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pacman coming from apt / dpkg

published 07/01/2021 in Linux | tags : Linux, Arch, Debian, pacman, #100DaysToOffload

Estimated read time: 3 min.

WTF is pacman

Apparently the package manager for Arch based distributions and here I was thinking it was an old video game character. I’m sure that jokes never been made.

Anyways I’ll be likening the commands to what I would have traditionally done on Debian for the most part.

Basics

usage:  pacman <operation> [...]
operations:
    pacman {-h --help}
    pacman {-V --version}
    pacman {-D --database} <options> <package(s)>
    pacman {-F --files}    [options] [package(s)]
    pacman {-Q --query}    [options] [package(s)]
    pacman {-R --remove}   [options] <package(s)>
    pacman {-S --sync}     [options] [package(s)]
    pacman {-T --deptest}  [options] [package(s)]
    pacman {-U --upgrade}  [options] <file(s)>

use 'pacman {-h --help}' with an operation for available options

This doesn’t seem overly intuitive to me, while this command technically encompasses everything that apt would do, it doesn’t have the same user experience as other package managers. Nor does the man page really clarify how to use it to do regular user things. It does however seem quite a bit more flexible.

Updating your cache

Usually before searching for packages to install you’ll want to update your package cache.

Debian:

apt-get update

Arch:

pacman -Sy

This will update your cache, and allow you to search for packages to install.

Searching

Often your trying to find a package to install for a particular application in this instance we’ll search for qemu.

Debian:

apt-cache search qemu

Arch:

pacman -Ss qemu

These commands are essentially equivalent but pacman will list if the package is already installed or not.

Installing

Where in Debian based distributions you would do the following to install a package.

Debian:

apt-get install qemu

Arch:

pacman -S qemu

Both the above commands will go ahead and install the package along with the dependencies required for installation.

Removing

As always you would also like to be able to remove packages should you not need them anymore.

Debian:

apt-get --purge remove qemu

Arch:

pacman -R qemu

OK so now we find out that all of the regular user things aren’t done by just -S, removing does require the use of -R

Listing

Wanting to get a list of the packages you’ve installed is a pretty common thing to do.

Debian:

dpkg -l

Arch:

pacman -Q

Listing optional dependencies

Arch:

pacman -Qi <packagname>

This will display some nice package information along with the optional dependencies available for installation.

Upgrading

If you’ve used any Debian based distribution for any length of time, you will have run a dist-upgrade at some point.

Debian:

apt-get dist-upgrade

Arch:

pacman -Syu

Each of these will update all of the required packages to get you upgraded.

Cleaning up

Want to clean up your installed packages cache?

Debian:

apt-cache clean

Arch:

paccache -r

That’s about it for my common commands, I’ll likely go over installing source / AUR packages as well in the future