Testing Out Artix: Another Flavor Or Arch Linux

My Dearest Mad-Readers,

I have not yet decided to pick a new Linux distribution to settle down in, but I am currently testing a few out in VirtualBox. This time will be the GUI installation of Artix, because I figured that is what would interest all of you the most. Most people do not really care what happens in a TTY and, since a graphical installer is available, which may remind you of Manjaro, I thought, you know, why not?

Artix is essentially Arch Linux, except without systemd. It sounds a lot like what I am looking for, since it will allow me to run openrc. However, it is not a parent distribution. I would really like to read your opinion in the comments. I have been saying for quite a while that I do not see the point in installing the fork of another distribution, yet this time Artix really is bringing something interesting to the table.

If you wish to install it, I would like to point out that you may do it 3 different ways:

  1. Migration from an already-existing Arch Linux system.
  2. Downloading an ISO with a GUI installer.
  3. Downloading a base ISO to install it much like you would do with Vanilla Arch, from a TTY.

Let us now get started with the actual install. I am just going to configure my Virtual Machine the usual way, except that I am going to give it more RAM this time. Since I downloaded an ISO with KDE Plasma, I will need the extra RAM.

For those of you who have never installed Artix, you should select ‘Install from ISO’ in the GUI installer. This step is the same whether you choose to install with a GUI later on or from a TTY.

When the system boots up, you should be able to recognize the colors of openrc. I expect most of you will only be familiar with systemd and will not notice the difference, however. This is why I thought particularly important to comment on this.

My Latest YouTube Video

Calamares: The Automated Installer

Since it always is more of the same, I will not say too much about the graphical installer (Calamares in this case). It obviously allows you to do everything you could wish to do for a basic installation of Arch Linux.

As usual, you first need to choose a keyboard layout, test if everything works as expected, pick a timezone, a locale… Then you set up your partition scheme, which you can do manually or automatically, configure the user and password and… all done with the base install!

Finishing The Installation

I decided to leave the installation running in my video. I obviously accelerated the process but, this way, you get to see it as well as some reasons for which you may or may not want to install Artix instead of what you are currently using at the moment.

Time for me to disappear… It’s decaf time.*

Removing ISO

When the distribution has finished installing, there only is one thing left to do:

  • Removing the ISO image.

This is the same step on physical hardware, except that you would be unplugging your USB flash drive from your computer. When working in a Virtual Machine (and more specifically in VirtualBox), you need to go to Settings > Storage. Then you should be able to see the ISO image under Controller: IDE. Simply right click on it, and then remove it.

Afterward, you only need to reboot and you should be able to see the usual grub boot menu, and then your login manager.

A First Look After The Install

Artix offers you a true base install. Except for the few programs which are shipped with the ISO you picked, such as the desktop manager, you are left with barely anything when through with the installation process. You cannot install programs from the installer, but it is not such a big deal. It is trivial to do it after rebooting the operating-system.

Regarding all the basic packages (at least I consider them as such) which are left out by default:

  • Base-devel: I do not expect you to run into any trouble, since GitHub pages and Readme files usually are well written and tell you to install this package. However, it might mean trouble if you ever wish to compile anything from source.
  • Vim / Neovim: I am only being picky, since they do offer vi out of the box.
  • Git: Same comment as for base-devel.
  • Yay: Like any AUR (Arch User Repositories), it has to be installed from source. You can find it on GitHub.
  • Firefox: Surprisingly, Artix comes with another web browser by default: Falkon. This might be because I selected a KDE ISO, Falkon originally being a KDE web browser.

Of course, it is most likely most of you will not need these packages, especially if you live in a graphical environment all day long and are not developers. Furthermore, all these packages are not shipped by default on a base Vanilla Arch installation either. Artix is merely being faithful to its philosophy there, and I am merely doing my job in noticing.

What Can You Do In Artix?

Everything you can do in Arch, and more!

Not only are you extremely free regarding the desktop environments and window managers you could want to install, but you can even pick the init system that you want between runit, openrc and s6. I chose openrc because It’s the second one with which I am the most familiar.

All this customization aspect however, is merely the tip of the iceberg. You can do so much more with an Arch-based system that an amateur like me cannot dream of listing down all the possibilities laid out in front you:

  • You get to benefit from not one, but two package managers: Pacman and the community-maintained AUR. Thus you may to easily set up the archetypal Linux workflow: Web browsers, text editors, window managers desktop environments, login managers are all trivial to install. Switching terminal emulator has never been simpler too. Everything is just at the tip of your finger. You only need type: pacman -S.
  • You get a C-written rolling-release distribution which strives to fix the flaws of Arch Linux: It implements several ways of installing it (with various ISOs), several init systems, and almost all systemd-dependent Arch programs (which have been re-written for you).
  • You can customize your kernel as you wish, just like on Arch. It may not be as powerful a feature as on Gentoo, but it is possible.
  • If you install Artix with KDE, a lot of customization is very accessible to you, right out of the box.
  • If you want to play games, you get the same perks as on Arch, again. You can easily install Steam. The rest will depend on your hardware. As for retro-gaming, you can find all the emulators you could dream of.

Conclusion & Sign-Off

Something I find rather shocking is that this Virtual Machine takes more time to boot than my actual computer… KDE, you know? Anyways, I hope you liked this article and that you found it useful. At least you discovered a new flavor of GNU/Linux, just like I did.

Take care!

Phil.

* I actually am a rather healthy dude, I mostly drink decaf.