A Guide to Manjaro's Octopi Graphical Package Manager

Install and manage packages on Manjaro from a simple graphical tool

Manjaro is one of the best Linux distributions to pop up in the past few years. It provides access for many people to the Arch repositories, which would ordinarily have been out of reach because Arch Linux is not a beginner-level distribution.

Manjaro provides a simple graphical tool for installing software called Octopi, and it is very similar in nature to the Synaptic package manager and YUM Extender. In this guide, we are going to highlight the features of Octopi so that you can get the most out of it.

The User Interface

The application has a menu at the top with a small toolbar and a search box underneath. The left panel underneath the toolbar displays all the items for the selected category and by default, it shows the name, version, and repository that the items will be installed from. The right panel has a large list of categories to choose from. Below the left panel is another panel that shows the details of the current item selected. There are 7 tabs of information:

  • Info
  • Files
  • Actions
  • Output
  • News
  • Help
  • Terminal

The Info tab displays the webpage URL for the package, the version, the license, and any dependencies that the program has. You will also find the program's size and the size of the download required to install the package. Finally, you will also see the name of the person who created the package, when the package was created and the architecture it is created for.

Octopi on Manjaro

The Files tab lists the files that will be installed. The Transaction tab shows the packages that will be installed or removes when you press the tick symbol on the toolbar. The Output tab shows information whilst the packages are being installed. The News tab can be used to display the latest news from Manjaro. You have to press CTRL+G to download the latest news. The Usage tab shows you how to use Octopi.

Finding a Package to Install

By default, you are limited to the repositories in Manjaro. You can find a package either by entering a keyword or package name in the search bar or by browsing through the categories and looking for applications to install. You will notice that some packages appear to be unavailable.

Search in Octopi on Manjaro

For instance, try searching for Google Chrome. A number of links for Chromium will appear but Chrome will not be displayed. Next to the search box, you will see a little alien icon. If you hover over the icon it says "use yaourt tool". The yaourt tool is the command line option for installing certain packages when using the command line. It also provides access to install applications such as Chrome. Press the little alien icon, and search for Chrome again. It will now appear.

How to Install

  1. To install a package using Octopi right-click the package you want to install in the left panel. A small menu will open. Choose install.

    Octopi select package to install
  2. Sometimes, the package you select will have optional dependencies. These additional packages will enable more features and functionality for the package you're trying to install. Select the ones you want, and press Ok.

    Select optional dependencies on in Octopi
  3. This won't instantly install the software but add it to a virtual basket. Under the Actions tab, you will see the to be installed list now shows the package you have chosen along with any dependencies, optional or otherwise.

    Octopi actions tab with a pending install
  4. To actually install the software, press the tick symbol (check) on the toolbar near the top of the window.

    Start install in Octopi on Manjaro
  5. Before installing, another window will pop up giving you a breakdown of the changes that will be made and asking you to confirm them. Press Yes to keep going. Run in terminal will show you the install in a terminal window. No will cancel the installation.

    Confirm software install in Octopi on Manjaro
  6. If, before you start the install, you have changed your mind and want to revert all the selections you have made thus far, you can press the cancel icon on the toolbar (denoted by a curly arrow).

    Confirm software install in Octopi on Manjaro
  7. You can remove individual items by navigating to the transaction tab, finding the piece of software that is currently selected to be installed. Right-click the package, and choose Remove Item.

Synchronize the Database

If you haven't updated the package database in a while, it is a good idea to press synchronize on the toolbar. It is the first icon on the toolbar and is denoted by two arrows.

Customize Manjaro Display Settings

There are various ways to customize your display settings.

Displaying the Installed Packages on Your System

If you don't want to install new software but you want to see what is already installed, select the View menu, and choose Installed. The list of items will now only show the packages installed on your system.

Only Display Not Already Installed

If you just want Octopi to show the packages not already installed, choose Non Installed from the view menu. The list of items will now only show packages that you haven't yet installed.

Display From a Selected Repository

By default, Octopi will show the packages from all the repositories. If you want to display the packages from a particular repository, select the View menu, and choose Repository. Then, the name of the repository you want to use.

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