Blown Away and Elated

I’m just frankly blown away. Here I am, 65 years old, been using Linux for 20 years, and never used Arch Linux before. It was too difficult to install, I thought. But in the end it just took some YouTube videos to tutor me, and I followed the steps, and now here I am. I feel great, my computer feels light and speedy, and the whole thing is remarkably simple!

You know how they put bloatware on your phone? Well, to some extent, many Linux distributions do the same. Whenever you choose one of those user-friendly install distributions like all the one’s we know, they come bundled with what the developers of that particular version of Linux feels you may want on your machine. It gives you a base from which to build. That also means a bunch of stuff you may not want or need because someone else thinks some other user might need it.

Now of course you can customize Linux. That’s the whole idea, right? But to build it really from the ground up, that’s pretty cool. I have to admit. I’m a happy camper.

It’s all about getting over that initial hurdle. The mysterious installation process. Even when you get the OS installed you’re left with a command prompt and no graphical user interface whatsoever. Then you have to install Xorg, and a display manager and figure out the right graphics card driver and grab a desktop environment you like and then telling Linux to start all that automatically when you turn on your computer.

Sounds overwhelming and for years I couldn’t be bothered. But yesterday I decided to try and watching YouTube videos I gradually learned and figured the whole thing out.

I found there were four basic steps. Each one had a YouTube solution.

Step one was partitioning and formatting my hard drive. Step two was installing the base Arch Linux system. Step three was installing a graphical user interface and a desktop environment. Step four was figuring out how to install software from the AUR, in my case.

And here I am. That was yesterday, and this is today. I’m inside the KDE Plasma 5 desktop on a computer with AMD video drivers running on Arch Linux, a rolling distribution. In the last 24 hours I learned a whole lot about config files and how to set them up, but that was all easy. The whole process was easy. Time consuming, yes, but not hard.

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