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Let me preface my post with a little bit of backstory. I am a 10-year IT veteran who's cut his teeth and career in the Novell/Win 3.x/95/2000/XP world both as a hardware tech and network admin. I'm quite frankly sick of what I see as lack of responsiveness to user concerns re: Windows, not to mention ridiculous aspects like forced upgrades and installation of packages nobody wants (can you say IE?) The biggest beef I have is that there's no longer direct command-line control over the hardware. So it's time for me to say buh-bye to Windows and move on to linux. (Not to mention that it may be a good career move to learn it as well).
Sooo....that leads me here. I've got exactly ZERO experience in UNIX or Linux. I have two systems at home: One is a Celeron 2GHz Dell 2400 I intend to configure as a server/firewall and the other is a hand-built a64 3000 1.8 GHz system that I want to use as a workstation. I've been looking for a distro and I came upon the quizzes in pljvaldez's signature. According to said quizzes, Arch seems to be the best distro for me.
I want fast. I want minimal OS interference so I have maximum room on my hard drives. I really want a system customized to my needs, without any of the stuff I don't need. On the desktop system, I intend to run Fluxbox with maybe a word processor and spreadsheet as well as firefox and thunderbird (or some other mail app). As far as software goes, that's it, really.
I briefly attempted an Arch install, but balked at setting up my config files and what-not. The documentation on Arch's web page seems a little...light. Are there any resources out there to help me with a first-time Arch install? I don't want to use a graphical installer. I want to really LEARN linux. So, any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!