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My first impression after installing Arch Linux


It seems frightening at first, but it’s not

Eventhough I’ve worked on UNIX/Linux for some time, I have to say I’m not so experienced. Every day you encounter strange issues that not even the UNIX Pro’s could solve them in one shot, and that’s the beauty of UNIX, although looking from up there it looks like a huge maze with no ending, it’s not really like that. There’s always a solution for any problem! Think of it like a challenging game of chess.

99% of problems have the simplest solutions – a Good Friend of Mine

A friend of mine from work used to say that after experiencing many weird stuff on UNIX systems, stuff that you couldn’t even imagine (eg. chmod 777 on some Apache folder), stuff that would make you #facepalm from 10 to 10 minutes.

Eventually, all problems had the easiest fix, eventhough it required much thinking and searching through manpages and documentation or stackexchange.com …

Patience and curiosity

The installation taught me one thing, and it taught it well: patience. Don’t rush things up first time. Don’t be an idiot, as you’ll pay for it with your time wasted. You’re not on Windows here where you click Next Next Finish during an installation Wizard.

buildinghouse

Arch Linux Architect installing base system

You are building your house, you are the Architect & the Builder. You won’t enjoy living in a house with no conditions, you want a cozy house, one that’s a pleasure to live in. It’s the same with installing your own Arch Linux. Take good care of it, and it won’t fall on you!

After reading through the wiki you will first notice one thing, that the installation is divided in 3 parts:

  1. Preinstallation ( building the foundation )
  2. Installation ( lifting the walls )
  3. System configuration ( putting the roof, adding electricity & plumbing etc. )

Digging deeper

After reading through it much more detailed and concentrated, you will notice more stuff popping up:

  1. partition disks
  2. format
  3. mount
  4. install base system (that’s why Arch has pacstrap)
  5. FSTAB ( volume ID’s )
  6. chroot ( pretty self-explanatory )
  7. locale (because your terminal won’t even fucking open if you’re not on en_US.UTF-8)
  8. network ( systemctl enable dhcpcd )
  9. initramfs ( mkinitcpio )
  10. SUDO user ( add your user to wheel group )

It’s actually quite simple

Follow the steps from the wiki accordingly and you’ll end up with your base Arch Linux system. Now comes the question: ok, now I have the base, what now?!

Well since you got that ready, you can proceed with the general recommendations, shortly, you’re going to install the GUI.

This also sums up to:

  1. display server
  2. display driver
  3. desktop environment
  4. display manager

I’ve chosen Gnome with gdm (Gnome Display Manager) as it installs everything from the ground up, even the drivers.

Some dumb issue with a simple fix

Remember the 99% of problems have simple solutions rule? One problem that I’ve encountered during install was with Display Drivers. After reading the Display Drivers documentation, specifically looking at the Video Drivers table, I didn’t knew what exactly NVIDIA driver I had to install, so I chose 2 of them. They were conflicting, Gnome wasn’t starting although the X server was, all I was seeing was black screen. That was the Black Screen of You Fucked Something Up (BSYSU).

That’s how UNIX tells you that you’re dumb and impatient, and I deserved that! So, now I discovered curiosityCuriosity comes when ok, I got a base Arch Linux system installed, but my Gnome isn’t loading, wtf, I went so far to give up now?!

On the forums everyone was recommending, install that Y driver, no, install that Z driver, so here I went on the wiki, found an excel spreadsheet with Driver Compatibility chart, it was saying exactly what you should install for your specific driver (information was pretty much served on a plate), so then I found out that Gnome installs some drivers automatically and those drivers are compatible with my board, then I went

pacman -Rdd nvidia nvidia-utils

Rebooted and, guess what, Gnome loaded, I was greeted by the Welcome screen to login.

Wrapping up

Remember,

  1. eventhough it looks hard, the solution is in front of you, and the Internet is huge.
  2. for advanced issues, the #archlinux community (forums and IRC) is always there for you (if you know how to ask for help)
  3. if you give up, you’re a failure and you’ll regret that for your entire life. Don’t be a failure, be a winner!
  4. be pragmatic

Arch Linux has taught me many Sysadmin skills and it raised the standard a little, it made me understood how the system works under-the-hood, after all, I frikkin’ build my own system! My system, my rules, my packages. I control what goes in, what goes out. 🙂

The Arch Linux IRC community has been of such great assistance lately and I cannot stress this enough. Raising this glass of wine for you guys!

The OS designed for Premium Members

Congratulations, if you got here by now, consider yourself a Premium Member, not anyone could reach this step, and I tell you why you did it: because you had patience and curiosity. Like all premium members you now benefit from the latest packages from the store, you got access to top-notch technology and edge solutions.

Welcome home, “Tony” Stark.

vlcsnap-2011-04-12-09h21m09s221

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