23 January 2011

Arch Reinstall Gotchas 101

I have used Arch Linux for some time now (3+ years from memory) coming to it from a Debian/Slackware background. I love it it allows me to run a bang up to date KDE desktop on a rolling release basis. For those that would like a more honest review then Kevin Bush did a great review over at Linux Journal very recently.

In the time I have run it I have only installed it twice before and now I am only installing again because I got a shiny new 500gb laptop drive for Gonzo (my Thinkpad!) at Christmas.

One of Arch's many benefits is the documentation and forums. When you install Arch you only install a base system and can then go and build your system your way. No desktop, not many services and only a terminal to log in with.

People have been known to moan abut this approach but I like it. In one evening I had a full KDE desktop (I use the standard Arch Packages for day to day use) up and running. However, I did hit a couple of gotchas which I thought I would document here in case they help anyone else :

  • NetworkManager has not improved since my last attempt to get networking working with it. I recommend Wicd all the way.
  • KDE would not shut down. I spent some time investigating this but ended up on this thread on the forums which helped me to pin it down to the Phonon backend that was being used (Xine). I updated to use the gstreamer backend and all was well.

  • Getting Dropbox working without installing lots of gnome libraries. For this I found this article which did the job perfectly in about 6 steps. Once done, reboot and on next start up the Dropbox installer will guide you through the rest.

Now I am back up and running I can look forward to a few nights setting all my preferences, data and look and feel up. Then I can forget about installing and get on with using.

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