Home > Linux > Arch Linux In Depth Arch Linux In Depth Submitted by Editor 2005-02-08 Linux 37 Comments Linuxtimes.net has published a 4-page article on Arch Linux, the promising Linux distro. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 37 Comments 2005-02-08 9:05 am Anonymous I know that the article was just a review. but for people who want to try Arch, I say to them that Arch is for advanced users. No windows user 80 % of the all users)will ever want to learn to configure lilo in order to boot to his system.Thus I see Arch just as an OS for those who know the depth of Linux. From Linux user view, Arch is great although you need a broadband connection in order to enjoy it daily. 2005-02-08 9:09 am Anonymous It appears to me that invariably, almost every week or so, a new Debian-based distribution comes out. The reason for this is simple: APT. With Debian’s package manager and pre-existing packages, what new distribution developer could resist it as a base? Apparently, not many. One of my favorite sites, Distrowatch, claims that about a that there about 128 distributions based on Debian. Out of all total distributions, only 29 can be classified as “Independent”. Arch Linux is one of them. By doing this, Arch has taken “the road not taken” and traveled on the unbeaten path. This in itself is commendable but independence for the sake of it is pointless. Couldn’t agree more with most of your argumentation.If 128 distros are based on debian why not use the original?Well this touches the core being of (FOSS) and GNU i think.They simply want to share their great experiences with debian with people who otherwise wouldn’t be able in one way or another to participate,or as a stepstone for debian itself in a later more advanced stadium.Personally i favor the original itself.The repository and manager is awsome with powefull advanced features such as apt-build (build apps from source for your arch;P4,athlon-xp,etc,complete with dependencies making use of the same package manager and repository file,even a BSD “make world” is possible).Nothing is more frustrating when using a distro and hitting an update/upgrate wall.A good modern distro should have a modern versatile package manager,be it pacman,apt or any other good one (don’t think ther’s any other:-).One that is maintained by the core devs and mirrored to selected “trustworthy” mirrors only.Arch is an interesting distro,no doubt about it. 2005-02-08 10:33 am Anonymous I think you don’t need to be an advance user to install Arch. If you want to learn Linux for the first time to really use it on a day to day basis ( ok you need a broad- band connection but APT, RPM and Portage do too) it is the best you could find. ( better than LFS) It’s fast, it’s 686 optimised and you end up installing what you really need. I did an Arch install on a PII 300 and the thing works like a charm. So if you have an older pc i would say try it you wont be disapointed. 2005-02-08 11:51 am Anonymous heh, in fact arch is more or less a derivative itself, from another even more “flying-below-the-radar” distro, namely CRUX.. Good ideas are rarely original it seems. Those in doubt – but to lazy to check the similarities can read here. http://archlinux.veloxis.de/faq/content/faq.single/arch-general-faq… 2005-02-08 12:10 pm Anonymous Nice to see people are starting to notice arch. Just started using it myself when i saw that 0.7 was released. Its a great alternative to gentoo. Can’t wait till we finish the x86_64 port. 2005-02-08 12:37 pm Anonymous the review was unbiased in my eyes, that’s cool arch seems to be a nice distro, but while it gets much hype on osnews, it isn’t especially better than others. Just slightly different (and just slightly), with a nicer colorscheme than gentoo at boot (but not so many packages, that’s why it feels so fast at synchronising and listing them 2005-02-08 12:52 pm Anonymous It should be said that it’s not only a matter of ways to handle packages, apt or pacman, but it’s a matter of what packages are available too. At least imho. What I’m really missing with debian is java, acroread, jedit, and php5. Okay I’ve installed Jedit by using the jedit.org repository. But java, acroread and php5 are not packages that are available with debian’s repository directly. I understand there are some “licenses” reasons for some packages behind the scenese but from my point of view, end-user, it’s something I’m missing. p.s. I’m using Debian with Java1.5 and Jedit…so it’s not a tech issue and that’s not difficult at all to install them! 2005-02-08 2:13 pm Anonymous if you have enjoyed gentoo/debian/slackware try this !!! i have used slackware and debian but after arch i ain’t going back 2005-02-08 2:50 pm Anonymous Installed another distro (Gentoo) lately. Was able to get it installed/working, but rather painful (Grub bootloader failed to work with my BIOS, networking configuration didn’t fly, and some more minor, but crucial details like that). While installing, it was *very* useful that I could read the install handbook on one console, and perform the required steps from another console. These days, I don’t see the point in maintaining separate install CD’s. IMHO any serious distro MUST have a LiveCD, and be able to install a basic setup from that. Such LiveCD should be kept current, like in sync with every full release of the distro. It wouldn’t be bad to regard a Live/install CD as the #1 target for doing updates on the distro. Also requiring network access during install is very annoying. You may use it for FTP installs from a boot floppy, but with a CD, you should be able to get a basic setup without a network. Updates can be done later. Last time I checked, Arch had a LiveCD, but very outdated. Something else I noticed: lots of build/compile tools like gcc, make, patch, autoconf/automake are grouped under ‘base packages’. This is plain wrong. I can understand that many Arch users would compile packages for themselves, and that gcc & friends are among the first tools used. But still: they are DEVELOPMENT tools. You don’t need any of these to install a system, boot it, get it networked, or add/remove (binary) packages. So these development tools shouldn’t be in ‘base’, period. Only exception would be interpreters used in boot/install scripts, like maybe Perl or Python. Other than that I think Arch is a very promising distro. Nice middle ground between stable Slackware and modern source-based Gentoo. Things to work on: current LiveCD, include hardware detection a la Knoppix, and streamlined install procedure. 2005-02-08 2:56 pm Anonymous Those in doubt – but to lazy to check the similarities can read here. Well, it’s based partially on concepts and underlying elegance from CRUX, but it does not use CRUX code at all as far as I know. It uses the same initscripts (mostly) and a similar /etc/ filesystem. I think the comparison ends there, though, as Arch offers true package management. 2005-02-08 3:05 pm Anonymous I don’t know what this dude did wrong, but the configuration files should NOT be empty at all. One of the beautiful things about Arch is that ALL the configuration files are excellently commented and set with perfectly acceptable defaults for most to get a bootable system. Modules, init scripts, hostname, network interfaces, keyboard layout, timezone etc are all configured through /etc/rc.conf with clear instructions to customize for your needs. If the reviewer had looked around a little, he would also have discovered the “pacman -Sg” command which lists all available meta-packages (package groups). The “gnome” and “gnome-extra” packages are listed here, along with others like “xfce4” and “xfce4-goodies”. gnome-extra also includes GDM as far as I know, and the wiki has instructions to set it up. If he wanted automounting in gnome, it’s a simple procedure of adding “hal” and “dbus” to the init scripts line of /etc/rc.conf Arch is not for everyone, but if you can install Slackware or Debian and get a desktop up and running, then Arch should present no major issues for you. It’s incredibly fast, light, customizable, bleeding-edge and stable. I love the convineince of desktop-style distros like Mandrake or Ubuntu, but if you want to learn, experiment, or even bring an old computer back to life, Arch is the perfect solution. The reviewer has done a decent job (especially on the ABS section) and I’m sure he would have been far more impressed had the default configuration files worked for him. He did fail to mention that the kernel can be manually compiled during install if you want, but the stock kernel is perfect for almost anyone. I recommend reading other reviews if you’re interested in Arch to see how smoothly the install actually runs. But kudos to the reviewer for taking the time to share his experience and push this excellent distro. 2005-02-08 3:36 pm Anonymous “Well, it’s based partially on concepts and underlying elegance from CRUX, but it does not use CRUX code at all as far as I know.” That has nothing to do with the point I made, I was reacting to the misconception that arch would be something altogether new, ie not based on anything that existed before. According to http://archlinux.org/~jason/newsletters/newsletter-2004-Sep-05.html Q: What is the difference between CRUX LINUX and ARCH LINUX? A: According to Judd: I used Crux before starting Arch. Arch started out as Crux, pretty much. Then I wrote pacman and makepkg to replace my bash pseudo packaging scripts (I built Arch as an LFS system to begin). So the two are completely separate distros, but technically, they’re almost the same. We have dependency support (officially) for example, although Crux has a community that provides other features. CLC’s prt-get will do rudimentary dependency logic. Crux gets to ignore lots of problems we have too, since it’s a very minimalistic package set, basically what Per uses and nothing else. I guess the relationship is a bit closer than you’d think. Just leave it at this, I was correcting a misconception, I’m not going to start another distro-war… I’m not even sure what you mean with “true” package management. Is there “untrue” package management? Are you hinting at binary packages vs the port system? Or is it dependency checking? Ah, never mind. 2005-02-08 4:19 pm Anonymous I consider myself a Windows user and I think Arch is the best Linux distro. I’ve ever used, although I have not tried Debian. As a Windows user that never used Linux I found Arch to be rather easy to setup and configure. Of course I had to read the installation guide to get through it. I still think Windows is better especially when it comes to ACPI and Wireless networking as well as games. I think Linux in general is still about 3 or 4 years behind Windows in terms of hardware support and use of “new” technologies. 2005-02-08 4:37 pm Anonymous Choose UDev device system. DevFS is deprecated and I saw that this guy were using it. Don’t forget to hit “Done” when you have finished one step of the installation, otherwise there will be problems with empty conf files and all sorts of other problems too. Hotplug is running as default, but it’s always good to know which modules you are going to use if it fails. Choose a local mirror in /etc/pacman.d/* when you are ready to use pacman after you have installed base. You get faster downloads and takes the load down on Arch’ main server, which should only be used for developing and syncing mirrors. Enjoy! 2005-02-08 4:41 pm Anonymous “I don’t know what this dude did wrong, but the configuration files should NOT be empty at all.” I don’t know what YOU did wrong. Wait actually I do, you didn’t read the article. If you read the next paragraph he said that when he reinstalled the config files were not empty that time around. 🙂 -adapt 2005-02-08 4:48 pm Anonymous This is not denying the problems but rather putting them in the correct context. “I still think Windows is better especially when it comes to ACPI and Wireless networking as well as games. I think Linux in general is still about 3 or 4 years behind Windows in terms of hardware support and use of “new” technologies.” Well, as long as the manufacturers produce broken acpi-implementations to match windows broken acpi-support this is probably going to keep trailing. Wrt wireless networking, and hardware support in general, it’s hard and time-consuming to produce sane drivers when you lack the documentation. Games? Well that’s a chicken/egg problem, isn’t it? No market, no games. No games no market.. New technologies? Ahem.. we all know how bad linux support is for amd64 and for how long windows for it has been released and how advanced it’s support is, right? Google and you shall find more examples of things that weren’t supported first in windows. I hope you do see where the problem is? 2005-02-08 4:59 pm Anonymous “These days, I don’t see the point in maintaining separate install CD’s. IMHO any serious distro MUST have a LiveCD, and be able to install a basic setup from that.” Why? It wastes a whole lot of space for no benefit. Someone proposed this for the next MDK release and it was comprehensively shot down on the basis of pointlessness. It’s hard enough cramming everything most people want into 3 CDs as it is, why waste space on all the guff needed for a LiveCD just to install the distro? 2005-02-08 5:27 pm Anonymous …I’ll never ever use another distro. than ubuntu, fedora, mandrake, slackware, and gentoo! And maybe now Arch. 2005-02-08 7:17 pm Anonymous AdamW wrote: “Why? It wastes a whole lot of space for no benefit.” No benefit??? Let’s see: LiveCD’s are useful, right? Just see the success of Knoppix & friends. People like live Linux distro’s, for evaluation, rescue-style tasks, for taking your favourite distro on the road to use at your friends house, etc. etc. Now enter an install CD: does a bit of hardware detection, asks some questions about desired installation (partitions, packages etc.), copies files, installs bootloader and so on. When you boot from an install CD, you are already running a live Linux system, right? Be it limited, and specialized for the installation task. The hardware detection done when booting a liveCD, gives info that is useful for configuring the harddrive install as well (partitions, video card type, audio hardware, keyboard type/layout, etc.). Now install files. What is copied? Right: the binaries needed to get a basic system up and running. Included and partly running from the install CD, included and largely running from a full-fledged liveCD. In other words: between ‘install CD’ and ‘full liveCD’ there is a LOT of overlap. No waste here, unless you didn’t construct them in a sensible manner. It’s hard enough cramming everything most people want into 3 CDs as it is (..) You don’t need “everything most people want” on a live/install CD. Enough is: something you can boot, that provides some consoles and maybe a lightweight GUI, and contains the tools to add packages after installation on harddrive. An 80 min./700 MB. CD is not enough for that? Get outta here, some distro’s do it in 50 MB. or less. Heck, I’ve got my own Linux system that takes under 50 MB. on CD, that is kernel 2.6 based, GNU tools & libc, GCC, Perl and X11 included. Leave out GCC, replace glibc and X11, and you can make this MUCH smaller. All remaining CD space available for goodies. You can get the rest after install from additional discs or download. No need to cram everything on one disc. 2005-02-08 9:00 pm Anonymous I think it works for Mepis, and I think it would work for Ubuntu. Generally, I think it would work well for most single CD distributions, though it does lower space limitations in the ISO like Adam mentioned. However, for any distro that requires more than one CD it would be a mess. And for any distro that’s minimalistic like Arch, Debian, or Gentoo, I don’t really see the point since the package manager’s strength is in system building. Those of use who use these distros don’t generally want a precut distro or we’d use a derivation. Plus one of the great things about Arch is being able to load the CD and have a base system 5 minutes later (10 if you have to build a kernel, maybe 15 if you have to configure the kernel). I don’t see that happening from a Live CD, or even a graphical installer. 2005-02-08 9:07 pm Anonymous I’m not even sure what you mean with “true” package management. Is there “untrue” package management? Hehe…I was rushing a bit there…I just meant that pacman is much more complete for solving ALL of what most users want in package management. I guess mainly dependency resolution is what it offers over CRUX… As for the rest of what you were saying about Arch “coming from” CRUX, point taken. I think I was actually meaning the same thing that was stated in the quote you provided. Actually, I think that CRUX was conceptually modeled after Slackware, largely, which is built with GNU/Linux. Linux is closely related to minix, a chip of the UNIX block. I think you can say that Arch is pretty original. My comment was very poorly stated. As is this one, but I’m just too lazy right now. 2005-02-08 10:02 pm Anonymous It doesn’t have the polish of some other distros and the package repositories are still thin compared to the umteen Debian based distros. Still, pacman is a brillient package manager and is the key to Arch being what it is. Some of the PKBUILD files submitted on their forums are dodgy and can lead the user on a chase to try and get them to work. For me, I wanted the large repositories and ease of setup/use. I jumped onto Ubuntu Hoary the other day and was greatly impressed. One thing Ubuntu had that Arch hadn’t was poilished integration of the Desktop components. I have ESD working and it required f-all in my input to get to a great running desktop. Maybe I’m just getting lazy. Still Arch taught me a lot to do with Linux. 2005-02-08 10:18 pm Anonymous Arch does not seem to offer more that the combination slackware/swaret/checkinstall offers. I wish them luck anyway… 2005-02-09 12:57 am Anonymous Arch offers a cohesive, tested repository rather than a 3rd party solution which is falling apart at the seams, for one. Not to diminish what Swaret, Slapt-get, and linuxpackages.net have done, it’s no easy task. 2005-02-09 3:46 am Anonymous I’ve been using ARCH for about 2 weeks and am very happy with it. The kind of happy that will keep me on it for a long time. I was a happy Slackware guy under 9.0/9.1 but we broke up when 10.0 ran so poorly on my machine. Oh yes, my friends, I’ve been a bad boy, whoring with all the distros for the last 10 months. I’ve been with Mepis and Gentoo and everything in between, but ARCH is the new penguin in my life…I thinks it’s love! 2005-02-09 4:35 am Anonymous Some here are thrilled to have to dig through config files, use vi to edit them, and do net installs, all in order to install a base system. Frankly, from the review and other comments here, it seems that Arch, along with Slackware, Gentoo, and pure Debian, is a challenging, tedious install that requires a very experienced Linux user that is very comfortable in the command line and knows the various config files, as well as the hardware being installed on, inside and out. Also, it seems that Arch requires a fast internet connection for installing everything you want. No thanks. This sort of thing is a no-go for me (and I’m guessing for a majority of users). I actually would not mind spending a day or two trying to install and configure one of these “leet” distros like Arch or Slackware or Gentoo, just for the learning experience and getting more comfortable with the config files and the command lines. But, happily, I have a life (married, full time job, 2 year old daughter, another child on the way = very little time to waste on Arch type distro). So I’m quite happy with something like Mandrake PowerPack, which is super easy, has tons of software (quickly and easily installed from the CDs), looks great, has lot’s of features like Mandrake Control Center, Galaxy theme, urpmi, etc. Then when I compare this to Arch, I ask “what do I get with Arch?”. Well, basically nothing, except perhaps an extra milisecond of execution speed for all the effort to insall the thing. Maybe Arch gives a bit extra stability? – well, my Mandrake installation is plenty stable – no crashes and I can keep it running for days and weeks and months. Maybe it’s the appeal of vanilla installations? Well, imho the extras that a distro adds is part of what makes the distro appealing and improves the user experience. Package management? Pacman sounds nice, but probably no better or worse than urpmi or apt-get. But too each his own, I guess. For people that have the time and the knowledge of all the config files and commands, and have a high speed connection, and don’t want any extras, I guess Arch is great. Well, since there is such an influx of newbie oriented Debian derivatives, I guess it’s good that there are more “leet” distros for the uber-geeks. BTW – I’m not trying to start a “my distro is better than your distro” flame war. I figured it would be a good idea to include in the comments a perspective that is not in praise of the review/distro. But for those who like Arch and distros like it, enjoy! 2005-02-09 5:09 am Anonymous Give me a break, how hard is it to edit a config file? I have never understood this argument… It takes longer to edit something w/ a GUI then it does just to open & edit it in his/her favorite text editor. I can understand to a certain extent how a config file can sometimes seem overwhelming, but for the most part it is really all just about common sense “and the usual commented lines”. For the parts that aren’t? There are man pages, guides, & google. Remember you only have to learn it once and once learned you are better for it… As for trying to start a flame war about who’s distro is better? Nor am I! Personally I am not an Arch fan at all, but I don’t see anything hard about it…. 2005-02-09 5:36 am Anonymous <Give me a break, how hard is it to edit a config file? I have never understood this argument…> This is just the final step in a long process:I cut my teeth on one of the first IBM PCs with a 360 K floppy for storage. so I’m not a stranger to the command line. . 1. Ya gotta know a favorite text editor and how to use it. I never did learn to use edlin. vi seems to be the latest generation. And you’re usually trying to do this under a command line environment– give me a break. 2. Ya gotta know what goes in that config file and where it goes. For example, I’ve been trying to get timidity to play midi files for two years. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. Some of the heavy commenting in an example I’ve seen does more to confuse than enlighten. A lot of man files are just basic information – not an example in a carload. 3. I could go on, but it’s getting late. I want to use my computer and its programs, not make a career of getting it running right. 2005-02-09 6:41 am Anonymous you can do all the basic rescue stuff with a Mandrake install CD as it is (and I think with the other conventional install distros); in a sense they _are_ live CDs, just very basic ones which give you a console. As for your other comment, of course you can put the rest of the system on further CDs or online. Mandrake (and everyone else) does this already. But the point is, it already crams three 700MB CDs full to the brim. If you add the extra stuff necessary for a a full graphical live CD, something’s gotta get bumped from those three CDs, and someone’s going to be pissed. Sure, they can get it online, or they can get a pack with more CDs, but a lot of people don’t, won’t or can’t (when you’re a big distro like MDK, Fedora or SuSE, you have users who just get burned ISOs from Cheapbytes or from their friends, and whose internet connection is maybe a 56k modem with usage limitations. They’re not going to be downloading 50MB packages.) 2005-02-09 9:22 am Anonymous Frankly, from the review and other comments here, it seems that Arch, along with Slackware, Gentoo, and pure Debian, is a challenging, tedious install that requires a very experienced Linux user that is very comfortable in the command line and knows the various config files, as well as the hardware being installed on, inside and out I tend to disagree. Arch has been my second Linux distro; I originally ran Mandrake 9. I’m a writer, not a programmer or “Linux Geek”, and I found the Arch installation very intuitive, straightforward and, overall, easier than Mandrake’s. I rather go through a config file and edit three well-commented lines of settings to get my network / DSL connection running than trying the same thing with a weird wizard. And you only have to do it once, anyway … 2005-02-09 11:32 am Anonymous Gimme a break too.. 1. Ya gotta know a favorite text editor and how to use it. I never did learn to use edlin. vi seems to be the latest generation. And you’re usually trying to do this under a command line environment– give me a break. Yeah, using something like nano is sooo hard. Want a clue? If you think it’s too hard, stay away. Seriously. Nobody is trying to force you to use anything like gentoo, arch, crux or slack or any other distro like that. In fact, the users of these distros use them because they are what they are, and not just another attempt to mimic windows. As these distros are growing they surely cater for some people even if you are not one of them. If you want a “pointy-clicky” dist use mandrake or some such. Don’t come here and whine about it. 2. Ya gotta know what goes in that config file and where it goes. Mmm. /etc, /usr/etc or some place in your $HOME usually is a safe bet. As for what goes in it, you seem to be one of those “RTFM is so tedious and difficult” moaners. /me points again to suse, rh, mandrake, windows or whatever floats your boat. This is definitely not the right place to air your own inadequateness. 3. I could go on, but it’s getting late. I want to use my computer and its programs, not make a career of getting it running right. Well, this box, and all the others around here works alright and has offered me sigificantly less resistance and thus saved me time, compared to if I would have tried to customise a RH or Mandrake installation. And if stuff breaks, I have a clue how to fix it rather than fighting with various wizards that claim that everything is just fine or doesn’t adress the problem. I could also go on, but really, there is no point in wasting time on a whiner like you. 2005-02-09 5:19 pm Anonymous “Give me a break, how hard is it to edit a config file? I have never understood this argument… “ It’s not hard to edit a config file. Typing is easy. The key is knowing what config file to edit, where it’s located, and what exactly to edit, so that you can get things working correctly and not blow up your system. In short, if you have the knowledge and/or clear, easy to follow documentation, then editing config files is a snap. However, if you lack those things, then editing config files is as much fun as having one’s teeth pulled. If you don’t have the knowledge and/or clear documentation, then editing config files involves a lot of guess work, re-installations (due to wrong guesses), and scouring the user forums for directions. All of this can take lot’s of time, as opposed to a good GUI config tool, which usually is very intuitive, and involves a few clicks. Then there are the distros that autodetect and autoconfig everything for you, saving you even more time. Again, my post was not meant to necessarily criticize Arch and it’s users, or start a flame war. It was just pointing out that it’s niche is generally for the very knowledgeable Linux user who has enough time to spare for messing with various config files, and digging through the docs and forums. I suspect that Arch/Slackware/Gentoo fans really enjoy editing the config files, working in the command line, and not having everything auto detected. Messing around in a Unix shell can be quite fun, actually. If I had the time, I’d spend a weekend installing something like Arch or Slackware, and gleefully mess around in the command line. So, peace, and enjoy your Arch! 🙂 2005-02-09 5:23 pm Anonymous “I tend to disagree. Arch has been my second Linux distro; I originally ran Mandrake 9. I’m a writer, not a programmer or “Linux Geek”, and I found the Arch installation very intuitive, straightforward and, overall, easier than Mandrake’s. I rather go through a config file and edit three well-commented lines of settings to get my network / DSL connection running than trying the same thing with a weird wizard. And you only have to do it once, anyway …” Coming from this perspective, it makes me think that the installation documentation and comments in the config files are good enough to make it a painless installation. Maybe if I can find some extra hard drive space, I’ll give Arch a try. However, there is the net install thing. I’m on dial up at home, which makes a net install a no go. Does Arch come in installation CDs that would include both KDE and Gnome, the various Office programs, development tools like gcc, g++, KDevelop, Glade, games and other goodies? 2005-02-09 6:44 pm Anonymous Arch iso includes only IceWM I think. You have to download KDE and Gnome separately. Arch is a little pain to use on dial-up. Some people do it so it is possible, but the best thing you can do is to go over to the nearest neighbour that got broadband and install it. Arch is not difficult to set up at all. As one guy said before, you only have to learn the configurations once, after that you got can just relax and enjoy. But if you like other distros there is no reason to switch, use what you like best. 2005-02-09 7:18 pm Anonymous He is confused about debconf. You can configure the level of priority of the questions that debconf asks you, including never to ask you a question. If you “turn of debconf”, it is part of Debian policy to set a reasonable default on your behalf. Additionally, when doing an apt-get install or upgrade, all of the debconf questions are asked at once, before any installation begins, so his gripe about not being able to answer some questions and then go get a cup of coffee is not valid. Also, he claims MP3 is not open source. This is false. MP3 is patented and MP3 encoders are not usable in some countries without paying license fees. This doesn’t stop Debian from including a MP3 decoder with the standard xmms package. 2005-02-09 7:35 pm Anonymous I use it on dialup, I actually think it’s easier to install, bandwidth wise, than most other distributions because I only have to download 100MB or so plus the packages I want. The one problem I had was that ppp and it’s dependency popt aren’t on the ISO, so I had to download them in another distro and burn them to disc or write them to floppy before hand, and then install them with pacman -A ppp*pkg.tar.gz. Also, pppconfig is available, but I found it a better solution to just follow the dialup sans dialer guide in the wiki. It’s more difficult to setup than many distros, I had to write the options file, setup permissions, and make some aliases, but now it’s tailored to fit me better than dialup solution I’ve seen. I use a simple pppd to connect, pppk to killall chat, which are easily bound to buttons or menu entries and can be executed as a user. Actually, I think the 0.7 netinstall ISO is a little bigger, I’m not sure. Once you install you don’t have to install again, and I haven’t in quite some time. Maybe ppp and popt are on it now, too. Oh, and regarding your comment above that if you screw something up in a .file or /etc you have to reinstall, that’s very, very rarely true unless you change loads of things at once on something vital to the system. Generally, you can go back and fix it, or the worst case is having to remove and reinstall a package to get a clean slate. And it’s generally not difficult to find the config file you need. Usually things are named appropriately and commented or otherwise documented well. And even when things aren’t, your /etc starts out very small because of the lean initial install, so you get acquainted with your configs very quickly. 2005-02-11 11:10 am Anonymous After reading all 36 posts I find that I am most comfortable with using Vector since I can have it install and pick up all of my hardware and then it runs very smoothly. Then I can start tinkering around with it. I have also installed a zillion distros on my notebook. So have fun with Arch!