Is there a simple way to retrieve the source files that built a given /usr/bin/* command (meaning also those placed there via AUR)? Is there a command I can issue through maybe a pacman wrapper that would retrieve those files for me or is it mandatory that I google my way to a git page or maintainers page?

According to this question, I am looking for something similar to the apt-get source command from debian based distributions. Likewise, according to this question, asp (formerly abs) has the basis of this functionality with asp export for core packages though does not extend to those which have been built from AUR.

I would like to begin contributing to the community and simplifying the process of inspecting AUR source files would go a long way to helping me choose an appropriate package for my skill level and expertise as I will likely be doing this dozens if not hundreds of times before finding a package that both needs my help and that I am interested in / capable of helping.


You are looking for the Arch Build System:

The Arch build system is a ports-like system for building and packaging software from source code. While pacman is the specialized Arch tool for binary package management (including packages built with the ABS), ABS is a collection of tools for compiling source into installable .pkg.tar.xz packages.

As you note, this is only for packages in the official repositories. For packages in the AUR, no specific tool is required as the AUR does not host binaries, so you can just acquire the necessary build files (git clone) and then inspect of modify the PKGBUILD before building it with makepkg.

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