I thought this had been mentioned before but I searched and couldn’t find it. I have installed Arch several times over the past few days and while normally this would have resulted in me balled up in the corner rocking back and forth while muttering about the wiki, I managed to retain my sanity and actually enjoy the process. How could such a thing be possible you ask? Simple. Archfi.
And simple is the best way to describe it. Simple, easy and straightforward. Archfi (Arch Fast Installer) is a script you download and run just after booting to the official Arch installation ISO. It basically takes you through the same process you go through when following along with the wiki except that it presents the options in an ncurses UI, grouping the tasks in a logical manner such as setting the configuration options and installing the base system. Once you’ve gone through all the steps, you’ll have a full base install.
Thank you, sir. May I have another?
At this point it offers to download another script called archdi (Arch Desktop Installer) which you can choose to use to install things like X, video drivers and a desktop environment as well as helping you configure them. Again, it takes you through the same ncurses approach to installing the things needed for a fully working system with minimal effort while allowing for the freedom to customize as needed.
Nothing’s Ever Perfect
Neither of these tools are perfect as is the case with most things in life. For example, the partitioning section doesn’t make it particularly easy to install alongside another OS but it does work. Another thing to watch out for is trying to cancel an option you’ve selected when it switches to the terminal view to complete the task. For example, if you selected to install something it goes to the terminal and runs the pacman command. If you try to cancel with Ctrl+C it kills the script and you’ll need to launch it again. Not insurmountable but it does feel a little jarring if you weren’t expecting it.
Even with these shortcomings, I can say that this is absolutely my new favorite way to install a vanilla Arch system. It takes 99% of the frustration and tedium out of what I consider the most tiring and taxing part of Arch, getting it installed and running. Without that up-front frustration I have found myself happily continuing to install things and configure the system without needing to take a sanity break first.