My Experience with Arch

I’ve now been using Arch for several weeks and as promised here is my experience.

Installation

I have to say installing Arch scared me. Hearing how difficult and problematic It can be brought to mind my early struggles with setting up networking and servers many years back. I can now safely say that while I did run into annoying issues they were all the fault of Windows.

Now of course you might be baffled “How is windows to blame for installation issues of Arch?” Well, it’s simple. You need to install Arch from a live flash drive. I did exactly that in windows by first formatting the flash drive and then putting a live, bootable instance of Arch on it. The issue was that windows decided it was appropriate to do this in a partition of the flash drive. Now while that might work for many it didn’t work with how my motherboard BIOS is set. After an hour or two of struggling with making the installation of Arch on my SSD be booted by default, I noticed the live boot was on a partition. As soon as I dded the live boot using a UNIX machine all my issues were resolved. 

The rest was smooth sailing and I have to admit quite enjoyable and educational.

Setting everything up

As you probably know Arch is basically a blank clay for you to shape as you wish. For someone experienced with using Linux as a daily driver might already know exactly what they want, but for me I was like a kid in a candy shop. Whatever I needed I found 3 different ways to do it and I ended up trying all of them to pick what I wanted to stick with. This has been and continues to be one of my favorite parts of Arch. 

I went from Gnome to i3 within a day and then started customizing it. I went through numerous terminal emulators, different setups, and hundreds of other slight modifications until I arrived at where I am today. I don’t think I’ll ever be really done customizing, adjusting and tweaking it. Now to some this may sound horrible.”I have to constantly try to make things work?” The answer is a simple no, but you can if you want to and I definitely want to because it results in me learning more about the system and just brings a smile to my face every time I sit down in front of my computer.

Usage

So what is it like to use? Whatever you want it to be. I think my experience with locking the computer describes it perfectly.

 When I started I just didn’t lock it since nobody else has access to the computer. A few days after I got i3 I switched to using i3lock. It bothered me that it was just white so soon after I started typing out i3lock -i ~/Pictures/Wallpaper/pic.png This was annoying but just looked so much better. And finally about a week later I created an alias for that command and just typed i3lock. I now have plans to set a hotkey for i3 to lock with the image when I get back home from my current traveling.

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