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Another Arch Install


raymac46
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Well I spent a good part of yesterday installing Arch Linux on my funky old Lenovo Flex2-15D laptop. Although this is a rather obsolete machine it is miles ahead of the Toshiba netbook which was my only Arch machine up till now. I can actually surf the Internet with the Flex2 as it has a quad core processor and 8 GB of RAM.

I actually used the archfi and archdi scripts to install. They make use of the Arch iso so at the end of the day you end up with a vanilla Arch system. It's sort of like the Arch way but the script ensures you don't miss anything and there are no terminal spelling errors.

I had a few problems first because I couldn't disturb my granddaughter's school class to plug in a wire. However the iso has iwctl which enabled me to connect wirelessly. Then I messed up a couple of times because I am not that familiar wih EFI/GPT and I didn't get GRUB installed properly. When I did get the system to boot I discovered I had forgotten network-manager-applet so again I had no wifi.

However nmcli was available in the terminal so I got the applet installed and working on the desktop.

I went with LXQt as my desktop using xfwm4 as my window manager. I have configured the desktop with an appropriate theme and icons. I chose yay as my AUR helper and used it to install Chrome. I'm using lightdm as my display manager and login screen.

I didn't worry about backing up the old MX Linux system as I have my data on a network drive so I can just copy it back now that I have SAMBA working.

Not too bad for an old codger.

 

Edited by raymac46
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Nicely done :thumbsup:

 

BTW there is an installer available in the Extra repo as of January 

 

Quote

Fellow Archers,

As you might have noticed, archinstall[0] has been added to the [extra] repository.

Over the past months we have been discussing the potential addition of an installer to our
installation medium internally with our staff.

Dave mentioned archinstall in his archiso talk during Arch Conf[1], outlining why we think
it might be a good fit for a non default TUI based installer for Arch. 

To make it easier for contributors to find and fix bugs when testing archinstall, before it
is added to the installation medium as a package, we have added it to the repositories
for ease of use.

Please note, that only installations done using the official installation guide are supported[2].
Installations done using archinstall are *unsupported* by our support staff until further notice.

Any issues with installations based on archinstall should be reported to upstream directly[3].
This might change in the future, and users will be informed accordingly.

Happy testing!

[0] https://github.com/Torxed/archinstall
[1] https://youtu.be/prsVk9iaclM?t=1436
[2] https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Installation_guide
[3] https://github.com/Torxed/archinstall/issues

 

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I did like running the archfi and archdi scripts. Following along is very much like an official installation as you do the same steps in sequence except you don't have to type the commands in the terminal.The script makes sure you don't miss anything. And the desktop environment script makes sure you get everything you need.

The Calamares based installer distros like Endeavour are not as good because most install a pre-cooked desktop.OK if you want Xfce but I wanted to have LXQt. And at the end of the day I had the real deal. I can figure out what configs to do because I have some experience on the netbook.

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Maybe I'll try that next time, raymac46! I had a nice experience using the Anarchy installer, and I'd also like to take a look at the installer in the Extra repo. Although by the time I get around to doing another Arch installation, I can imagine myself deciding to just do it The Arch Way. I'd been thinking of doing an installation with only Openbox, no DE.

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I havent used it but it is a command line guided installer that included in the official repos. May try it sometime in a VM.

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It looks like the Arch installer gets you to the point where you can reboot into a CLI based system. That is what the first script (archfi) would do for you. At that point you could elect to NOT run the second script (archdi) if you wanted to simply install Xorg and then Openbox.

The second script allows you to install all the applications and utilities.

 

https://sourceforge.net/projects/archfi/

Edited by raymac46
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Even if you use the archfi "crutch" you can still end up with a personalized DE as you get lots of choice. Although I went with LXQt I still use lightDM and some customized icons from the AUR. I also went with a different window manager and wifi solution than one would likely get with a out of the box LXQt distro like Sparky Linux.

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6 hours ago, raymac46 said:

Not too bad for an old codger.

 

The thing about being slightly older is that we can actually read , understand and implement instructions in wiki's.

 

Well done on the new Arch install.  I found that the hardest part of an Arch install was figuring out which of many excellent programs to install for a particular purpose.  I mean , how do you choose,

 

What are the best audio players for Linux? The Best of 66 Options.

I have wasted hours trying out many of those. I like Goggles  cos of the name and XMMS as you can use any of the hundreds of Winamp themes. 😋

 

 

 

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I'm obviously not as experienced with Arch as I am with Debian-based distros, but I do know a thing or two about Linux apps. However since I am using LXQt I went mostly with the defaults as far as the OS goes. Normally I would use Rhythmbox as my audio player but I just went with Clementine. No need to bring in a bunch of GTK overhead for what is a cruddy audio appliance anyway.

I chose VLC for video. The only deviations I made were to use Network Manager for wifi, LightDM, and Chrome browser for the grandkids (if they need it.) I like the Numix Circle icons so I installed those.

I'm having some issues with the printer setup but part of that may be because when I reconfigured the static IP on the printer I put in the IPv4 address in wrong. Duh!

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mpv is a great lightweight video player. I've been using it for many years now. You run it with mpv videofile and there are shortcuts to interface with the video controls and such. There's are graphical frontends as well for it but I prefer the cli.

 

You're probably familiar with it already ;)

 

https://mpv.io/

 

It was previously know as mplayer

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Hedon James
17 hours ago, raymac46 said:

Even if you use the archfi "crutch" you can still end up with a personalized DE as you get lots of choice. Although I went with LXQt I still use lightDM and some customized icons from the AUR. I also went with a different window manager and wifi solution than one would likely get with a out of the box LXQt distro like Sparky Linux.

 

We've talked about this before, and I know you'll agree when I say we have VERY similar tastes, for very similar reasons.  (I imagine our wives could probably be sisters, LOL?!)  And even when we diverge, there's usually a solid underlying reason, rather than random difference of opinion.  With that said, I note and share the following information learned about LXQt:

 

  • sddm is the recommended DM by LXQt devs.  Despite this, MANY distros package LightDM in LXQt distros.  LightDM seems to be a "universal fit" for nearly every distro.  I use sddm with LXQt because of the Devs recommendation, and I was trying to keep my LXQt distro as "pure Qt" as possible, knowing full well that I'd probably be pulling in GTK toolsets at some point.  So far, so good though.  Added bonus with sddm, I was able to theme sddm in a way that I never could with LightDM.  Not sure it's because sddm is "more themeable" or whether it's because I looked deeper into themeing DMs.  No problems with sddm, though, and I've been very happy with it.  Knock on wood.
  • you went with xfwm4 as a window manager.  LXQt devs have an "agnostic" POV regarding WMs.  They want WMs to be modular "drop in" replacements in LXQt.  I'd say LXQt has NAILED this feature, as it is SO EASY to select your preferred WM from a pulldown menu in LXQt settings.  With that said, the overwhelming majority of LXQt users seem to prefer xfwm4 (built in compositor), openbox (lightweight), and kwin (compatibility with Qt).  I prefer good old Fluxbox, PekWM, and Openbox, all for the customized "root menu"; and Flux & Pek for the tabbed windows.  I just add lightweight Compton for compositing, which is wonderfully sufficient for my needs.

 

Side note:  Ironically, newer versions of LXQt (from 0.15 forward?) disable the "show root menu on right click" feature.  I was pretty vocal on the forums about losing this feature, but my arguments to keep/restore were pretty much dismissed with the rebuttal that all I had to do was "uncheck the option for LXQt to manage the desktop, in settings".  However, this removes wallpaper and icon management from PCManFM, which is one of the more interesting features of PCManFM, in my opinion.  When I questioned the removal of this feature, I was told the code was inelegant and inefficient, so it was removed.  I questioned why the solution was to remove, rather than FIX the elegance and efficiency, and a Dev got indignant about the question.  I responded that the removal of features in the name of progress sounded like a GTK policy and that I thought the Qt toolkit was chosen to get away from GTK shortcomings.  I was told my comment was an unfair comparison that was greatly exaggerated and that if I wanted to submit a clean & elegant code solution they'd be happy to consider it.  Because we all code right, and are just withholding our contributions to see what Devs come up with in the absence of our interference.  So I guess when the time comes that the Debian version loses right click root menus, I'll be unchecking the "manage desktop" option from LXQt settings, and installing Nitrogen for wallpaper management and possibly iDesk for the few desktop icons I require.  Ironically, I hate desktop icons, but a small number of them are actually quite useful and nice little shortcuts.....like icons for temporary mounted drives.  Another solution, and actually the one I prefer, is to get jgmenu hammered into a format that I can use for ANY of my 3 preferred WMs.  I use the same template format for my Flux, Pek, and OB root menus, so it would be very easy to duplicate that template with jgmenu.  I just need to figure out IF/how to implement the Flux/Pek/OB configuration settings within a jgmenu format.  If I can accomplish that, I can invoke the same "universal" jgmenu on all my WMs with a simple hot key/right click.  Voila....functionality duplicated for all 3 WMs, but only configured once....so 1/3 the work?!  😄

 

  • LXQt devs recommend Connection Manager (connman) as the wifi/ethernet connection manager.  Seems to be way more configurable than Network Manager, with lots more options.  Not sure that's a good thing, as Network Manager "just works" for me, but in the spirit of trying to integrate my distro with the recommended Qt tools, I use ConnMan.
  • I also use VLC for vids, as its a Qt app, and I will almost always pick the software with multi-platform compatibility.  It plays everything I've ever thrown at is, and its supremely configurable and skinnable, so it checks all the right boxes.  As for music, I see many LXQt folks using Clementine.  I just dont like it.  I REALLY liked the Banshee Media Player, but that's a GTK toolkit and development seems to have stalled or ceased a long time ago.  This is one of those apps that I would have made a "GTK exception" for, but I was having issues with Banshee before my switch, and I'm not making an exception for buggy software.  Looked around and ended up settling on Cantata, which is a GUI frontend for mpd.  I don't LOVE it like Banshee, but it's the closest I could get to what I liked about Banshee.  At least it's lightweight.  I added Puddletag to manage mp3 metadata that Banshee used to handle, and I don't rip CDs anymore, so I've got TWO music softwares to replace the functionality of Banshee, which would be 3 music softwares if I installed a CD ripper.  Other Qt music players I strongly considered before settling on Cantata were Sayonara and Yarock.  I've recently stumbled on Tauon Music Box, but haven't had a chance to fully vette it for my needs/tastes yet.  May not be in Debian repos anyhow, but I'll bet someone has it in AUR, or will soon.

 

Just my opinions and observations.  Hope some of these are helpful, or at least interesting.

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@HJ thank you for a most interesting post. I was hoping you'd chime in. A few further comments of my own.

I use LightDM all the time because personally I hate GDM and I am most familiar with LightDM. One thing I know how to do is set up LightDM for autologin on machines that never leave my premises. The Thinkpad goes away with us so I have a password protect there. This fugly old Lenovo Flex2 just sits in the workshop. So autologin. Besides I was getting some ugly screen tiling when having an actual password login and two different background images.

I love GTK audio players but I doubt I'll use this one much so Clementine is OK.

Xwm4 is such a great window manager and with 8 gigs of RAM I don't need to be super lightweight so that's my solution.

PCManFM and Featherpad work great together for editing config files. I have nano if I want to do stuff in the terminal.

Can't comment on right click for root menu. Haven't even thought about how to use it.

Wifi is my major nemesis. I have enough trouble with Network Manager that I just did not want to have to troubleshoot another wifi solution - especially with an Arch install.

I would say with LXQt you are far more of a purist and minimalist than I am.  Probably better technically as well. I have ugly old default Conky running right now because if I try anything fancier it either looks terrible or doesn't launch. So I've got a lot to learn about the DE and Arch.

 

 

 

 

 

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My first Arch install was a long way from either pure GTK or Qt. I installed Xfce so I got all the GTK software, and then installed the LXQt desktop so I brought in the Qt stuff. This time I was more selective and just got the Xwm4 window manager, Network Manager, and LightDM. The rest is pretty much LXQt applications. But hey... isn't that why you install Arch - to make it the way you want?

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3 hours ago, raymac46 said:

My first Arch install was a long way from either pure GTK or Qt. I installed Xfce so I got all the GTK software, and then installed the LXQt desktop so I brought in the Qt stuff. This time I was more selective and just got the Xwm4 window manager, Network Manager, and LightDM. The rest is pretty much LXQt applications. But hey... isn't that why you install Arch - to make it the way you want?

 

Yeah - I have two Arch installations, and the older one has Xfce, LXQt, and Openbox. Display manager is lightdm. I think that I enjoy logging into the Openbox sessions most, but I like them all. Typing this from LXQt on that system. (My other Arch installation, it's Xfce and Fluxbox.) So far I haven't used any other WM under LXQt besides Openbox. Whelp, I was thinking of replacing this installation with a fresh Arch install, no DE, only Openbox. But... It ain't broke, so...

 

I don't think I wanna add a third Arch installation.

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1 hour ago, saturnian said:

 

Yeah - I have two Arch installations, and the older one has Xfce, LXQt, and Openbox. Display manager is lightdm. I think that I enjoy logging into the Openbox sessions most, but I like them all. Typing this from LXQt on that system. (My other Arch installation, it's Xfce and Fluxbox.) So far I haven't used any other WM under LXQt besides Openbox. Whelp, I was thinking of replacing this installation with a fresh Arch install, no DE, only Openbox. But... It ain't broke, so...

 

I don't think I wanna add a third Arch installation.

 

You just need moar machines. I only run one OS per machine/vm.

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Hedon James
14 hours ago, raymac46 said:

@HJ thank you for a most interesting post. I was hoping you'd chime in. A few further comments of my own.

I use LightDM all the time because personally I hate GDM and I am most familiar with LightDM. One thing I know how to do is set up LightDM for autologin on machines that never leave my premises. The Thinkpad goes away with us so I have a password protect there. This fugly old Lenovo Flex2 just sits in the workshop. So autologin. Besides I was getting some ugly screen tiling when having an actual password login and two different background images.

I love GTK audio players but I doubt I'll use this one much so Clementine is OK.

Xwm4 is such a great window manager and with 8 gigs of RAM I don't need to be super lightweight so that's my solution.

PCManFM and Featherpad work great together for editing config files. I have nano if I want to do stuff in the terminal.

Can't comment on right click for root menu. Haven't even thought about how to use it.

Wifi is my major nemesis. I have enough trouble with Network Manager that I just did not want to have to troubleshoot another wifi solution - especially with an Arch install.

I would say with LXQt you are far more of a purist and minimalist than I am.  Probably better technically as well. I have ugly old default Conky running right now because if I try anything fancier it either looks terrible or doesn't launch. So I've got a lot to learn about the DE and Arch.

 

 

  •  I have xfwm4 on my system.  I just don't use it.  You could choose WindowMaker as your DE, select it from your pulldown menu, and get yet another experience!  LOL
  • I do like Featherpad, which is cool because I stumbled on Geany as a text editor awhile back, and started adding it to every system I built, all because I fell in love with the line numbering feature, which proved to be very handy for me (although entirely unnecessary).  Featherpad has that option too!  Yay!
  • I wouldn't say I'm a purist or a minimalist, but I think I get what you're saying, and I think I'd agree to an extent.  I just figured that if I'm going to run a Qt based system, I might as well stick with Qt software as much as possible. 

 

As to being a purist, if there's a program I really like, and need, but it's GTK, I'm installing it.  For instance, I use Spectacle for custom screenshots (Qt based), but it's got some quirks.  This was a replacement for Shutter (GTK based), as Shutter isn't in the Debian Buster repos and I'm not a fan of snaps or flatpaks at all.  But I've read recently that someone has taken over the abandoned Shutter application and development is moving forward.  If that becomes available for my Debian install, I WILL be installing Shutter!  Same with Banshee!

 

As to being a minimalist, I actually prefer redundancy.  I try to have 2 programs available for every function I need to perform.  My main is usually a swiss-army knife do-it-all type of software, while the 2nd is a lightweight fallback-in-a-pinch option until I get the primary working again.  Not always possible, but it often is.  2 browsers, 2 video players, 2 music players, 2 word processors, etc...

 

LXQt itself is very minimalist, modular and redundant.  While I wouldn't call LXQt lightweight, that's because we're old enough to know what LIGHTWEIGHT truly looks like.....IMO, sitting at idle consuming 200MB of RAM or LESS!  But compared to other "modern" DE, it is still on the light end of the scale.  And it's one of the few (maybe the ONLY) DEs that lets me mix & match WMs with no issues whatsoever.  Can it be any simpler than downloading & installing a new WM, restarting LXQt to "pick up" the new option in usr/bin, and selecting that WM from a pulldown?!  And from a macro perspective, LXQt is also redundant for me....with Flux, Pek & OB as my WMs, if there's an LXQt issue, I can log straight into a "naked" WM session and access things.

 

I know everybody has different tastes, but I truly think LXQt has something for everyone.  And while it may not be everyone's first choice, I'll bet that everyone could be okay with it if it was forced on them for some reason.  It's a sweet spot of lightweight and usability features, but supremely configurable to look like what you want it to.  I'd call it a "universal DE" for everyone.  I dig it, and I'm glad I made the switch.  Sounds like you are too?

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I don't think I wanna add a third Arch installation.

I just realized that my two worst laptops have Arch installed on them. This is certainly no reflection on Arch itself.

The much-maligned Toshiba netbook is underpowered and memory challenged. It struggled with Windows 7 Starter when new and I got it when its former owner was planning on recycling it. It supports 64 bit (Atom Pine Trail CPU) and it *is* a Toshiba with a nice chassis, great display and keyboard. Its hardware is very Linux friendly. I freshened it up with a small SSD and it was a perfect testbed for my initial Arch install. It's run stably for a couple of years now. Not the greatest for surfing the Web but there ya go.

The Lenovo Flex2 is far from a Thinkpad. It has a quad core AMD "Beema" APU (A8-6410.) This is a pre-Ryzen setup for cheap laptops. It had a lot of wifi problems with Windows but works well with Linux. Again the hardware is Linux friendly. It doesn't get used by my wife and family much so if I screw up an install and it takes me a while to figure things out, it is OK.

I was getting frustrated with the netbook and wanted to experiment on something more powerful so enter the Flex2.

I'll also stop at 2 Arch installs because the other Linux machines work well with Debian or Linux Mint. I want to keep a hand in the Debian universe. And no, I don't want to dual boot.

 

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@HJ yes I am happy with LXQt and I have you to thank for introducing me to it. I was never that much of a fan of LXDE because it seemed to be a somewhat lighter version of Xfce. Did I really need another lightweight GTK DE? 

LXQt is different because it gets me into the Qt galaxy with a lighter desktop than Plasma. LXQt's default layout is sort of a poor man's Cinnamon and is configurable with GUIs which I like. With 8 GB of RAM lightweight does not compute except as a simpler and faster experience. LXQt does that and there is plenty new to learn. Especially with Arch.

My Conky looks a bit better now that I modified the config file to have the window outlined in white. I'm not going to replace it with one of those snazzy eye candy ones because many of them are unreadable against my chosen wallpaper.

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10 hours ago, securitybreach said:

 

You just need moar machines. I only run one OS per machine/vm.

 

Right, I've got six working computers. Two have dual-boot setups, the rest running with one installation each. I'm thinking two Arch systems is enough (for me), though.

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I've just upgraded the Toshiba netbook. Although it won't get a lot of use I plan to keep the experiment with Arch going. I think my neighbor would be surprised to see it still going six years after he gave it away. :th_1sm168massbounce:

On the Flex2 I got Conky's network monitor going by adding my wifi card to the config file. I also changed the default color to green. One improvement at a time.

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securitybreach
34 minutes ago, saturnian said:

 

Right, I've got six working computers. Two have dual-boot setups, the rest running with one installation each. I'm thinking two Arch systems is enough (for me), though.

 

Yeah, it sounds like you are good to go. Just add a bunch of VMs like I do...

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Well all of our shops are open up but they limit the amount of people and require a mask until you sit down.

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securitybreach
4 minutes ago, saturnian said:

Well, I'll pass on going and sitting in a coffee shop. Also, I'm such a weirdo, I use my laptops/notebooks at the desktop at home, plugged in (power cable, ethernet cable). I've got a nice view of the Sandia Mountains from where I sit, though! 😎

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandia_Mountains

 

Too darn expensive and I have all the coffee I want a home.

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