DATE: Tue 04 May 2021 By:

Time to Leave Arch?

Some computer problems and a serious lack of shits.

I have been on Arch Linux for a long time now. I have been happy to be a beta tester. Happy to tweak and configure and fix all the things as required. Also there hasn’t historically been that much to actually fix, or do. I have been fine on Arch for a long time. But after some events of the last few weeks I have realised that I now lack the shits required for the rolling life.

My machine has had a long standing problem where it often doesn’t boot first time from cold. I have to power it on and if it fails to POST I power it down and up again quickly, and BOOM it boots. It’s done this ever since I have had this main board and seemed to be a firmware issue. I finally decided to tackle this issue with a USB flash update up-date last night. That went well except that it also reset my settings… fine, should have seen that coming I guess. But then my machine would simply boot into a GREEN screen. Literally one monitor was just solid green and the other was black… okay…

As it turns out there were two things going on. My reset firmware was causing my system to fail to boot because of a myriad of pretty crucial hard drive settings (and secure boot was on by default, oddly) were very wrong. Oh, also apparently I had done an update before I shut down my PC… and forgot… (yeah that’s 100% on me.)

It’s worth knowing that I got bit by a mesa update that made my specific card go all glitch disco (made a video about that) a little while ago. So I had some faith issues with mesa as it was.

It looks like I had been bit by another mesa update issue, but it took me more than a little bit of time to figure out what was happening, with the two separate problems arriving seemingly together. Actually I only really “get” it now that I have had time to think about the problem.

It may be worthwhile for some users to use the upstream experimental build of mesa … It may be necessary to symlink LibLLVM for X to start… Users who do not wish to go through the process of compiling the mesa-git [AUR] package can use the mesa-git unofficial repository…

A few things about all this bother me and none of it is Arch’s fault as a Distro. Arch always takes more work than other options it’s reasonable for a Distro like this and its front loaded. But when the mesa install page its self is filled with trouble shooting steps I had to sigh.

This is in no way a negative towards arch but Iliterally can’t be fucked to do any of this.

What I wanted to do was read more C tutorials and then play Monster Hunter with a buddy. But instead I spent part of my evening thinking that my GPU was toast. A few things led me to reload my install.

Firstly I have been having more than my fair share of graphics issues recently and I was pretty sure I needed to start from scratch to solve them. And being hit by every tiny mesa bug in the last month doesn’t help with my trouble shooting.

Then there’s some issue I’ve had to fight with regarding pacman error that seem to stem from many Enlightenment packages no being removed cleanly (I just wanted to try it out.)

There was this strange thing where Discord freezes every time i paste an image. No one else i know is having this so I assume it’s some config issue.

With all this in mind, screw it. Time for a reload. I reached for my little USB stick with Arch on it and then stopped. The install process for Arch is the most boring thing that I have ever had to do. Sure there’s this dicey very new installer that you CAN use but still. Its not really “the way” to do that. Now, I’m quite capible of installing Arch and I do not want a million emails telling me to “get good” because I have done it, I can do it. I just don’t want to.

But what distro? I had a little think. Of all the Distros out there which would be my new home.

Good friend and TrendyTalk co-host Drew has for a long time said it’s only a matter of time before we go Debian and while I think he’s right but I’m not there yet.

Ubuntu was a no because fuck snaps. SuSe was a no because their configuration stuff makes me crazy. Mint was a real option I considered seriously and Mint Debian edition was also in consideration. Pop was a no too because ideally I don’t want a corporate backed Distro of any kind. I don’t want to even think about Solus I don’t like their package selection at all (or didn’t not checked in ages) Then I thought about Fedora, but the links to IBM made me eye twitch.

Not actually a lot of options that appeal to me now I think about it.

I ended up loading EndevourOS on my machine. I’m thinking of it as a pit stop while I decide where I want to be long term. I know, it’s just arch (but not) I get that. But it has a great installer and sensible defaults as well as package manager that I already understand. I know it will have all the same issues as Arch but I clicked install and didn’t have to consult a wiki.

The time I saved with an excellent installer gave me the emotional fortitude required to mess with the mesa-git repo and get that working (it’s worth knowing with a virgin system that the current mesa (not git) doesn’t boot with my hardware, mesa-git works fine though)

Not sure where I’ll end up long term but for now I’ll see how things go with Endeavour. I dare say next time I face an issue I’ll have a Debian (testing) stick ready to go.