Antergos is a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. Formerly known as Cinnarch, it is a relatively new project and is poised to do for Arch Linux what Ubuntu did for Debian.

Like it’s parent distribution, it uses a rolling-release development model, which means that existing users do not have to reinstall to get the latest and greatest kernel and software packages. The simple act of regularly installing updates gives you the latest packages and features available from a new ISO installation image.

The latest edition is Antergos 2013.11.17. When it was just released, activity on the project’s community forum indicated that users were having a problem booting into the Live desktop. I didn’t have that problem, but every attempt I made to install a new system using a 64-bit version of the 2013.11.17 installation image failed with the error shown in the image below.
Antergos cnchi crash error

So it seems that there are major problems with that ISO image. A message posted on the project’s forum on November 18 (2013) said that a new image was being prepared for the main download server, and directed users to download a copy from a testing server until the main download server received the new image. However, every attempt to download from that testing repository gets aborted after less than 270 MB of the almost 750 MB file has been downloaded.

So trying to download and install the latest released of Antergos calls for a lot of patience. Finally, I decided to try the 32-bit installation image. Luckily, the installation was completed successfully. The rest of what follows comes from a test installation using that image.

UPDATE: Replacement installation images are now available from the main download server and I was able to install a test system using a 64-bit installation image.

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Ok, now to the review, starting with a look at what the Cnchi, the graphical installer offers. Antergos comes as a Live installation image. Whether you elect to boot into the installer straight from the boot menu or launch the installer from the Live desktop, this screen shot show the options that will be presented to you. The graphical installer is still a work in progress, but I don’t think new and inexperienced users want to be messing around with a command line installer. So like a new user, I always go with a graphical installer.
Antergos live gnome 3 desktop

A friendly message lets you know that there are certain features that are not yet supported by Cnchi, the graphical installer. So, if you need to install a system that uses RAID or btrfs subvolumes, you might want to try the command line installer or another distribution that supports those features.
Antergos cnchi installer

Though GNOME 3 is the default desktop environment, Cnchi lets you choose from a list that also include Cinnamon, Openbox, Razor-qt and Xfce.
Antergos cnchi desktop environments

Though it says that the minimum disk space required for a successful installation is 3 GB, that is information is misleading, because a default installation of the desktop using Cinnamon or GNOME 3 or Razor-qt takes up between 3.5 GB to 4.0 GB of disk space.
Antergos cnchi installer requirements

This image shows the features you could enable or disable from the installer. The first two are enabled by default. I’ll also recommend that you enable Proprietary Software because you are going to need them.
Antergos cnchi default services

This shows the default firewall rules. Uncomplicated Firewall (ufw) is the same firewall application used by Ubuntu and its derivatives. Even though there is a rule for SSH, the SSH server itself is not installed by default.
Antergos cnchi ufw firewall

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Like the graphical installation program of Ubuntu, Cnchi supports setting up disk encryption and LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager. LVM is not the default disk partitioning scheme.
Antergos cnchi disk partition methods

If the disk encryption option is enabled, you will be required to specify the disk encryption passphrase. That’s to be expected, however, I did not expect that the passphrase will be readable as it is being typed.
Antergos disk encryption passphrase

This screen shot of the manual disk partitioning tool shows the partitions created by default, that is, when LVM is not used. This screen shot was taken from an installation using the GNOME 3 desktop. Notice the disk space used by the root partition. It’s clearly more than the minimum of 3 GB that the installer recommends. Note also that all three partitions are primary partitions.
Antergos Arch Linux Cnchi disk partition methods

This one shows the partitions created when LVM is used. In either LVM or non-LVM mode, the installer does not create a separate home partition or logical volume, and offers no option to create one in its automated disk partitioning options.
Antergos Arch Linux Cnchi disk partition methods LVM

Package Management: Since Antergos is based on Arch Linux, pacman is its package management system. And the installed graphical interface on all its supported desktop environments is PacmanXG. This screen shot shows its main interface.
PacmanXG Arch Linux pacman

And this one shows the package management interface. PacmanXG does not have a fancy graphical interface, though it could use one. However, it’s live search feature is about the most responsive that I’ve seen in any graphical packager.
PacmanXG Arch Linux pacman

The range of tasks you can perform using PacmanXG.
PacmanXG Arch Linux pacman antergos


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6 Responses

  1. I am a Manjaro user by default. My main PC is a dual boot Win 7 / Manjaro. Maybe I am just more up to date than some on Arch distros. With that said I just can’t imagine anyone having any trouble with an Antergos install. I have installed it a few times and have NEVER had any problems what so ever. NONE. If one can’t install and run this distro maybe Linux just isn’t for them. Granted I do partition my own HDDs. Partitioning isn’t necessary though. The GUI installer will do all one needs without manual partitioning. I have found it to be about as flawless as it gets as far as install procedures.

    I would suggest someone having problems they can’t address to drop back and go for an Ubuntu distro. Mint 17 is out and Zorin 9 (I think is the ver.} The Mint and the Zorin are better to switch over from Windows to Linux than anything Arch.

    ANyway, I wish you all the best and hope it all works out as Linux is a great system! As with anything it just takes some time to get used to it. Be sure to read all manuaks and use the WIKI.

    Good Luck!

  2. Antergos is a nice version, i really want to use it, but it won’t boot. I have a primary partition and a extended partition, the primary partition is divided by 2. I try to install in either two of them and nothing happend.

  3. The GUI installer failed a couple of times not being able to download linux-3.8.x******.db from the “mirrors”, not finding “antergos.db” from… etc. Killed my Windows bootloader on one occasion…. Had to use my rescue disk to revert Window 7 to working state X(

    Empathy chat client doesn’t work in live mode, the the IRC was dead as a dodo X( Then the installer started “running”, but must have got stuck in some loop at “Generating Locales”… For over an hour, doing jack bull! I’ve given up!

    How did you even manage to install it, man?

  4. A useful review but your focus is perhaps a little off.

    I’m a windows user (until 8 went rtm) moved to Linux Mint, tried Crunchbang, currently with Ubuntu Gnome 13.04 updated to Gnome 3.8 because I needed some apps before Mint would support them.

    I toy with Arch. The thing about Arch (and thus Antergos) is that it’s about not supplying more than the minimum. So with U/G you get a bunch of stuff running in the background that loads the machine up perhaps unnecessarily. With Arch you get the latest and you get the least.

    So Antergos needs to tread a fine line. The base install should be the minimum required to move to the next point. Then you add things.

    I see your point though – I guess my solution would be for Antergos to have another App that comes up on first boot by default and offers to install ufw, cups, etc so that the newbie has a clean tick the box “fully running system” but the person with their own preferences can use Pacman. The defaults you mention come from the Gnome 3.8 install.

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