I’m pretty fed up with having to reinstall my deskop PC occassionally because my distribution moved to another major release version. And I’m pretty fed up with all the crappy quirks of systemd and how it’s spreading like an infection through the Linux system. That’s why I was looking for a distribution which tries to follow the KISS principle, the old school Linux principle that a tool does one job and does it well, and which has a rolling release system. So I ended up with Artix Linux, an Arch-based distribution, which you can have with openrc or runit init system. And I think it’s quite likely that’s gonna be my distribution of choice of many years to come.
But it will take me a while to get used it. I started with Suse, then had Fedora for a few years, after which a used several different Debian based distribution for many years, a short encounter with Gentoo in between, but I haven’t used an Arch based distribution yet.
The installation wasn’t as smooth as other distributions. For example I couldn’t set up an encrypted home partition in the installer. Well, I could, but then you I couldn’t boot up the installed system. So I ended up performing a very basic installation via the installer and then set up the specific requirements afterwards. Which wasn’t too bad. You find a lot of good documentation on Arch.
The heart of a Linux distribution is it’s software management system, which in this case is ‘pacman’. And it’s pretty cool! I’ve used it now for a couple weeks and it just works. No nasty surprises, no broken dependencies, etc. You find pretty much everything in the pacman repositories. And in the rare case you don’t, you’ll find it in the AUR, the arch user repository, from where you can install it from source. And in the very, very rare case you can’t even find it there, then just build it from source. With the help from pacman that’s so much easier than with most other distributions.
Lets start with the basics. I’ll probably add another post later covering the runit init system, I just have to get a bit more familiar with it myself.
# System update: pacman -Syu # To force a full refresh of the package db: -Syyu and allow downgrade: -Syyuu # Search for package: pacman -Ss some_package # search for installed packages: -Qs # Get more info about package: pacman -Si # or -Qi for installed package # List of all installed packages: pacman -Ql # Install package: pacman -S some_package # better: pacman -Syu some_package # to make sure system is up to date, otherwise packages might get out of sync # install directly from file: pacman -U some_package.tar.xz or pacman -U https://example.org/some_package.tar.xz # Remove: pacman -R some_package # or -Rsu to remove unnecessary deps too # or -Rc to remove all packages which depends on this package # add n to remove also config files # Remove orphaned: pacman -Rs $(pacman -Qdtq) # Clear cache: pacman -Sc # of no longer installed packages, add another c to clear all
Install from AUR
If you can’t find your software with pacman you most likely find it on the Arch User Repository.
Preparation: Install building tools and headers (equivalent to ‘build-essentials’ for Debian based distros); and create a ‘builds’ directory in your home directory:
pacman -Syu base-devel linux-headers mkdir ~/builds
Then you can build AUR packages with
cd ~/builds git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/some_package.git cd some_package # build some_package.tar.xz makepkg -s # or build and install directly makepkg -si