Truthfully, even a Newbie can learn to install Vanilla Arch Linux, if they are willing to spend 5-10 hours a day…for at least 7 days. I’ve installed it so many times over the past week that I have grown to like this terrible Desktop OS…in fact, I did put it into the #10 spot on the Karmi’s Top 10 Linux Distros page overnight, and then the next morning it wouldn’t start. Had a name recognition (Network name?!) problem or something like that…you can lose track of what has happened after a week of testing. Pulled it out of the Top 10, but let it stay on the page as an Honorable Mention Distro (a new category).

Problems too numerous to list…even if I could remember them all. Trying to install the Cinnamon DE before GNOME never worked … LightDM display manager should be removed from their repository. GNOME Shell integration extension add-on doesn’t seem to work in Arch, which meant the Dash to Panel extension wouldn’t work (has a Windows OS look). Installing Cinnamon after GNOME always worked. GNOME (gdm) ‘n KDE (sddm) DE’s seemed to install their own Display Managers at the same time as the DE, which helped to eliminate problems. Vanilla Arch may be the first Distro I’ve found that wasn’t portable from pc to pc…even on a SSD. Messed up the UEFI and/or GRUB just testing it in another pc, and then it wouldn’t work in the original pc?! Was never able to get it to do a Full-install on a USB either.

Now, you can shorten the learning time (mentioned above) by using a script and/or automated installer; however, you’re still going to need to know what pacman, genfstab ‘n nano are for…you’ll need to know what a hostname is, what your locale is, and if you need a grub ‘n NetworkManager just so you can enter the correct answer to the program’s request. The first 5 posts in the Vanilla Arch Linux series can be useful reference tools for the automated installers. My favorite automated installers for Vanilla Arch Linux are ArchFI ‘n Zen.

The Zen installer might be the easiest to use, but it requires creating a “user” besides “root” and that opens the door for the ‘Pesky Passwords’ harassment problem that I now avoid. I’m “root” on my computers. ArchFI seems faster ‘n also seems to offer more options ‘n apps. My first recent test of it went OK, but the last one today went exceptionally well…I went with a lot of defaults, added quite a bit of stuff, and installed almost everything offered, e.g. xorg, GNOME, Nvidia drivers for the GeForce 1660, started ‘n enabled NetworkManager (missing that causes problems later), GParted, LibreOffice, some GUI software updater (?!), and a bunch of stuff. Both ArchFI ‘n Zen need to be tested a few times before you can get most everything one can get outta Arch and/or ‘Archies’. I actually like the ArchFI ‘n Zen installers better than the puny ‘Archie’ installer/s.

Also, with ArchFI you can get the latest iso file, and then just type in the script to that Install media. Zen’s iso was about 4 months older, which isn’t bad either. They both offer options for the LTS (long-term support) kernel, and as CentOS has proven – i.e. having the latest Linux Kernel means squat. CentOS uses like the 4.18.0 Kernel ‘n CentOS *OWNS* the ‘Apevia’ Ryzen™ 9 3900X ‘n GeForce GTX 1660 main Linux test computer…stable as a rock and is one of the few Linux Distros that can handle AMD from top to bottom. Correct drivers…correct firmware ‘n all without that overrated new ‘n Shiny unstable Linux Kernel. This last test with ArchFI I just went with the latest kernel…no problems. I have used Clonezilla to make an image, so CentOS will soon be erasing Vanilla Arch from the test SSD…I may try to restore that image to a USB, just to keep Vanilla Arch handy. I only keep Linux Distros on USB’s now…easier to keep up with than SSD’s or those loud ‘n *HUGE* antique HDD’s.

UPDATE: Just restored the Clonezilla image to a FIT Plus USB 3.1 Flash Drive 128GB, and then added the Cinnamon DE. Will leave Vanilla Arch hooked to the 4-port USB hub on ‘Apevia’ – these small USB’s are on sale at Samsung for $20.99 w/ free shipping.