How to manually update Discord on Arch Linux

2022-10-26

Discord updates can be annoying, especially if you're not on Windows or a Debian-based Linux distribution. This is because Discord ships their own .deb files and is not distributed through a repository.

Arch Linux, on the other hand, distributes Discord through its community repository. When an update rolls around, though, usually it takes a while for the package maintainer to push an update. For platforms like this, Discord shows a "helpful" message, leaving users to figure it out on their own.

Message shown when Discord needs to be updated
Message shown when Discord needs to be updated

Fortunately though, there's a solution.

The cheaty way

This method allows you to trick the Discord executable into thinking it's been updated. First, check for the path of the discord executable:

file $(which discord)
# Output - /sbin/discord: symbolic link to /opt/discord/Discord

Then, cd to the directory it gave you. In my case it's /opt/discord.

Now, edit resources/build_info.json with your favorite text editor. It should look like this:

{
    "releaseChannel": "stable",
    "version": "0.0.xx"
}

Update the version field to the current version of Discord (0.0.21 as of October 26th, 2022).

The PKGBUILD way

Make sure you know how to build and install AUR packages before using this method.

If you don't like editing configuration files to update things, you can also download the package's PKGBUILD and build the package yourself. This involves using the Arch Build System. This method is also useful if you want to build the package on one machine and transfer it to another machine.

To get started, install the asp package through pacman. This will let you download a PKGBUILD from the Arch repository.

Now, export the current PKGBUILD for the discord package:

asp export discord
# Output - ==> exporting discord:trunk

This will create a discord directory inside your working directory. Enter this directory and you will see a PKGBUILD. It should look like this (some contents omitted):

pkgname=discord
_pkgname=Discord
pkgver=0.0.xx
pkgrel=1
pkgdesc="All-in-one voice and text chat for gamers that's free and secure."

# ...

prepare() {
    # ...
}

package() {
    # ...
}

Update the pkgver field to the current version of Discord (0.0.21 as of October 26th, 2022). Then, build the package as you would an AUR package:

makepkg -si

Now the updated package should be installed.

Epilogue

Open the launcher. Discord should now install updates and launch as normal. Enjoy!

Once the updated version is finally pushed to the repository, you should be able to update with pacman -Syu as normal, and your system should switch to the version from the repository (unless you used the PKGBUILD method, in which case pacman will treat your custom built version and the version in the repository as the same).

Futher reading:

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email!


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