I can't update packages and applications

So the OP says he hasn’t switched on his wife’s laptop for 4 months, but presumably it boots up okay, else he’d have mentioned that. But when he tries to update he then encounters problems.

So what’s the difference between that situation and the one I’ve mentioned about rolling-back a few months and updating, when you say that a package-manager (ie Pamac) should take care of the differences between the previous system state and now?

OP was attempting to commit a partial upgrade.
Which is unsupported, and if somehow successful, would be equal to broken.
Though due to a combination of factors they were unable to proceed.
(the answer is they were doing it wrong)

If I were to create a slightly more reasonable scenario …

Lets say OP was encountering issues due to an unsupported package they failed to maintain. Like xorg-git or similar. They update regular system packages, and are greeted with a black screen boot. If they roll back and do the same thing again the same thing will happen. If they change their methodology and either include a rebuild of xorg-git or replace it with the regular repo version then the update and resulting system should be fine.

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Could you post the results of an attempt to upgrade using Pacman? This way we can (hopefully) see what the actual errors are. :wink:

I do agree however that a point release will likely be better for this use-case. It’s what I’ve done with one of my “reserve” machines. In this case, Mint Xfce.

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Opinion:- I wouldn’t rely on Pamac (or Pamac-Manager) for much more than installiing the occasional application from the AUR, or containerized application that I couldn’t find elsewhere.

All system related updates, applications available from standard repos, and the like, are better served by using Pacman. But then, this stance has been repeated many times, often to deaf ears.


Instead of pointless discussions, the OP can just read the last 12 stable announcements threads to see all the stuff that potentially could not be updated automatically or could cause issues in some cases. Stuff like pacnews, shell settings, filesystem drivers, change in the kernel compression, kernels, python, locales, repos, gnome extensions to mention a few.

As a rule of thumb, the more gets customized, the more could go wrong.


New to Linux or not, as evident by yourself here, not updating Manjaro when there are updates is a Bad Idea :tm: and if it’s been a long time, it will cause breakage. Not irrecoverable breakage, but not for the faint-of-heart, either

Hence my suggesting a point-release distribution.


Arch is famous for being a little bleeding edge and requiring a fair bit of maintenance.

Manjaro is a little more protected, but still requires regular maintenance. There’s a fine thread which we should be reading as and when we upgrade - and over 4 months I’m sure there are MANY pages in that fine thread which you skipped.

Pamac can’t read it for you.

KDE is wonderful, but it isn’t close to being as reliable/stable as XFCE. It’s for us folks who enjoy and prefer a little bling and bloat.

Debian is a rock - you tolerate slightly outdated repositories for a solid base - I used Mint for several years, but if I went back I think I’d try purer Debian and drop the 'buntu.

The good news is that, for most software, the config files will still be pretty useable from your snapshots - though there can be some issues trying to import it en-masse if you are changing desktop environments or distributions.

I preserved 80% of mine going from Linux Mint to Manjaro Cinnamon and then KDE.


No matter how long - you can always sync your system to the current package level.

How easy that is depends on the system at hand and if using Nvidia or not.

If using a kernel no longer in the repo and Nvidia GPU you will most likely need to apply some sync fu to be able to get through.

There may be packages which has changed name - thus you need to make decisions along the way.

If the system is using Plasma - there is a new major release ahead - scheduled for next year - and a huge amount of Plasma related packages has been renamed from -qt to -qt5 thus requiring a lot of pressing Y to acknowledge the replacing.

I have - personally - had my hand on systems which has not been updated for a very-very long time - one example is a system which wasn’t in use during corono outbreak and the isolation - thus almost two years went by until it could be synced.

Yes there was obstacles but no showstoppers …

Just FYI

As the mentioned system is no longer in use - I was gifted the system - and out of curiosity I have now booted it.

A rough indication of when it was last updated is the kernel image stored in /boot.

Dated 2023-03-26 on stable branch. Which makes it roughly 7.5 month since last sync.

Running pacman-mirrors to set an up-to-date mirror and syncing the system using pacman says

  • download size 1736MB (734 packages)
  • installed size 6262MB

The system is xfce and thus only a handful qt related packages.

The system synced everything without any issues at all.

Grub sync prints a message the grub needs to be reinstalled.


I managed to update it via
pacman -Syyu

Initially I did this. I opened the Pamac manager and tried to update at least some packages through it. It removed old packages (this is very strange), so the system crashed and I had to restore it through timeshift. Although I tried to update only a couple of packages (at random), the system gave me an error and when I opened the console and continued updating through pacman -Syyu, the system crashed - it froze and stopped responding and I had to reboot as a result of which it crashed (from -for not being fully updated).

However. After the next recovery, I did not open Pamac and tried to update directly through the console:
sudo pacman -Syyu
I got an error that the file /usr/lib/locale/.. already exists. as sudo I renamed this folder with the command
sudo mv /usr/lib/locale /usr/lib/locale___
after which I tried to update the system again and to my surprise, it began to update normally from the console.

However, qt-webkit is the only package that I could not update, since it takes a very long time to update (it takes up to ± 30%) and breaks pamac (during the update process it is simply unloaded from memory). I hope that after the next update of this package, this error will be eliminated.

Thank you all for the answers and support

Initially, the system wrote in the tray that 920 packages were available for update. When I opened Pamac, I tried to select 1-3 packages from the entire list and update them one by one; if the attempt was successful, then I proceeded to the next ones.
However, in this way I was able to update only a couple of packages from randomly selected ones (2-5, I can’t say for sure). After which Pamac gave me a message that “The processing script could not be started.”
After this error was first shown, after successfully updating some random packages, further packages were no longer updated and this error occurred again and again. I described the solution to my problem below.

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Yes, from the console, when I tried to update via pacman -Syyu, I was prompted to replace the packages. However, I had no idea what they were talking about and just intuitively pressed “y” on each of the questions about replacing a specific package. In general, I had to do this about 40-50 times, but it’s tolerable =)

It was the locales which temporarily stumped me on the other machine. I used a different fix which I’ll try to remember to post here later.

You can avoid the repeated pressing of “y” using the --noconfirm option with Pacman, at your own discretion of course. I’d just CTRL+C if there looks to be a lot (or if I know, from a failed update attempt) and add the option when I re-run it. I counted 64 on that machine, BTW.

Dont do that.

Its all in the announcements.


This is a ‘running joke’.

Every update thread includes the comment that you should RTFT before posting…

It’s a VERY good idea to have an RSS alert for that thread, so that you’ll probably read about the update FIRST from the thread alert before it syncs through to your system update.

24 days ago :wink:

There was even some package that poped up the update thread near the clock. But it is actually not needed. What i do is when pamac pops up the notification for update, i just open the forum myself before hitting update. It is not that hard to do it once a month.

But the last couple of posts illustrate why is it problematic for the “Average Joe” to update year old installations. I told him to read the announcements and instead he replied with “problem” and a self made “solution” for something that was in the very current announcement. Now multiply that “problems” by 20…

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I never read them and things are fine.

But … I’m also comfortable booting into runlevel 3 if needed … and I am familiar with pacnews and the other requirements of system maintenance.

The thing is a lot of users neglect to understand, let alone practice, good operational standards for the system in use.

OP here is a perfect example of fundamental misunderstandings resulting in the (false) perception of “manjaro being broken” or even “manjaro is unstable” in general.

Any tool will perform poorly if used improperly.
“This spoon is really bad at cutting leather.”


System maintenance - ArchWiki

Particularly incisive snippets for our context here:


I tried to run it with the usual “-y” for me, but it doesn’t work for pacman, apparently)

If only I knew this team earlier)))
However, I don’t see anything wrong with renaming. Moreover, my wife’s laptop is the machine on which I can conduct my experiments, up to and including a complete reinstallation. No critical information…

In fact, I am a fan of Manjaro and did not give up when I could not update, even after 4 attempts, and believed that I would still find a solution.
It didn’t seem broken or unstable to me. I understood that the problem was in me, and not in the system itself. However, you still subconsciously ask yourself the question: “If I were an ordinary grandmother living in a village where the Internet is very weak, would I be able to use GNU/Linux.” The obvious answer is no, because even with 2024 approaching, Linux is difficult for newbies compared to you-know-what OSes.
And it’s not just about package updates/upgrade strategy or any one thing. In general, the Linux OS and everything connected with it without a proper understanding of this system is quite difficult. Roughly speaking, without a grandson, the grandmother will not be able to use her computer. And the grandson will have to experience some difficulties with updates, since he does not often come to grandma.
I love GNU/Linux and sincerely wish that it becomes more intuitive for all users, more stable and more widespread in the world.

I guess you didn’t read it the first time it was posted, so here it is again. :wink: :point_down:


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