Arch Linux – The Installation

arch linux logoIt’s done.

I wrote about how I was going to remove Ubuntu 11.10 and install Arch Linux instead and I did it.

The experience was nowhere near as painful as installing Gentoo, and as I suspected, it would be a little bit closer to an older Debian installation. You really do have complete control over what to install. Yes, you have to specify that you want xorg, or else you’ll end up with a headless install.

The first time logging in was clumsy as hell.

I get the desire to have a minimal installation. Really, I get it. Logging in for the first time and seeing 3.9 Gigs of RAM free out of 4Gigs was a thing of beauty. But do I really have to install ‘ifconfig’ separately? It’s really not included in the base install?

Choosing which packages to install is fine, but having to install sshd and ifconfig separately? Now you’re just wasting my time. Seriously, I’m getting angry again just thinking about it!

And what about the stuff I DID choose? Like Libre Office, Rhythmbox and VirtualBox? Even though I specified those, they were never installed. No biggie, since I just installed them myself afterwards.

But what about important stuff, like fonts? Don’t get me started on the fonts or the complete absence of them. Yep. Have to install those too.

So, to figure out which fonts you need, you can do the following:

pacman -Ss font

Install those net-tools as well. You’ll need them:

pacman -S net-tools

Do you need ssh? Of course you do!

pacman -S sshd

And so on.

Getting my xorg nice and slick and spanning across two monitors using the proprietary Nvidia drivers took some work. I installed the drivers like this:

pacman -S nvidia nvidia-utils

Anyway, I’m not going to go into a huge how-to for Arch Linux here. It’s way too involved for that. Plus, they have a wealth of documentation which you can find on the Arch Linux Wiki. It’s long and involved, but all of the answers are there.

With all that said, if you don’t like documentation or reading/learning something new, Arch Linux is probably not for you. It’s definitely not for the impatient. I will say that now that I’ve got everything working, my system is faster than it’s ever been. I don’t have the fonts just right yet so it kind of looks like it’s been up all night drinking vermouth, but it sure runs fast. Everything is super snappy like and good.

I’ll be back with one more post about this, after a week of regular use. If things don’t work out with Arch-Linux, I’ll either be going back to an apt-get based system or Red Hat Fedora.

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