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Old 09-30-2005, 08:08 PM   #1
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Arch has fundamental personality issues

One of my linux boxes is a laptop which i keep i multi-boot format. Currently it has 2 slack partions, XPSP2 & Debian all happily coexisting and booting from lilo.

I tried to add arch to the mix this evening and it was a disaster :-(

Arch installed fine to /dev/hda8 so far as i could tell but i never did get to boot it. So far and pretty much so far MY problem.

In doing the usual reading around the Arch website & various FAQs it was abundantly clear that Arch is 'promoted' as a KISS distro. What a good idea, we NEED more of those. But wait, what is this; suddenly the time honoured /dev/hdax structure has been replaced by /dev/discs/disc0/part8 for no apparent reason. Was /dev/hda8 difficult to understand? Looks shorter to me than the replacement /dev/discs/disk0/part8. And why are disks numbered from zero but partitions numbered from one? How confusing is that.

During install supplicants have to *create* their own fstab & modules.conf & other system files from scratch in vi or nano. Okay, I use both with no problem and I know my way around most of those files but how does this square against a fundamental KISS structure? Perhaps next you'd like to re-design the car so that the front wheels are at the back and the gas pedal is on the left with a brake mounted in the glovebox? And ask me to edit, no, wait, CREATE my own engine management system. I fancy that the only thing simple about Arch is the installer - you don't need GUIs to do a decent job of installing (see Slack references earlier) but it would be nice if teh installer did a little more than simply copying a few files over.

So, the only point of this rant is ask how do arch users/suffers justify touting it as a KISS distro when it plainly is no such thing?


Cool blue arch logo though...made a nice change seeing that in the console boot screen.
Old 09-30-2005, 08:25 PM   #2
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I don't know why they use /dev/discs/disc0/part8. First I get it to boot and then I change fstab and get udev to work;
Also I like /etc/rc.conf
Old 10-03-2005, 06:10 PM   #3
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Simple does not mean easy.

From the Arch Wiki, under the article "The Arch Way":

Philosophy - System of values by which Arch develops.

- KISS (Keep It Simple, ...) is the base of Arch development.
- In Arch "simple" is different what other distros are considering. The learning is more important than getting something easily done.
Essentially, KISS doesn't mean to make everything easy, but instead to get rid of all of the obstacles to get something done (not to single out Red Hat, but things like their system-config-* utilities that hide true power). This makes sense to me when you look at all of the various ways to manipulate services (daemons and such) throughout various distributions.

Also - I feel your pain about the naming system. I switched to udev right after I installed the first time. Now I did another installation and am rather fond of devfs!

Last edited by azucaro; 10-03-2005 at 06:25 PM.
Old 10-03-2005, 08:26 PM   #4
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As comprookie said, upgrade to udev and that goes away. It's one of those nasty little Arch quirks, I'll agree there, however a 0.7.1 ISO will be coming out pretty soon with a new package set (hopefully with 2.6 kernel/udev) now that they have migrated 100% to gcc4.
Old 10-04-2005, 05:02 AM   #5
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hi there,
agreed also. the udev migration solves it fast.
Originally posted by cs-cam
... now that they have migrated 100% to gcc4.
just like to make a public note about the efficiency of the migration. I run arch in my small home server and the migration to gcc4.0 with the new kernel was 100% smooth. One reboot and the box is flying again. Congrats to the Arch team!
Old 10-04-2005, 06:36 AM   #6
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Well, allow me to express some empathy for the OP.
I (now) have several Arch installs - primarily because of it being a i686 (binary) distro. First install(s) were hardly encouraging, and I don't consider myself a neophyte.

As I was planning to go straight to 2.6.13, I did the udev as soon as I managed to get a system up.
Generally I like it, and having just the one package management appeals to a Gentoo user. Looks like this will be the pick for laptops - probably displacing Slack permanently.

But it still has a way to go to be a "beaut" distro for the masses methinks.
Old 10-06-2005, 09:21 PM   #7
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0.7.1 iso sounds like it will be just the ticket to try this again with.

I must say you lot are a very level-headed and reasonable crowd.

I stand by my non-KISS label of Arch though as I firmly belive that an installer should manage the install operation right through to a console boot from the target drive.

Still, I really did like that blue arch
Old 10-08-2005, 02:03 AM   #8
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The devs are currently working on a new installer for a 0.8 release which should follow pretty soon after 0.7.1. Have a read of this for a little more detail
Old 10-14-2005, 06:01 PM   #9
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Thx for that.
I have a feeling I may be a lazy so-and-so and wait for 0.8; so much is due for a change in that release that 0.7.1 seems a pointless for me. xorg7, gcc4, qt4 can't wait.
Old 10-14-2005, 11:48 PM   #10
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Arch was one of the only inlstallations that didn't work for me the first time. It did the same thing as Ubunt uand FreeBSD, couldn't write new partitions. The second time installing worked though. Give 0.7 another shot, stick at it. I can't really explain why I use it and why I chose it over so many distros. In no particular order I tried out, SuSE, Ubuntu, Debian Sarge/Etch, Slackware, Gentoo, Mandrake, Fedora and MEPIS. They all had their ups and downsides, Gentoo won in the end and I was quite happy with it. I was told about Arch but wasn't prepared to give it a shot until a friend of mine persisted. What got me stuck on it was it's speed(startup mainly), when there were problems or little tweaks to be made I found the config files easy to find and was able to solve problems without google.

I like to setup each distro according to a checklist I have of what it needs to do. So far Arch is exceeding what I planned on doing on Linux. It has taken minimal time which is something rare for any distro I tried. But I guess it's luck of the draw most of the time, some people get it to work, some don't. That said, Arch is now my main distro and Gentoo/FreeBSD/Debian Sid are play around backups.
Old 10-15-2005, 11:33 PM   #11
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Hello Otchie 1 - I can understand your frustration. Really, part of the simplicity of Arch lies in the absence of apps to do things for you in the install. The big part of the simplicity is the Pacman package management which is a thing of beauty.

As noted above Arch has moved to UDEV and this will make things a bit more familiar. From the Arch forum, in part: "Hi after hanging around on irc, i see some problems arise with the new update:
Remember this points:
devfs is removed from kernel26, get ready for udev.
the /dev/discs entries will not work anymore on boot prompt. Please change it according to kernel26 install message. "

There is a sticky in the Arch forum category Pacman & Package Upgrade Issues which goes into the details. I haave been quite happy with Arch for the last several months after a long spell with Gentoo.

I'd encourage you to try Arch again, at your next opportunity. This distro gets 2 thumbs up from me. :>)
Old 10-27-2005, 09:42 PM   #12
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i don't know why you are talking about 'waiting until .8 rather than installing with .7.1 because of the changes??? Arch is a rolling distro... a simple 'pacman -Syu' when .8 is released and you got it.... *shrug* maybe I just don't understand your problem well enough..

And yes, Arch is promoted (so to speak) as a KISS distro.. and as previously stated... that doesn't mean easy... Arch is also promoted as a Linux for the intermediate to advanced user.. I don't know what the problem was with it booting other than you probably were out of primary partitions (which you can only have 4 of)... that is likely the reason it wouldn't boot correctly... I always dual-boot my laptop... FreeBSD stays on it.. and I toy with various Linux distro's until I get sick of them...
Old 11-01-2005, 10:49 AM   #13
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I have had no troubles with Arch Linux. I have it running on a laptop and it's very nice. I started using it at 0.7. I found it quite easy to install and configure and the system IS simple: no fancy YaST of SUSE, a nice package manager that runs from .tar.gz tarballs also very nice. And man does it fly on my computer. Most people would agree that the console is bare-bones simple: no fancy GUI etc. but you do have to know what you're doing. Arch is KISS the same way using a text editor to create Webpages is KISS compared to a user-friendly WYSIWYG editor like FrontPage or Dreamweaver.
Old 11-23-2005, 09:16 PM   #14
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Like the OP, when I first installed Arch, it was a bad experience, mainly because I got confused with the devfs naming scheme for partitions and messed up my Debian installation. I had a horrible time reinstalling Debian and losing a lot of data. Since then I kept the Arch install CD safely out of reach.

Now again, after playing around with Slackware I decided to install Arch again. But this time I was more careful. I remembered the problem with the devfs and I figured out the correct partition to install Arch. I double checked.

Arch is certainly not a newbie distro. In fact, it's a bit more complex than Slackware and leaves everything (right from creating a root password to creating new users, groups etc) to the user after installation. Every configuration is manual editing of files.

nano is your friend.

Last edited by vharishankar; 11-23-2005 at 09:18 PM.


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