Sensible defaults and a great installer.
I wrote a blog post recently outlining my adventures with BIOS updates and sketchy mesa updates. In that blog I talked about how and why I ended up installing Endeavour.
First thing I should say is that aside from open SuSe, Endeavour has the best install process out there. Its smooth, sensible and informative, even going as far as having a terminal open so you can read errors if you are so inclined (and given that its marketing its self a ‘terminal first’ that makes a lot of sense) I had a Nonstandard install with multiple drives and it handled them all gracefully, I chose manual partitioning and setup the following:
- NVME-1 (500gb) – root file system, swap and boot/efi
- NVME-2 (1TB) – /home
- SSD (1b) – /mnt/steam
- Old type hard drive (1tb) /mnt/archiive (didn’t format this one)
All my mounts where handled without stress and when I forgot to toggle “boot” on my /boot/efi there was a clear error in the terminal stating “no efi found” or something similar.
I selected the online installer with BASE install and Xfce. Some downloads later, it all went well. I rebooted and was shown my login screen, then a very sock Xfce session.
Defaults were basic but sensible. “Yay” is the default AUR helper and there was nothing headache inducing ‘out of the box’
I used Xfce for a few hours while I setup my usual“stuff” including BSPWM, automatic login and Alacritty terminal. I also had to pull down my configs, SSH keys and compile one or two bits and bobs. I spent some time customising Xfce while i waited for downloads and quickly had it looking modern.
Even with this modern Xfce I was relieved when I eventually rebooted and found myself being dropped into my perfectly configured BSPWM. Honestly I dislike Xfce less than I dislike most Desktop Environments but it’s still inelegant compared to a tiling window manager.
I had a little issue setting up passwordless sudo as the sodoers file was sourcing another file that ensured %wheel had sudo access. This was taking precedence over my little visudo edit. I removed the file and rebooted, sure enough problem fixed.
Endeavour also comes with a service to remind you about updated every few hours, I disabled that too.
Other than that the basics were done. and as soon as I felt “set up” I used ‘pacman -Qe’ to see the state of the system’s packages and to my surprise even before I started removing things there were only just over a thousand packaged installed. I removed Xfce, the login manager, some themes I didn’t want and all that Bluetooth stull I’ll never use and found myself at around nine hundred packages. Now I know how package count isn’t really a number that anyone should care about on modern hardware but damn, that’s a low number. The implication is that this is a nice clean install with very little “fluff” not at all a bad place to start my newly installed system from.
I’m pretty sure there will be one or two more packages to be removed before I’m done. I’m pretty sure it’s using systemd networking by default but network manager is installed. Once I figure that out, it can be removed. The default browser is firefox, I’ll remove that too I’m sure (I use Qutebrowser or my main browser and chrome for my streaming games.) Also, it came with nano which I instantly uninstalled (I hate nano, and I got neovim on there right away.)
There is a “welcome” package installed that has a pacnew handler and a mirrors update button as well as one click installers for chromium and a few other packages. It seems reasonable enough and doesn’t have a trilllion dependencies. I’ll remove it because I don’t want or need its functionality but it’s a nice menu for new arch users.
After two days I’m still happy with defaults and I haven’t come across anything to make me scratch my head. Endeavour at the moment at least seems to be a sensible way to get Arch on your system with very little added extra. Not even a pointless office package to remove.
I’ll have to check back in if I have any updates but yeah, seems to be the experience it was claiming to be. I am happy with my decision to try it. When one day I do reinstall my OS I’ll be going with Debian I think but for now, this works and doesn’t annoy me, so I’ll keep using it.