Installing Arch Linux: past and present
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ntA couple of weeks ago, the powers that be in Arch central took the decision to completely strip back the Arch Linux installer from a curses-based interface into a series of scripts that are run from the command line.
ntThat decision was not welcomed universally.
ntSince you are still able to use both the new installer and the old one — search for archlinux-2012.08.04-dual.iso to find it — we’ve covered both methods in this gallery: starting with the new, and moving on to the old.
ntThis bootloader is the only common screen between both installation methods.
ntRead the full review of Arch Linux in Girt By Code.
Installing Arch Linux: dropped into root shell
ntThe new Arch installation method automatically drops the user into a root shell, without any clue as to what to do next.
ntHopefully you’ll have the Arch Installation Guide open on another device, or printed out.
Installing Arch Linux: CLI only
ntSorry, fans of graphical interfaces: this installer isn’t for you.
ntAt this stage of the install, the disk has been partitioned, formatted, and mounted in order to begin the downloading and installation of Arch onto the disks.
Installing Arch Linux: getting somewhere
ntHalfway through installing the base 132 packages of Arch.
ntI’ll let you expolate from this picture what the rest of the new installation method feels like.
ntOn the next slide, we move over to the old curses-based installation method.
Installing Arch Linux: the old graphical way
ntIn comparison to the new method of installing Arch, the recently retired method tells the user exactly what they need to do to begin the installing process.
Installing Arch Linux: the order
ntThis is the order of the steps, and you will follow it. There be dragons if you fail to do so.
Installing Arch Linux: editor selection
ntEmacs? Anyone for Emacs?
Installing Arch Linux: hard-drive partitioning
ntThis is the one part of the old installer that would be useful to have moved over the new install scripts.
ntNot that playing around in fdisk is hard; I’d just take a reasonable default over being forced into fdisk for creating the receommended partitioning scheme.
Installing Arch Linux: choose your bootloader
ntOn the other hand, here is a very good reason for Arch’s removal of the curses interface.
ntWhen this dialog says GRUB, it means GRUB 1, not the recommended GRUB 2.
ntLater on, when the installer went to install GRUB, it could not find the packages it expected, because they had been retired.
ntThe only way to get around this was to chroot into the Arch disk, and complete the installation of GRUB in the manner that is now used for the new install method.
Installing Arch Linux: package selection
ntA small selection of the rather large set of packages on offer.
ntMuch time can be spent on individually choosing the packages that best suit your needs, but it isn’t trouble free…
Installing Arch Linux: dependency failure
ntOh dear, this isn’t good.
Installing Arch Linux: package do-over
ntWelcome to the infuriating part of installing Arch.
ntIf there is a problem with the installation of your packages, you need to start the whole package-selection process again.
ntIt’s another example of why Arch has moved away from this process.
Installing Arch Linux: when things work
ntThis is how the installation process is meant to behave.
Installing Arch Linux: rebooting into fresh system
ntThe boot process is as spartan as the installation process.
Installing Arch Linux: adding a new user
ntWhen it comes to adding a user, the only choice is the old-school adduser program.
Installing Arch Linux: adding an X server
ntOne of the first post-installation tasks that you will likely do is install an X server, so that you can finally start making use of a GUI.
Installing Arch Linux: up and running
ntHere is a new Arch system running a GNOME 3 desktop.
ntDuring my time using Arch, this was the only problem I ran into with a pacman update. It was solved by splitting the update into two lists of packages to install separately.
Installing Arch Linux: it's working
ntMy final GNOME 3 desktop running on Arch.
ntThe display is split over two monitors, and the difference in display resolutions is responsible for the black box in the corner.