the new file.
original=X, current=X, new=Y
The current file is the same as the original, but the new
one differs. Since the user did not ever modify the file, and the new one may
contain improvements or bug fixes, install the new file.
original=X, current=Y, new=X
Both package versions contain the exact same file, but
the one on the file system has been modified. Leave the current file in
original=X, current=Y, new=Y
The new file is identical to the current file. Install
the new file.
original=X, current=Y, new=Z
All three files are different, so install the new file
with a .pacnew extension and warn the user. The user must then manually
merge any necessary changes into the original file.
original=NULL, current=Y, new=Z
The package was not previously installed, and the file
already exists on the file system. Install the new file with a .pacnew
extension and warn the user. The user must then manually merge any necessary
changes into the original file.
pacman -Ss ne.hack
Search for regexp "ne.hack" in package
pacman -S gpm
Download and install gpm including dependencies.
pacman -U /home/user/ceofhack-0.6-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.gz
Install ceofhack-0.6-1 package from a local file.
Update package list and upgrade all packages
pacman -Syu gpm
Update package list, upgrade all packages, and then
install gpm if it wasn’t already installed.
See pacman.conf(5) for more details on configuring pacman
using the pacman.conf file.
alpm-hooks(5), libalpm(3), makepkg(8),
See the pacman website at https://archlinux.org/pacman/ for
current information on pacman and its related tools.
Bugs? You must be kidding; there are no bugs in this software. But
if we happen to be wrong, submit a bug report with as much detail as
possible at the Arch Linux Bug Tracker in the Pacman section.
•Allan McRae <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Past major contributors:
•Judd Vinet <email@example.com>
•Aaron Griffin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
•Dan McGee <email@example.com>
•Xavier Chantry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
•Nagy Gabor <email@example.com>
•Dave Reisner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For additional contributors, use git shortlog -s on the pacman.git