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.
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.
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.
morning 9 am
-was reading some reviews and suddenly felt the urge to install and try Arch (Oh boy…).
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 (lifehacker is outdated in certain parts)
Archwiki beginners guide
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
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
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
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…
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.
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.