Colourised package manager for Arch Linux

I’ve played around a bit to find a proper package manager for Arch Linux that can install packages from both the official repositories and the Arch User Repository, and shows nice colours. I looked at pacman, packer-color and yaourt, and decided yaourt works best for me when custom colours are used.

Arch Linux uses verified binary packages in its official repositories, but also has the Arch User Repository (AUR) with (currenly more than 45,000) user-provided and less-well verified software packages. These packages should be downloaded, verified, compiled and installed manually, and could in principle contain malicious software.

Pacman is the default package manager for Arch Linux, and it comes with the default installation. It can install binary packages from the official repos easily and in an automated way. However, there is no automated way to install packages from AUR (and for a good reason). Still, if you’re adventurous (or just plain stupid — presumably my case), you may want to use a tool that installs AUR packages semi-automated, like packer-color or yaourt.


The non-colourised output can be easily remedied by uncommenting the line


in the file


However, I didn’t find a way to easily install packages from AUR using pacman.


This package must be installed from AUR, hence manually or after installing yaourt. You may have to activate colourised output in pacman.conf (see above), and it will look just like pacman. The syntax seems to be the same as well. The advantage over pacman is that it will also install packages from AUR in a semi-automated way (which you should of course never do). Another advantage is that when called without options (other than package names), a search is assumed and packages can be selected interactively from the resulting list. The two disadvantages seem to be that installed AUR packages are not labeled as such in the search list (it might only show this for AUR packages it installed itself, I didn’t check), and in order to perform more “complicated” tasks, like removing a package, you’ll be asked to use pacman.


Yaourt can install packages from both the official repos and AUR. The latter is always a liability, and you should never do it, but if you do it anyway, this is a great way. Yaourt can do more than just install packages, and you’ll need to use pacman less often than in the case of packer-color. The syntax seems to be the same as for pacman and when called without options yaourt assumes a search and presents a list of packages which can be selected for installation, like in the case of packer-color. Yaourt’s output is colourised by default. The one drawback — the fact that the default colours are rather horrible and in particular the grey-on-orange used for ‘installed’ labels and vote counts are unreadable (for me) — is easily remedied by setting the YAOURT_COLORS environment variable. For my eyes,

export YAOURT_COLORS="nb=1:pkg=1:ver=1;32:lver=1;45:installed=1;42:grp=1;34:od=1;41;5:votes=1;44:dsc=0:other=1;35"

seems to do well. Put this line in /etc/bash.bashrc or in your ~/.bashrc (user and root) to make it permanent.

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1 Response to Colourised package manager for Arch Linux

  1. Pingback: Installing Yaourt on Arch linux | AstroFloyd's blog

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