Keegan’s Linux Journey: Part 2

From Mere User to Community Edition Developer

It was now the month of March, and I was feeling pretty comfortable with ZorinOS, prompting my decision to expand my horizons and chance the unpredictable waters of Arch Linux. But Arch itself was a little too much for me at the time still, as I wanted to be able to use a graphical installer like I had for Linux Mint and ZorinOS. And so the search began. It quickly became clear that based on online articles, either Manjaro or Antergos seemed to be the perfect fit. I almost chose to go with Manjaro, but then heard that it was even less of an Arch derivative than Antergos was. And if I was going to be diving into the waters of Arch, I wanted to actually have a system that ran Arch – not one that was merely like Arch, holding me back from the latest and greatest updates. And so it was that I chose to go with Antergos! Due to the fact that I was still dualbooting with Windows 10, I quickly found out that I needed to utilize the manual partitioning option within Cnchi. Now that was a headache for me! It took me a weekend and numerous forum posts on the Antergos forum to finally get that sorted out, with much of the help on the forum coming from a guy named Fernando Maroto. Thanks to him and his kind help, I finally had the Antergos system of my dreams! Now I just had to customize the GNOME desktop that I had installed. I know, I made some questionable decisions, deciding to run GNOME. I should have probably gone with KDE (my current desktop), but GNOME was by then familiar. I was used to its quirks and limitations due to my usage of a modified version of it on ZorinOS. Besides, I had yet to get familiar with Antergos and the rest of the Arch Linux ecosystem!

And so it was that I began my journey into the world of Arch. Eventually though, after getting my desktop just the way I wanted it, I began to think back to the kind help I had received from Fernando. Without him, I would still be stuck on ZorinOS. Or at least not on something in the Arch family. So, thought I, perhaps I should join the forum and give back to the amazing community that first helped me. And with that, my decision was made. I quickly became an avid forum user, and rose in the ranks to be in the list of those with the top 10 number of posts of all time on their forum – straight to the day that it shut down in 2019. What a sad day that was. But that was not this day! For a day would come when the courage of Antergos failed, when out of exhaustion it forsook its users and broke all bonds of development, but it was not that day. (Thank you Tolkien). That day would arrive a full three years later. For now however, the future looked bright and I quickly grew in my understanding of the inward workings of Linux. Or at least how the operating system worked. It was through helping others that I learned this, rather than receiving any sort of formal instruction on it. And so it remains to this day. I still have yet to take a single class on the topic of Linux, but thanks to the community, anything is possible!

A screenshot from Imgur of the Antergos forum.
The Antergos forum may no longer exist, but this image from Imgur does!

Eventually, I had an idea for Cnchi that was actually implemented by an Antergos developer, Karasu – a person I still consider to be a friend. It dawned on me that my struggles in installing Antergos would have been minimized if I had had a guide right in the installer to walk me through it. And so that was my idea. Why not include a button that launched an embedded webpage that gave instructions on dualbooting right in Cnchi? This idea caught the eye of Karasu, and eventually it came to be. After seeing an idea of mine own launched on systems across the entire world, I began to think of other ways I could help. But I did not want to merely be someone who asked others to do the work for me, and so I began to think of ways I could actually contribute as well. Thus, the Antergos Community Edition was birthed. Granted, I took up more than my fair share of Karasu’s time initially, as he graciously walked me through the steps on creating my own ISO file. But eventually, I had it figured out. Sort of. Well enough to at least create one that is. Soon I had added the Deepin desktop to my community edition, among a few other optional Desktop Environments and Window Managers. But Deepin remained my focus, and with the help of a new user, Velkerk, he and I slowly worked out most of the kinks in Deepin on Antergos.

This flurry of activity caught the attention of others on the forum, and before long there were several community editions – one from Joe Kamprad that focused on NVIDIA drivers, and one from Fernando that focused on making offline installations possible. I really was beginning to give back to the community!

A screenshot of my website hosting the Antergos Community Editions.
Yep! The website I created for the Antergos Community Editions still exists.

But good times do not last forever. Eventually, a time must come for an idea to be reborn from the ashes and given new life. And such it was with my community edition. I began to run into issues with Deepin that were easily fixable, but required I modify Cnchi slightly. For obvious and understandable reasons, an installer is what makes a distro unique. An installer determines what sets a newly installed system apart from other similar systems. And so, it was completely understandable when Karasu told me that as a community edition, I should continue to develop my edition in such a way so as to not modify their installer. This made perfect sense to me, but it did result in my edition having some issues. Some issues that I even knew how to fix! And thus the meeting of Velkerk, another user (forgot their name), and me came to be. A meeting to decide exactly how to proceed in the best interest of our users.

I bet you can imagine what happens next! To find out though, stay tuned for Part 3, which details the beginning of RebornOS – or as it was known initially, Reborn.

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