Installing `pacman` breaks dependency replaced by `yay`

Josh Sherman
2 min read
Linux Arch Linux

Even though I’ve been using Arch Linux for a few years now, from time to time, I do run into small issues that are unique to Arch.

One such issue happened when I was trying to upgrade my system, only to be blocked immediately with some sort of dependency mis-match between pacman and my favorite Arch User Repository installer of the moment, yay.

Incidentally, I ran into this a while back, resolved it, and then forgot to write a post about it. Fortunately, when I went to upgrade my old laptop, that was over 700 packages behind, I ran into the same thing.

The full error message I was receiving when running yay -Syu was:

error: failed to prepare transaction (could not satisfy dependencies)
:: installing pacman (5.2.1-1) breaks dependency 'pacman<5.1.3' required by yay

As mentioned, this is a weird chicken and egg scenario where yay requires a certain version of pacman and the system wants to upgrade pacman to a newer version. Thus, yay blocks the upgrade because it would break it’s own dependency.

I found some unique solutions out there to try to work around this, but since it’s not very frequent of an issue, seeing as I only ran into it once in many years, it seemed like the best solution would be to simply remove yay, upgrade, then install yay again.

So that’s what I did.

Except this time around, I also ran into a similar issue with some other packages:

error: failed to prepare transaction (could not satisfy dependencies)
:: installing xorgproto (2019.2-2) breaks dependency 'dmxproto' required by libdmx
:: installing xorgproto (2019.2-2) breaks dependency 'xfdgaproto' required by liblibxxf86dga

Before I could worry about getting pacman and yay playing nicely again, I had to correct the aforementioned issues, by doing the following, which was posted in the latest news on archlinux.org:

su -c 'pacman -Rdd libdmx libxxf86dga'

After running that, I was able to run the following to remove yay, upgrade the system and then re-install yay manually from the Arch User Repository:

  1. Remove yay by running yay -R yay.
  2. Upgrade the system using pacman by running su -c 'pacman -Syu'.
  3. Grab the latest PKGBUILD for yay by running curl -OJ 'https://aur.archlinux.org/cgit/aur.git/plain/PKGBUILD?h=yay'.
  4. Build the package and install it by running makepkg -si.

Not much to it, and more than likely the last two commands are probably in your shell history since they are the same steps to install yay on a system without a wrapper for the Arch User Repository already installed.

Worth noting, there was a clever solution where you install yay-bin which gets you a pre-compiled version of yay. Nothing wrong with that solution, but I didn’t want to introduce another package when I didn’t have to.

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