You are not logged in.

#1 2004-04-30 18:00:32

mcubednyc
Member
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: 2004-03-17
Posts: 120

Side by Side with Arch

One thing that I find tough about Arch, being a Linux newb and all, is that I don't have a very good sense of the possibilities.  On the one hand, what I love about Arch is what everyone else loves about it ... it doesn't interfere with you, it's extremely customizable, it's clean & simple, etc.  On the other, what is I find frustrating about Arch (and this is not likely to be true for more experienced Linux users) is that it doesn't provide much guidance.  Make sense, of course, it's pretty hard to do both.

A concrete example -- I tried Gnome a while back, just to see what I thought about it, and well ... it was a mess.  I couldn't figure out what was going on in part because I didn't know what was supposed to be going on, if you get my meaning.  I've never used Gnome before, so I really don't know how to go about setting it up, let alone customizing it, etc.  I feel like if I had some experience with a pre-configured Gnome setup, even one that has lots of cruft I don't need or want, I could at least get a sense of what Gnome "should" or "could" look like by default, and that would help me figure out how to setup Gnome the way I might like it in Arch.  (BTW, it's not that I'm dying to use Gnome, I just wanted to check it out.)

So I'm thinking it might help me a lot to install a more mature distro side-by-side with Arch, to help me over the humps of exploring new software and a new working environment, and to help me cope with Arch's little burps here & there.  Something to use as a sort-of "reference platform," I guess.  Do that make sense to anyone?

Any recommendations?  I've tried Mandrake in the past, and really didn't like it.  I'm thinking an RPM distro probably wouldn't be as helpful as a Debian-based distro or even a source-based distro, but I'm open to and hopeful for any suggestions.  It's certainly possible that Arch has taught me enough by now that I could make use of Mandrake or something similar for my purposes.  I liked Slackware quite a bit, but got Arch going before I'd spent too much time with it.  I'm thinking I might be better off now if I had spent more time with Slack.

If you think, "what a stupid idea, you should just practice building packages because..." or "you should try..." or whatever, I'd appreciate some input.  Right now I'm feeling a little stuck.


"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." - S. Jackson

Offline

#2 2004-04-30 18:42:36

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Side by Side with Arch

I'd recommend Knoppix then, a live CD, it's great for trying things out.

http://www.knoppix.org/

Offline

#3 2004-05-01 10:09:27

robot5x
Member
Registered: 2004-01-26
Posts: 266

Re: Side by Side with Arch

I agree that a live cd is a good idea in this case. Personally, I think the new PLD live cd is better than knoppix - 2.6 kernel and new version of Gnome (is the same version you would be trying to set up on Arch). All the web docs are in Polish but there are Gnome help docs on the disc...
http://livecd.pld-linux.org/pobierz.php
Dobre bo Polski!

Offline

#4 2004-05-01 10:12:43

LB06
Member
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2003-10-29
Posts: 435

Re: Side by Side with Arch

What excactly are you trying to do? Installing a distro next to Arch that provides pre-configured/customised packages, so you can try to achieve the same on Arch?

Offline

#5 2004-05-01 16:43:44

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

Re: Side by Side with Arch

This is kind of the opposite of what you are talking about, but you would learn waaaaay more about your system if you tried installing Arch simultaneous with Linux From Scratch (http://www.linuxfromscratch.org)

Offline

#6 2004-05-01 17:37:31

Mr Green
Forum Fellow
From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,770

Re: Side by Side with Arch

I agree with Dusty you are going to learn more by running Arch...

If an Dumb old boy like me can do it so can you

I see little point running dual Linux system

But have a Live CD will help you learn (Knoppix  lol )

HTH

Mr Green


Mr Green

Offline

#7 2004-05-01 18:41:59

Zephirias
Member
From: Pennsylvania, USA
Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 179

Re: Side by Side with Arch

I think I learned more configuring Arch than I did Slackware, that's for sure. smile


"Technically, you would only need one time traveler convention."

Offline

#8 2004-05-01 22:41:19

mcubednyc
Member
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: 2004-03-17
Posts: 120

Re: Side by Side with Arch

LB06 wrote:

What excactly are you trying to do? Installing a distro next to Arch that provides pre-configured/customised packages, so you can try to achieve the same on Arch?

Heh, I guess I can't explain it very well ... basically, it's not that I necessarily want to "achieve the same" on Arch, it's more that I think I'd find it helpful to see "working examples," for comparison.  From what I can tell, most of the Arch userbase consists of people who've been using Linux for awhile ... it seems most people know which apps they like, know what they do, know the basics of using them, etc.  I don't ... aside from the x-platform software (OpenOffice, Mozilla) I use under Windows, its all pretty new, and it's a lot to absorb.  I feel as if I'm seeing a lot pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but lacking a sense of what the puzzle might look like when it's all put together.

The cool thing in this case is that it can look like lots of different things.  Like the "About" page says: "Arch Linux is a general purpose linux distribution that can be molded to do just about anything."  Great!  Ok, I want a nice desktop system.  How do I mold it to that?

And then there's the stuff I know I want to try for which there's no Arch packages, like leafnode, slrn, BNR2, etc.  These are kind of complicated.  I'm not sure I can master making my own packages for things that are so complex.  What do they install where?  What are the configuration options?  I know what they're supposed to do, but I don't really know how they work.  Basically, I think it helps to see the what the end results can look like and have some hands-on experience using them.  That's probably not the case if you're a semi-experienced user, you can probably approach these things more in the abstract, but I'm not very experienced yet.

One approach would be to forget about making packages and just install them, play with them, then try to figure out the package build.  But I thought I might get more out of trying them on another distro, and run less risk of messing up my Arch installation.

I'm not talking about installation issues, or setting up a local network, or fixing fonts, or sound, or even things like customizing the kernel, etc.  Arch's straightforward approach makes learning those kinds of things much easier than the so-called "newbie friendly" distros do, with all their unnecessary GUI tools that end up getting in your way and inevitably don't really work the way they're supposed to anyway.  That's why I want to stick with it ... I've learned a lot from it, and I can learn a lot more from it, and I hope even contribute to it.  But one thing those others do that Arch doesn't is provide some pre-configured ideas of what "anything" might look like.  Even Slack has Dropline Gnome all nicely fixed up and ready to go (well, in theory, anyway).  And any distro that's reasonably mature probably has all the software I might want to try out already packaged.

Maybe it doesn't much matter, or maybe I should just ask, what distro would you be using if you weren't using Arch?


"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." - S. Jackson

Offline

#9 2004-05-01 23:30:12

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

Re: Side by Side with Arch

you aren't a newbie. You've thought things through very well and know more about what you're talking about than you think.

Why not install Arch alongside Arch? One for your main desktop, another install for messing around with packages. If you break the development version, reinstall. smile

Or, just have one Arch and reinstall it too. If you have /home on a separate partition its not that big a deal...

Dusty

Offline

#10 2004-05-02 00:55:28

Xentac
Forum Fellow
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2003-01-17
Posts: 1,797
Website

Re: Side by Side with Arch

... or install user mode linux.


I have discovered that all of mans unhappiness derives from only one source, not being able to sit quietly in a room
- Blaise Pascal

Offline

#11 2004-05-02 03:12:23

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

Re: Side by Side with Arch

Xentac wrote:

... or install user mode linux.

yeah, make it even harder. :-P

Offline

#12 2004-05-02 03:17:05

jak
Member
From: Charlotte, NC, USA
Registered: 2004-04-08
Posts: 84

Re: Side by Side with Arch

mcubednyc wrote:

I'm thinking it might help me a lot to install a more mature distro side-by-side with Arch, to help me over the humps of exploring new software ... Any recommendations?

I have SuSE, gentoo, and arch all on the same box. If I don't know how to do something in arch, I look and see how SuSE or gentoo did it. To get SuSE, you can download the boot.iso which is about 20 meg, burn it to CD, boot from that, and do an FTP install. And if you can't burn a CD, just download the boot floppies. The boot.iso is at ftp://mirror.mcs.anl.gov/pub/suse/i386/ … t/boot.iso

You can do the FTP install from the same site.


The sturgeon general says don't smoke fish

Offline

#13 2004-05-03 18:33:59

mcubednyc
Member
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: 2004-03-17
Posts: 120

Re: Side by Side with Arch

Dusty, flattery will get you everywhere.   big_smile

I think LFS is goes in the more-than-I-want-to-know category, for now...actually I always thought it looked interesting and perhaps something I'd want to take a shot at someday, but it wouldn't really suit me right now.  User-Mode Linux looks interesting, thx for the suggestion.  There's a lot a to read about it.

One thing I realized the past few days is that I'm unhappy with how I have my PC setup now.  I have way too much data on vfat partitions.  I spend my life defragging.  I had thought that it would give me maximum flexibility, but it's a PITA.  I need to rethink this -- maybe in the end the best solution is to drop Windows altogether in favor of Arch + a pre-configured "drop-in" replacement for Windows, like SuSE or Xandros, or a live CD like Knoppix, except that I really do want something else installed.  Perhaps an second Arch installation, perhaps from the Arch liveCD.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions all.  I'm sort-of thinking out loud here, it's very helpful to have gotten some feedback.


"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." - S. Jackson

Offline

#14 2004-05-03 19:55:16

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

Re: Side by Side with Arch

mcubednyc wrote:

maybe in the end the best solution is to drop Windows

That's a really good start. smile

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions all.  I'm sort-of thinking out loud here, it's very helpful to have gotten some feedback.

I really think you have enough knowledge to start with Arch (or two or more Arches... would that make a bridge?). You know how to ask questions, you seem to know how to search google and tldp, so I don't think you'd have trouble with it.  Some trouble, but only just enough. wink

Dusty

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB