Arch Linux test drive: Thoughts from a Kubuntu user

My old work laptop computer is about to be replaced by my employer by a new ASUS N73SV.

First of all this computer has what is called the Optimus Graphics Technology, that isn’t so Optimus regarding Linux… This technology is made of two video cards, one Intel embebed on the chipset and one discrete Nvidia chipset. As far as I know there is no Linux driver for this, and Nvidia won’t be releasing in a foreseeable future Linux support. So the Intel card will be used (I’m not using this for games) and the Nvidia card will be disabled. There are solutions for disabling completely the card and or use some applications on the Intel card and others on the Nvidia card, I’ll have to check. But disabling the Nvidia card improves the battery life, so…

So, off course, the first thing to do this computer is to nuke the Windows 7 install and install a Linux OS…

And there’s the catch: Kubuntu 11.04 or the Arch Linux Rolling distro?

Both have great documentation and great communities, but both could have some “clean up” on it. For example, on the Arch Beginner Install, some things aren’t completely obvious (Well at least for me). This is due to the fact that the documentation is in fact complete, it shows all the possibilities, but it should only show first the most obvious/common/standard way, and then link out the complete documentation regarding the subject. This way documentation could be more slim and straight forward.

Anyway, I was able to install and get an Arch system running without any issues with KDE Desktop but there where issues, and those are not Arch Linux fault. These issues are related to it’s mirrors and the software and sync status of them.

So being on PT, I’ve enabled all PT mirrors, and ended up with KDE 4.4.5 installing and running… Well the latest release of KDE is 4.6.3, so what happened here??? Browsing the mirrors I’ve found out that some where not up to date, so I’ve disabled them, and sure, pacman now shows that KDE 4.6.3 is available. So I’ve disabled the out of date mirrors, and while downloading I had failures regarding mplayer, and x264 packages that wouldn’t allow the upgrade to proceed.

Humm, ok, so I’ve enabled the core repository, and now everything is downloaded fine, but pacman refuses to upgrade due to some packages are corrupted.

So, not of the best starts…

But still I’ll give Arch Linux a try, because mainly on Kubuntu to have the latest software version, namely Libreoffice and even Calligra for test driving means to add backports and probably broking your next mandatory upgrade.

So, after reading the Arch Linux Wiki, I’ve found out that there is a mirror status page that shows what mirrors are available and up to date. I’ve deleted my obsolete mirrors, and enabled only the “live” ones (one in my case and did a full upgrade, and after an hour, more or less I had KDE 4.6 SC installed and running.

So far what I’ve done:

– Installed the base Arch system, making sure that the mirror list was up to date.

– Configured a new no priviledge user, and set up sudo

– Installed Xorg and KDE

– Configured the dbus and kdm daemons to start automatically

Then, I want to install the KDE Kpackagekit, but this was only available on AUR, not on the mainstream repositories. I’ve followed the instructions on http://archlinux.fr/yaourt-en#get_it and installed yaourt package manager. From here I’ve installed Kpackagekit, and with it I was able to install through KDE the rest of packages that I wanted, namely  the kdeplasma network widgets.

 

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2 thoughts on “Arch Linux test drive: Thoughts from a Kubuntu user

  1. Hi,

    I also use the n73sv laptop with archlinux, but I experience some random freezes with the kernel versions 2.6.38 and following. Do you have the same issues?

    • Not yet, because I had to return it due to an screen failure.

      I’m still not sure if I’ll use Kubuntu 11.04 on it or ArchLinux. I’ll probably go with Kubuntu becasue this will be my work computer, and won’t have too much time to fiddle around, with, for me, the new Arch way.

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