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Anarchy Linux isn’t so much its own distribution as it is a wrapper around Arch Linux. If you’re familiar with Linux Mint’s relationship with Ubuntu, you should have a good idea of what Anarchy is.
The main feature of Anarchy Linux is its installer. Arch Linux itself doesn’t have a proper installer. Anarchy fixed that. It provides a simple, yet powerful, terminal-based installer that walks you through the entire install process just as easily as a mainstream distribution like Ubuntu.
Anarchy does something else to set itself apart, too. It doesn’t install the “conventional” defaults. Instead, Anarchy sets up your system the way most people customize theirs. Anarchy gives you ZSH by default. Your browser is Chromium. The out-of-the-box text editor is Vim. Anarchy also doesn’t waste your time with nonsense apps that you won’t use. It gives you what you need, and that’s about it.Starting the Install
You can grab an install .iso easily enough from Anarchy’s website. Once you load the disk, it gives you a list of possible boot options.
When you select the default, Anarchy boots into a live desktop. The preview that it gives is impressive on its own, and it’s an accurate depiction of what you’ll get after the install.
After starting up the actual install, you’ll notice that it isn’t visually impressive, but it’s absolutely enough to get the job done.
First, the installer will ask you to select your language.
The installer will then start up and ask you if you want to continue.Hard Drive Partitioning
The hard-drive partitioning options are fairly standard. Anarchy will partition and set up your drives for you if you like. You also have the option of partitioning them yourself. Anarchy does something really nice here, though. It actually lets you use the command-line tool of your choice to partition the drives. You can use whatever you’re comfortable with.Select Your Software
Anarchy’s software selection process is amazing. The only thing comparable right now is Fedora’s software selection, and it’s a shame that more distributions don’t do something like it.
The software selection process begins by asking if you’re setting up a desktop or a server.
When you select a desktop, it asks you which desktop environment to set up.
After you pick your desktop environment, it asks if you want to install additional software. The installer has a huge menu of all types of software categorized by type. It affords you the opportunity to include your most used programs in your initial install without the need to look up package names and punch a huge list into the package manager. When you reboot after the install, you can start using your computer.Set Up the Users
Finally, the installer will ask you some configuration questions and let you set up your users.
The user creation screen is very simple. It lets you make multiple users, and it asks you which ones you want to be able to use sudo.
After the installer finishes, it’ll ask you to restart.Using Anarchy
There isn’t a whole to to say about a running Anarchy install. It’s Arch Linux, after all, and it mostly behaves like it.
The main difference between Arch and Anarchy is the configuration. With Arch you’re responsible for the configuration. It takes time, and you can mess things up. Anarchy gives you everything configured properly from the start. You can easily change your configurations after the fact.Should You Try Anarchy?
This one is really subjective. Anarchy is definitely worth trying, but only if you were already considering using something like Arch. Don’t try Anarchy if you’ve never used Linux before, and don’t try to switch if you’re using Ubuntu but never touch the command line.
Anarchy makes Arch easier, but it’s still Arch underneath. The time will arise when you need to dig into the system’s internals. That said, it’s a much nicer Arch experience, and if you like learning about Linux and using bleeding edge software, there really aren’t many better ways to get into it.
Nick is a freelance tech. journalist, Linux enthusiast, and a long time PC gamer.
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