A friend of mine bought a new PC recently and he requested I install Linux for him. I use Arch as my main OS at home so I thought Antergos (2015.07.01) would be a good way to get him an Arch install without all the config of installing regular Arch that can scare a lot of newcomers. I wanted to give him the quick and easy access to the unrivalled amount of constantly bang up-to-date software that running Arch brings. After installing it last night I thought I’d share the probs we encountered and my suggestions for improving Antergos and its installer, Cnchi.
We ended up installing Antergos three times before we were successful. On the first time we just accepted the default partitioning option (‘Use all space on drive’ or whatever it says) and got half-way when I realised it prob uses ext4 by default (does it? I presume so but I didn’t check) and I wanted to install to XFS so we decided to abort the install. On the second attempt we used the existing partition layout Cnchi had created on our first install attempt (256MB /boot, 8GB swap and the rest /) but we edited it so than both the boot and root were set to XFS and we set boot to be mounted under /boot. This time the installer downloaded all the required files but then gave us some non-descript error to tell us Cnchi had failed when you’d expect it to be tidying up and installing GRUB. I can’t remember exactly what the error said but it was certainly a bit vague and didn’t explain why the installation had failed.
Cnchi’s partitioner chose ext2 for the boot partition when we accepted the defaults but I also know that GRUB2 can boot directly from XFS under Arch as thats how I have my install configured so I don’t see why I shouldn’t have been able to use XFS for /boot if that is what caused the installer to fail. It seems to me Cnchi prob needs to have its partitioning checks tweaked so that others using the minimal installer don’t end up wasting hours waiting for a full install to download before being told their install has failed. If you don’t already use XFS by default, have you considered switching? Red Hat obviously think its the best filesystem now that RHEL defaults to XFS.
Cnchi could also be improved by giving the user the option to choose which repos to download from (which regional Arch mirror to use) and I think it’d also be great to add a toggle switch to enable the multilib repos for x64 installs in the same way the installer lets you enable the AUR repos. It should explain that multilib lets you run 32 bit Linux apps under a 64 bit install. I had to manually enable it for my friend as two of the first apps we installed were Skype and wine.
Why is pulseaudio not installed by default? Skype requires PA since 4.3 was released and, more importantly, I’ve never had any luck in getting sound to work under KDE unless PA is installed (it seems solid requires it for KDE audio) so I think PA should be installed by default, at least for those who choose KDE. It’s a quick fix but only for experienced Linux users who know how to fight and win in the multi-layered world of Linux audio.
Finally, on a subjective note, I can’t stand the numix square theme! That’ll be because I also hate the Metro/Modern/flat and dull look pioneered by Windows 8 and Server 2012. I was really disapppointed with the look of the default Antergos KDE desktop but I’m sure someone will be into flat and square desktops?
I know I’m complaining but I do appreciate what a great job Antergos is doing of making Arch easier to install and how much work is involved in putting a distro together so I’d like to say a big thanks to the devs. I’m only writing this because I’d like to see Antergos improve so keep up the good work!
Thanks Antergos team!