Note to Linux Pros- Architect for Noobs

I'm a Linux newbie that is steadily making progress. I'd rate myself at roughly a 2.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 of Linux proficiency. I watch lots of "How to" Youtube videos and read lots of "How to" things on websites and in Wikis and forums. This is for the Linux Masters that make those videos and web pages or any high level Linux users helping newbies-
Please take a few moments to explain briefly why a user might want to choose or not choose each option (especially in "how to install x distro" videos/ webpages/ wikis). This is extremely important for relative noobs installing something like Manjaro Architect as a learning experience but applies to any installer or any kind of "how to do x". Almost every video having to do with Architect type installs uses an install onto a virtual machine as a demo. This is bad. The video maker all too often glosses over things the noob is desperate to learn about by skipping over things by saying "I'm on a VM so we can just skip this step". Experts, please try to remember what it was like to be a noob and try to think in terms of a teacher in a classroom and not just an IT pro talking to a slightly less experienced IT pro. There are many thousands of people that try to get into Linux by just installing it (and then adding to and modifying it) at home on an extra machine or dual-boot.
**Pop up tooltips that are a short paragraph with a brief description and why a person would want or not want to choose that option for EVERY line on the screen (every option and sub-option) in the Architect installer would make it a very powerful teaching tool.

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Not being a help request, moved from #newbies to #general-discussion

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What can't even get users to read how to use the noob friendly installer or the wiki,
So its pointless with a advanced installer designed for advanced users in mind, as most users refuse to learn and to read anyway.

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Sadly that is true all too often. Actually, that is what made me think of pop-up tooltips - practically no effort on the newbie's part. With something like the Calamares installer, the noob learns very little, especially if they choose "auto partition". The Architect Wiki does not explain every option and why and when one would choose or not choose it. I repair computers for a living and have several "middle aged" PCs around just to tinker with. I've installed Architect 3 times just to learn using different options each time and can't help but see its tremendous potential as a teaching tool.

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IMO advanced Linux users don't do YouTube "How To" videos. That's not the way the Linux community generally passes along knowledge. Tutorials, Wiki's, and FAQ's are the standard methods of teaching new users Linux.

Maybe by the next century we will have progressed to video's for teaching Linux, but luckily I won't be around to ever see it. :smile:

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What we need is good documentation, and by "good" I mean:

  1. clear,
  2. concise,
  3. thorough,
  4. up to date,
  5. grammatically correct

When it comes to Linux in general, and Arch specifically, the Arch Wiki is probably the best attempt at good documentation in my opinion, but it is sometimes lacking in any of the five points above.

It takes a tremendous amount of work to write good documentation, and it's mostly boring to do so, which is why documentation is often lacking.

The documentation should ideally be separate from the program (things like tooltips are helpful only when you're a complete noob, later they just get in the way).

Video tutorials are only good as an introduction to the topic, and as tutorials for the simplest of tasks for complete noobs. Beyond that, they are a waste of time, because they cannot possibly be both thorough and concise enough to be useful.

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As far as I'm aware, the Architect installer isn't intended to be newcomer friendly. It is made to make customized installs easy and timesaving, compared to a purely command line install, for a little bit more experienced users.

I'd guess providing guides and intructions for complete newcomers to everything would exhaust the resources of any distro developer team, they wouldn't be able to work on the actual distro.

Now, that being said, it isn't very difficult for a complete newcomer to get into the Architect. You read some guides, watch some videos, and then do some trial and erroring. Info in the linux world quickly gets outdated, and everyones on a different setup. You have to read some different stuff, experiement and pick up whats relevant to you,

If you do this in virtulbox if is basically effortless to start anew and correct errors. Just make a virtual image ready for Manjaro, clone it and experiement on the clone. When you screw up, you delete it, go back to the original and start again.

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Regarding Manjaro Architect, the easiest way to figure it out is to do a manual install of Arch. Once you know how to do that (and by "knowing" I mean not just blindly following instructions, but understanding what each step does), Architect will seem rather intuitive and you'll appreciate it saving you a bunch of keystrokes. In this particular case, bottom up is, in my opinion, a simpler way to learn. While manual Arch install is somewhat tedious, it is very basic and fundamentally simple to understand.

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I found the manual install to be way easier than the Architect in the beginning. Straightforward, what you type is what you get.

Unfortunately, Virtualbox just seemed too complex at the time, what the hell is virtualization anyway?, so I had to do all the experiementing on bare metal.

Tip to the OP:

Start at the bottom and the beginning by reading up on bios/efi and partitions, and work your way up from there.

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It is certainly easier to understand what is going on (on a theoretical level), but I don't think it is practically easier to execute. For example, I find partitioning the hard drive in the terminal to be physically painful. I understand how to do it, but I don't want to do it :smiley:

When installing Arch, I would boot up a 'Buntu live image just to use Gparted to prepare my partitions, then boot up an Arch live image to continue the install. It's a bit like in the old days, using Internet Explorer to download Firefox :rofl:

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It is a lot of typing! That one is easier in the Architect.

What I did later, was to make the ''perfect'' base install, and then Clonezilla it. Then I could always go back to the base, if and when I wanted to start anew. That's also a good tip to the OP, if she/he's doing this on an actual machine.

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The "perfect base install" is a great idea, especially if you do multiple installs! The only problem I potentially see with it is it going out of date, especially for a more complex distro like Manjaro. But as long as you're able to update it (which should be for at least a year), you're set. And when it goes out of date, you just make a new one.

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Don't watch YouTube videos which are not helpful for. Find the right ones.

Even better just follow the official Manjaro User Guide PDF.

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When you're in a learning and experiementing phase, it doesn't matter, because you start anew very often.

But I do the ''perfect base'' install on my workshop Debian net-install computers. All of them have a ''perfect base'' install Clonezilla image on them, ready to reload if need be. But that is basically because I'm still learning and experiementing.

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I place myself at 1% knowledge about linux, from 100% what linux is, yet you consider yourself to cover a quarter of what linux is as a newbie, asking for popup tooltips on architect install ... Something is really off in all this.

I imagine someone that just starts using a sawmil, and have stickers for every step of the processing wood on it while doing the sawing. You know what happens, right?
Documentation is done before, not during the process. You can't have the wiki on the install.

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There's a great new-user friendly Manjaro installer called Calamares. Comes free with most versions.

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Anyway, let me say congrats @Walter for actually having made it to the Architect, where your'e just one step from a cli base install. This is where the real fun begins!

Windows 10 consumes something like 2g ram idle, after the last update.
Imagine if you could install just the fundamental base of it, just to get the machine to boot and work in a basic state. Then you could install Explorer to browse, a network module to get the net going, some basic tools, your apps, tailor it exactly to your needs. You'd get a fully functional total bloat-free Windows sitting at, say, 1g ram idle.

This is why Linux is so absorbing coming from Windows. You can pick and choose each component and tailor it to your exact needs, and how you want the machine to operate! If you don't like a file manager, switch it out with something more spartan, or something more feature rich. Don't like NetworkManager, switch it out with WICD or ConnMan. Want to build a Linux race car? Build it from base up streamlined with cherry-picked components for speed and lightweight, make it look sleeker and more modern than any Windows, and it will still idle at 300mb ram. Goddamn!

One can do just about anything one pleases, there are no limits compared to Windows. Gotta love it!

Frustrations are completly normal, but you'll laugh at them pretty soon, don't give up!

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That is probably because they are also relatively inexperienced.

I will just echo what everyone else has already noted which is that the majority of the video tutorials out there are made by people who are not even remotely "experts". They gloss over a lot of things because they probably don't fully understand them.

Lastly, I would point out that Architect is an alternative installer for people with more expertise. It isn't targeted at people less experienced with Linux. That is what the Calamares-based graphical installer is for.

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I know, but, to me, Architect is a great learning experience. But there's no good description/ advice on all options in all menus. The Wiki doesn't do this, it is missing explanations for many selections and why one might want or not want to choose each. It assumes you are an IT person just trying to quickly install it to get a task done instead of a curious person trying to learn everything possible about it. Several times in the forums, newbies get rebuffed for trying Architect instead of being complimented on digging in and trying to learn it and all the possible selections.

I'm a life long computer tinkerer (started in about 1975). I LOVE the infinite configurability with Linux. I can make a new install's Plasma desktop look far better in less than 10 minutes than I could make the Windows desktop look after 5 years of tinkering (even with Rainmeter or Stardock stuff).
My mouth actually dropped open when I saw in Manjaro settings how easy it was to install/ change/ select multiple kernels. Linux is incredibly modular. Windows is like lots of sloppy spider webs and every time you install something new it is like tossing in a drunk spider to add its web.

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