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Arch Linux Update

Posted 07-03-2010 at 12:12 PM by damgar
Updated 07-03-2010 at 12:23 PM by damgar

Well I had a beautifully crafted and well edited blog entry about my experience getting Arch going, but someone ran over a utility pole just as I was hitting "Post Now" so that's my excuse and you can't prove otherwise!

I have actually installed Arch successfully twice at this point, although I had already formatted the first install due to kernel panics at boot, before I bothered to read about Arch's method of initramfs. I was fairly sure it was an initrd issue, but I wanted to go ahead and go with a 64 bit install anyway so I wasn't real concerned about that, and since the inital Arch installer process takes all of 5 minutes to complete it was no great loss. As a Slackware user I wasn't unaccustomed to the idea, and since the image was already created for me it was really just a lilo entry change that needed to be made. It seems Arch doesn't have an equivalent of a "huge kernel" or I didn't bother reading to find out. No biggy.

I was a little ill prepared for the state I was to be in at the first successful boot, which is essentially a very basic core system and an ethernet connection. I've never installed X from scratch although it was generally painless. I'm familiar with building KDE from scratch (insert big thanks to Alien Bob here) so having to install a window manager/desktop environment wasn't a huge deal either, although no pre-existing xinit scripts, except for a basic one that launches a twm session (and that's it) meant I had a little shock when
## and then from xterm in twm
gave me a KDE4.4.5 session with twm as a window manager! Also having to use pacman to install drivers for my Nvidia card was a shock as I'm used to wget and the nvidia installer, but since Arch either doesn't include the kernel source, or it's in a location foreign to me and nvidia, pacman proved the way to go. I will admit readily here that I cheated on two counts getting a working X/KDE going: I read that section of the Arch Beginner's guide (nice document, but VERY LARGE) and I scp'd my /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.kde file from one of my Slack boxes and voila! KDE 4.4.5 in all it's glory.

The above paragraphs have mentioned pacman a few times and I think it's worth mentioning, that while I do like pacman and don't want to disparage it.......I think I definitely prefer the Slackware method of installation, and very few (mostly gnome) dependency issues to the Arch way of using your package manager as an extension of the basic install, with 4-5 dependencies for each package that I choose to install. Both work well however, and I will admit, that installing Chromium was just as easy as installing Firefox......neither of which are part of the initial Arch installation.

At this point I'm fairly satisfied with the installation as it sits. It's fairly basic. Nothing really starting up at boot (which makes it UNBELIEVABLY FAST, I mean 10 seconds or less after POST to terminal login fast). It's not serving anything. Ssh and samba...err cifs since Arch has apparently deprecated smbfs... clients are working. Flash is working on a 64 bit system quite well with nspluginwrapper built from the AUR (Arch User Repository, which is very similar to SBo), and Amarok is working well with my samba-share music library. There are some sound annoyances to work out, and looking closer at the init scripts rather than just stealing from Slackware is essential since sshd at startup is a must. OK, I'm going to steal from Slackware......if it ain't broke... But seriously, I plan to use Slackware's init scripts as reference rather than direct copy. Plagiarism rather than theft!

That's all for now. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.
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