ArchLinux Users - What's something cool to show off?

So I was going to post some opensuse stuff, but I apparently forgot to post the first open suse video and its so old now its laughable. So I'll need to redo that LOL.

I haven't installed since it first came out. It reminds me of slackware, but I'm not really nostalgic, so I never cared.

I have a new setup with the 4k monitor passing through a graphics adapter to windows and a hotkey bound on my MX master mouse that toggles the keyboard between Linux and the Windows VM (I love that mouse btw).

I thought about trying to replicate that setup with arch, and/or also maybe also setup a different linux box to show off native linux games because there are a lot (of good ones) now on steam.

so I'm doing the first "welcome to arch" video and I am using the asrock beebox for the initial setup video and that's going well. Probably going to install gnome LOL.

I thought I'd ask if you guys have any cool stuff y'all want me to show off?



Archlinux, there's a lot of fun things to do with it. Your really building a custom linux os in a lot of ways. My request if you have time:
How to make a minimal terminal based arch linux system?
What can you do with arch linux busybox?

That's all I can think of at the time.

pacman, and how to use the AUR.

and myman ofc

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opencubicplayer running in a tty. Coolest thing I've seen in a while now. (text based equalizer anyone?).

Arch has no specific "Arch things" to show off. With the exception of the package manager and AUR there really isn't much to it, and pacman and AUR are.. pretty basic as well and not the most user oriented programs out there.

That said, although its not the best in some areas, id say the lack of toying with things is a cool thing to show off. Packages closely align with upstream, you get what you should expect when you install something.

Explaining the concept of rolling release and its benefits would be good. A lot of people think rolling release isn't stable and that stable means Debian stable. But in reality rolling release doesnt use unstable software it uses fully released packages from the developers who made them.

Arch isn't the best at rolling release, not due to unstable packages, but due to the lack of tools to inform users of any changes that may break the system, but this isnt something that affects just rolling release distros if affects all distros, Arch just isn't the best at handling it. (they only inform you on there website)

Rolling release (and an extra repo) means you can have something like this (below) easily, without pains of package conflicts or breakages or incompatibility with ancient (in free software terms) software:

[[email protected] ~]$ glxinfo | grep OpenGL
OpenGL vendor string: X.Org
OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on AMD PITCAIRN (DRM 2.42.0, LLVM 3.8.0)
OpenGL core profile version string: 4.1 (Core Profile) Mesa 11.0.0-devel (git-42d283a)

For context, this is me running the latest AMD Mesa drivers giving me full OpenGL 4.1 support on the free software drivers rather than the propitiatory AMD drivers (its nice :D)

I added the mesa-git repo and pulled the mesagit group package, that was it.


SigLevel = Never
Server =$repo/$arch

Now i can play more games without worrying about binary drivers.

(speaking of repos, for KDE people, the kde-unstable repo will give you the latest KDE :D it works really well. (you need testing too))

Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist


Arch (and similar distros like Gentoo/Funtoo) is a make what you want of it distro. Theres no silly gnome spin, kde spin, cinnamon spin, etc etc etc. Something I really hate especially when i see people wanting to try a different DE and thinking they need to use Kbuntu or ubuntu gnome, etc. Its a bad misconception, and isn't something that used to be common, It used to be that you would download your distro and when you went to install it it would give you a choice of desktop environments.

Arch on the other hand doesnt give you that perceived restriction. You can install whatever you like. This is good. :)

Speaking of the installation.

The cool thing about Arch (and this is common among the make it how you like distros like Gentoo) is you can have a fully functional system very quickly.

People are a little daunted by meeting a black TTY terminal, and for your grandma sure, that's maybe not ideal (though thinking about it.. its super simple, maybe it is a good idea...), but the blank TTY is the base of your OS that you can now customize to fit exactly what you want.

Another thing when it comes to installation is the wiki. Its pretty good and the installation guide is pretty good to. Though id say that the installation guide can be a little hard to follow, if you take your time with it it does cover everything you need.

Once installed and rebooted, systemd is your friend, it has good system admin utilities (which is great because as mentioned Arch never really had any). Things like timedatectl, localectl, hostnamectl are all really useful to get your system setup properly. Although these wont work as expected when initially installing (not sure why, maybe the chroot or simply because the system isn't in a usable state yet), you can use them to finish off your initial config.

For example, need NTP setup? you can use one of the usual NTP clients out there or just run timedatectl set-ntp on

localectl is also really useful for getting your system to have the correct locale across all parts of the system

I suppose that's not really Arch specific though (thinking about it, a systemd video showing how some of these tools works and using unit files and systemctl might be a very useful idea, i don't think there's a good guide to show exactly what systemd can do you for)


Back to Arch. The AUR is quite good, and the fact is, at some point your going to have to use it. the main repo simply doesnt have enough package. Ive never had an Arch system where i havent eventually had to use it for something.

AUR is good, its easy to use but its basic, and its a little hard to manage mainly because the Arch devs will not integrate it in any way into the system or pacman.

Its somewhat like Gentoos ebuild system, except Gentoos is a bit better integrated. It means you can if you wanted to add your own packages by making a PKGBUILD and adding it to AUR.

The AUR also has most of everything you might need that the main repo doesnt. But to make the most of it and actually be able to manage it you need a 3rd party aur helper. Theres a lot out there. I really like aura but the current version occasionally cant resolve dependencies, I also use packer which works very well.

edit: it seems i started to answer your question and went off a little, hope its useful information.

Awesome. I saw Wayland is a thing here. Is it ready/stable? Pacman doenst seem to give me any hints about how stable something is

It'd be cool if you did the "Arch Challenge," like the guys from LAS a few yeras ago; Linky

I'm sure many of us would like to hear about your experiences with Arch. Your likes and dislikes -and whether you could move over to Arch as a daily driver etc.

I've not tried wayland yet (although its installed (pulled in by gtk) and ready to go for the most part, im not utilizing it as its still being worked on for kwin in KDE.

From what I know its in a usable state. It can be run nativly with a number of things and will run things through X that need it. Im not overly failure with it yet other than that.

I remember reading that the devs hold of putting features in pacman because they want it to be usable in other distros (no idea if this is true or if its just something they say, it took ages to get package signing), so it lacks things like news about package breakages, updates, security updates.

Having a look its pretty unclear to me exactly what they do in regards to stability. There seems to be a waiting period where packages are in testing before they are signed off as stable and moved to extra or core. Arch only actually maintain packages in core and extra (and multilib) everything else is maintained by the community. So Arch only maintains about 5800 packages.

Generally id say packages in core or extra are "stable" everything else is maybe stable. Ive never had packages crash or be buggy, but I have had packages break my system without warning because theres no way of knowing what a package will do unless you look on there website about it. (for example

Ive heard that there is a packman/aur wrapper that actually checks the news for updates, but i forget the name, or if its currently maintained.

That's a complicated, multiple step process.

  1. Get the arch ISO.
  2. Partition your device.
  3. pacstrap base
  4. Install bootloader.

You're done! All you have is a terminal, and a basic system.

But seriously, that's about it. Arch is already a minimal terminal based distro.

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I mentioned aur helpers. But aur has just moved (or about to) to git which will break most of the helpers unless there updated.

On the plus side aur will be less if a pain to deal with

Pacman eating power pills in the terminal??????

Nothing much is Arch specific really - linux is linux.

I would agree, if you are talking in regards to package maintainers - otherwise most end-users won't even notice the change.


If your not using an aurhelper pulling packages from aur to build and update for your system will be easier as you can make use of git. But yes apart from that not much difference.

I know, I've been actively involved in the arch community for over 10 years. I just thought it was funny. Actually haven't seen any reference to ilovecandy for at least five or six years - cheers for the memories.

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Works fine in opensuse. You just can not use proprietary drivers yet.

Personally I enjoy using i3wm and Terminator. It's a nice way to use all of your screen real estate. It's not really Arch specific but it fits into the theme of Arch well (maximize efficiency with little clutter)

Maybe run some benchmarks comparing bleeding edge packages (I.E. Mesa Git) with a more stable distro, like Ubuntu 14.04. You could always talk about how useful pacman and the AUR are (instead of having to manually add repositories under Ubuntu). Not sure what else...