Learning To Linux... The Hard way

Day 1:

So, I decided to delve into the wonderful world of Linux. And while most people say “start with ubuntu” or something similar to get your feet wet, i thought that was some sound advice…

So naturally, being the crazy that I am, I went straight for what I’ve seen as the “not for beginners” Linux Distro and Created myself an Arch Linux Bootable USB Stick.

I streamed this entire process, which went surprisingly easy. I’m not sure if that’s because i watched some installs on the internet, because the archwiki is surprisingly well detailed or because my google-foo is just that on-point.

I actually had to install it twice, because I did not do the first step in the process which was to check and see if i was booted EFI. I wasn’t. And i can’t figure out how on my motherboard, yet, but i’ll figure that out if it is possible with my SATA SSD.

So I had to start over.

The second time around I used a 1G partition for a boot drive for grub.

Took a few hops around the web to figure out exactly how to install grub from the command line, some crazy Line of text:

# grub-install --target=i386-pc /dev/sdX

That was how i ended up doing it.

Exited out of chroot and removed my bootable media and then…

error: no such device: blah blah blah
Loading Linux core repo kernel ...
error: no such partition

So on and so forth.

So apparently Linux Didn’t get installed… when i was installing ArchLINUX. I figured that’d be in the base package but maybe not.

Once i did that it booted into linux just fine. But again, I ignored a portion of the Arch Wiki… That little part that said something to the effect of “by default your new installation will not have networking configured.”

So To install a network manager i had to figure out how to connect to the internet to get one, google-foo it is.

Once that was reconnected insted of getting a network manager I decided i wanted a GUI. The only GUI i could think of off hand was GNOME, so… “how to install GNOME on arch linux fresh install” came up to a rather helpful page that explained i needed to install a base for it first, so it helpfully helped me to get on the right track to install xorg, the page was out of date and the commands were significantly easier to deal with now.

Once installed I moved onto installing Gnome, the DejaVu Font format and learned how to enable it at startup. The regular arch terminal doesn’t work with GNOME so i installed lxterminal instead.

Rebooted and… SUCCESS! I had a pretty purple interface aaaaaaand… still no network manager.

DHCPCD to the rescue again, and then a little more google-foo and found…

# pacman -S NetworkManager
# pacman -S network-manager-applet


# systemctl enable NetworkManager.service
# systemctl start NetworkManager.service

A little 3 box connected thingy appeared next to the Settings part of GNOME and that was done.

Once the Videos finish processing on youtube I’ll add them here. Next on my list I have Getting the GNOME software thing working and figuring out how to use AUR most effectively.

I’ll update when that’s done.

Thanks for reading and i hope you had as much fun reading this as i did experiencing it. I’m glad to be a part of this community and encourage feedback!

Eventually I plan on running KVM for windows games If i can’t get the whole wine DXVK thing running. I wrote this piece of blog artisticness on the firefox browser I downloaded to my new Arch Linux with GNOME installation.

First part of stream:

Second part of stream:

Day 2:

So i’m now starting my day 2, mostly because I just did one little thing before bed, but its probably going to help a ton!

I was having an issue with the stock Gnome-software app that comes with GNOME, it was not displaying categories or apps.

FIrst thing that i did was:

# sudo pacman -R gnome-software

to delete the software suite…
At this point I came to the realization, Sudo, is a program.


So i logged out of my user account, logged into root, opened up my terminal…

pacman -S sudo

Installed that, did about 10 minutes of googling to make sense of the Arch wiki that explained visudo, and then added my user account to the sudo list.

Logged back out of root, and logged back into my user account.

sudo  pacman -R gnome-software

Then i was greeted with the error that I wasn’t on the sudoers list. Great. Thought about it for a second and then it came to me, my DISPLAY name and my USER name are two different things. Logged back out of user, logged into root, corrected the sudoers file, and then ran the command again.

Great! Making progress, now i just need to

sudo pacman -S gnome-software

and its reinstalled. Opened it back up to once again be greeted by a grey screen and no apps. Odd. HA ARCH LINUX YOU JUST ACTIVATED MY TRAP CARD!

Stumbled upon a helpful little forum for Manjaro, which is i guess another form of Arch? And they suggested installing gnome-software-packagekit-plugin.

sudo pacman -S gnome-software-packagekit-plugin

And now its up! Victory, and of course the first things i grabbed were OBS, and VLC, surprised there’s not a plex app in that repo. I’m sure there’s something on AUR.

After I finished with that I went to bed, woke up went to work and came home. Next on my lists was Qemu. Read some information, and decided i was going to deal with this Saturday after work.

On my list of things to do Day 3:

  1. Successfully download and install Qemu
  2. Modify Grub to activate IOMMU.
  3. grab a drink.
  4. Check my IOMMU groupings and pray that PCIe slots 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 are seperate so i can sue my RX 560 for Linux and my GTX 980 ti for Windows.
  5. Put a hook in to hold one of those groups for kvm.
  6. Install a VM with either windows 8.1 or windows 10. Kind of leaning 8.1 since i wouldn’t need any of the apps for 10, but might also want to play Halo Wars 2 at some point. I have keys for both.
  7. Configure the passthrough.
  8. Be 1337 again.

I’m sure im missing something in there.


Great job bro!


You said you streamed the setup, do you have a link? Curious to watch, as someone who is switching to Linux within the next month.

I tried googling your name, but didn’t find a thing.

Edit: If you read over that in a theatrical voice, it kinda rhymes. Heh.

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I have posted the links at the bottom of the first post :slight_smile:

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Updated Again with the beginning of day 2, this is going much better than i thought, i for sure thought my computer would have been out the window onto the hot pavement of my neighborhood street by now :slight_smile:.

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The partition for the EFI only needs to be 512 MiB. Anything more than that is wasted space.

Otherwise, you seem to have done a great job!

If you don’t want to log into root everytime you need to make a change then add your user to the sudo group. To do this though you need to be root.

# add supplimentary group to desired user
usermod -aG $USER sudo
# $USER is the user you want to modify.

This sounds really big to me. Mine is 100MiB (created by the Ubuntu installer) and it’s only using half of that. Are there more advanced grub features that would necessitate a half gig?

No, but EFI allows for a lot more bootloaders to go there. As well as copies for redundancy. 512 MiB is the maximum size so a lot of automated installers set it to that because it’s easy and covers all the bases.

and it only took 7 and a half hours


Cool you are getting your feet wet. Mind you most diatros have a net or minimal install option so you can build your install. Arch isn’t the only one with that feature.

So i would look at finding a programming language you are interested in and install the libaries. Get a feel for programmibg with a text edito and shell. From there an IDE may speed up your work. Looking at setting up a web server for testing and playing with php isn’t a bad idea. There is network testing and education software that run on linux if that i Your thing. I do recommend getting a small computer like a raspberry pi so you can play with servers and remoting in with SSH.

Docker is nice for a learning tool that allows you to spin up light VMs to play with things in an isolated enviroment. There are some neat pre made docker images big name companies have some out of the box solutions there.


If you are looking to learn more about how linux work and what it is built out of I recommend Linux From scratch. Do try to run it on bare metal you care about. It is more of a teaching aid than daily driver.

Also if you are interested in trying other diatros or looking at their tool sets LXC is nice for that since the VM shares resources with the host.

Sorry for the info dump but hope I was helpful.


Indeed you were very helpful! I’m going to be looking into all of those ideas microsoft. I was thinking I’d start with Java and Python for basic apps then move into C++ for some more advanced things. I also really need to figure out what the various Desktop environments are coded in so i can build my own flavor of linux, for the learning experience, but thats a ways down there. I’m going to look into Docker for some testing, that sounds like a good idea. Linux from scratch also sounds terrifying but you never know till you’ve done it :slight_smile:.

I figured it was a little big, but didn’t wanna reinstall for a 3rd time yesterday, but will give it another shot at some point when i know what all i want to do to clean up the clutter that is sure to ensue.

I did give my user account access to sudo through visudo.

I appreciate the kind words :slight_smile:

I found it easier then gentoo lol. Lots of building though i would suggest doing it during a time when you have other minor things todo.

Mostly copy/paste from the guide and getting it setup how you like

Yeah get some face time with your distro and when you feel up to it give it a try in a VM or on some unloved hardware. The book that goes with it is pretty good.

When it comes to trying out new stuff and finding what you like VMs make life a bunch easier. Take it slow and wish you luck!

There’s a book? any recommendations?



Dry but interesting read.

But like I said don’t directly install this on your main machine. But neat learning tool.

MBR vs GPT scheme. Throws a bit of a curve ball in the installation process.

Linuxfromscratch and slackbook are both great resources.

but seriously, now that you’ve done that, you may want to think about actually using your computer. Arch isn’t really suitable for day to day use, as much as some people bleat that their install hasn’t broken in X years, it probably has. Manjaro and Antergos are Arch without the hysterical gatekeeping, although I prefer Manjaro because they hold the updates for some time before releasing them for QA reasons. Atergos is literally just an Arch installer that ads some icons and themes [therefor deeming it Verboten by the Arch forum master race], but it has more quirks and it’s just not as polished imo. People will recommend Fedora and openSUSE too, but I wouldn’t since they force you into superfluous wanking about on post-install just to be able to watch video and listen to mp3 files.

If you really just want to use your computer, any of the main Manjaro isos or Ubuntu Mate would be great. Or Mint. People bash Mint for hilariously nebulous reasons, but it’s in the JustWorks[tm] category too.

Just don’t take it too seriously. Linux is a pain in the balls for everyone, and always will be. It’s much better to just see it as an option rather than some ideological crutch.



I mostly did it because, due to the way people on the internet talk about it, it was supposed to be the “not for beginners” thing. I didn’t want a completely barebones Linux system where i literally only started with the linux kernel and i didn’t want one that already had everything like web browsers, and GUI’s preinstalled. Arch is definitely something that has taught me a lot about linux. I’m not sure how long i’m going to keep it, just sharing my journey for those who want arch for whatever reason but are a little timid about it. Who knows, maybe i’ll make it good enough for me that i’ll be able to keep it for long term. I’m looking at Manjaro too, haven’t even heard of Antergos, but i’ll add that to my list. Mostly just want to learn what each does well and pick what’s best for me :slight_smile:.


Thanks for the reading info, i’ll be looking at those, with interest. I’ll probably start a fresh Linux install in a VM then if i feel confident i’ll throw it on a throw away drive for my main rig just to see what i can create :slight_smile:.

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Once you get over the phase where different desktop environments and window managers seem mystical, it really just comes down to how you want to access and do all the things you were going to do anyway. There’s really nothing different about installing VLC on Arch or Ubuntu to watch a film, or which package manager you use to download Chrome. You’re still using VLC and Chrome.

LOL. Dude, you are my spirit animal. I fight very hard to suppress you, but in the end, I give into at the end and start drinking like it’s 1991.