Slackware vs. Arch (installation)

December 22, 2006 at 3:48 pm 1 comment

I messed up my Slackware partition again, so I decided to give Arch a try. I can only give a comparison of the installer because, well, that’s about as far as I get.

The installers, at first glance, look very similar. Both use the same style installer, but the Slackware one is a little simpiler. This first difference that you’ll come across is the hard drive preparation. Slackware asks you to prepare your partions before running the setup program. Then once you start the install program you select your swap and / partitions, followed by formatting options. Arch on the other hand includes partitioning, and formatting in the same menu option in the install program. When using the Slackware installer you can select advanced formatting options like bad block checking and inode density. Arch just goes ahead and uses the defaults.

Next comes the package selection. Slackware show’s a list of package groups to install. This is the same for Arch. After group selection Slackware lets you pick the way the actual packages are installed. Full mode installs everything. Newbie prompts for every package except critical ones, and menu and expert allow you to select packages for each group from a menu. Slackware also uses tag files to control what packages are selected by default. Arch gives you a giant list of packages after group selection that are either all selected or none selected, with the exception of packages from the base group which are always selected. Slackware prints nice little descriptions of each group and package while they’re installing. Arch does not.
After package selection comes package installation. (This is the part I find most annoying about Arch) This is a separate menu option on Arch. Arch’s package manager (pacman) keeps track of dependancies, so if a package is missing or causes a conflict pacman let’s you know about it. The only problem is that when you do experience a conflict you aren’t given an option to resolve the conflict. The only way to resolve the conflict is to find the conflicting packages in the long list and select the one you want. If you have more than one conflict you have to repeat this process. Slackware installation packages are configured to not cause conflicts. (at least that I can tell)

… Sorry, it’s been a while since I started writing this. I forget what comes after this part of the Arch install. (Guess that means I need to try Arch again 😉 ) Arch is not a bad distro, in fact I would probably love it if I could get a working system. With Arch you should really read the instructions before doing the install.

All you Arch users have my undying respect, and I’ll get past the install someday. Until then, keep updating your wiki, and I’ll keep looking up stuff on it for Slackware 🙂

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Customizing Slackware: Drives Linux Wikis

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Tom  |  December 26, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    Arch’s installation isn’t that bad. I think the stage after package installation is configuration.

    Arch uses a central config file, /etc/rc.conf

    This controls your network, localisation and daemon settings. Upon installation I only ever change my network setup to use DHCP and then everything works fine.

    However, I still use Slackware because I agree with its philosophies more than I do with any other distribution.


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