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toddaa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-01-11 09:58 PM
Original message
Poll question: Favorite independent distro
I stopped distro hopping two years ago, after installing Arch Linux, which is the simplest distro I've ever worked with. Not the easiest, but definitely the simplest. Occasionally, I browse DistroWatch to see what's up, but doubt I'll ever be tempted to try another distro ever again.

Curious if there are other Linux users whose lives don't revolve around the months of April and October.

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-11 12:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm still playing around with distros. I just spent the early part of the week mucking around with
Calculate Linux 11: despite the fact it's supposed to have unetbootin support, I couldn't produce a bootable flashdrive with it so I could install it on my netbook which has no cd drive; I finally constructed a liveusb with terminal in virtualbox and installed it on the netbook, but decided it was too slow, so I put ubuntu back on the box

I played around with crunchbang a few weeks ago; I kind of like it, but I only have a virtual box installation right now

I have boxes ready for dedicated installs of gentoo and linux from scratch, but haven't gotten around to working on them

So far, I suppose I like ubuntu best, but I'm happy to try arch
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toddaa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-11 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Arch Linux is very different from Ubuntu
The base install gives you nothing more than a shell, and then you build it how you want. What I like about it is that it's based on BSD, rather than System V, so configuring services are all handled in rc.conf. I've tailored my environment for audio production, because I use it for dabble in electronic and ambient music. I'd consider it a good distro for anyone with intermediate Linux experience, especially if you aren't afraid of the command line or bash, but there is a learning curve. Think of it as a binary version of Gentoo. Unlike Ubuntu, it won't hold your hand. It's also bleeding edge rolling release, meaning that you get the latest version of whatever is out in Sourceforge, after it's been tested by the core set of trusted users. They just released KDE 4.6 and Kernel 2.6.37. I've been burned by a couple of system upgrades, but nothing disasterous. The wiki at archlinux.org is hands down, the absolute best Linux guide out there, even if you don't use Arch Linux.

I've used Ubuntu and and OpenSUSE and liked both, but they tend to get in the way of building a system tailored specifically to what you want. It's definitely not for everyone, and the maintainers of the distro are open about that. If you've got a spare partition, give it a shot.

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-11 01:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. OK. Bit-torrent download of netinstall iso was pretty fast. Mindless install seems straightforward
enough. We'll see how long it takes.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-11 01:37 AM
Response to Original message
3. Got the dreaded black screen ten minutes into the install -- sometime after the build started
I'll try this again some other time: it's the end of the day for me
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toddaa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-11 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Is that before installing X windows?
The base install is pretty barebones. I always struggle with getting video working. Make sure you install DBus and start it up as your first daemon. It overcomes a lot of hardware issues, but video can be a bitch. And I cannot stress this enough, https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Main_Page is your bible.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-11 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Yes, it occurs during the build stage of the netinstall. I wasn't watching closely:
Edited on Wed Feb-02-11 01:19 PM by struggle4progress
the packages seemed to download ok and the build started, then the screen went black sometime. I just repeated this; the screen went black during download stage (before build stage), somewhat after a package failed to download. In a third attempt the netinstaller skipped a few steps (like mirror selection!) and aborted.

I've switched to a different repository and am trying again: nope, screen just went black during the download

<NOTE:> iso md5 sum is OK

Maybe I should try the core installer, rather than the net installer
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Well, I finally got the base install working. Still trying to get X working
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-11 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
7. OK. Downloaded core iso to replace netinstall iso. Finally got thru the basic install and reboot
to the command line. Upgrade failed with my first repo choice; changed repo; tried again; upgrade continued; then black screen
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 02:10 AM
Response to Original message
9. X is working. Gnome isn't yet. Egads! If I do this enough, I'll fuggin know linux
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 03:07 AM
Response to Original message
10. OK. I have a graphical login and can boot into gnome
It's a virtualbox installation. The black screen problem was an interaction between OSX screensaver and virtualbox. When doing a virtualbox installation with the latest version of virtualbox, ignore the warning under "Install X" -- "If you're installing Arch in a Virtualbox guest, you need a different way to complete X installation. See Running Arch Linux as a guest, then skip the A,B,C steps below" -- because it directs you off to an unhelpful page that seems not to be entirely correct; I just followed the standard install for X; standard virtualbox installation of guest additions seems to work, despite warning from arch -- seem to get pointer integration and fullscreen mode

Shuts down and reboots as expected
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 03:21 AM
Response to Original message
11. Comments: The setup is tedious. It seems like a good way to get a second intro
to Linux. Documentation seems good. The lack of an officially-supported GUI for the package manager pacman is going to be a problem for anyone who just wants to get rolling ASAP with a lot of software options: it might be less of a problem for somebody that wants a dedicated machine and knows what packages are desired
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toddaa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-04-11 07:18 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. Gotta remember the Arch Linux way
Edited on Fri Feb-04-11 07:20 AM by toddaa
Simplicity doesn't equate to easy. If you don't take the time to learn the basics of bash, Arch Linux will forever be a mystery. I've tried a couple of the GUI front ends to pacman, but they never work as wall as the basic version. I do use yaourt, which comes from the AUR. It's a wrapper around pacman and opens up the vast wilderness that is AUR. But you just can't beat pacman -Syu for upgrading system.

For finding packages, I always use the web site.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-11 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. AUR does seem to be a bit of a frontier town. I thought I'd install unetbootin
which I sometimes find useful, but it's unsupported over in AUR. So I installed yaourt (to save the download makepkg pacman routines) and used yaourt to grab build install unetbootin. Surprise one is that all the kvetching on the yaourt AUR page scrolls by during the process: OK, that might sometimes be helpful, so I can live with it. Surprise two is that, although unetbootin now appears in my gnome menu, it doesn't launch when I click it: instead I get an error -- it can't find the executable. So I look for the executable and it exists, but it hasn't been installed where it thought it should be installed: so I have to edit the gnome menu item properties to point to the executable. That by itself doesn't fill me with dread, but I may wiggle my eyebrows reflexively and read a lot from now on before I install anything from AUR
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 05:03 PM
Response to Original message
12. Didn't have any trouble installing Gimp, Octave, and OpenOffice
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 08:57 PM
Response to Original message
13. OK. So now I'll try to put it on my AAO netbook
Two attempts to create a usb-stick with unetbootin failed, but I got a bootable install stick with dd in terminal, following instructions at the arch website. The install of the basic system went pretty quickly -- but since I've been through it perhaps a dozen times by now, I guess that's not surprising

Wired network's up without further work. Wireless might give me some trouble when I get there

Upgraded. Installed X. Went with vesa and evdev, got some horrid mess instead of an X window: went with xf86-video-intel and xf86-input-synaptics. X works

Installed Gnome and related packages. Have a usable installation for hardwired network. There's more to do to get everything working but that's enough for now



Beginners' Guide
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Beginners%27_Guide...

GNOME
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Gnome

Display Manager
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Display_Manager#in...

Allow Users to Shutdown
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Allow_Users_to_Shu...

Acer Aspire One
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Acer_Aspire_One
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toddaa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-04-11 07:11 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Gotta give you credit for persistance
Edited on Fri Feb-04-11 07:22 AM by toddaa
When I first tried Arch Linux, I struggled much like you. Arch Linux is simple, not easy. But the pay off is huge, if you are looking for a distro that can be meticulously tailored to your needs. I'm use KDE much of the time, but I've built an ancient desktop using Fluxbox and Samba, I use as a firewall/home network file system for the family. Arch Linux starts out seeming like a major headache not worth the effort, but over time, you grow to appreciate it's philosophy. The fact that I can <b>find</b> and manage my configurations with nothing more than vi is a godsend over more sophisticated distros, that are always as much an impenetrable mystery that is Windows.

The biggest challenge for me is always getting video and wireless to work. WICD is my preferred wireless tool, but can't compensate for all the vast variety of weird wireless cards on the mark. And don't get me started on ATI.

Anyway, thumbs up on given it a go, even if you decide to go back to the safe confines of Ubuntu.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-08-11 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. WICD seems to be incompatible with the ath5k wireless driver I need
I think I'm making progress on wireless but I'm not there yet

If I can get wireless going, I'll probably leave Arch on the AAO box, just to have a machine with the distro.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-09-11 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
17. Finally got wireless working on the AAO
This actually didn't involve too much configuration wo0rk, though it required plowing through lots of text to discover what I actually needed
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lbrtbell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 06:09 PM
Response to Original message
19. Puppy Linux
The speed is incredible!
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Never could get wireless working on my AAO in Puppy when booted off thumbdrive
so I never tried the full installation
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 04:59 AM
Response to Original message
21. After about a week of this, I've reached the conclusion that the best way to learn Arch
might be to install it five or ten times over the course of another week or two, experimenting with different choices for various steps, in order to get a feel for what works best

My current AAO install is disappointingly slow

There are also often peculiar problems when installing packages: for example, the installed package appears in the gnome menus but won't launch from there without further work, or it doesn't appear in the menus and has to be added -- but further work is required to get it to launch from the menu when added

Arch is not incredibly user friendly. The supported repository is a bit thin. If you want to install debian packages, for example, you either figure out how to do it by hand, or you trustingly wander over to the vast collection of unsupported user-supplied packages in AUR to do something like install yaourt and then use yaourt to install dpkg

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-26-11 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
22. Got webcam working and some of the function keys, including standby and audiomute
But audio raisevolume and lowervolume don't work yet

And I've had no luck with two-finger scrolling
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 02:37 AM
Response to Original message
23. I am a Gentoo die-hard, and the only one I know.
Every linux enthusiast and guru I talk to thinks I'm crazy for running Gentoo as not only my chosen server distro, but also my chosen desktop distro. For those unfamiliar with the distro, the reason why so many people end up steering away from it is because it takes for-ev-er to install your system. Everything except the main toolchain has to be compiled from source. The good news is that the package manager, Portage, will do this for you, but the fact that it handles all of the necessary compile-time options doesn't change the amount of time it takes to install your system.

It took 28 hours of straight compiling to install a fully working desktop system on a Core2Duo with 4GB of RAM 2 years ago. Last year, on a Core i7 with 4GB RAM and an X25 SSD, it took 17 hours.

But during those unattended hours, Portage installed over 1000 packages thanks to the single command line that I entered in the beginning. Dependency checking ensured that I was able to use all of my chosen apps like Firefox, MPlayer, GIMP, Evolution, k3b, a ton of games, the flash-player plugin, a java JRE, and much more. The new version of xorg-server, installed with the proper USE flags, guaranteed that I didn't have to configure ANYTHING to get graphics working. In short, I spent one hour in front of my computer preparing it for the main build process, then walked away for a day, and when I came back and rebooted the system it was perfect, and damn near bulletproof.

My programs don't randomly crash on me. I've NEVER seen the point of running an strace. When I find out about a new piece of software that I might be interested in, I check the Portage tree and, lo and behold, there's an ebuild waiting for me to merge it with my system. The biggest complaint many people have about Gentoo is also its greatest beauty: Portage, and its ability to compile everything from source, guarantees easy installation of compatible, fast, and perfectly executing software, even after I customize the crap out of my kernel and reduce my memory footprint to something Ubuntu can only dream about. Plus, in the rare event that there isn't an ebuild available for some software package I'd like to use, I already have all of the necessary tools installed to compile it from source and install the software myself. Try compiling something from source in Fedora...

Yes, I just realized that I don't have GIMP actually installed on this build, and it will probably take the better part of an hour for Portage to install it, and that kind of delay is what keeps me investigating other distributions. But every time I get my hands on something Debian or RedHat based, I end up running back to Gentoo, because even if it takes several orders of magnitude more time for Gentoo to install something, it's still simpler, cleaner, and more dependable than any other distro I've touched.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-11 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. After our conversation a few months ago, I set aside a machine for a Gentoo install:
3.4 ghz quadcore amd with an ssd. I just have to find the time to learn enough to try the install
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-11 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. OK. I just tried a first dry-run gentoo install on virtualbox. Result: kernel panic.
Gentoo provides a lot of options for customization, so I guess I need to review the virtual hardware more carefully
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-11 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Do yourself a favor:
Use genkernel. It will guarantee that you can boot into a base system, and then you can pare it down from there as needed. Also, be sure to keep the original genkernel image setup as a boot option as you test the new kernels side-by-side.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-11-11 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. Thanks. I'll try that.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-11-11 02:20 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. Genkernel's something of a resource hog. I've got to plan this more carefully to avoid
running out of disk space
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-14-11 03:53 AM
Response to Original message
29. I MAY have to make a retraction...
Since you are the fourth person to suggest Arch to me, I thought I should give it a fair shake. Let me tell you, I'm impressed. The differences between Gentoo and Arch seem small, and migration has been nearly painless for me. Where Gentoo takes a minimum of 17 hours to setup on this laptop, I setup a dual-boot to Arch in 5 hours, and that included the time necessary to properly install on a current LVM setup, which is pretty complex if you don't want to lose data.

So far, so good. It's clean, it's fast, and I even managed to get direct rendering, compiz, and my touchpad working with no effort. Those items have been problematic in past distro testing. Don't get me wrong, there have been a few hiccups (like suspend/resume, KVM/QEMU/SDL, wireless performance, and getting my themes back that weren't in a pacman repo), but I've managed to solve all but one of them without banging my head against a wall.

I'm reserving judgment on the possibility of permanent migration at the moment, but I am going to continue using this Arch installation exclusively for a while in order to give it a proper test run. And here I thought I would use Gentoo until it disappeared...
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. +! I've been putting Arch on a new build, and I'm beginning to like it.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 11:32 PM
Response to Original message
31. A lot of people seem to to pointing at Pardus, which is a Turkish government project
There are a few irritations with it: the 1.3 gb Live CD won't install: so if you want to play with it, you're stuck with a second large download (1.1 gb) if you decide you want to install

The downloads are rather slow and the install isn't terribly zippy

Also it could be something of a resource hog: I generally play with distros provisionally in VirtualBox with an 8 gb virtual drive: once I installed Pardus, it warned me I only had 4 mb left for my desktop, though perhaps I might have done better with a custom install. Anyway I reinstalled with a 10 gb virtual drive

I'll have to look around a bit to see what I think of the repositories: octave is there, and so is emacs, but unetbootin isn't
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