Manjaro installer is a nightmare

Hi,

this is a frustration-post intended as a quick feedback, possibly leading to something productive.

I'm a long time Arch user and got a friend of mine a new Dell Latitude 7490. Since I'm the one in charge of dealing with possible problems I wanted to go with something not causing real pain when things break (like Ubuntu [at the latest when the support runs out]). Hence I went for Manjaro KDE 20.0.1 stable yesterday. The image appears to be really smooth.

I didn't have the time to collect elaborate logs etc but I want to express that the Manjaro Installer, GUI as well as Architect presented themselves as a real pain in the a**! It's a real nightmare I'm unsure about how it ever got out of testing.

It just breaks constantly everywhere in a myriad of severe errors. On my at least 10th(!) try with manual work in advance, I was able to defeat the GUI installer leaving me wondering whether Manjaro really was a good choice if I now hand over the laptop.

On the first run, it deleted all the partitions and crashed without error.

This is just not feasible if Manjaro wants to be popular.

In case, I can provide something useful, please let me know!

All the best!


Appendix

I just wanted the default installation with a separate home. Hence I went for manual partitioning.

Sidenote: I don't understand why the default installation has no separate home directory. To me, as someone constantly fixing other peoples computers, this is a must have. Hence I recommend adding that to the default "delete the complete drive and install Manjaro"-option.

A fraction of the problems I do remember:

  • First time it deleted all partitions and crashed without error
  • Then it failed to mount the partitions and installed the system in RAM with Grub install obviously failing.
  • On another run I could set the boot flag and in the next step it complained about the missing boot flag --> just resolvable by setting it manually in fdisk.
  • It failed to set correct grub parameters leading to warnings on booting.
  • There were several different severe crashes in the Architect as well but I can't recall the situations.
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gave me a good laugh :rofl: :joy:

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I do not know why it happened, week ago I installed Manjaro Gnome on empty SSD created root and home partition and swap with out problem.
I would suggest to completely wipe out disk and format is to some non linux like FAT and then proceed installation.

Manjaro-architect had a depency problem for a few days. It should be fixed now. Without more specifics it is difficult to help further.

For calamares issues, it is best to open an issue in the calamares issue tracker in github.

Good question. Afaik this is a distro configurable option in calamares. It might be because separate home directory doesn't work very well with small target disks? Or because the configuration is still somewhat new and isn't used yet?

If the installers don't work for you, as an experienced archer you can also opt for a simple manual arch style installation if you want.

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I'm sorry but you are completely delusional. The installer for Manjarp couldn't be more straight forward and solid. It's also the installer most of the larger distros use.

"On the first run, it deleted all the partitions and crashed without error."

That would be on you and whatever you did wrong. I'm not even going to address the rest of you work of pure fiction.

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Calamares is a well tested installer framework which get used by several Linux distributions, including remixes of Ubuntu and Fedora. The Architect installer is not tested at all when we do quality checks, as it gets updated on regular basis when started, therefore no part of the actual ISO test process. Issues for Calamares can be found here. We always try to fix them fast:

It is always best to provide the installation log in debug mode when Calamares fails.

sudo -E calamares -d

Each ISO gets installed at least in automatic-partitioning mode by erasing the whole disk. So far no regressions were found.

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Judging by the steadily increasing number of downloads and the massive influx of new users on the forum I would say Manjaro already is pretty popular.

I would just say, from my perspective, this should never be the default. While there are reasons to have a separate /home and sometimes I do this myself, if you don't specifically have one of those reasons, it is better not to break out.

For one thing, it can be a waste of disk space and with many laptops shipping with only 32-64GB eMMC devices that space can be at a premium. Additionally, having a separate /home forces the installer to make decisions about how the disks should be laid out which is difficult to do in a universal fashion. Lastly, if you don't know what you are doing, re-using a /home folder will lead to a myriad of problems. Since Manjaro users are often new to Linux, my vote would be to let those who want a separate /home partition it themselves.

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Spot on. I like knowing when I select my drive and let Manjaro set it up that it WILL only do a boot partition and a partition for everything else.

Manual partitioning is always the most difficult step in installing any Linux distribution, especially if you don't know what you're doing.

But my experience with Calamares has been a mostly positive one, with maybe one or two hiccups. I really don't see how describing it as "nightmare" would be justified in any way. :man_shrugging:

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No. It get way harder then just manual partitioning. Distro like crux and gentoo. Ask for you to setup the kernel. Witch I find way more time consuming then manual partitioning. I will say. ZFS partitioning is tricky. Compare to ext4, xfs, and btrfs.

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While not a necessity I always do any custom partitioning myself using gparted before any install. That goes for both Calamares and Architect. Relying on the installer to make those kind of decisions is inviting problems IMO.

If you simply want a full disk install then leave it to Calamares. If you want a custom layout then do it yourself before firing up the installer. That is the best way if you want a custom partition scheme. Sometimes if you want it done right, you've just got to do it yourself.

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Yes, yes, and yes. 100% I'm with you on this.

I used to go gui. But for some the advanced to intermediate linux distro. There are no gui or X environment. So I learn to used cli options. I find that fdisk lead me to making way less mistake. Yes, it weird as all hell to used. But I find it layout far more sane to used. Even if parted cli is still easy. I just find myself making more mistake easier thing get. But yes. gparted is a good tool for new user. But cfdisk is just as good. For easy to used cli option. But new user getting into partitioning. I suggest they watch a few youtube video. To get the basic idea on how many partition can be setup.

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My choice of partitioning whenever I'm going to install Arch.

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Has the definite advantage of encouraging some thinking before pressing buttons!

Daaaaaamn, noo!! That means no encryption, a fixed space to each purpose and... relying in the very same storage as a fallback!

Better to use qsyncthingtray-git instead to sync the important documents with your phone.

systemd-homed is fixing this issue.

https://linuxreviews.org/Systemd-Homed_Is_Merged_And_It_Will_Fundamentally_Change_Linux_Home_Directories

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Systemd-homed#LUKS_home_directory

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Whenever I installed Arch, I would boot up the live ISO of Ubuntu* or some other distro and use GParted, just because I'm a nôôb who doesn't want to partition hard drives in the TTY. :smiley:

There is a GUI environment for everything, no matter how "advanced". :wink:

In my experience with Manjaro, Calamares does partitioning fairly well, I haven't yet had the need to use other tools. That said, I have a strong preference for simple partition schemes (boot-root-home), and I prefer having multiple HDDs rather than a single huge HDD (because I got burnt with HDD hardware failure in the past).


*That's the only good use for Ubuntu, in my opinion, just like in the olden days when the only good use for Internet Explorer was to download Firefox. :grin:

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I'm with @kresimir there is always more than one way to skin a cat. My case NEVER a SO that the initial install has to be done from the command line. Partitioning is always done with GParted, never terminal. As for my OS drive the partitioning is as straightforward as it comes, so I just tell the install to use the entire disk and let it handle the partitioning. Now as for all my other data I would prefer to have one large drive with everything and a secondary copy of that that is one way synced to every couple of days.

I'm sorry but you are completely delusional.

Then I must have been hallucinating a few hours.

The installer for Manjarp couldn't be more straight forward and solid.

Indeed, in my case straight to crash in no time: manjaro

That would be on you and whatever you did wrong.

Yeah, certainly.

Generally: If it breaks, it's broken. Fullstop.

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Anyway, thanks for all the comments. As well for the manual installation guide.

This is insightful but not something I aim for when setting up someone others computer. I was pursuing my fast and reliable Arch experience with a simple default install (with home).

I now spent a while debugging but it's still completely opaque to me in which circumstances what fails.

Sometimes calamares directly crashes, in some instances it goes smooth. Reading the debug logs as well as the strange messages I found, I suspect insufficient handling of the low-level tools, like fdisk but I don't know whether I'm the one going for that now.

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