Arch Linux is not for me

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So I've finally gotten back to doing something here. I'm aware of the spam in the comments. I need to finish the admin interface for comments so i can delete them all. Apart from that I'm still alive and doing stuff. Today I've decided to try Arch Linux only to realize that it's not for me.

I was interested by the 'rolling releases' they have. Instead of fixed releases, their repositories always have the most recent available packages. I deciced to start reading into their docs to see how easy it would be to install a system. They want the distro to get out of the way as much as possible, resulting in a lot of manual configuration to get things working. Having years of experience with Linux on both servers and desktops, that shouldn't pose a problem.

First problem: I can't get the USB images to boot on my laptop. I still have some empty CD's around here somewhere, so no problem. It finally boots quickly into a clean system with a very simple installer. The installation itself is no problem if you already have some knowledge. A reboot later and there is my nice and freshly installed system.

Next step: basic packages up to KDE. Their package manager (named 'pacman') is quite simple and therefore nice. It reminds me of apt-get, but there is a lot less clutter in the packages (it's a shame the -doc packages are seperated in Debian for example). All installing went fine until I had to configure X. First boot, no input devices. Hard reboot. Turns out i forgot to run the HAL daemon so X didn't know about any of my input devices. Next try, slightly better. My keyboard and trackpoint work, but not my touchpad. Quite a time of googling later I discovered that HAL didn't expose the device just fine. Instructing HAL with a few lines of config did the trick.

X works; installing KDE (using KDEmod) is a breeze. It boots just fine from the first time on. A reboot to see how fast stuff is shows boot times of less than 20 seconds, impressive. Next step: getting GTK to look a bit like KDE/Qt. Two options: an oxygen theme for GTK or the GTK-Qt theme engine. Installed both, could not find a place to configure either of them. Restarting KDE gave me the options for the GTK-Qt theme engine, but that looks quite ugly with Oxygen. After some googling again I found the syntax for gtkrc files so I could plug in the Oxygnome theme there. Save file et voila, beautiful GTK apps.

Some more beauty: bootsplashes. I nicely follow the instructions to install fbsplash/gensplash. First error: vga mode unsupported. I look it up in another table than provided on the site and I can get the correct one. So it boots and halts half-way init, saying it's unable to check the root filesystem. Despite whatever I try, fsck refuses to identify my root partition as ext3. Right now it still does not boot.

Time for a quick overview of what I've reached today. I spent the entire evening working with Arch Linux to get it setup, only to have a non-booting system by the end of the night. It's nice to play with Arch, but Kubuntu just works for me and it will take me only an hour before I can get productive again on Kubuntu. I do like the ways of Arch Linux, but it's just not for me. I want a distro that works and allows me to do what I want quickly. Arch just doesn't do that for me.

Next thing to look at once my laptop is up and running again: cleaning my desktop so I can reinstall Kubuntu on it sometime soon. I'm still running feisty and being unable to install software the simple way starts to get annoying. Another thing to look at: updating the software behind this website. I guess my vacation will be filled with things I haven't had the time for recently.

Comments (1)

Posted by pete on 24 Jan 2013 at 18:08

Sorry but your just an idiot than.
Arch isnt that hard, only not for nix newbies.

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