Introducing pacinfo

Some days ago I had the idea to implement something useful and maybe helpful for some users out there. After some brainstorming I decided to create some kind of package information tool for pacman. I know that most of you are saying that it isn’t necessary because pacman gives you great information about your installed packages,etc. That’s right! But from time to time I don’t like to type the whole pacman command line to look for a package which is installed or which files are installed with the package. For this kind of use case I have created pacinfo.

At the moment you can see it as a 0.1 pre-pre-alpha version, it is working but there are some issues that I want to fix before the first public release. Everybody loves screenshots of new things, so here they are:

As you can see in the first screenshot, all installed packages are listed in the left list. The last screenshot shows the search feature of pacinfo. It’s a full text search and looks for the string in the whole package name. A small screenshot of the application is displayed beside the information. pacinfo is written in C#/Mono with GTK#.

Comments are welcome (criticism, feature wishes, etc.).


I think I have to make some things clearer. This is my personal project and has nothing to do with my work at Arch Linux. So this will  never get an official supported software from the Arch Linux developers!


  1. #1 by Gabriel Cossette on 29. January 2011 - 05:06

    Very interesting! I’ll use it for sure 🙂

    Keep up the good work and let us know when you release it!

    • #2 by ise on 29. January 2011 - 14:28

      Good to hear. I will post updates of it in my blog.

  2. #3 by Dan Serban on 29. January 2011 - 10:14

    As an ArchLinux user who strongly dislikes anything C#/Mono, I hope you port this app to Python.

    • #4 by ise on 29. January 2011 - 14:26

      I don’t think I will do it, because I never coded in Python before.

  3. #5 by karol on 29. January 2011 - 10:24

    How do you get the screenshots of the apps?

    • #6 by jos on 29. January 2011 - 13:03

      Judging from the color schemes on the screenshots they seem to be taken from Ubuntu repositories 😉

      • #7 by ise on 29. January 2011 - 14:27

        You are right. I use the same source as the Ubuntu software center. The only source I know where you can get screenshots from the applications on the web.

  4. #8 by yoda on 29. January 2011 - 12:33

    like C#Mono we do NOT

  5. #9 by Vladi on 29. January 2011 - 18:24

    Mono is a no go for me. Anyway, congratulations for the initiative.

  6. #10 by Rares on 29. January 2011 - 20:08

    I agree with Vladi and the others : why Mono? Me no likey.

  7. #11 by Michael Pruitt on 29. January 2011 - 20:11

    While I can understand an aversion to Mono, or any other programming language. Please do not listen to people complaining about something you worked on. If they want to see the same thing written in a different language, let them worry about it and don’t fret over it yourself.

    That being said, this looks pretty nice! 🙂

    • #12 by Dan Serban on 29. January 2011 - 20:24

      Look at the motto of ArchLinux.
      The defining values of our distro are listed right there: simple, lightweight.
      This particular application presented above is redundant, not in sync with the distro’s values and ways of thinking, and it bloats the system unnecessarily with a big, bloated runtime that has a stench of Microsoft.
      For people who need the same functionality, but in a lightweight manner, you can use blinky:

      • #13 by Michael Pruitt on 29. January 2011 - 20:33

        You also forgot freedom. Users are free to install what they want on their system, especially when it comes to the aur. I don’t see him advocating anywhere here that he wants to force anyone to use this app, to push for it as any kind of default app for Arch, etc.

        He simply produced a bit of software he thinks might be useful for some people and announced it. And instead of people either thanking him for his work, or even for giving a shit about the distro in the first place. People instead complain to him? What kind of jerk behavior is this? I realize a lot of people don’t care for Mono (to put it mildly), and I completely respect that. But complaining to someone for working on a project in their spare time? Given the nature of OSS, I can’t possibly respect that kind of behavior.

        Personally I’m a KDE user most of the time and prefer to just use yaourt myself. I just don’t care much for a dedicated UI for that sort of thing. But I wouldn’t dream of giving anyone a hard time for working on something they want to, they way they want to. It’s no skin off my back and it makes me happy to see people working, especially when it’s geared towards my favorite distro.

      • #14 by Frank on 29. January 2011 - 21:00

        A GUI for something pacman can do itsself is already bloat and not lightweight. So you could argue against any gui for pacman.

        BTW: Its a GUI for pacman, not Archlinux. Pacman isn’t Archlinux exclusively…

      • #15 by ise on 30. January 2011 - 13:44

        @Dan Serban: As I said in my updated post, this is my personal project and have nothing to do with my work at Arch Linux. I don’t start a discussion with you about the principals behind Arch Linux, I know them very well.
        If you don’t like it, don’t use it or install it in any way!

        @Frank: You are right. Pacman is great and one of the best package manager out there and need absolutly no GUI. I’m 100% behind your statement that any kind of GUI is bloated for pacman.

        Nevertheless, just one example: k3b or brasero are great software for burning CDs/DVDs and nearly no one is burning his discs on the command line with cdrtools or cdrkit. cdrtools/cdrkit are great and do a very good job, but I think that there are only few people who use it on the command line.

        Those GUIs are for people who won’t do things on the command line. Personally I love the command line, nevertheless I started to write pacinfo.

        @Michael: Thanks for your kind words and support 🙂

      • #16 by Frank on 30. January 2011 - 20:35

        @ise: K3B is a special case. I mean, if you just want to burn some iso, it is overkill. But if you wanna make an audio CD from MP3s or something, or burn a collection of files, especially if they are spread across your directory structure, it is worth every click… 😉

  8. #17 by Dan Serban on 29. January 2011 - 20:44

    Recommended reading:
    “Why free software shouldn’t depend on Mono or C#”

    • #18 by ise on 30. January 2011 - 13:45

      I have already read this article times before. Thanks for sharing it here. I don’t force anybody to use this software.

      • #19 by Dan Serban on 30. January 2011 - 14:34

        I would appreciate it if you didn’t give Mono and/or applications written in Mono any more “airtime” on Planet ArchLinux. It bugs the hell out of me.

      • #20 by Rob Clayton on 30. January 2011 - 16:00

        It’s so nice of Dan Serban to distort reality and start a smear campaign against you, isn’t it Ise?

        The moral compasses of anti-Mono zealots like those of Dan Serban are so broken I’d be surprised if they could find their way out of a paper bag.

      • #21 by Dan Serban on 30. January 2011 - 16:31

        Just in case you were wondering who made that comment above, look at his microblogging history on
        Microsoft/Novell apologist.

      • #22 by Dan Serban on 30. January 2011 - 17:14

        I’m not the only person who thinks rclayton is a PR drone for hire, read this:

      • #23 by Rob Clayton on 30. January 2011 - 17:25

        I’m sorry, Dan, but you and your friends (let’s not kid ourselves, Dan, I know he’s your friend because you both hang out on Techrights) waging a smear campaign against me (with a complete lack of evidence, I might add) does not change the fact that you distorted reality and are trying to now smear Ise and his PacInfo project on simply because you disagree with his use of Mono. You are just proving my point about how childish and immoral you and your friends are.

      • #24 by Dan Serban on 30. January 2011 - 17:47

        OK, please!!! Stop making shit up about me!!!
        Just for your information, I never joined the techrights IRC channel, if that’s what you mean by “hang out on Techrights”. And whom do you mean when you refer to this supposed friend of mine? I am an opponent of Mono, just like I am opposed to anything Microsoft, but I do it independently of anyone else.

      • #25 by Rob Clayton on 30. January 2011 - 18:23

        “#Mono troll attempts to infect my !Linux distro of choice with MS bloat – Keep !ArchLinux !monofree !!!”

        Is this not what you said about Daniel Isenmann on So who’s “making shit up”? You are, Dan Serban. You are accusing Daniel Isenmann of being a troll. You are accusing him of trying to “infect” Arch Linux with Mono.

        The reality is that Mr. Isenmann has simply scratched his own itch by writing a tool using a language he liked. He’s not trying to force it on you. He’s not a troll, you are.

        You, Dan Serban, are so full of anger and hatred that you can’t see reality, you have to “make shit up” about people who aren’t rabidly hateful of Mono.

      • #26 by Dan Serban on 30. January 2011 - 18:34

        No, no, don’t change the subject.
        I’m referring to this bit that you wrote above:
        “you and your friends (let’s not kid ourselves, Dan, I know he’s your friend because you both hang out on Techrights”
        Now explain:
        1. What do you mean exactly by “hang out on Techrights” ???
        You haven’t explained that, you just changed the subject.
        2. “you and your friends”
        Who are these people you call my friends??? Name them !!!

      • #27 by ise on 31. January 2011 - 08:42

        @Dan Serban: Please stop spamming my comments which yur opinion about mono. I have never said that this will be shipped with the distro or is an official project of Arch Linux. So, if you don’t like it, don’t use it and ignore my future blog posts about it. If not, I will just delete your comments from my blog. If you just write, you don’t like mono and you won’t use it, that’s okay, but please stop posting such things on or elsewhere. I had never forced you to use this software. We (Arch Linux) have some mono applications in our repository and did you “flame” about them? I think not.

        @Rob: Thanks for the support and the link. But my post comments are not a place to discuss general mono things and other topics.

        @Dan and Rob: If you want to discuss about you and your opinions and your personal flame war, do it on any other place, but not on my blog. Thanks!

  9. #28 by Frank on 29. January 2011 - 20:58

    Is there any source code yet? Like on github or bitbucket?

    • #29 by ise on 30. January 2011 - 13:38

      Not yet. I’m in the process of cleaning the code and make it smoother. After that I will release a first source code tarball labeled as early 0.1 alpha version.

  10. #30 by DiaZ on 30. January 2011 - 22:06

    Hi, personally i don’t like mono and i don’t think i’ll use the app, but i just felt an obligation to reply because of the offtopic about mono on the replys.

    Good work and keep working on it and scracth your itch :).

    I like the idea of the app, i was suprised by the screenshots and i could see myself using this kind of application in some cases.

    More code is always welcome no matter the language. If someone wants they’ll write a clone in another one ^^.

  11. #31 by Tommaso on 1. February 2011 - 13:35

    Your software is interesting but I have a question: does It display only the installed packages or It could be used also to search in the repos?

    • #32 by ise on 1. February 2011 - 13:38

      At the moment it displays only the installed packages. I have already thought about searching the repos. Maybe it will come in one of the next versions.

      • #33 by Tommaso on 1. February 2011 - 14:31

        It would be great

  12. #34 by some1 on 1. February 2011 - 15:04

    Thank you for your app,I really like the principle. I’m quite new with Archlinux but, while I understand the KISS motto, I don’t completely agree to it. I’m an experienced Linux user but I’m using Archlinux on my work laptop (as a freelance consultant), and most of the time I don’t have time to “play” with the system, I need tasks done and problems resolved quickly. That’s why apps like yours are really welcome.

    Concerning the mono part, I must admit I personally try to avoid using any mono app because of the danger I consider mono represents to Free Software. But I understand and respect your choice of programming language, Free software is about freedom 😉

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