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)


Actual experience

The following is my experience for following this guide through, until the very end where I have LXDE set up. I used the 2009.08 core iso to install.

  1. The section 2.9.1 states that we will be prompted for configuring initramfs. This is not true anymore. System Configuration will simply present us with the menu listing all the config files for us to select and edit. The first being /etc/rc.conf. Maybe merge the info in this section into 2.9.4 (/etc/mkinitcpio.conf)?
  2. In 2.9.3 (fstab), my initial fstab does not use UUIDs for my disks, it uses /dev/sda1, /dev/sdb1, etc. directly. Perhaps mention (for beginner's sake) that we could do '/sbin/blkid >> /etc/fstab' to get the UUIDs into the file for easy edits?
  3. In 3.5 (install sudo), doing 'pacman -S sudo vim' at that stage will result in the 'vim: /usr/bin/rview exists in filesystem' error and pacman exits without installation. Maybe mention that we can simply 'rm /usr/bin/{view,rview}' before pacman? (Reference:
  4. In (perform the X test), we can in fact just type 'exit' in xterm to shut down X and return to our prompt.
  5. In 5.3.4 (LXDE), we must also install garmin, which will ask to remove FAM. Else when we enter LXDE, an error message will pop up asking us to make sure one of the two is running.
  6. Note: I did not read any wireless sections, as I don't need it (and I have dhcp upstream). Also, I have not progressed into the Appendix.

Apart from the above, this guide is perfect! Everything works as written. (Except the 2009.08-netinstall has a faulty version of pacman and will segfault during package downloads. That's why I used the core iso, but this will be a non-issue when the next iso is out.) Claestw 21:22, 24 October 2009 (EDT)

About 2.9.3 - /etc/fstab

  • I think the possibility of using tmpfs for /tmp should at least be mentioned and possibly even encouraged.
  • Only the noatime option is mentioned, what about its big brother nodiratime and its safer cousin relatime ? Maybe a note about that in the Arch installer-generated /etc/fstab would be good too. See for details.

Changaco 08:13, 25 October 2009 (EDT)

Add group scanner to group list

  • I think it would be good to add this group in the useradd part of the guide, as it is one that would be commonly needed. Kyo 11:07, 27 October 2009 (EDT)


I would add the inittab method not only as a note on the kde guide, but also gnome and the others as it's generally preferred. Kyo 11:22, 30 October 2009 (EDT)

I disagree. Adding a login manager to rc.conf is simpler and more in line with the the other configuration steps that you are going through during your first time install.
I agree with ^. manolo 10:49, 13 November 2009 (EST)

/boot on primary partition

There were a couple of forum threads were people couldn't boot because /boot wasn't on a primary partition. I suggest to recommend putting /boot on a primary partition, with a disclaimer that it is not necessary if you know what you are doing. Explaining when it would not be necessary would be tool complicated at this point.

Clarifying 2.9.10 (pacman mirrorlist)

Specifying the pacman mirror list is slightly confusing. There are two files that show up in the list to edit (pacman.conf and mirrorlist). All the other files are given explicitly with more detail than setting up the mirror list.

Changing the mirrorlist at install time does not make sense. That is best done after the install. Setting up the mirrorslist, is explained in Mirrors with a section/link in Post Installation Tips#Mirrors. -- M l 11:07, 25 November 2009 (EST)

UNIX-like overdo

UNIX-like has 8 mentions in the whole article--this is a little too much. Also, UNIX isn't a technical term, so it does not need the <tt> tags. Time 04:07, 6 December 2009 (EST)

A simple, lightweight Beginner's Guide

One of the things my professor kept (h/y)ammering about when it came to software documentation was the difference between "data and information". The important thing in this context he always said was unambiguity: use a single example to show the 'way of doing things'. This makes a lot of sense, since the intention isn't to provide choice, but to provide information on how things work so people can make their own choices.

Extrapolating this to our BG, i think it would be a good idea to start using single examples of how stuff works on Arch. For instance, we can take Xfce or Lxde and show how it is group-installed, this will help people who just want a working Arch up and running. Other DE's and WM's should be linked-to only, give a small explanation of the different options and where installation instructions can be found. It is really not necessary to provide almost-identical-but-slightly-different installation intructions for 5-6 graphical desktops in the BG, it is confusing the people who really need beginner's instructions. Another argument for this is the Occam's Razor principle: don't duplicate efforts, KDE & Gnome etc. already have their own wiki pages with detailed installation instructions. Keep the BG simple and focused and people will understand better 'where to find what'.

Areas where i would propose to take the above approach:

  1. Graphical desktop (DE/WM etc.)
  2. Proprietary video (use xf86-video as preferred example, link to FGLRX/NVIDIA pages for vendor lock-in alternatives)
  3. Filesystems (use EXT as example, link to page with info on other filesystems)

Other sections that could definitely be moved out of the official BG to a separate wiki page:

  1. Analog modem/ISDN (for the 0.1% installing Arch on analog modem, a link to the appropriate page will suffice)
  2. Third party (openntpd/powerpill/? - they're handy tools, but definitely not essential for installation)
  3. Manual xorg.conf (X is moving away from this, it's not the preferred way anymore. Provide link for people who need it)
  4. Font configuration (the system will work fine without custom fonts, not BG material; if you want fancy fonts, read the designated wiki page)

Your opinions on this? I will be more than happy to help abstracting the above sections and work towards a simple, lightweight Beginner's Guide.

I feel the need to mention that using "a single example to show the way of doing things" does not apply in this context. It's not just any kind of information; it is instructional. This reasoning is apt for narration, not manuals. Having said that, I agree with all of your suggestions, specially the ones on repeating content from GNOME, KDE, etc. One striking peculiarity about these sections in the Beginners' Guide is how they are potentially conflicting ones, assuming that installing KDE in parallel to GNOME is a rare course of action. Partially coinciding with your observation: other sections are escalating, these are forking. Time 07:45, 7 December 2009 (EST)
I agree with Time. I would like to keep the instructional nature of the guide intact at the cost of repetition. I also agree with these points:
  1. Analog modem/ISDN (for the 0.1% installing Arch on analog modem, a link to the appropriate page will suffice) agree
  2. Third party (openntpd/powerpill/? - they're handy tools, but definitely not essential for installation) agree -- provide links
  3. Manual xorg.conf (X is moving away from this, it's not the preferred way anymore. Provide link for people who need it) agree -- mention this exact fact and provide link(s)
  4. Font configuration (the system will work fine without custom fonts, not BG material; if you want fancy fonts, read the designated wiki page) ? which section are you referring to?
Misfit138 12:34, 7 December 2009 (EST)
Small correction to my previous message: a history lesson is both narrative and instructional. A more accurate discription would've been procedural, instead of calling it merely instructional. Time 16:23, 7 December 2009 (EST)
I agree with the Misfit. To be clear, however, we should always provide choice. But we need never tell anyone how to make their choice.
As I have mentioned before, all wikis need to implement XOXO so that we can have a more useful, collapsing outline layout. This keeps things simple, yet allows a depth of information that saves a lot of unnecessary page loading and reloading when only links are used. It is also far superior to any other method because the user can collapse all but the currently important areas to keep the install process simple and clear as she or he goes along.
In any case, the elimination of duplicate text is a huge benefit. In fact we could take it a little further and explain in general terms what these various sections are for, such as the DE choice, and then give the links to, first of all, a wiki page of comparison, and second, an individual wiki page for the installation of each one, but only from the comparison page. There is no need for any how-to in any of those areas of the BG; rather it is enough to point out that this is the point in the install process to add one if so desired. We don't even need a sample install; that goes in the appropriate wiki page for that item.
Also, I have found that a streamlined and simple install keeps the user from getting bogged down in unfamiliar minutia that has no bearing. If something can be installed at a later time, after the system is up and running, then it should be left out of the install, or placed in the addendum. Including something here clearly implies one should address it now. That is often just not true.
It is easy to get involved in details simply because someone else started down that path. I have been guilty of falling into that trap, and the simplification idea would go a long way in protecting all of us and keeping us on track. It appears prudent to re-evaluate the route from start to finish before starting the journey down it yet once again. - KitchM 20:59, 7 December 2009 (EST)
~ I agree. The article lacks clarity. Information is presented in the Beginners' Guide that belongs elsewhere or should be eliminated entirely. Do we need 5 introductory sections before the reader is told to download the software?
Will anyone dare to take a first stab at this drastic edit and post the draft somewhere?
Sidenote—I appreciate that people are trying to keep the tone formal, but this has led to multi-syllabic obfuscation. We need to remember our reader may have limited English language skills.
--Thisoldman 07:35, 8 December 2009 (EST)

The Don't Panic Section

This section needs to be expanded so as to explain why we shouldn't panic and how not to. It appears to need a more encouraging tone and a clear reasoning, otherwise the whole point of the title and the words used won't make any sense to a lot of readers. - KitchM 14:23, 30 November 2009 (EST)