Frequently Asked Questions

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These are questions about Chakra that are often expressed in the forum, IRC and conversations with reviewers. To learn more about Chakra, see the About page.



What is Chakra?

Chakra is a GNU/Linux distribution with an emphasis on KDE and Qt technologies that focuses on simplicity from a technical standpoint and free software. Also see Chakra.

Why would I want to use Chakra?

If you agree with the vision shared by its community and find the half-rolling release model to be fit for your needs, you may certainly want to use Chakra.

Why would I not want to use Chakra?

  • If you disagree with the vision
  • If you want the most recent kernel updates as soon as they are out
  • If you prefer other software to be stable and not updated as often
  • If you need support for other architectures than x86_64
  • If you prefer a different desktop environment

What distribution is Chakra based on?

Chakra is derived from Arch Linux - but they are not compatible by design and mixing packages between the two (i.e. installing packages built for Arch Linux in Chakra and vice versa) may break your system.

Which architectures are supported by Chakra?

Only x86_64.

Why does Chakra want to be free from GTK?

There are three reasons for Chakra focusing on being as pure a Qt/KDE distribution as possible:

  • Belief in the potential of KDE. Just like some distributions believe in simply providing FOSS packages, Chakra believes it is time to provide a fully KDE focused environment which is as clean as possible. This means virtually no GTK-dependent applications by default. Chakra does however recognize that there are quite a few popular GTK applications, which are provided in the [gtk] repository.
  • Many of those popular GTK applications depend on a good part of a complete GNOME desktop; examples are software such as GIMP or Filezilla. Why install 50-60 GNOME dependencies for only one or two apps?
  • KDE uses the /usr directory almost exclusively to install applications. This makes for a very transparent system. Many GTK apps are installed in quite a few different directories.

Can I use GTK applications in Chakra?

Yes. To preserve the Qt/KDE purity of Chakra you can download and run many popular applications from the [gtk] repository. If there isn't your favorite application, you can download, build and install software from the CCR, our community repository. Note that the CCR is open to any application and does not prohibit the installation of GTK or other dependencies.

What is the CCR?

The Chakra Community Repository, or CCR, is an unofficial but community-driven repository for Chakra users. It was created to organize and share source tarballs from the community for packages not available through the official repositories and includes both GTK and non-GTK packages. Using a voting system, popular packages are periodically moved into the official repositories. Voting is encouraged for all users.

What is the difference between CCR and ccr?

The Chakra Community Repository, or CCR (note the upper-case letters), is a web application as described above, while ccr (note the lower-case letters) is a CLI utility to assist in downloading and building packages from the source tarballs in the CCR. Note that it doesn't filter out malicious commands in any way, it is up to the user to ensure that the commands being run are safe.

Is Chakra a good distribution for new GNU/Linux users?

The target audience for Chakra is officially "KISS-minded users who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty". Although Chakra is very stable and easy to use, it occasionally requires a certain level of competency and does not shy away from the command-line. That being said, the simpleness and clarity in code and system architecture makes Chakra a great distribution for users who want to learn the ins-and-outs of GNU/Linux. If you are a beginner and don't mind reading wikis and forums as well as putting in a little effort, Chakra and its community is a great place to start!

What type of release model does Chakra use?

Chakra uses a half-rolling release model. User applications are very up-to-date, while the base system is thoroughly tested for stability before being released. All updates are available to existing users simply by updating through Pacman (sudo pacman -Syu).

You can typically expect a newly branded ISO shortly after every major KDE release. There is no other set time-frame for releases. Occasional intermediate builds will be released on an as-needed basis for the benefit of new installations.

Will I need to reinstall Chakra whenever a release is made?

No. Chakra follows a half-rolling release model. New Chakra releases will only improve the system installation. If you already have it installed, you can upgrade all your software through Pacman (sudo pacman -Syu).

Isn't Chakra just Arch Linux and KDEmod?

No. While that was the origin of the project, Chakra has matured into an independent distribution of its own. Chakra is still heavily influenced by the virtues of simplicity and elegance learned while with Arch Linux but the underlying architecture is no longer compatible.


Can I create a Chakra USB live media?

Yes. Information about creating a USB live media can be found here.

Can I install Chakra on a USB device?

Yes. Information on how to do this can be found here.

Can I install Chakra on a Mac (Apple computer)?

It has been done successfully, but is not officially supported. Some information can be found in the forum.

System management

What does Chakra use for package management and installation?

See Installing Packages in the wiki. Pacman is being borrowed from Arch for the time being, but doesn't quite fit our needs. It will eventually be replaced by a new custom built package manager Akabei that is currently in development. Shaman is expected to be the GUI "front-end" when Akabei is finished.

Why will Pacman be replaced with a new package manager?

There's nothing wrong with Pacman, or any other package manager (like APT, etc.). Each distribution uses the package manager which is the best option to suit its needs. And Pacman lacks some features Chakra needs.

Akabei will be the Chakra package manager. It will provide both a CLI frontend (like Pacman) and a GUI frontend. See Reasons to start akabei for more info.

When will Akabei be released?

When it is done. This is a highly anticipated program and important to the future of Chakra but there is no rush to take shortcuts. For a rough estimation of progress, see the Akabei Feature Plan in the wiki.

Why does Chakra not start certain services (e.g. CUPS or a firewall) by default?

If a user feels that the distribution should make all/most decisions for them, then yes, this would be wrong. But Chakra still adheres to the KISS principle, to keep the system clean and simple and to let the user decide what services should be run at any time. Chakra wants to provide full hardware support for graphics, sound, keyboard, mouse and network, but other services are up to the user to decide on.

CUPS, for example, can be started manually at will:

$ sudo systemctl start org.cups.cupsd.service

It can also be set to start every time the system is booted:

$ sudo systemctl enable org.cups.cupsd.service

Does Chakra use PKGBUILDs?

Yes, Chakra uses makepkg to build packages from PKGBUILD files.

Does Chakra have GUI applications for system administration?

Yes. They are made by the KDE project, but Chakra has GUI applications to install other applications. The command-line tool Pacman is currently the preferred tool for package management until Akabei is released. Octopi is our GUI tool for interacting with pacman.

All repositories are retrieved every time I run pacman -Syu. Is that right?


Why should I use a mirror rather than (the origin/master/upstream file server) is the server to which all packages are uploaded by the packagers once they have been built. A number of mirrors spread out across the world use rsync to copy the repositories on it on a daily basis. It is preferable that all users use a mirror to get their packages from rather than, for four reasons:

  1. If everyone uses we may hit the bandwidth cap.
  2. If noone uses the mirrors, it is possible that those who provide the mirrors will notice that and deem Chakra to be of low interest in general, thus not worth maintaining a mirror for.
  3. FS#1472, if you use a server far, far away from you it'll be slow.
  4. There is a scenario that could cause issues, as packages could be moved by mistake. If you use, it means you immediately get these updates if you happen to update your system shortly after the move. Using some other mirror means there is a time period between when something is moved and when users receive it - giving the packagers the time to revert any wrongdoing. This of course happens rarely, but it has occurred in the past causing issues to users, so one needs to be aware of it.

Chakra and Arch Linux

Does Chakra use the Arch Linux repositories?

No. Mixing Arch Linux and Chakra repositories will eventually break your system, because of the different, more conservative approach of half-rolling versus fully rolling - as well as other reasons, such as different naming conventions and compilation options. Chakra's base is built upon different versions of software than that of Arch Linux.

Can I change from Arch Linux to Chakra just by editing pacman.conf?

No. Since Chakra uses it's own repositories, it is not possible to change an Arch Linux installation to a Chakra installation.

Can I mix Chakra and Arch Linux packages?

No. Since Chakra uses it's own repositories, they are no longer compatible with those of Arch Linux. Arch Linux uses an entirely different update cycle for their packages. Chakra is much more conservative in updating the [core] packages, only updating those when needed, and proven upstream to not bring regressions. Since the Plasma packages rely heavily on [core] packages, you can understand mixing in packages from Arch Linux will eventually break your system. Further information about Chakra's repositories can be found here. If you'd like, aur2ccr is a tool available to "automagically convert packages from AUR to CCR source packages."

Can I use the AUR in Chakra?

No. Chakra users are referred to the Chakra Community Repository. If your package is not there, you may want to read the wiki article on How to upload a package to the CCR when it exists in Arch Linux repositories or the AUR.

Can I get support for Chakra in Arch Linux support channels?

No. As has been explained above, Chakra is not Arch Linux. Also, just as the Arch Linux community strives to create and maintain a forum and wiki etc. to serve as a canonical reference for their distribution, so does the Chakra community. Attempting to get support in other fora and channels than that of Chakra is not only counterproductive in maintaining our own, but may also cause tensions and dislike between the two communities. One should also be aware of the Arch Linux code of conduct which explicitly states that support will not be given for anything but Arch Linux itself.

Helping out and the community

Who is responsible for Chakra?

We all are. Chakra has attracted a great community stretching all over the globe. Users are encouraged to get involved and many of the contributors are often found in the IRC channels, mailing lists and the forum.

How do I request addition of software to the official repositories?

Add it to the CCR and vote for it. Popular packages will be considered.

How do I request addition of software to the CCR?

If you are unable to package the software yourself, you can ask for someone else who may be willing to help out by following these steps:

  • First, make sure the package is not already included in the official repositories or the CCR.
  • If you are certain that the package is not already available, you can create a new topic in the CCR subforum with the request. It is suitable that you select a subject line such as Request: $software, e.g. Request: Krita. In the message body, add the URL of the software's official website. You might also consider adding the URL of the package in either Arch Linux' repositories or the AUR if it's there, since it would make the process of packaging it easier (Chakra is derived from Arch Linux).

How do I notify the packagers of a package being outdated and that there is a newer version available?

Report it as outdated in our bugtracker. If it is in the CCR, click the "Flag Out-of-date" button in the page of the source package (at the bottom). You'll need an account to do so. The maintainer will then be sent a notification message by e-mail.

How do I notify the packagers of a broken package?

Report it as broken in our bugtracker. If it is in the CCR, leave a comment on the page and the maintainer will be sent a notification message by e-mail.

How do I notify the developers of something on the website being incorrect or broken?

Report it on the bugtracker. If it is sensitive information and concerns security, please send an e-mail to instead.

Who do I contact regarding an issue with my account for any of the website services?

For issues with registering a new account, recovering an old account, an account being suspended etc. please send an e-mail to

How do I build a package that is not in the official repositories or the CCR?

Write a PKGBUILD and build the package with makepkg, which can also be done in a cleaner way by using the Chakra Buildsystem. If the desired package is available in the AUR you can use aur2ccr, which was developed by a few members of the community to "automagically convert AUR source packages to CCR source packages."

Is Chakra present on Facebook or other social network sites?

Yes. Chakra has an active presence on social media. For a current list, see here.

Common issues

When I try to upgrade my system I get the message "warning: database file for 'REPOSITORY' does not exist"; what do I do?

Run $ sudo pacman -Syu.

A package in the CCR is outdated; what do I do?

For starters, you can flag packages out-of-date. If it stays out-of-date for an extended period of time, the best thing to do is to leave a comment or e-mail the maintainer. If you left a comment and there is no response from the maintainer after two weeks, you can file an orphan request by sending an e-mail to or A Trusted User will then orphan the package for you when available. In the meantime, you can try updating the package yourself by editing the PKGBUILD - sometimes updates do not require any changes to the build or package process, in which case simply updating the pkgver or source array is sufficient.

Every time I run /usr/bin/mirror-check it states that one or more of the repositories aren't synchronized - what should I do?

First of all - unless there is an official advisory to use /usr/bin/mirror-check - don't use it. Look at this page instead to learn when a mirror last synchronized. As can be seen here the repositories are frequently updated - especially [desktop] and [gtk] since most of the packages there are fully rolling. Many mirrors only update a couple of times per day which means that depending on when you check it may not be synchronized. It could be that there was an update to a repository only moments after the mirror last synchronizing. To learn when a mirror last synchronized with the central repository, see this page. When a significant group of packages has been updated an announcement will be made in the news and it is recommended to wait until after the mirror has synchronized before you attempt to upgrade your system. At more or less any other time there should be no issues upgrading at will.

Print service is unavailable: Bad file descriptor

This message is displayed if you go to System Settings and then Printers (the Printers KCM). It is also possible that the web interface for CUPS won't display at all (localhost:631). To remedy this, run $ sudo systemctl enable org.cups.cupsd.service to enable the service at boot and $ sudo systemctl enable org.cups.cupsd.service to start it right away.

foo: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

When running a program "foo" which depends on a library "libfoo" you may get this error (or a similar one):

 foo: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

The files that have a .so file extension are "shared objects". For example, for a package named libfoo that is version 1.1 these are some usual shared objects:

These are the libraries that other packages like executables will usually need in order to properly run. If the .so files change or are missing an application will give an error that it cannot find them and it will not run. Let's say that a minor update is available for libfoo, version 1.2. These are the new .so files expected to be included:

So the packages that need or will not break and no rebuilds are needed. If any package depends on 1.2 however, it should be rebuilt against this new version. This is rarely a case, but packagers should check to be sure. Usually when a major update is out the major version of the library changes. For example, in libfoo 2.0 it could become:

In this case packagers will probably need to rebuild all the packages that depend on this particular library package, unless they only depend on - which is rarely the case.

If you are a user and have gotten this error, ensure that your system is fully up to date. If it is and the issue persists, report it on the bugtracker by following this procedure:

  • Select the project Packages from the dropdown menu
  • Click Switch
  • Click Add new task
  • Select Broken package as task type
  • Select the repository that the package is found in as category
  • Type $pkgname-$pkgver-$pkgrel in the text field named Summary
  • Type a fitting description etc. of the issue, e.g. "Trying to run the executable in this package returns the error '$executable: error while loading shared libraries: $sharedobject: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory'"

Replace the words beginning with the $ symbol with the appropriate name and numbers.

Error: FILENAME exists in filesystem

 error: could not prepare transaction
 error: failed to commit transaction (conflicting files)
 libname: /insert/file/name/here exists in filesystem
 Errors occurred, no packages were upgraded.

Pacman has detected a file conflict, and by design, will not overwrite files for you. This is a design feature, not a flaw. It is the responsibility of the user - not the package manager - to maintain their system.

Solution: The issue is usually trivial to solve. A safe way is to first check if another package owns the file: pacman -Qo /path/to/file. If the file is owned by another package - file a bug report. If the file is not owned by another package - either rename or remove the file which 'exists in filesystem', and run pacman -Syu again.

error: failed to commit transaction (invalid or corrupted package)

There are two ways to interpret this message: (1) the signature for the package is invalid, so check that your keyring is up-to-date and that you are synchronizing with an up-to-date mirror, or (2) the package was only partially downloaded and is indeed corrupt. If the latter, delete it manually from your cache, resynchronize your local database and reinstall the package with pacman -Syyu $package.

Error: Failed retrieving the file, maximum file size exceeded

failed retrieving the file '$pkgname-$pkgver-$pkgrel-x86_64.pkg.tar.gz' from $mirror: Maximum file size exceeded

Q: I am a user and encountered this error - what do I do?

A: Please report it - go to our bugtracker and follow this procedure:

  • Select the project Packages from the dropdown menu
  • Click Switch
  • Click Add new task
  • Select Broken package as task type
  • Select the repository that the package is found in as category
  • Type $pkgname-$pkgver-$pkgrel in the text field named Summary
  • Type a fitting description etc. of the issue, e.g. "Trying to download this package via pacman returns the error 'failed retrieving the file '$pkgname-$pkgver-$pkgrel-x86_64.pkg.tar.gz from $mirror: Maximum file size exceeded'"


In this example, the package desktop/digikam is used.

  • Select the project Packages from the dropdown menu
  • Click Switch
  • Click Add new task
  • Select Broken package as task type
  • Select Desktop as category
  • Type digikam-4.11.0-1 in the text field named Summary
  • Type a fitting description etc. of the issue, e.g. "Trying to download this package via pacman returns the error 'failed retrieving the file 'digikam-4.11.0-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.gz from Maximum file size exceeded'"

Error: Invalid package for CCR - only lowercase letters are allowed and split PKGBUILDS are not supported

Somewhat self-evident, but if you get this when trying to upload a source package to the CCR you need to verify that you only use lowercase letters and that the PKGBUILD doesn't contain instructions for building more than a single package.

When will $package be available in the repositories?

When it is done. If you find this answer unsatisfactory, you can always build your own package using CBS.


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See Also

Explanations of common terms used among the Chakra community.