Arch Linux is a great Linux distro but notoriously complicated to install. EndeavorOS provides the closest thing to a simple Arch installation, without the pain. Let’s take a look at how it differs and how to set it up.
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Arch Linux and EndeavorOS
Arch Linux is famous for being its own thing, done its own way. Most distributions are built on top of other distributions. Ubuntu is based on Debian, Manjaro is based on Arch, and Fedora is based on RedHat Linux.
Arch Linux is not based on anything. It was built from the ground up using the Linux kernel, GNU utilities, its own package manager, etc. Arch Linux allows the user to decide exactly what they want to include or exclude from their operating system and applications. It is the polar opposite of bloat. It’s pretty much the skinniest Linux you can get.
Including only what you want results in a light and fast operating system. Why install things that won’t be of use to you, just to take up disk space? The fewer moving parts, the better. But the granularity of the installation process is off-putting, if not downright intimidating, for many users. It is not for beginners.
Ironically, one of the guiding principles of Arch Linux is KISS. Keep it sweet and simple, but I know people who have passed weeks trying to get Arch Linux fully functional and stable on a laptop. You learn a lot by installing, maintaining, and repairing Arch, but a lot of users don’t come to Linux for that. They want “it to work”.
Distributions like Manjaro are trying to close the gap. Manjaro is based on Arch, uses the same package manager as Arch Linux, and uses a continuous release model. There isn’t a big update once or twice a year with Arch Linux, it is continually updated as application and operating system patches become available. Manjaro does this too, but with a delay in the patch deployment process. The delay gives developers time to fix bugs found in Arch Linux updates.
Manjaro is based on Arch but it is not Arch Linux. If you really want to run Arch Linux but can’t face or understand installing Arch Linux, what can you do? That’s where EndeavorOS comes in. EndeavorOS brings Arch Linux as close as it gets, without manually assembling Arch Linux the hard way.
EndeavorOS uses the famous Calamares installer. It asks you a series of questions – what’s your keyboard layout, what desktop environment do you want, what time zone are you in – and installs Arch Linux the way you want it. In 30 or 40 minutes, you have a fully functional Arch Linux installation, with a few additional EndeavorOS-specific management tools.
This puts Arch Linux within the reach of everyone.
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How to install EndeavorOS
Download the EndeavorOS installation ISO and burn it to DVD or create a bootable USB drive.
Start your computer from the installation media. You will see a menu. Tellingly, the menu title is “Arch Linux”. If you have a recent NVIDIA graphics card, select the second option, otherwise select the top option. The top option also supports NVIDIA, but the second option includes proprietary drivers for the newer cards.
Your computer will boot into the EndeavorOS live environment. In the “Welcome” dialog box, select the “Start installer” button.
EndeavorOS has two types of installations. The online version, which obviously requires an Internet connection, allows you to choose your office environment. The offline method doesn’t need internet connectivity, but it doesn’t give you a choice of desktop environments. It only installs the Xfce desktop environment.
During installation, a terminal window displays either the installation log or the installation log.
pacman, the Arch Linux installation package manager. The terminal window is located behind the main installation screens. You won’t see it unless you bring it to the foreground with Alt + Tab. For most people, it doesn’t matter which of the two boxes is checked. I thought it would be interesting to see the
pacman log, so this is what I selected.
Installing online offers the most options and will be the best option, unless you are stuck somewhere without internet access. Click on the “Online” button.
The information gathering part of the installation starts. The first step allows you to select your language from a drop-down menu.
Select your language and click “Next” to continue.
Click on the map to select your time zone and location. Click “Next” to continue.
Choose your keyboard layout and other features, then click “Next.”
You can manually partition your disks or let EndeavorOS choose healthy defaults. We wiped the entire disk and let EndeavorOS decide on the partitioning, so we selected the “Erase Disk” radio button.
We selected the option “Swap (no hibernation)” and selected “Btrfs” as the file system. You can also choose to have no swap, swap to file, or swap and hibernate. The file system options are “ext4” or “Btrfs”. Click “Next” when you have made your choices.
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The next screen allows you to choose your desktop environment and a few other options. Make sure the first box is checked. If you want to have a long term support kernel installed as well as the latest kernel version, check the second box.
Choose your office environment. The options are:
You do not know which one to choose ? Our guide to Linux desktop environments covers some of the options here.
If you want printing assistance, and you probably do, check the “Printing Assistance” box. If you need HP print media and scanner or accessibility tools, select these options. Click “Next” when you are ready to continue.
On the next screen, provide information about yourself, choose a name for your computer, and set a password. Make sure that “Automatically connect without asking for a password” is not selected. It is usually more convenient to use the same password for the root account, so check the last box. Click “Next” to continue.
A summary of what you requested is displayed. To continue, make the changes and install EndeavorOS, click on the “Install” button.
You have the option to opt out or continue.
If you click the “Install Now” button, the hard drive partitioning and file copying processes begin.
The progress bar might stop here and there for a bit, but just sit there and it will move again when it’s ready. You can use the Alt + Tab key combination to bring the terminal window to the foreground if you want to verify that something is going on behind the scenes. On one install, the progress bar stopped at 14% for quite a while, then rose to 39%, and continued from there.
Once the installation is complete, check the “Restart now” box and click the “Done” button.
You will reboot into an EndeavorOS themed Arch Linux.
EndeavorOS, first start
When you start in EndeavorOS, you will see the Welcome app.
This app makes it easy for the newcomer to perform some of the tasks that you typically want to do after a fresh Linux install, such as checking for updates and refreshing the contents of the Package Manager mirrors.
Endeavor follows Arch Linux’s principle of providing you with a functional and bare system. It’s like a new home. You need to decorate and furnish it as you want. The EndeavorOS GNOME 40 version comes with the Tweaks application installed. Using Tweaks, the main GNOME settings application and the GNOME Extensions Manager, you can configure your desktop to your liking.
Then all you have to do is decide which apps you want to install. The Welcome application has a tabbed interface. Some buttons and tabs provide information, others will perform actions. The “Add more applications” tab allows you to easily install some popular applications such as the LibreOffice office productivity suite, Chromium browser and a firewall.
The apps are installed from the official Arch Linux repository or the AUR, the community-managed Arch User repository. There’s an EndeavorOS repository as well, but it’s only used for EndeavorOS-specific apps, such as the Welcome app and some theme-related resources.
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Life on the edge
EndeavorOS is the easiest way to get a cutting edge installation of Arch Linux on your hardware. Calamares installer makes it as easy as installing Ubuntu. So, should everyone be upgrading to EndeavorOS?
Not enough. Any progressive version model can introduce instabilities. With Arch Linux, instabilities and other software regressions are always dealt with in a very short time, and new fixes are deployed in about a day. But, in the meantime, you might experience operational issues. Those who choose to use Arch Linux should make an informed decision and understand this. The avant-garde is no place for the faint hearted.
This is why Arch-based distributions like Manjaro are one step away from the edge. They have a security delay between the release of new updates and the release of those updates to users. They are held long enough that all major pitfalls are spotted and resolved.
But, if you understand the risks and benefits of using an Arch-based distribution, or if you want to play with Arch Linux on a non-critical machine, EndeavorOS is the easiest way to get a Linux Arch installation. at 99.9%. and run without tears.
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