theKindOfMe

February 16, 2009

Reawakening of my inner linux ‘freak’ – Moving into Arch Linux

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — yasi8h @ 6:13 pm
arch linux - kde - yakuake

arch linux - kde - yakuake

Background

I’ve been using linux for like 4 years now. in the beginning i was just trying it out. back then i used almost any thing i could find. redhat/knoppix/suse/debian…etc but back then i was only trying them out. but for the last one/two year(s) I’ve been with ubuntu. the reasons were simple. it just worked! but recently i felt so bored with my system. so last weekend i download a Arch iso and started installing the distro.

Why Arch Linux

  • simple
  • packages are build for i686, thus they will be more optimized(good for my ‘old’ laptop)
  • pacman is good(I’m a huge fan of apt, so a good package manager was a must)
  • good documentation/support/community
  • i can choose what i want to install, i have control over what’s getting into my system. ie: the system is really ‘mine’ when its done.
arch linux kde desktop

arch linux kde desktop

Installation

i read a bit of the beginners guide available in the Arch Wiki. but soon got bored 😛 so i followed along the installation script. it was pretty straight forward. but i wanted to use ext4 as my root file system. as i was trying out a new distro. i figured this is the best time to try out the new file system. after all there was a lot of talk going around about ext4 been much better than ext3(naturally…). i was installing the system on my laptop. which is a bit old. so i thought ext4 would help me with the speed. and after all one of the reasons i choose to go with arch was that all it’s packages were build for i686 platform. which will usually make em run faster.

Arch and Ext4

as of now(16/feb/2009) official arch installing media doesn’t support ext4. meaning you wouldn’t be able to just make a ext4 partition the way you would have made a ext3… because the tools needed for it are not included in the installation media. but its not that hard to get it working. the best way to do is(ASFAIK) installing the system in to a ext3 partition. and then converting the partition(s) ext4. when you need to convert your root partition you have to use a live cd to do it. its pretty straight forward. please refer to the arch wiki for more info.

btw i tried to upgrade the live cd(arch installation media) before installing the system so i could get all the ext4 supported tools..etc but that was too good to be true. it broke the system. and when i tried to get around the broken stuff it eventually lead to a kernel panic! 😛 but its ok. its nice to have experiences right? 🙂

KDE

i am so amazed with the latest release of KDE! it rocks. i have been a gnome(default in ubuntu) user for a while now. never had much time to look at kde. even when i got a chance to work with it. it felt a bit uncomfortable so i never really wanted to try it out. but lately i’ve been more and more curious about KDE. so this time i choose to go with it. wow. it was really nice. its visually appealing. but wait its not the main thing. its rock solid! i have only 512MB ram. but still it works grate. no slow downs or what so ever. i feel good about the way it looks and works. but there are somethings that i am still a bit alien to. but its ok. i am getting used to KDE. its grate. i suggest you give it a try too. you never know, you might like it too.

archlinux - kde - firefox - KFirefox theme

archlinux - kde - firefox - KFirefox theme

Where is Firefox?

i found it a bit hard to believe that firefox is not the default browser in KDE at first when i installed it. but then again konqueror is a decent browser too. anyways i switched to firefox. when you start up firefox you would notice something. that is it looks damn UGLY! i think this is because it is not a kde application. but no worries you can get it to look better by installing KFirefox theme. it gives a nice look. and FF would look much more like a kde app.

kde 4.2 - kickoff application luncher

kde 4.2 - kickoff application launcher

Getting Stuff to Work

unlike ubuntu arch expects you to read stuff and install what you need by your self. its not hard. but it will need some of your time. you will need do some googling at some point or other and find out about things that you need and install them by your self. for example when i tried to connect to my gmail/gtalk account using kopete. it just didn’t work. reading around a bit reviled that it need a SSL library installed in order to work with gtalk. i had to install these libraries by my self. but of course its just a ‘pacman -S package’ away! 🙂

Arch WiKi Rocks!

arch wiki is a very rich source of information when you trying to solve your problems about arch. it will really teach you a lot of things about your system. whenever you want install some package or whenever you want to learn about how to do something in arch. its best to check out the wiki. as it have answers/articles for most your common problems. it will save you a lot of time.

Final Thoughts

i’m kinda happy that i choose to go ahead and install this new distro. i now have a good system running in my laptop. arch linux is a grate distro. you might want to give it a try. its not for everyone. if you don’t won’t to mess with your system and just wants something that just works. go for ubuntu/fedora/mint…etc. but if you want a system that is pretty simple and configurable to your liking. arch is a good choice. you can make a lot of choices when you choose arch. unlike in ubuntu where a lot things are already decided for you(this is good if you just want everything to work…).

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