Archive for Linux & FOSS

Arch Linux

So in my last post I said that I would be using BSD as my OS of choice, and it turns out that it wasn’t to be.  I tried serveral different BSD distros without any luck, some install but I could not configure my network no matter how hard I tried, and others wouldn’t even boot.  So, after this unexpected failure, I decided to try another flavor of linux, namely Arch Linux.  This distro is optimized for 64 processors, and doesn’t even have a 32-bit version.  It is said to be very light-weight, and hides nothing from the user, having all the system processes transparent.  I think of myself as a bit of a poweruser, so I figured I could handle it.  So I downloaded the .iso, burned it on 1x speed so my optical drive didn’t screw me over at the vital step, and the rebooted and started the install process.  It wasn’t a difficult process, and after about 30-40 minutes I had an Arch Linux system installed.  Since this is a very customizable distro, it comes without a gui, leaving the user a choice of which desktop environment/window manager they wish to use (if any).

I did expect this, as while I was downloading the .iso, I started to read the documentation.  Arch Linux is VERY well documented, with a wiki and a few noobie starter guides, telling you exactly what to do, and some common tasks once you have a system installed.  Here is where I hit a few problems.

I’m not completely lost without a gui, but I’m no expert, being born after computers had had guis for a while gave me a bit of a handicap to overcome, but having a bit of experience with linux I did know my way around the command line.  One of the first steps they recommend doing after finishing your install is:

#pacman -Syu

This gave me a bit of troube, I got an error saying something about a resolving error.  Again, I checked my noobie install guide (I’d printed it out before I started, just in case) and also made sure I could ping my router.  I couldn’t and had to edit my /etc/rc.conf file, because my router’s IP is, instead of the default  I changed that, and uncommented the gateway part, and tried to ping my router.  This time I found that I could, but I could not ping anything without an IP address, I could ping google’s IP, but wouldn’t resolve to anything.

I then remembered that I had set my router to be using OpenDNS, and put their DNS servers into my /etc/hosts file.  Finally, I could install packages and ping websites using their domain names.  I only had one remaining problem, downloading packages took forever, averaging about 50 Kbps, and I have a T1 connection.  I checked the excellent Arch Linux documentation, and found on the forums that the default mirror had been throttled >.<

Finally after commenting all the slow mirrors using trial and error, I found one that worked well for me.

Now I could install my gui following the noobie guide instructions 😀

This post was made on my new Arch Linux system, and I’m using KDE flawlessly.