Feedback from M-Architect installation on USB flash drive

Manjaro Architect is a great and efficient utility. The least I could do is give some feedback from my recent installation on a USB flash drive.
No serious problems (for experienced and not panicking users...) found.
Some terminology I found candidate for changing IMHO and better/proper help messages, to reflect what is expected with certain menu options.
My findings are in a short form, as noted down during the installation.
Where there are leading numbers in paragraphs, they point to Menu numbering (hopefully understood from those who know).

If my feedback proves to be helpful in some extend, my work is done! :wink:


  • (4) After partitioning the drive, it needs to be re-mount.
    (add info message) Use system Unmount function and re-install external USB drive

  • (4) For a small drive (< 16GB) do not use swap partition.
    (add info message) Use swap file instead.

  • (9) Editing pacman.conf and saving, triggers a database sync.
    Wait until exiting mirrorlist menu to trigger sync. More changes may be done.

  • (9) Not checked "Rank mirrors for speed".
    No obvious option to select mirrors manually (country or specific --interactive).
    If this sequence just copies host mirrorlist, it should be explained for clarity. In fact, in my case, my system's mirrorlist was copied, together with my edited repos (nulogic), which was what I wanted, but it was not clear that this should be my option.

  • (12) "fsck hook" is too technical/geeky expression.
    Even I :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: could not know exactly the target (fstab or systemd?...).

  • (2-1) Install "Desktop" System is confusing
    Install Basic System (base) might be more appropriate.

  • (2-1-1) Install Manjaro Desktop, as previous confusion
    Starts with kernel choices (Install base)

  • Install Base has only yay with base-devel
    The AUR helper in choise has nothing to do with kernels.
    base-devel may be on its own or added if AUR helper is chosen. AUR helper can be a separate page/list or add helpers in kernels (Install Base) page.

  • Desktop Environments, no Enlightenment choice.
    Can Nulogic Enlightenment get included? Answer is No. I know. Can repo addition be included? (auto, or with instructions). In the far future...

  • Desktop Environments, after selecting one, it cannot be deselected.
    Is Cancel going back or resetting selections? Maybe a No DE option could have some place here?

  • Additional Packages, before Display Manager and other utilities?
    It should be provided just before final installation, but after Display Manager etc.

  • Additional Packages, no info on source repo
    When packages exist twice, there is no indication of the source repo.
    I suppose the repo order will be used, but a choice is not provided, for geeks/experts (too much?)

  • Additional Packages, after exit, the package list in nano is presented.
    (add info message) You can edit directly to add/remove/disable packages.

  • (ISO profiles) Micro (more friendly usage) instead of Nano in Base packages (LXDE minimal)
    xorg-xrandr might be usefull

  • Mount points for the installer should use a unique (by default known) mount point.
    /mnt and /mnt/home could be randomly used from other processes.
    For preventive precautions, an internal folder should be used as a wrapper (i.e. /mnt/m-a or /mnt/Architect).

  • Running pacman-mirrors hook failed to get network
    At hooks run, pacman-mirrors failed to ping (3) webpages, reporting "No network found" and creating a "random" totaly strange server list. (bug or connection configuration?). There could be a manual/editing option for mirrors, as a failsafe guard for such occasions.

  • Video drivers Installation failed on "All free video drivers"
    failed to install "All free video drivers"

  • In order to not use os-prober (my plan), maybe select os-prober package and on BootLoader selection no-osprober (???) I could't figure out how to do it... :disappointed:

  • [exclude] System locale is language and the rest (OK). - (I really don't remember what I mean here...)

  • Keyboard Layout still no multiple layouts enabled (there's always hope!)

  • Keyboard Layout name is misleading/wrong
    "Desktop Keyboard Layout" should be "System Keyboard Layout"

  • After display drivers installations failure (all free), I used "Chroot to your Installation" and installed video-linux with mhwd successfully.
    But running exit to get out of chroot, errors and crash happened

(1/1) Arming ConditionNeedsUpdate...
> Successfully installed video-linux
[myhost /]# exit
exit
sudo: mon_handle_sigchld: waitpid: Καμιά θυγατρική διεργασία
                                                            sudo: mon_handle_sigchld: waitpid: Καμιά θυγατρική διεργασία
                                                                                                                        sudo:

Be well!!

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In a new installation with M-A (my favorite only Manjaro installer) I confirmed the same issues, though I want to point out (again) these:

This time I wanted to confirm packages and used M-A chroot.
It crashed again when entering exit. Same message.


There is an option at bootloader selection for "Grub-no os-prober"
I selected and when confirming packages, I did not see os-prober.
Then, grub had used os-prober to create menu, filling my host's systems to a disk that is prepared for a totally different hardware.
Also I verified with chroot os-prober was indeed installed (for a moment I thought M-A may had used host grub+settings).
NO_OS_PROBER setting was not in target /etc/default/grub


This was experienced in a freaky way.
After M-A had crashed, I used manjaro-chroot from my host PC to check packages.
manjaro-chroot is using hardcoded mount points on /mnt tree. Same as M-A.

I try to not think what would have happened if I had used /mnt for casual mounting.
A utility that should consider various different situations, should use something else for mounting (as in my OT suggestion) for preventive reasons IM-not-so-HO.

manjaro-chroot -a
==> Detected systems:
 --> 0) LinuxMint
 --> 1) ManjaroLinux
 --> 2) Arcolinux
 --> 3) ManjaroLinux1
==> Select system to mount [0-3] : 
3
==> Mounting (ManjaroLinux1) [/dev/sde1]
 --> mount: [/mnt]
mount: /mnt: /dev/sde1 already mounted on /mnt.
 --> mount: [/mnt/home]
mount: /mnt/home: /dev/sde2 already mounted on /mnt/home.
 --> mount: [/mnt/restore]
mount: /mnt/restore: /dev/sde3 already mounted on /mnt/restore.

I would appreciate some response @Chrysostomus , at least to stop bothering... :man_shrugging:

If you install using Architect - targeting an USB device - you need to create the bootloader configuration manually as Architect is not targeted USB installation - it is possible to install to USB - but you are required to know the difference - the default grub installation cannot distinguish a permanent storage device from an USB storage device.

Please check the relevant sections on mkinitcpio and grub in this topic

Do you mean that if the drive was internal, os-prober would not be installed and/or used for grub.cfg?

I mean that you need to use the --removable argument otherwise your systems grub gets messed up.

Thanks. I know.
The drive was plugged in USB with an adapter. It will be used internal.
Not relevant to my observations/comments. :wink:

Well - there will always be edge cases :slight_smile:

As you know - it is not possible to cover edge cases. Now I assume you are familiar with https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/GRUB/Tips_and_tricks#Alternative_installation_methods .

I am familiar with the difficulties of running multiboot systems - and I think the presented case is an edge case - one which cannot be expected to be handled within the installer.

I have often pointed out - to my then clients - developers do not think as users - e.g. a developer will never expect a user to double-click a button - right? This statement should be understood as - any user, at any given time - can make even the most thought-through design break - no offense please :slight_smile:

I know you are familiar with the FHS - /mnt is defined as a temporary mountpoint - never use this for permanent mountpoints - it will cause issues - just as you have found.

It's funny what can someone read in the docs

3.11 /mnt : Mount point for a temporarily mounted filesystem

3.11.1 Purpose

This directory is provided so that the system administrator may temporarily mount a filesystem as needed. The content of this directory is a local issue and should not affect the manner in which any program is run.

This directory must not be used by installation programs: a suitable temporary directory not in use by the system must be used instead.

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I'm taking a break from Linux for the rest of the year and don't follow the forums regularly until then. I'll read this later when I have time.

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