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Tips for new Arch user?

2020-07-01 by: Josh Waldrop
From: Josh Waldrop 
Good evening, everyone. This is my first time writing to the Chugalug
mailing list but I have been subscribed since 2016. I've been a Linux user
since I was 13 years old (I'll be 28 in two months) after being introduced
to KNOPPIX, and prior to a couple of weeks ago, I have used Ubuntu as my
primary distro of choice since 2016 after using it off-and-on for a few

I've recently installed Arch Linux onto my main laptop's HDD after deciding
to switch from Ubuntu as I wanted to install a distro that granted me the
freedom to decide what packages to install rather than having everything
pre-installed for me. I've already installed my desktop environment, some
packages that I felt were necessary for me to install, and my preferred
package manager for installing packages from the Arch User Repository.
However, I have had some difficulty with Plymouth after I had attempted to
get it working. Other than that, I am enjoying this distro quite a lot.

If there are any well-experienced Arch users in the group that can give
some friendly tips and advice to Arch newbies, I would love to hear how I
can improve my experience with Arch.

Cheers! ~Josh Waldrop

=============================================================== From: Adam Jimerson ------------------------------------------------------ Hello Josh, I've been running Arch for years and love it. As for some tips I can give you: 1. The Arch Wiki is your friend (I even state this for people not running Arch, as it's very well maintained and always up to date. I even use it sometimes for my FreeBSD boxes I maintain) 2. Never do the following commands: * `pacman -Su` (in this context it will do nothing unless you recently synced your repos with `pacman -Sy` or `pacman -Syy` before hand) , * `pacman -Su ` (in this context the `-u` flag will do nothing for you unless you recently did a `pacman -Sy` in which case can result in a partial update which can break things) * `pacman -Sy ` (this will cause a partial update which can break things) When doing a system update do `pacman -Syu` (sync your local repos and updates all installed packages) and to install a new package do `pacman -S ` 3. It is wise to check the Arch Linux homepage before doing a system update to see if an update needs manual intervention (there is an RSS feed for this if you have an RSS reader you use). Usually when this happens what you need to do is simple like this https://www.archlinux.org/news/zn_poly-092-2-update-requires-manual-intervention/ 4. If you choose to use an AUR (Arch User Repository) helper, don't use yaourt as it does so many things wrong and causes all kinds of headaches. As such it's not even listed on the wiki page anymore https://wiki.archlinux.org/ index.php/AUR_helpers#Comparison_tables (personally I use yay) 5. Don't freak out when you see that a system update will free up disk space as this happens fairly often and it's just pacman looking out for you ;). The reason for this is because to pacman update means uninstall the old version and install the new one instead rather than extract over the old version like other package managers do. 6. Occasionally when doing an update you will see where pacman created a ".pacnew" version of a configuration file. This happens because the config file was modified since install, and there were changes done to the default config file upstream. When this happens you can use `pacdiff` to see the current config file and the new one so you can determine if you need to make any changes post update. A less often thing is when file/directory permissions have been changed in the newer package, in this case pacman will tell you what the current permissions are and what the new package wants them to be. 7. Keep your mirrorlist current, this can be automated with reflector and a pacman hook, SystemD service/timer, or cron https://wiki.archlinux.org/ index.php/Reflector#Automation Hopefully that helps and of course feel free to reach out if you have an questions or problems. Glad to have another glorious Arch user on the list ;)

=============================================================== From: Ben Romines ------------------------------------------------------ Do you hang out on the irc channels, those dude have always been awesome.. #archlinux #archlinux-offtopic I too have used arch for years now this is an awesome list of tips for sure!

=============================================================== From: Adam Jimerson ------------------------------------------------------ I occasionally lurk on them but not very often. I'm currently in the process of migrating from ZNC to Matrix's IRC bridge for my IRC bouncer so the channels I usually lurk in are in flux.

=============================================================== From: Josh Waldrop ------------------------------------------------------ Thanks, Adam and Ben! I think those tips might be very helpful for my first go at running Arch on my primary hardware. I've been running 'pacman -Syu' for all of my updates, along with running yay for installing packages from the AUR. yaourt was a bit of a pain for me, so I gave up on it. It might help me a lot as I continue to learn Arch Linux. I love the fact that the packages on Arch are up-to-date, as it is one of the main reasons I made the big switch from Ubuntu. I could have installed Manjaro or another easy-to-install Arch-based distro but I think it is more worth the time amd effort to install Arch manually.

=============================================================== From: Josh Waldrop ------------------------------------------------------ Since migrating to Discord, I have not been very active on IRC as much as I used to. I might consider using it again as long as I have a secure IRC bouncer to use.

=============================================================== From: Adam Jimerson ------------------------------------------------------ One nice thing about using a helper like yay that is a pacman wrapper is that is can also handle the same tasks as pacman. So the following can be done: - yay -Syu (update all installed packages from the official repos and AUR) - yay -S (install a new package regardless of if it is in the official repos or the AUR) - yay -R (remove a package) - etc As such I have an alias setup in my shell so when I execute a pacman command yay is used instead. Another helpful thing is running yay with no arguments defaults to doing `yay -Syu` to save on some typing. That's probably for the better as it wasn't all that good (again it caused more problems than it solved), although years ago it got pretty popular (enough that people would reference using it in blog posts, stack overflow, etc...).

=============================================================== From: Adam Jimerson ------------------------------------------------------ I have been impressed with Matrx so far, and while it uses its own protocol, the number of things it has brides for is impressive (current list can be seen here https://matrix.org/bridges/ although support for audio/video calls over these bridges can be a hit or a miss).