A little bit about Arch Linux

I've recently switched from Ubuntu to Arch, which I have always wanted to do but time restrictions have been in the way, since it's summer I've been able to dedicate a good chunk of time to do this. I have a few things I'd like to note about it for myself as a historical record.

The installer did not work for me on the official download page. I downloaded multiple isos from the releng arch site which proved futile, again with installer problems, I finally downloaded 08.15 which worked flawlessly from a local-core install (I didn't want to download the packages from the internet - netinstall as I have a rubbish connection). After this install I had my arch installation up and running, command line only using the nouveau kernel module I do believe (The terminal was full screen, which isn't the case without nouveau, nvidia doesn't run it fullscreen either)

A few bits and pieces on config files:
Added net-profiles and net-cfg to start my wireless connection at boot up (init level 3) that way I wouldn't have to touch it when I launch X. I had to add a config file in /etc/network.d/ for netcfg to work, which was based on wireless-wpa in the examples folder, this was easy, added pricelan, the name of my netcfg profile to rc.conf in the NETWORKS=() section. Installed dbus and ntfs-3g, the latter I edited my fstab to automatically mount on startup. I had to add avahi-daemon to daemons in rc.conf for rhythmbox to start properly otherwise it would take ages to start up.

So now I wanted to setup my system, for the basics I Installed:
- Xorg & nvidia for a graphical interface
- Xmonad for window managing (wonderful!)
- Links to browse the internet from the command line so I could read the wiki as I installed xorg etc, highly recommended.
- Dmenu to launch programs in xmonad

Once I could launch X using the basic twm wm, I changed to xmonad, I did this by changing my ~/.xinitrc to launch xmonad, just placing 'xmonad' at the bottom of the file, nice and easy. When you launch X this time, you'll notice you just have a cross, press 'Alt-P' to launch d-menu and then some applications, 'man xmonad' has a good summary of the window tiling algorithm commands.

Now to install my essential applications:
- Chromium for web browsing
- Rhythmbox for music
- gnome-terminal
- Nautilus for file browsing

After installing these I couldn't get chromium to launch nautilus from the "Show in folder" dialog in downloads, I ammended this by installing 'perl-file-mimeinfo' which has the command 'mimeopen', it handles all the mimetypes so when you open files, it opens the proper program. After installing this chromium launched fine, however I had added the following lines to
~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list and ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list
which may be needed, I don't know, I didn't try it without adding these lines.

Rhythmbox won't open .pls files in the radio section as some gnome services aren't running, I know it isn't gnome-settings-daemon, or obviously the keyring daemon. I'll have to look further into this to try and remedy the issue, I hope to find the right service to run rather than running xmonad ontop of gnome, I prefer xmonad neat, gnome3 is horrid. Anyway, I don't need a DE, WM will do me fine.

I'm still fiddling about with setting the wallpaper in xmonad, I'm using "xloadimage -onroot -fullscreen $path to image" at the moment which isn't stretching my 1980x1200 wallpapers to 1980x1080, A bit more exploration is required on my part to sort this out, once I have I'll be adding it to my ~/.xinitrc so when X starts my wallpaper will be set.

I have dipped my toes into xmonad configuration but the haskell syntax is a bit off-putting and I'm struggling with it at the moment but this holds your hand quite well and I'm currently going through it. The xmonad wiki is pretty handy as well, I think this will take a while to produce decent results though.

I'd finally like to say I only switched to arch based on it's philosophy and beautiful wiki.

P.s. man does jekyll look good...


Will Price
I am indeed, it's very good, I would never learn so much if I were still using Ubuntu. I can see why both exist, I love Ubuntu for it's simplicity in terms of setup, but then I love Arch for it's simplicity in terms of configuration and ease to delve into your system, none of the details are abstracted away from you, they're all there for you to have a look at and play with, on the whole, I prefer the latter, I find my computer knowledge has vastly increased since using Arch and I'm much less timid trying out things that I would have otherwise found daunting!

Have you any experiences with Arch yourself?
Are you still using Arch, how are you finding it?