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Artix community question


I have not yet installed artix on my system but it came very close today. Here is some experience and rant about the community response of the moderators of arch linux, and an important question at the end.

I use arch linux since a few years and have been moderately enjoying it: i had some problems with xfce, and shutdown taking too long due to some stopwatch (i suspect some bullshit due to systemd), but other than that, my experience has been ok.

Yesterday I performed a normal update (and I don't recall even updating the kernel, just seemingly harmless stuff).

Today I power my PC, and instead of the normal auto-login, i get the lightdm screen, where the PC was waiting for a password. Odd. I type my password and see it rejected ... try again ... rejected.

All right,  switch to console, try to login my user then root: all rejected. Well today has started well !

I try to boot into rescue mode, and there I can login. I try to modify the shadow file by regenerating the password. It does not work. I try something stupid apparently and change the hash to *, believing this would authorize any password, but instead it locks my root account.

So, i need a live rescue iso, and I choose to DL artix with runit and xfce. I see some real fast boot and restore easily my shadow file (i made a backup before writing *, i am not completely mad :-)

But restoring my shadow file would not solve anything. So I was on the fence with overwritting my arch with artix. But since this is my work tool and can't really afford to loose too much time, I decided to search the forums a bit more thoroughly (I did some preliminary search while trying to solve when changing the shadow file). And there I find this:

which is precisely my problem, and I see this response from a less than helpful moderator:

That's normal system maintenance, so no need for a bug report, but the package you should've pacman -Qkk'd was pambase. And this is the reason you need to read your pacman output as it will have mentioned the creation of this file.

The OP tries to explain that breaking the system by default should not be considered a feature (those are my words), but apparently the mods don't care, because we didn't read every single output of pacman.

I lost a couple of hours fixing this problem and this kind of response is infuriating. In my mind, I am done with Arch. When I have some time, I will change and for now my candidates are manjaro or artix, with a preference for artix.

But, and here comes the question: do the people here think that those breaking changes are features rather than bugs, like the arch mods seem to think ? I mean, I kinda knew that going the arch way was accepting a special kind of elitist community. But this is too much for me... Should I expect the same here ?

Re: Artix community question

Reply #1
I wouldn't expect the exact same here, things are a bit less regimented. And things do sometimes get fixed here, but that is always dependent on someone agreeing it is worthwhile and doing it. ;D   But in fairness the Arch forum people did come up with the fix. Plus from what I can tell that was a config file issue, which really is a feature of pacman. It shouldn't overwrite a custom modified conf file just because there is a new version, as it would break whatever your modifications were intended to fix, which could be equally bad or worse.
There are a variety of methods to avoid this sort of problem: Follow the forums and news and hope you get warned before the update, use a tool like pacdiff or something to check for pacnew files - you can also use pacman hooks to run things automatically after updates, like an auto cache cleaner that backs up a spare version - that's an AUR package, and possibly there might be something like that for conf files but I have not researched that - or you can look at whether there is another config method that avoids modifying the conf file. Sometimes you can create a conf file elsewhere that the program recognises but is not part of the package, it will never cause this kind of conflict as conf files can be overwritten by pacman when they are unmodified. I don't know if that's possible in this case though.

Re: Artix community question

Reply #2
I'm sorry that you were frustrated by this, but this situation is basically just a pacman feature. If you modify a configuration file in any way, pacman's behavior is to not override it (otherwise an upgrade would silently overwrite your global configs which nobody wants). Instead what it does it creates a .pacnew file contains the new default. Sometimes, the .pacnew file has critical changes (like in this case) that you need to incorporate into your actual config. I'm not going to pretend I always religiously check my pacman output on every upgrade, but you should definitely pay attention if you get some message that's related to a critical part of your setup like pambase.

See here for some more details.

Re: Artix community question

Reply #3
   apparently having a pacnew means I modified the file somehow ... I do not recall doing that.
   I will have to think more about this.

This file was not a custom modified file. I did not even know its existence. Why not overwrite it then ?

But this not even the point of my post. I get that bugs/problems may happen that would need a manual intervention. But I expected manual intervention to be posted on the website. Or at least acknowledge the inconvenience so that it may not happen later. This is not the case in this instance. This apparently is considered to be working as intended, and this kind of problem will happen later as  a consequence.

I know that I made things harder for me since I am using pamac. The output is a bit hidden and I do not check it everytime (although i *do* check it from time to time !). But my workflow is my own. I don't like the CLI of pacman. If the price to pay is to go to manjaro or even elsewhere, so be it.

Also, I am sorry, but I don't want to follow a forum before any update. That I will not do.

Honestly I do not understand the pacman hooks benefits. The way you described it, it would not have been useful, or am I missing something ? The fix was just to change a config file to the new pacman generated one. Also, using pacdiff (which I did not know) may be useful, but only once you understand that the problem comes from a pacman generated file that is newer than the old one, and that this new file would work better than the old one. I did not understand this was the case until I stumbled upon the forum post describing my exact problem.

And please, understand that I don't want to trash the arch linux way. Like you said, in the end, the users found a way to fix the problem and it was an easy fix, albeit hard to point where the problem came from (hard at least for me). This is just that I realised that arch allows updates that are clearly broken from my point of view and are happy with that, whatever the reason. Fine by me. But I understand now that is not for me, and I won't continue to use it due to that incompatible point of view.

What I am more interested in, is how artix is handling those type of situations. Do you have manual intervention described on the website as arch linux does for at least some of them (that I am perfectly ok with !), or do you rely entirely on arch linux to handle that and finally "just" provide a systemd free system version of arch ? From what I could see, this is more likely to be latter, or am I mistaken ?

["just" is in quote because I clearly understand this is not trivial at all :-) ]

Another way to describe what I want is something like manjaro without systemd. I thought maybe artix would be it, but maybe this is more a arch linux without systemd ?

For example, how was this update to pambase handled in artix ?

Re: Artix community question

Reply #4
I do not know why, but that particular pambase file on your machine had local changes that did not match what was in the package. That is what triggered that pacman behavior. It could happen with any package. As far as Manjaro vs Arch goes, we are definitely Arch without systemd not Manjaro. The situation described in the that forum post is, in my view, a standard part of using any Arch-based system and would not warrant anything like an announcement or forum post. Any other Artix maintainers/devs are free to chime in, but I suspect the answer will not be any different. That pam file in Artix differs because it has instead of, but you probably would have had the same issue had pambase updated here and would have needed to update your configuration file.

Re: Artix community question

Reply #5
pam and pacman broke some settings, but this just happens sometimes with archlinux. I've been using arch for over 13 years (now artix) and it just happens that some update doesn't work as expected.

it's frustrating, but even if I have to reinstall the whole system, it's still my best choice in llinux's distributions

Re: Artix community question

Reply #6
your problem is reported:

for example, i upgraded to pam 1.4.0-3 today, here in artix, and ... without problems works all normally

Re: Artix community question

Reply #7
Another way to describe what I want is something like manjaro without systemd. I thought maybe artix would be it, but maybe this is more a arch linux without systemd ?

we are archlinux without systemd...
[sarcasm] Not manjaro. Majaro is archlinux for lazy people such as in Ubuntu or Windows users... click, click, click, it will do something, but I don't know  what exactly and i  don't understand the system. [sarcasm]  :-X  :P  :D  :D

If you are a beginner and want to use Arch, you must be willing to invest time into learning a new system, and accept that Arch is designed as a 'do-it-yourself' distribution; it is the user who assembles the system.

Re: Artix community question

Reply #8
All right, understood, i am a click click user.

Re: Artix community question

Reply #10
All right, understood, i am a click click user.

this is perfectly legitimate and fine, but you must adapt your distribution to your demands and habits.
OpenSuse, Ubuntu, Manjaro are distributions for you.

But expect problems or mistakes everywhere.

P.S. I have a friend who likes und use linux, but I would never recommend archlinux because he doesn't understand Linux so much, he doesn't want to learn it very much, he wants to use it. The choice fell on Opensuse

Re: Artix community question

Reply #11
Looks like it was a bug and is being fixed, and the file was either wrongly flagged as being modified, or perhaps some other process could have changed it, that sometimes happens. Either way, they are dealing with it, and fast. In Manjaro it can take a while for bugfixes to reach the repos, but they can stop known things like this affecting you. antiX is worth a look, easy & friendly,  don't be put off by the lightweight tag, big repos.
Artix is basically Arch without systemd (which is something in itself), but IMO there's a little extra magic.