Talk:Beginners' guide

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  1. The Beginners Guide now redirects to Beginners' Guide.
  2. A version bump in mediawiki has rectified the former apostrophe bug which rendered the page useless.
  3. Please make all editing suggestions here.
  4. Please keep discussions civil and productive.

Thanks. Misfit138 15:23, 22 October 2009 (EDT)

To split or not to split?

Also inspired from #A simple, lightweight Beginner's Guide...

I would like to see the Beginners' Guide split into a series of separate articles. This would serve to facilitate maintenance, primarily. The page already outlines four parts apt to be split into separate articles. I envision:

  1. Beginners' Guide (essentially, the "Preface" section as it currently stands and "Appendix" at the end)
  2. Beginners' Guide/Part 1: Base Install
  3. Beginners' Guide/Part 2: Configure and Update
  4. Beginners' Guide/Part 3: Sound
  5. Beginners' Guide/Part 4: Graphical User Interface

Additionally, a "complete" version of the guide could be generated at Beginners' Guide/Complete that simply includes all four parts in succession using the {{}} markup. This version would be intended for those printing the guide.

Ideally, I think Part 1 should eventually redirect to the Official Arch Linux Install Guide. I see no need to maintain two installation guides. However, this is an entirely separate discussion.


-- pointone 14:39, 2 December 2010 (EST)

I appreciate the effort at making the best of a situation. Without a collapsing outline mechanism, the splitting out of the sections into separate articles may be useful. However, at the end of each one, the user needs a large link to get them back to where they started, so that they can continue on with the next step in the install. - KitchM 19:56, 2 December 2010 (EST)
I think it could be a good thing, although I fear that it could ultimately become inconvenient and convoluted. One of the things that has kept the guide so popular and well-regarded is its existence as being self-contained. *Note that there is virtually no negative press on the web about the guide in its current state.* A 'beginner' would simply need to follow it step-by-step and in most cases never need to follow links in order to achieve a relatively complete DE system. At the opposite extreme would be something like the Debian wiki, which exists as innumerable little pages with 'Next Top Previous' et all. I find the Debian wiki to be unruly and a big mess. So, my input is be wary of the guide spiraling into fragmentation, which in my view will render it convoluted and harder to grasp, especially for a beginner. Progress and improvement is always welcomed. Change, however, is not always positive. I truly hope it actually turns out to be an improvement. -my $.02 Misfit138 12:32, 3 December 2010 (EST)
I appreciate your concern, and I too am wary of the Debian "step-by-step" style installation guide. However, ArchWiki has matured immensely since the Beginners' Guide was originally written and designed. Before, many supplementary articles did not exist or were of inferior quality. Now, however, we enjoy a wide range of well-written, detailed articles covering a respectable number of topics.
I believe it is time to rethink the goal of the Beginners' Guide. What is its purpose and intended audience?
  1. To cover all aspects of installing and configuring Arch Linux? Then it certainly fails in this respect, and needs much expansion. (For example, it doesn't even explain how to install OpenOffice! Who decided that audio/sound deserves mention here but not printing?)
  2. To simply guide new users through installation of a basic Arch Linux system and configuring a graphical environment? Then we're close, but there is some unnecessary cruft here.
In my opinion, this guide should serve to bring users to the point where they can browse the rest of ArchWiki in a comfortable graphical environment (that is, Xorg + web browser). Then, they are free to pick-and-choose which extra components they wish to install and follow detailed (dedicated) guides on each. After all, are Arch Linux users not expected to search the wiki/forums first for help?
My primary concern is, and always has been, duplication of effort. The recent flood of edits required by the drastic changes in recent versions of Xorg is an excellent example of why maintaining two Xorg installation guides is problematic. By splitting the Beginners' Guide, we can eventually replace the GUI section with selected sections of a well-written Xorg article using available wiki tools (includeonly/noinclude are not reserved for templates alone). Similarly, as I mentioned above, the installation section can eventually be replaced by a drastically improved Official Arch Linux Install Guide (this is a very long-term goal). With careful consideration and planning, I am sure these changes will be positive in the long-term.
-- pointone 13:54, 7 December 2010 (EST)
Yes, pointone, I agree fully and am all for progress and improvement, and your reasoning is sound. I'm also very happy that I am not the only one afraid of the Debian-style wiki threat. Thank you for acknowledging this. I have beaten this drum around here for years. Misfit138 11:08, 8 December 2010 (EST)
Splitting the article might be a good idea, but I don't like the idea of graphics being covered in two different articles, so I'm going to do what makes sense - move installing Xorg to the GUI section (basically just have to move the part 4 header). This also makes me wonder why we cover sound here and not in a Sound article instead - which would let us give people more choice between ALSA and OSS, and also let us mention PulseAudio and JACK for people who want them on top of ALSA/OSS. Sound isn't required for people to have a GUI web browser/text editor that they're comfortable with, which seems to be the purpose of this guide. thestinger 13:55, 3 December 2010 (EST)
The ALSA article has also improved quite a bit, and it will probably work for more people than the sound section here, which doesn't even cover alsaconf. It's sort of similar to how the DE articles improved to the point that they were easier to follow than this guide thestinger 14:01, 3 December 2010 (EST)
I am all for the creation of a survey Sound article. Allowing Multiple Programs to Play Sound could serve as the base (it desperately needs clean-up and expansion). I don't think sound deserves coverage in the Beginners' Guide, really. -- pointone 14:15, 9 December 2010 (EST)
The Allowing Multiple Programs to Play Sound article was basically 99% ALSA related troubleshooting or plugs for dead software (joss, oss2jack, aRTS, esound) so I merged most of it into the ALSA and just started a basic outline for Sound from scratch. thestinger 16:52, 9 December 2010 (EST)

4.1 Configuring the network

Most of this section is a repeat of info already presented earlier in the guide (most notably in 3.1.1).

I understand that directing users to 3.1.1 when they've already got a system up and running isn't that great of an idea since they are no longer in the live environment and some things are different (but not much!), but surely something can be done to reduce the redunancy (especially on the 4.1.2 Wireless LAN section, which is basically a 1:1 copy of Xgamer99 19:49, 8 January 2011 (EST)

Went ahead and made the edit, as I can't see anything wrong with it. Please let me know if you disagree. However, I still believe that 4.1 should be re-worked and merged with 3.1.1, and just have 4.1 direct users to it. The only thing that would need to be added is the Proxy settings and manual wired connection (installer handles wired connections flawlessly, so manual activation isn't covered in 3.1.1). Xgamer99 04:00, 9 January 2011 (EST)

Splitting into sub pages

I just migrated all the data to different sub-pages as discussed here...

The pages are designed in such a way that all of the content resides on the sub pages and are linked to (included) from the main Beginners' Guide page. This creates the illusion of a complete, and lengthy, one-page guide for those who prefer it. This should make everyone happy. =D It also creates pages for those who prefer that. Note that the content is not copied, but instead is linked, like templates. This means that two copies of the same thing are not maintained -- change the source, and you change both the 'complete' and 'paged' views.

Editing is much the same also. If you traditionally use the in-article [edit] links, you'll be presented with the text from the sub page seamlessly. If you edit via the Edit button at the top of the page, then you must go to the sub page itself and edit it (since the main page will have no content to edit).

One thing to note is how to use anchor tags between sub pages. If you're editing, say, the "About This Guide" section where it links to the major sections of the guide, you need to take into consideration that the reader might either be a) reading it from the 'complete' page, where the link would only need to be #PageAnchor, or b) reading it on the different sub pages in which case it will need to be linked like so: Beginners' Guide/PageName#Section. The easiest way to do this is to use the <noinclude> tag like so: Beginners' Guide/PageName#Section. That way, if the reader is reading the entire guide on one page, the Beginners' Guide/PageName will not be included. But if the user is directly on the seperate sub pages, it will be included. Please keep both 'complete' and 'page' viewers in mind when linking to information located on different sub pages. Also, please note that this does not matter on info located on the same page; it can still be linked to via the regular #Section syntax. --Xgamer99 15:02, 12 January 2011 (EST)

Well done! Thanks for undertaking this drastic edit. -- pointone 18:50, 12 January 2011 (EST)
Agreed. Great job. Misfit138 21:51, 4 June 2011 (EDT)

Splitting the 'Installation' section in the split version?

Even after the split the Installation section is still a bit long. Couldn't it be split into two pages? --Det 07:24, 12 August 2011 (EDT)


Reiser4 is by far a better choice for /var than ReiserFS, if you don't count the bugs that may still exist. The latest support is for 2.6.38 but is that a reason to not even mention it? --Det 11:02, 14 August 2011 (EDT)

Reiser4 is not supported by the installation media. Misfit138 21:16, 15 August 2011 (EDT)

Checksums Instructions

I think the proper usage is:

$ sha1sum --check name_of_checksum_file.txt


$ md5sum --check name_of_checksum_file.txt

As it's written:

$ sha1sum --check name_of_checksum_file.txt name_of_selected_iso_file.iso

sha1sum gives an error when it tries to look for checksum lines in the *.iso. md5sum just goes ahead and gives a load of errors trying to read the *.iso. Someone more knowledgable care to back me up on this? --Emiralle 17:29, 12 September 2011 (EDT)

You are right
[karol@black isos]$ md5sum --check foo bar.iso
foo.iso: OK
md5sum: bar.iso: no properly formatted MD5 checksum lines found
[karol@black isos]$ cat foo
c0a326b36c1ad64024b16d1614f4fc1b  foo.iso
Please edit the Guide. Are you going to go over it checking every little step? That would be very welcome :-) -- Karol 18:12, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
This slipped passed me, fixed now. Heheh, I caught it while I was going over the Spanish translation. I intend to go through again and proofread both at some point, but haven't had the inspiration. | Emiralle 20:00, 5 October 2011 (EDT)

Merge extras with appendix

Any support for combining Beginners' Guide/Post-Installation#Extras with Beginners' Guide/Appendix?


  • Appendix too short, doubtful to receive much addition
  • Post-Installation too long, doubtful to receive much subtraction
  • Extras is an important transition point

Previous conversation:Template talk:Beginners' Guide navigation#Extras | Emiralle 20:08, 5 October 2011 (EDT)

+1, my opinion is expressed in the linked discussion.
Just reminding that a slight change in the navigation bar will be needed: Preface >> Preparation >> Installation >> Post-Installation >> Extra/Appendix
I'd really like to read more opinions though, because the Beginners' Guide is the most visited article of the wiki and restructuring must be done with care and consensus. Also I think that we should edit accordingly all the existing translations immediately, to avoid confusion among both readers and maintainers.
-- Kynikos 07:37, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
I like this idea. Extras as a separate page would work, but the Appendix is essential the same thing as Extras, so I think merging them would be fine. thestinger 03:13, 7 October 2011 (EDT)
+1 from me. -- Karol 09:17, 19 October 2011 (EDT)
Done, Beginners' Guide/Extra/Appendix. --Emiralle 22:46, 28 October 2011 (EDT)
I wonder now whether the page title Beginners' Guide/Extra/Appendix is too awkward. It might make a troublesome transition while some languages use this scheme and others don't. In hindsight, leaving it as Beginners' Guide/Appendix might have been easier and less problematic. --Emiralle 16:28, 29 October 2011 (EDT)
Moved to Beginners' Guide/Extra + some related changes (see my contribs), now having lunch and completing the changes ^^ -- Kynikos 07:45, 30 October 2011 (EDT)
Update: Spanish and Italian versions should be aligned, the goal is changing the Template:i18n inclusion to Beginners' Guide/Extra. -- Kynikos 09:28, 30 October 2011 (EDT)
Update: About Russian, Serbian and Simplified Chinese, I've just renamed Appendix to Extra, but I've not actually moved the respective Extra sections there because I was afraid to break something. Everything should be working fine now, I've also fixed the navigation templates in other languages.
This request seems to be fulfilled now, I'm closing it, if you have something to add just reopen it :) -- Kynikos 10:02, 30 October 2011 (EDT)

Offload some USB prep info to authority article (USB Installation Media)?

Beginners' Guide/Preparation#Flash memory device or USB stick contains what I think are overly detailed instructions considering it already references the perfectly good USB Installation Media article.

Does anyone agree that it would be better to move that content there and clean it up a bit? | Emiralle 01:53, 13 October 2011 (EDT)

I do. Maybe just leave a generic overview of the procedure, like for Beginners' Guide/Preparation#Install on a virtual machine, to work as an introduction to "Continue with Boot Arch Linux installer" which IMO should be kept for consistency and continuity. -- Kynikos 07:40, 14 October 2011 (EDT)

Move Auto prepare details further down the guide

I would like to move Beginners' Guide/Installation#Creating filesystems (general information) to just after #How big should my partitions be?, and #Option 1: Auto prepare down just below #A note on journaling as I've done in Beginners' Guide/Installation (Español)#Preparar el disco duro.

The section would look like:

1.4 Prepare hard drive
    1.4.1 Partitioning hard disks (general information) Partition type Swap partition Partition scheme How big should my partitions be?
    1.4.2 Creating filesystems (general information) Filesystem types A note on journaling
    1.4.3 Option 1: Auto prepare
    1.4.4 Option 2: Manually partition hard drives
    1.4.5 Option 3: Manually configure block devices, filesystems and mountpoints


  • Even auto-prepare asks you about the partition sizes and what filesystem you want for / and home. So people have to scroll back and forth for the info anyways.
  • This information is healthy for beginners.

Thoughts? | Emiralle 05:34, 13 October 2011 (EDT)

I like the idea. You may create anchor links to the Option subsections from the bulleted list in Beginners' Guide/Installation#Prepare hard drive. -- Kynikos 07:46, 14 October 2011 (EDT)
Great idea! I had been thinking the same thing myself...the logical ordering is not quite correct and the proposed re-arrangement is much better. Also, Option 3 is a required follow-up to Option 2. I have edited the guide in a few places to make this clearer. --Sportscliche 03:54, 15 November 2011 (EST)
This is implemented. Revision for continuity would be good. --Emiralle 21:17, 15 November 2011 (EST)
There were a lot of continuity problems, but I think I managed to fix everything. It would be nice if someone could proofread this section since a lot of changes were made. --Sportscliche 23:38, 15 November 2011 (EST)
Good job guys! I've just found the time to do some sort of proofreading, the section looks much tidier now, thank you! -- Kynikos 16:44, 23 November 2011 (EST)

Settings for dd in

The default value for bytes written/read per time in dd is normally 512 bytes, which can make the performance for dd ridiculously slow and processor usage high in some cases. I recommend adding the options ibs=4M obs=4M in the code snippet.

I agree. Go for it. Misfit138 18:41, 6 November 2011 (EST)

Replace grub-legacy info with syslinux

Now the syslinux support is in AIF and grub-legacy being dead upstream and with suggestions for its removal from base group (or even core repo), I think it is time to recommend syslinux as the default bootloader by replacing all the grub-legacy related info and examples with syslinux ones. What do you guys think?

Configuring /etc/pacman.conf

It would be useful to make new users aware of the benefits of enabling the multilib repository when installing 64-bit Arch. Currently the guide assumes that the defaults are fine but verification is recommended, which is good and true. However, a new user may not be aware of the purpose of multilib, and I think it would be good to inform them of its purpose so that they can make a more informed choice when editing their config files. Multilib is commented out in /etc/pacman.conf by default. --Rthomas6 15:08, 19 December 2011 (EST)

I agree. Go for it. Misfit138 22:04, 20 December 2011 (EST)

User creation and the audio group

I have two persons using my system using different accounts and use fast user switch. Just like this guy, I had to remove both my users from the audio group, as quoted on the PulseAudio wiki. Is the information provided on this guide to create the user on the audio group still correct? -- falmp 8:25, 03 February 2012 (BRT)

At the moment of writing this there is no conflict with PulseAudio wiki. Linked article clearly explains that users of distributions like Arch, which do not contain (by default) overcomplicated audio permission management mechanisms, should still rely on audio group. --AlexanderR 22:38, 10 February 2012 (EST)

Beginners'_Guide#Need_Help.3F Re-direct?

I had created the IRC Collaborative Debugging page that details how to collect errors from programs, working from the console, and submitting via a pastebin service upload program. I think the details (what files need to be presented needs to stay) but the process of doing so can be re-directed? Any thoughts?

--Gen2ly (talk) 06:38, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Let's see if I've understood correctly: what you want to do is move the "how" part from Beginners'_Guide#Need_Help.3F to IRC Collaborative Debugging? In that case, one observation I may make is that the section in the Beginners' Guide refers to the forums, not IRC: how would you deal with that? -- Kynikos (talk) 15:34, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
My reasoning for this edit would be that: because at this stage of the install if there are problems booting into the X11 environment using iRC may useful to some users simply for the reason of not having to boot into an alternate OS. Thinking about this some more though, I'm beginning to think this just adds extra details that the current method is most beneficial to the majority of the users.
--Gen2ly (talk) 02:11, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
An alternative could be to link to General Troubleshooting and move all troubleshooting/help-request guidelines there. -- Kynikos (talk) 10:04, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Booting issues with NVIDIA

I have old desktop Dell OptiPlex 740 with video card: NVIDIA GeForce 6150 LE. I noticed some issue while booting the Arch from ISO. After a few init messages, the screen gets corrupted. The workaround is to pass nomodeset kernel options on boot. I think it is a good idea to add this with NVIDIA-specific section to troubleshooting section in the guide, or to General Troubleshooting article. --Mloskot (talk) 19:02, 14 July 2012 (UTC)