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Trying on Arch Linux: Part 2


Previously, I mentioned that I am going to create a customized Arch Linux installation disk. I succeed to customize it, but I failed to customize to what I want. I can only customize the core-packages to the latest version, but not including the installation of extra packages, unless I customize the AIF (Arch Linux Installation Framework). But customize an Arch Linux installation disk is time exhaustive, I tried and tried and tried… Luckily I was using VirtualBox.

To make my life simple, I look for other Arch Linux derived distributions. I tried ArchBang, since it also follows Arch Linux philosophy. Yes, ArchBang is just like a more completed Arch Linux with window manager, web browser, wireless network manager, etc. However, I don’t like OpenBox as the window manager, because this needs do a lot of customizations, and I also don’t like the task bar. So, I tried to install LXDE on ArchBang. But this make ArchBang meaningless, because I can also install LXDE from Arch Linux.

So, I decided to try Arch Linux on the netbook. I installed the Arch Linux (not ArchBang) on the netbook using pendrive. Then, the difficult part is to upgrade and install the packages through wireless network connection. The problem is because of the wireless device driver is not present. I need to use another computer, installed with Arch Linux in VirtualBox, download the driver source and make it (using AUR). Then, copy to the pendrive and install from the netbook.

This is not an easy task. Before installing the wireless device driver, one needs to upgrade the kernel. To update the kernel, make sure to obtain these latest packages: kernel, linux-firmware, mkinitcpio, module-init-tools, and util-linux. (Hopefully I don’t miss anything, it is better to install base-devel meta packages during the installation). One needs to upgrade them manually one by one, using “pacman -U <packages.tar.gz.xz>” command.

After installation of the wireless device driver, I can get online and update my netbook. Then, I installed LXDE for the desktop environment.

Why choosing Arch Linux over Ubuntu or Linux Mint? The reason is simple, I want to know more about Linux, and install anything I like. If I am using Arch Linux, I can install any desktop environment: KDE, GNOME, XFCE, LXDE, or using OpenBox with SLiM. Though Ubuntu can also change from GNOME to XFCE (what I have done), the customization is not very easy, because I don’t know which files I need to edit. Arch Linux has great wiki pages, it provides a lot of information. Moreover, I can install the latest packages immediately, no need to wait a new release for half year or more.

About Allen Choong

A cognitive science student, a programmer, a philosopher, a Catholic.

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