Software Updates

Apologies if this question is in the wrong place - I have just joined this forum. I have a script on my ubuntu install that, amongst other things, includes some lines that updates software packages and installs any system updates (e.g. security updates) within the particular release of ubuntu you have installed. Namely sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade. My understanding is that manjaro is a rolling release environment which for me, is a big incentive to look at/change to. Is there a need for such commands that I use in my script to ensure software packages and updates are installed or is this irrelevant? (Seems to me that manjaro automates things like moving from ubuntu 18.04 to 20.04 then 22.04 - but what about day-to-day package updates? Not sure at the moment if manjaro has the option not use things like Snaps).

Welcome to the forum! :vulcan_salute:

First of all, what you need to understand is that Manjaro is a curated rolling-release distribution. This means that system updates will be bundled together and, after a period of testing via the Manjaro Unstable and Manjaro Testing branches, are then pushed out into Manjaro Stable. This happens on average twice to three times per month, unless there’s an important system component that needs more testing, such as when there’s a major version bump in one of the desktop environments.

Every bundled update also comes with a dedicated announcement thread under the pertinent Announcements category — e.g. Stable Updates for Manjaro Stable, and so on. Each of these update threads details the important changes in the first post, and the potential gotchas — and, importantly, how to work around them! — in the second post. It is therefore imperative, especially if you are a new user, to subscribe for notifications for that category, and to regularly visit the forum.

Updating your system can be done through the pamac GUI, via pamac on the command line, or via pacman on the command line. I recommend using pacman first, because pacman only accesses the Manjaro-specific repositories, and as such you can update your system with the official packages first before updating your AUR packages — more about this below — and your Snaps and FlatPaks.

Manjaro has its own repositories, which contain both Manjaro-built packages and packages that we import directly from Arch upstream. Next to this, Manjaro also offers access — by way of Manjaro’s own pamac or by way of the command yay — to the AUR, the Arch User Repository, which contains build scripts uploaded by Arch users.

It is important to note that these are build scripts, not actual packages — although some of the titles offered on the AUR are binary packages — and that the contents of the AUR are uploaded by Arch users, and thus, for Arch proper, which is a little bit ahead of us on account of its system libraries because we take longer to test everything before it percolates down into Manjaro Stable. But so anyway, the AUR is not managed by Manjaro — and not even by Arch proper — and we take no responsibility for its use.

Next to the above, Manjaro also offers Snaps, FlatPaks and AppImages, all via pamac — again, pacman itself does not access those things. Even though we offer access to those formats, it is again important to note that packages from the official repository bear preference, for lots of different reasons — for one, they take up far less space, and they integrate better with the system.

apt is specific to Debian and Debian-derivative distributions such as Ubuntu, Mint, MX Linux, et al. Manjaro is an Arch-derivative distribution and uses Arch’s pacman or Manjaro’s own pamac. As such, not only does Manjaro not have the apt command, installing .deb packages or .rpm packages is not supported in Manjaro.

Lastly, given the rolling-release nature of Manjaro — and Arch proper — it is imperative that you keep your system updated at all time. Systems that have not been updated, or into which packages are installed without updating the whole system — which leads to a partial update and thus breakage — are not supported.

Normally, you will see an update notifier icon appearing in your desktop environment’s system tray, but as I wrote higher up already, every bundled update always comes with a dedicated announcement thread, and if you subscribe to the Stable Updates category, then you will be notified of such whenever you log on here at the forum — there will be a number with notifications on the picture of your avatar at the top right of the page, and if you click that, you will see the actual notifications.

On occasion, your update notifier icon may signal to you that there are only a few updates. These are commonly urgent bug fixes and security updates to packages that we fast-track for security reasons, such as firefox, chromium, et al.

Finally, the Manjaro Wiki and the Arch Wiki offer very valuable support, as do the member-created tutorials and howtos in the Tutorials section of the forum. Below is one such tutorial — by yours truly — specifically written on account of updating.




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There is no distinction between update or upgrade on a rolling release
so pamac commands to update are synonymous

pamac update --no-aur
pamac upgrade --no-aur

to update repository packages - Using the Pamac CLI

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Thank you very much for your detailed response. So … updating is not as automatic as I thought. I look after a few neighbours machines which are very basic (email, web, docs) and run the (ubuntu) script prior to shutdown (by giving them a specific shutdown icon that runs a update/backup script). For complex machines I can see one would want to see what is in an update before doing it but on a really simple machine perhaps one can get away with it. The downside of ubuntu is having to do release update every 5 years when the stable release comes to end of life. I’m thinking if I ran a similar update/backup script on manjaro I would be there. Something like sudo pamac update (guessing there is also a command to purge/autoclean not needed software).

pamac commands do not need sudo

guessing there is also a command to purge/autoclean not needed software

From Manjaro Wiki:

Dealing with Orphaned Packages

To remove all orphans use the command:

pamac remove -o

Cleaning the Cache

to remove all packages except for the latest three package versions using:

pamac clean --keep 3

See also - Maclean - a small script to automate (safe) cleaning functions


Welcome to the forum.
You can always define a systemd-timer to run an update script and thereby achieve even more automation.
e.g. putting
pamac update -a --force-refresh --no-confirm
in your script will do a complete update without asking for confirmation.

But relying on the pamac GUI and the notification icon in the taskbar should be no problem for any user that is not completely brain dead.
Heck, it’s nothing more complicated like on Ubuntu or even Windows.

I also support several PCs which are used by non-tech-savvy users and I did not need any script or systemd-timer to force “my” users to do the updates.
On the contrary: I dislike any paternalism about when my computer does upgrades, so I rely on teaching “my” users to look after their system.
Manjaro will survive even a month of not being updated and in case there are any questions / troubles, I use DWService for remote access to do support.


Hard disagree. There are often updates which require more manual intervention than just “press update button”. Looking at Known issues and solutions in the current stable announcement thread we’ve had these in the last couple of months alone, there are plenty more if you go back further and there will be plenty more in the future.

  • Pacman will ask you whether to install dbus-broker-units or dbus-daemon-units. We recommend picking the default. (For even more fun there was a bug in the pamac gui which resulted in asking you to choose and then giving you no choices. Not confusing at all, albeit the default selection was fine for most anyway).

  • grub 2.12 may need manual post install by the user

  • Broken Wifi with 6.1.66 and 6.6.5 kernels

  • Linux 6.5, which came on some official Manjaro images because 6.1 LTS had problems with recent AMD gpus, is EOL. So manual installation of Linux 6.6 is required.

OP, if you’re happy to provide this kind of IT support for your users then go for it, but I suggest reading this first.


It depends on:

  • which desktop you use
    • XFCE has so far caused few problems with updates
    • KDE may need more attention
    • other (just search in the forum)
  • whether you install many additional packages
    • Packages from the AUR in particular often require maintenance after updates
  • whether you make a lot of individual adjustments
    • The more adjustments, the greater the risk of problems after the update
    • well-known troublemakers are GUI themes or icon sets

A simple XFCE with only a few additional programs may last years without problems on updates.

But every system needs some maintenance (*.pacnew …)


Thank you all for your experienced relies. Perhaps manjaro is not what I’m looking for - I intend to run it for a few months with some sort of auto update/backup script and see how it goes. As said - I have been running such a script on my neighbours ubuntu machines for about 9 months and it has worked very well. I agree with the argument re teaching/educating users but whether we like it not, Windows has set the expectation that one just switches it on and use it for the task in hand. To use an analogy, in my experience, many people like to run their cars without ever looking at their tyres, brakes or fuel gauge. I do not think it is right but this is what I see.

Updating is, however, fairly trivial. It’s worth doing it on a weekly basis, and it usually doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Subscribe to the update thread via RSS… then ignore the update notification until you have read the thread and seen a few other folks do the upgrade and discover any issues. By the time updates get to Stable, they’re pretty thoroughly documented - but there are some issues that don’t affect anyone. So RTFT (Read The Fine Thread) first.

Make sure you have snapshots of some kind for an easy rollback if anything goes wrong - I had only a couple of issues over the last 6 years, but YMMV.

Most of my issues were solved by rebuilding a rogue AUR program after the update - nothing that broke the system.

Certainly the payoff is that you don’t wait 5 years for an upgrade, and that also means the repository software isn’t quite so ancient.

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