Arch-based de triumph!

Solid state drives (SSD) installed? Check. Operating systems engaged? Double check.

Windows 10 Pro was a simple affair. I made an install USB and loaded it onto the first SSD. There were a few minor hiccups (a couple of times, the install backtracked a step or two, but nothing major).

Linux, however, proved slightly more challenging.

I intended to start with Ubuntu. My reasoning was in Jason Evangelho’s article on Forbes; consider using a more mainstream, flagship edition of Linux.

I had issues (pun also intended).

When I ran the Ubuntu installer, the default setting was to overwrite Windows. So, I shut the machine down, switched the cables on my hard drives, and tried again.

It didn’t matter. If I was going to install Ubuntu, I had to do figure out how to manually set up the root partition on the secondary drive.

Okay, not ideal, and a little beyond me, so I tried Ubuntu MATE, not actually believing it would work as intended. It did not.

Only slightly deterred, I threw in my third choice, the one I used the longest and am most comfortable with; Manjaro. Xfce edition, if you’re curious.


What Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer couldn’t handle without manual configuration, Manjaro’s Calamares installer managed with ease. I was able to select which SSD I wanted to install the OS on and I let the automated installer handle the rest.

I know that a lot of more experienced users customize their installations. They decide how large to make their swap areas, which file system they want, etc. I don’t know much about all of that. I also wanted to see if I could install without having to make any changes. To that end, I succeeded and I’m happy with the results.

A brave new world

The hard drive (HDD) in my desktop is dying by inches. We’ve had good times together. But like all good things, they must come to an end. There’s no telling how much longer the smaller drive will last. It’s probably over a decade old at this point. The large drive has housed Windows 10, while the smaller drive is for my Linux testing.

I find myself in an exciting position, however. Instead of one mega-sized HDD and one much smaller, much older laptop HHD, I’m going with two, smaller solid state drives (SSD).

Not only should I see a sizeable boost in speed, I can finally start using Linux as a more primary OS. I can try installing some of my favorite programs (read: games) in Linux first!

The question is, which distribution do I run? (I’m interested in running the same on my laptop and desktop, btw)

Ubuntu MATE has a certain appeal. The variety of themes means I can spice things up if I get bored. I liked Unity and Pantheon desktops, and my first computer (and smart phone!) was an Apple, so the Cupertino theme has some attraction. I also appreciate that updates focus more on stability.

Perhaps Linux Mint? The desktop can run Cinnamon without any problem, and the laptop can run Mate (substitute out the mint menu for brisk…) or Xfce. Again, there’s that level of stability and Mint is one of the prettiest distros I’ve ever used.

Manjaro was good to me on my laptop. The software repository is great, and it runs smoothly. There’s a little thrill at running on the bleeding edge and updates haven’t tanked my system yet. There’s also something nice about not having to reinstall the system when there’s a big update/new long term support (LTS) release. Vivaldi has been a little difficult to get all of the extras I want out of the AUR though, and I’ve had some installation issues with it.

Solus ran a little heavy on my laptop. I played with Fedora a little bit on a virtual machine

I’m not exactly a newbie, but I’ve still got a lot to learn. I’m not quite ready for something along the lines of Arch or Gentoo. But at least I have it somewhat narrowed down.