Installing Arch Linux, part 2: What I Want

As I prepare to install Arch Linux, it’s important for me to know what
I want out of the system. My system will be “finished,” ready to use,
when it has the following packages installed and working:

– Emacs
– Org-mode
– OpenOffice.org
– Firefox
– Audacity
– FileZilla
– Virtualbox
– Dropbox
– GIMP
– Audacity
– Kompozer
– Tomboy or Gnote
– Wine

I usually like to use the same distro on my laptop that I have on my
home PC. This adds a few more requirements. Since I use this laptop
for demos at the Linux 101 SIG meetings, I have to be able to attach
an external monitor and get a good image on the second monitor.

Also, we often visit my stepdaughter and her family. One of the
favorite activities of her three-year-old son is to watch videos with
grandpa on the laptop. My laptop must be able to play DVDs, and also
to play Flash so we can watch videos on YouTube. Otherwise he’ll be a
very disappointed little boy, and I’m determined not to disappoint him
like that. I take my job as grandpa very seriously.

So this adds two more requirements:

– play DVDs
– play Flash

Now that I’ve defined what the finished system will look like, I’m
ready to start the Arch install.

I’d also like to point out that when I do this in Linux Mint, the base
install takes about 20 minutes and covers almost the entire list. A
few minutes in package manager completes the list, except for
Virtualbox. A quick trip to the Virtualbox web site shows how to get
that last package installed. Total time required, from booting the CD
to installing that final package, takes me about 40 minutes.

I’ve tried to install Arch Linux a couple of times already, and
failed both times. I got farther the second time, but I was not able
to get X installed. I tried some troubleshooting, but was not able to
resolve it.

Maybe I missed something in the instructions. The Arch install
instructions, printed out, are 53 pages long. I’m going to try to
follow them very carefully this time.

And so it begins.

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