Before beginning with my arch story, let me tell you a bit about myself, or rather about my experience with Linux OS. I am a software engineer by profession (used to be…but that is another story) worked in enterprise java and client solutions. My first experience with Linux was in 2003 or 2004, when I heard about an operating system called Red-hat and was given a 3-cd install of the OS. I installed the OS in my computer, did not like it at all. Looked very bland and a cheap imitation of windows; I immediately realized being free means being cheap.

null

The next cross over was in 2008 or 2009 beginning, when researching Linux (I had some free time). I wanted to know what is the best Linux OS. Papa Google forwarded me to various pages, among those was a site for something called Opensuse. The page claimed it as the best OS in the world or something like that. Certainly the screenshots looked interesting (i remember the desktop folder) and looked on par with if not better than windows. At that time I did not have a laptop with me and did not feel very courageous to install it on home PC.
null

The third was in 2009, my research lead me to the ‘most popular’ Linux operating system, Ubuntu. Like many other people, compiz was an attraction and I had a laptop. Many reviews also touted it as being easy to install. There you go, a new partition and ubuntu in my laptop.

Now 2011, I have a linux news/stories blog now (Wow that’s fast!!). But only installed fedora (to get a feel of Gnome 3) apart from Ubuntu in my laptop. Tried Opensuse, Chakra, Linux mint and puppy linux in USB live mode.

Day Yesterday
morning 9 am
-was reading some reviews and suddenly felt the urge to install and try Arch (Oh boy…).

null

First things first, it is not so easy. But not very bad either. The feeling of satisfaction when you finally get the desktop is beyond words. But require messing with configuration. If you dare, try your luck. Following links are a good starting point. (lifehacker is outdated in certain parts)
Lifehacker
Archwiki beginners guide

null

Installed virtualbox and installed Arch. Steps are difficult compared to ubuntu or fedora or opensuse, but manageable otherwise; nothing particularly tough (when you are expecting it to be tough). The network was an easy peasy, virtualbox automatically converted my wifi network into a wired network within the virtual world. Installed X11, gdm and gnome, started gdm and voila, there my own gnome but fallback mode. After modification got shell working…which stupid said arch is tough??
11.30 am morning

Second half…
Ok, this is where things getting interesting. Once you do something and successful that is not enough; you want more, you want to install arch outside of your virtual world. Besides, I really love the bare minimum concept. Within no time a new partition, usb install and there my arch in command mode.
12.30 pm afternoon

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Now wi-fi configuration, trying with various options, iwconfig mode ad-hoc…meh, no response…
okay got it essid=”name” key s:password wrong again, s is not recognised
okay without s, essid=”name” key password wrong again, wow! interesting
1.30 pm noon

finally, wpa_supplicant it is…configured wi-fi…yahoo!!!!
no not working, hm….okay dhcpcd….now its real….no yahoo this time.
2.30 pm noon

null

update system, install x, update again, and…..
second update failed…not enough disk space (50gb is not enough!!)…okay…tempfs issue…
no mistake again…may be swap…no…google, arch wiki, google….
3.30 pm noon

may be installing was a mistake….arch is not that easy anyway…but no going back..nothing is impossible
noticed error said ‘unable to mount’ before, ‘not enough disk space’…I used an ntfs partition to install arch, may be the arch did not format it correctly…format everything and install anew…
forgot to install wireless tool this time, and no internet…format everything and install anew…

null

after another hour…back on same page with same error…
I am stupid!!! why oh, why…who are the stupids behind this project..such a waste of time….
4.30 pm noon

Okay, when updating there was conflict in mtab and local.sh files…arch wiki said if not owned by other processes, it is okay to remove….I did remove it…may be that was issue…put it back….update again… failed again (showing the old conflict)…started installing in batches….okay its working…
5.00 pm evening

finally updated, now gnome..that was easy…gdm,dbus…graphics and synaptics…
Wow, my gnome…my favorite gnome….and in shell incarnation. That’s pretty.

null

I really love the arch way of minimalism…shell feels so fast with opensource drivers itself…expecting a long journey from now on…

NB: My mouse freezes from time to time…’There is always something to do in arch’, thats my caption for the OS.
Edit: Mouse issue is solved. That was a gnome 3 and ‘disable touchpad’ option issue.
The only issue I have with Arch is getting the software packages. Some of the software is not available in pre-compiled form. Softwares like shutter, unico engine etc. are missing from the repos. Installing from AUR means compiling from source and I do not like it at all.

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27 responses »

  1. […] Arch’ed in a day; a noob experience Before beginning with my arch story, let me tell you a bit about myself, or rather about my experience with Linux OS. I am software engineer by profession (used to be…but that is another story) worked in enterprise java and client solutions. My first experience with Linux was in 2003 or 2004 when I learned about an operating system called Red-hat and given a 3-cd install for the OS. I installed the OS in my computer, did not like it at all. Looked very bland and a cheap imitation of windows; I immediately realized being free means being cheap. […]

    • fasd says:

      Repos are really comprehensive with essential software, everything exotic (I really mean everything) is in AUR which have a lot of helpers, one of the best by now is “packer” set alias to “packer –auronly” and you have amazing AUR manager. (in your case: # packer -S shutter will do the trick)

      PS Installing “from source” in Arch is way easier than in many other “easy” distros. For instance in Ubuntu which supposed to be easy, if package is not in repo and you don’t get PPA from how-to on the web you are left alone, in Arch everything that is not in repos is in AUR, you install everything from AUR the same way – that’s all (also AUR is very easy way to install and manage development versions of packages – git/svn)

  2. syncdram says:

    With today’s Linux there should be NO reason arch should have to be this involved to install. NO reason. Drivers for wifi etc should just work amongts other things not saying to go hog while but you get my point.

    • vjjustin says:

      It is true that internet configuration should be more easy. But apart from that, their motto itself is not the easiness of the user rather perfection (both in code and performance)

    • homer says:

      and in this day and age a moron aught to be able to read and understand enough to know why these things might need be done in Arch. Dickhead. Talk about comment with not a clue and no research.

      Arch does no handholding. People like you who whine and carry on at the slightest need for any though of their own are not suited to Arch. Arch on the other hand. Is perfect and will give a prefect experience to anyone prepared to build their own environment. Build requires work. Work brings satisfaction. .

      Never ceases the number of fools in todays computing landscape that assume they should be provided the greatest satisfaction with little to no work. Microsoft have done wonders to foster the idiocy of the village idiots.

      Arch is the opposite. Providing excellence through understanding. Not trying to provide stupid proof to the eternally stupid.

      Learn your computer, how it works, what it’s for and you might just find it an enjoyable process. Or you could stick to having everything done for you in exactly not the best way ultimately giving you the perfect access to mediocrity and more of the empty experience people crave to leave yet fail to achieve because of their own misguided ideals of what user friendly or ease of use truly mean.

      • ksovi says:

        i couldn’t have said it better. every arch user and blog and wiki and site will tell you not to expect it to be ubuntu or something like that.
        i remember before i managed to install arch for the first time i have had a boot cd on which i wrote “arch – to stupid to install” – i was referring to me as being stupid – cause i realized it’s my fault i can’t get it work, not the software itself :P
        1 month later i was addicted to arch. using it since…

      • vjjustin says:

        “People like you who whine and carry on at the slightest need for any though of their own are not suited to Arch”

        I don’t understand why some people like you can’t take the blog in its intended way, ‘to put a noob feelings into words’.

        I knew what I was getting into, n tats the reason I went for it…I do things to enjoy and to learn…I did enjoy the process…I do enjoy reading my own stupidity…Enjoy the fun and stupidity a new user experiences…Its nothing more..

        This is just a software installation…nothing life-critical….take it lightly…..

  3. Joel says:

    That doesn’t sound easy. You say you tried ubuntu. Did you try Debian?

    • vjjustin says:

      No, I did not try debian.
      Arch really is not that easy. But the final result is awesome.
      Gnome shell is super fast. vlc video scrolling is another example.
      Ubuntu’s Gnome shell implementation is very slow and buggy.

      Debian is next on my target. The minimal install all the way!!

      • Chris says:

        If You relay love Gnome Shell, I can suggest: try Debian SID. I’m now sitting and writing from SID (Linux 3.2 and Gnome 3.2.1) and I can say: It’s very cool! ;)
        And- it’s not so hard to install as Arch :D

  4. claudiom says:

    I don’t know that you can say being free means being cheap. Given that, for the time, a lot of the Linux distros were used by developers themselves as well as tinkerers, it had more to do with function over form. Not until Ubuntu did Linux overall really start focusing on the end user. And while many projects seem to be going in that direction in recent years, it’s still nice to see that there are other free/open source projects that focus on power users and other hardcore OS tinkerers. Arch is one example of this, as are Slackware, Debian, Fedora, Crunchbang, and various other distributions, not to mention desktop environments and window managers like KDE, Xfce, LXDE, Razor-qt, Awesome, Ratpoison, etc. On the flip side, the focus on the end user has also spilled over to the open source BSDs where you now have variants like PC-BSD, GhostBSD, and MidnightBSD, and that’s a good thing for open source operating systems overall.

  5. Elder-Geek says:

    You should give ArchBang a try. I have installed Arch both ways. Generally speaking I have found ArchBang the way to go. Inside of 15 minutes I have an OpenBox destkop up and running with network-manager, font smoothing and other little things that take would take an additional hour or more to run down and configure with Arch. Plus packer is already installed. Packer allows you to find any package in the main repos, just like pacman, but in addition to that any package in the AUR as well. All with the same syntax as pacman.

    Right now there is probably a thing or two that are just not right and you cant put it into words or run down what it is. Font smoothing for example. With ArchBang you it would take about 15 minutes to install, then another 15 minutes to pull in Gnome 3. In 30 to 45 minutes you can have a system all set up without any of those little annoyances.

    If at any point you become unhappy with your setup. Give ArchBang a try.

  6. claudecat says:

    What a coincidence… I too installed Arch yesterday (2nd time for me). The wireless config is a pain, especially if your provider uses a name with spaces in it. The mtab thing was also a puzzler, but future core releases will solve that. All in all I love Arch with KDE. Boots in 20 seconds or less (used e4rat to improve that) and very very stable. The only issue is the volume of updates versus my data cap!

  7. Amenditman says:

    There are a lot of things that are done differently in Arch from any of the automated installers. The Arch way is to install a minimal operating environment and to let the user build it to be whatever they need. So far so good. Two excellent resources for a new Arch user. The Arch Wiki is fantastic, start here and then look around in there. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Beginners%27_Guide
    The other resource which is really helpful is securitybreach’s Arch Install Guide at Bruno’s All Things Linux (part of the Scot’s Newsletter Forums), it takes the Wiki Beginner’s Guide and fills in some of the steps with real examples. http://forums.scotsnewsletter.com/index.php?showtopic=27596

    There is nothing hard about Arch, as long as you have a do-it-yourself attitude and want to see how the inside of Linux does things. Just be prepared to read the ArchWiki and maybe ask a few questions of someone that has done it before.

    In general, a very rewarding experience.

  8. technitrix says:

    My distrohopping is stopped after using Arch. I used to jump from Fedora to Opensuse to Ubuntu, back to Fedora. Its been 2 years now and I’m still loving Arch :-)

    Good luck with your journey.

  9. Jason says:

    When I installed Arch Linux with awesome WM I used WICD as the network manager and it was easy to get setup. I just use wicd-curses in the commandline for all my networking needs. Its also pretty lightweight.

    Just an idea.

  10. Chris says:

    I fail to see why people mess with the archaic Arch when we have Sabayon. Sabayon is a unique easy-to-use derivitive of Gentoo. It has a dual package management system whereby users can use equo/sulfur (like Synaptic) to install binary packages, or if they choose, users can use Gentoo’s traditional portage package manager and compile optimized packages from source. Sabayon has a powerful but easy GUI installer. Sabayon is also a rolling release which means users need only install it once and be up-to-date forever after. My own Sabayon installations are over two years old and I’ve never had any issues upgrading. Finally, Sabayon comes in every desktop flavor from Gnome to KDE to Xfce to LXDE. I was a Debian user for over six years (been using Linux as my primary OS on ALL my machines since 2004.) For the record, being free does NOT mean being cheap. That’s a very ill informed and irresponsible comment. Sorry that Red had didn’t waste a lot of time and resources making it’s OS fancy and pretty for you like Windows but it’s function is bar none! What you and other noobs need to realize, in spite of your fancy IT credentials is that Linux is NOT Windows. Moreover, Linux is NOT Ubuntu. If you want to be truly free, then make the commitment to learn Linux. That is more involved than dabbling with a notoriously difficult to install OS aimed at experienced Linux users for an afternoon and then proclaiming Linux isn’t ready.

    • vjjustin says:

      I clarified this in my above comment, the comment about ‘free software being cheap was my feeling back then, not now. If I felt that way now, I would not be using linux anymore.

      Regarding your commnets about ‘linux being not ready’ and ‘ubuntu is linux’ comments, I might say, don’t put your ideas into my head. Prejudist attitudes make you look funny.

      Please read the blog again.

    • Panos says:

      “I fail to see why people mess with the archaic Arch…” and at the same time “If you want to be truly free, then make the commitment to learn Linux.”

      I hope you see the contradiction in your words, right? Arch is as modern as Sabayon, since it is a rolling release distro. The “archaic” concept applies mainly to the installation, but it is this that actually forces you to learn a lot of stuff and build your system exactly the way you want it. So Arch, besides everything else, provides exactly what you claim, a way to learn.

      But Arch shines more when the feeling of satisfaction and “guruness” calms down after a few weeks/months, because you are left with a very stable, predictable, modern system, that is ridiculously easy to fix in the extremely rare cases problems appear. At least that is my experience after several years of using Arch in all my machines.

      Cheers

  11. TB says:

    To make installing software from the AUR a pleasant experience, use packer. You can find it in the AUR :) .

  12. Mbugua Kamau says:

    When I switched to Arch from Ubuntu about 2 yrs ago now, I also went the virtualbox route first. I had no problems either way on virtualbox or on the real install. On Virtualbox my VM was 8GB, no problems.

    But then I read the beginners guide through beginning to end before doing my install, then followed it to a t during the install. Also I would not install Linux on an NTFS partition and its a good idea to check the Arch wiki for help on any “strange” hardware you may have, before installing.

    I’ve now installed Arch on four computers including 2 laptops, all with eclectic hardware, as well as remotely into a VPS and I’ve never spent more that 2 hrs from start to working desktop/server, not counting my initial reading of docs.

    So experiences do vary and reading the docs is vital with Arch. I do have to say though that my almost 2yrs with Arch have been my most trouble free of my 12+ yrs with Redhat, Debian, Ubuntu and now Arch.

  13. feedelli says:

    ’There is always something to do in arch’. so true

  14. pdvossen says:

    I love to try the various linux variants out there as well. Currently running Linux Mint and the latest Mageia 2 after years of Mandriva use. Mageia 2 was the easiest upgrade ever. Linux Mint configured everything perfectly.

    I tried Arch Linux, and it was ok. However, my wifi just didn’t work well.

    Patrick

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