UPDATE 2018-06-26: This post is out of date.
I have since switched full time to Debian Sid. I currently use a highly customised environment around
I recently had to re-install Arch Linux on one of my machines. What I needed was to setup my current desktop environment with as little effort as possible. Recreating it from scratch would have taken several hours, if not days. Good thing I maintain a git repo with my dotfiles.
Once I had access to the shell, I cloned the repo, copied
.vimrc, and went on to install the Xfce desktop environment as well as all the packages I use.
The installation is pretty straightforward. In my dotfiles I maintain backups with the lists of packages. All that is needed is to feed the content of such a file into a
pacman command, such as:
# Download packages from main repos sudo pacman -S - < dotfiles/pacman/native.txt
If I feel like also putting the AUR packages in place, I first build
pacaur (the AUR helper):
That command runs this nifty script:
#!/bin/sh # System update sudo pacman -Syu # Prepare build dir mkdir -p /tmp/pacaur-build cd /tmp/pacaur-build # Base devel packages sudo pacman -S binutils make gcc fakeroot --noconfirm --needed # Pacaur deps sudo pacman -S expac yajl git --noconfirm --needed # Cower build if [ ! -n "$(pacman -Qs cower)" ]; then curl -o PKGBUILD https://aur.archlinux.org/cgit/aur.git/plain/PKGBUILD?h=cower makepkg PKGBUILD --skippgpcheck --install --needed fi # Pacaur build if [ ! -n "$(pacman -Qs pacaur)" ]; then curl -o PKGBUILD https://aur.archlinux.org/cgit/aur.git/plain/PKGBUILD?h=pacaur makepkg PKGBUILD --install --needed fi # Prune cd ~ rm -r /tmp/pacaur_install
Then the process for getting the AUR packages is the same as with the native list:
# Install AUR packages pacaur -S - < dotfiles/pacman/foreign.txt
Since these may contain a program that requires lots of time to compile, I tend to select only what I truly require. The rest are set up whenever I need them.
GNU/Linux portability is a blessing
I was aware of the potential of backing up everything that pertains to a GNU/Linux machine. I just never had any practical experience with it. I have been maintaining my dotfiles mostly for reverting to a stable state whenever I go out trying certain customisations. It turns out that approach applies to a clean system install.
This has been my first attempt at replicating a custom Xfce setup on a clean Arch Linux base. I am happy with the results, though I believe the process could be automated even further. Perhaps via a script that would take care of all the configurations in the local
.config as well as the system files. I still need to research that and act accordingly.
Whatever the case, the freedom to experiment with data porting is there.