<rant>So my irritation with Debian on the desktop reached a critical moment over the last few days. Sid is a good desktop system for most things, but if you are interested in Haskell then you really should prepare yourself for being a little behind on things. If it isn’t GHC that is out of date then it’s some library that hasn’t been rebuilt for the latest version of GHC. If you’re lucky then new packages are uploaded to the NEW queue and it’s only a matter of waiting for the autobuilders to get to them. Of course that doesn’t mean you can get those packages, so not that much luck in the end anyway.</rant>
I decided to move to the only other distro I’ve used seriously since Linux’ move to 2.x kernels, Arch. I remember it as a slightly less polished than Debian, but more up-to-date than even Sid. Also, there is a vibrant group of Haskell hackers working on providing almost all of Hackage in Arch’s native packaging system.
Installing Arch turned out to be a bit of a blast from the past, even when compared to Debian. Luckily the Arch wiki is there to help with the things that are different compared to Debian. I would suggest having a second computer with a browser pointed to Arch’s home pages nearby during the entire install.
For my installation of Debian I had opted to use LVM and I wanted to keep my
/home around so I had to follow the steps required to use LVM in Arch.
Installation went smooth and the reboot was successful. Now starts the hard
work—configuring the system and updating my home folder.
The very first thing I noticed was that
vim wasn’t installed by default,
vi was available. Not a big problem, except that my muscle memory
resulted in a lot of
vim: command not found messages. Clearly I had to install
to keep my sanity.
Next thing to do was to install X.org and the video driver I need:
# pacman -S xorg xf86-video-intel
/etc/rc.conf I started it manually and I ran
as non-root. Wow, it all worked perfect, without creating any configuration
file for X first. I double checked and it used the driver I wanted, i.e. it
didn’t pick a safe default, like vesa, as its first option. Brilliant.
After following the instructions for changing the keyboard layout in X.org
using hal I even had my ‘@’ on the right key. (The most confusing thing
was that in X.org the UK keyboard layout is called
gb, while in the console
setup it’s called
I’ll post a bit more about the setup and configuration of my system as I progress towards my ideal desktop.