Arch Linux Terminology


Below are a few specific terms for the Arch distribution. Some are found in other Linux distributions as well.


Arch Build System (ABS) is used to:

• Recompile a package for any reason.
• Create and install new source packages for programs without any available packages.
• Customize existing packages to suit your needs (enable or disable options, patching).
• Recompile the entire system, using the flags compiler, “a la FreeBSD” (With pacbuilder).
• Clean and install your own kernel.
• Copy kernel modules for the custom kernel.
• Easily compile and install a new, old, beta, or development version of a package by editing the version in PKGBUILD.

ABS does not need to be used in the Arch Linux distribution, but it is useful for automating certain tasks from the compilation source. If you do not compile, do not install it.

Arch Linux Archive

Arch Linux Archive (ALA), formerly known as Arch Linux Rollback Machine (aka ARM), stores official snapshots of official software repositories, iso images, and bootstrap tarball (tarball – Tar archive where a package is compressed).

Arch User Repository (AUR) is a software warehouse based on contributions from Arch Linux users. Contains package descriptions (PKGBUILDs) that can be built with makepkg using the program’s source, then installed with pacman. AUR has been created to organize and distribute new software packages and to help include popular packages in the [community] warehouse more quickly. This document explains how to access and use the AUR.

community / [community]
The [community] store contains pre-compiled Trust Trust packages built by Trust Users. Most packages in the [community] warehouse come from AUR. To access the [community] warehouse, the corresponding line in /etc/pacman.conf should be disconnected.

core / [core]
The [core] storage contains the main packages of the ARCH Linux distribution. [core] contains everything it takes to run an Arch Linux system on the command line.

It should be noted that Arch Linux launches are simple snapshots of the [core] warehouse, and are usually issued in the first half of each month.

custom / user repositories

Anyone can create a deposit and make it available to other users online. To create a warehouse, you need a set of packages and a pacman-compatible database. Files are hosted online and anyone can use it by adding it as a regular storage in /etc/pacman.conf.


These semi-gods are working to continuously improve Arch Linux distribution without any material gain. Developers are surpassed only by Judd Vinet and Aaron Griffin, the creators of Arch.

Extra / [Extra]

Arch official packages are quite few, but the extra store adds a lot of programs that will never be in the core pack store. This deposit is constantly developing thanks to community involvement. Here are desktop environments, window managers and common programs.


Acronym from Keep It Simple, Stupid. Simplicity is the basic principle in Arch Linux.


makepkg builds our packages. makepkg reads the requested data from a PKGBUILD file. All we need is the Linux platform, wget, and some scripts needed for compilation. Advantage: From the moment we build the script, we only need to run makepkg and it will handle everything: downloading and validating source files, checking dependencies, building the package, installing the package, customizing, meta-info generation, wrapping.


namcap is a tool for analyzing packages and looking to discover their possible problems with Arch Linux, but also with PKGBUILD files. Can apply rules to a list of files, files as such, or individual PKGBUILD files.


A package is an archive containing:

• all the (compiled) files of an application;
• app metadata, such as app name, version, dependencies;
• installed files and directives for pacman;
• (optional) extra files created to make our lives easier, such as a start / stop script.

Package maintainer

The role of a package maintainer is to update packages to the latest version available in warehouses.


The pacman package manager is one of the main features that makes Arch Linux different. It combines the simple binary format of a package with Arch Linux Build System. Pacman’s goal is to make packets easy to handle, whether they come from official warehouses or are built by the user.


It is the configuration file for pacman. It is located in /etc. For more details, type man pacman.conf in a terminal.


PKGBUILDs are small scripts that help build packages in Arch Linux.

repository / repo

The repository (repository in English or abbreviated, repo) contains precompiled packages. Official deposits are divided into several parts for easier maintenance. Pacman uses these warehouses to install packages. A warehouse may be local (for example on your computer) or remote (in the latter case) packages are downloaded before installing.


systemd is a Linux system initialization and service manager. The services are started in parallel, so the system loading time considerably decreases.


The PKGBUILD tar archive and local source files are required by makepkg to create an installable binary package. The name derives from tar files loaded in AUR, hence “tAURball”.

testing / [testing]

It is the store where most packages or package updates are held before they are launched through official warehouses, can be tested for anomalies and find remedial updates. By default, it is disabled when installing ARCH, but can be enabled by editing the /etc/pacman.conf file.

The Arch Way

The Arch Way is the term that refers to the basic principles of the Arch Linux distribution: simplicity, code accuracy, user centered, transparency, and freedom.

TU, Trusted User

A Trusted User is someone who keeps the AUR deposit and [community]. A Reliable User can move a package from AUR to the [community] store if it is voted popular. For someone to become a Trusted User, the vote of the majority of existing Trust Users is needed.


udev provides a dynamic device directory that only contains the files in the system. It creates or deletes the device file nodes in the /dev directory or renames the network interfaces. It receives updates from the kernel each time a device is added or deleted from the system. It is currently added to the systemd-tools package.

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