Cinnarch 64 bit, Installation Review

Howdy folks, this is FiftyOneFifty, and today I wanted to talk about my experiences installing the 64 bit version of Cinnarch net edition on a dual core notebook. Cinnarch of course is a relatively new Arch based distro running the Cinnamon fork of Gnome. I had previously installed Arch proper on this notebook, but when I rebooted to the hard drive, I lost the Ethernet connection. This is not uncommon, but there the notebook sat while until I had time to work the problem. I wanted to start using the notebook, and I'd heard good things about Cinnarch, so it seemed like a simple solution. I went into knowing Cinnarch was in alpha, so i shouldn't have been surprised when an update broke the system less then a week after the install, but that comes later in my story.


  1. Installation notes

    1. Three big buttons "Try It", i.e. Use the live CD, "CLI Installer", "Graphical Installer"

      1. Graphical Installer – Either not finished or unavailable for my hardware

      2. If network is connected, CLI installer runs an update and asks you to restart the installer.

        1. Go to the Menu, type "install" into the search field, pick "Cinnarch Installer CLI"

    2. The first installer item is "0 Set Language and Keyboard"

      1. First decision the installer will have to make is to choose a local -- Most U.S. Users will want to pick en_US.UTF-8

        1. This question may be unfamiliar to users will who have never installed Arch before, I recommend they have the Arch Wiki Beginners Guide Handy - https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Beginners'_Guide

      2. When asked to pick a Kemap, again most U.S. users will want – us.map.gz

    3. 1 Set Time and Date

      1. Timezone pretty straight forward, region, then a city in your timezone

      2. Make sure you are connected to a network if you want to use NTP

    4. 2 Prepare Hard Drive

      1. Partitions were already set up, so I just set filesystem mountpoints

        1. Couldn't enter partition configuration without erasing my existing partitions, but it looks like it's menu driven (i.e., I don't think you have to use gdisk or cfdisk)

        2. Prompted to associate a mount point with an existing partition -- installer takes a while to detect existing partitions

          • I replaced the stock drive on the notebook with an SSD and boosted the memory, so I created no swap partition.

          • I assigned / to /dev/sda2 and had it formatted to Ext4 (gdisk reserves /dev/sda1 for housekeeping)

          • "Select any additional file partitions to mount under your new root"

            • Pick and unassigned partition (/dev/sda3) [is the installation media]

              • Enter the mount point (i.e. "/home")

    1. Syntax for file system mounting, I accept default

    2. "Select the device name scheme to use in config files" – FSLabel seemed easier to follow than FSUUID or kernel name

  1. 3 Select Source -> Choose Mirror – i.e. Pick the closest repo (first choice is Leaseweb in the U.S.)

  2. 4 Install System – Not much to do, wait for the update to complete and you will get a prompt "Package Installation will begin now", click the prompt and don't touch the system again until you are prompted.

  3. 5 Configure System

    1. Do you want to use 'hwdetect' to configure /etc/mkinitcpio.conf'

      1. This file is usually generated by 'mkinitcpio -p linux' in the standard Arch install and is usually only modified in the following cases (from the Archwiki for Beginners Installation

        • Here you need to set the right hooks if the root is on a USB drive, if you use RAID, LVM, or if /usr is on a separate partition.

        • In other words, if you need to ask, answer 'yes'

    2. USB detected, do you want to be able to boot from USB? Y

    3. Same question, pcmcia? Y

    4. Nano or vi (just for klaatu: What, no emacs love?)

    5. Create you user. For once, you can type whatever user name you want instead of the installer generating a suggester user name from your "real" name

    6. User password

    7. hostname

    8. root password

    9. Do you want to manually edit /etc/mkinitcpio.conf? If you answered yes above, skip the step

  4. That's the last step. After applying the configuration, the installer will again check for and install package updates

  5. Unlike the conventional Arch install, when I booted into the new system, not only did the wired Internet work, I found WiFi worked as well.

  6. The system boots directly into a graphical login, and automatically loads X and the Cinnamon desktop.

  7. For a 600Mb download (still a Netinstall), Cinnarch is a little thin on installed apps. Under Office, there is a button to install Libre Office. Only the Chromium browser, no IRC client or Mumble

    1. My first act was to open the man page on pacman

  8. To take a page out of Door's book, expect an upcoming episode titled "so I've installed Arch, now what" from the perspective of an Arch noob.


Postinstall:

As I understand it, the login screen consists of a modified Unity Greeter over LightDM. I believe an update went awry and made the login revert back to standard Unity Greeter. I cannot imagine how the previous day's installs (Crossover, wget, and rsync) could have effected the login screen. I can get to a command prompt if I edit my failback Grub menu option. To do this, I select the failback when the Grub menu comes on scree and hit 'e', this will give me an editing screen. Then I look for the option "quiet" at the end of the line that begins "linux". I delete "quiet", replace it with "single" and hit <F10> (the change is not persistent, I have to do this every time you log in). When prompted, I type me root password and then I am in single user command line mode. To connect to the Internet:

# ip link set eth0 up

# ip addr add <ip address>/<subnetmask> dev <interface>

example: # ip addr add 192.168.1.2/24 dev eth0

# ip route add default via <your_routers_ip_address>

# nano /etc/resolv.conf

             nameserver <your_routers_ip_address>
[My router's IP was already in there, so I probably need to configure it to receive DNS from the DHCP server once I get it working]
# pacman -R lightdm-ubuntu lightdm-unity-greeter
(recommendation from MrBios on #cinnarch)
# yaourt -Syua lightdm
(trying the most minimal desktop manager I could load)
The installation told me I should install lightdm-gtk-greeter, so I did that too. Now I get mouse pointer that flashes a few times and gives way to a blank screen with a cursor. Tomorrow, I'll see if i can't get help on the Cinnarch forums. If they can't help me figure it out, you may hear me review Manjaro or Parobola.
[yauort is a wrapper for pacman that includes the AUR (you have to wait for my episode, "So I've Installed Arch, Now What {an Arch newbie perspective}" to find our what the AUR is. The arguments '-Syua' update all repositories and upgrade all packages before proceeding with installing a new package.
BTW, if you do something silly, like let the battery die in the middle of installing a package, you will need to do 'rm /var/lib/pacman/db.lck' to unlock pacman and yaourt.

Post-post-installation

OK, I think I know what I did. Before final editing on this piece, I caught part of a conversation on #oggcastplanet in IRC which I asked artv61 to clarify. He affirmed that it was common knowledge among Arch users that using yaourt for system updates invites breakage (remember how enthusiastic I was that I could update the system and install new software all in one command; don't worry, you can do something similar with pacman).


Rants and information:

Removing live configuration (packages)