The EndeavourOS project has given us a holiday surprise. Their net-installer release was made available earlier today. You can read the announcement on their blog.
We have been able to solve the problems the net-installer was encountering sooner than expected, so without further ado, we are proud to present you the community development release of the combined installer.
I downloaded a copy of the ISO from GitHub to see how it works The ISO file is 1.7 GB so about average for a Linux distribution. Keep in mind this is still the full EndeavourOS release with the option to install from the ISO. The major change is the inclusion of the net-installer option.
I am testing this in VirtualBox due to being away from home and not wanting to change my laptop but I will be following up with some additional articles and videos where I can provide some feedback on how it runs on hardware. I did have a bit of a snag with VirtualBox. Normally I set the Display settings to VBoxSVGA, Video Memory to 128 MB and enable 3D acceleration. When I did this I got stuck at the screen below.
I played around a bit and figured out that it would boot if I disabled 3D. Once I was able to boot into I was greeted with the familiar live session and welcome screen.
Update: There is a post on the EndeavourOS forum explaining how to fix this on VIrtualBox 6.1.
Normally I would click Update the app! as a first step to make sure I had the latest version. In this case, it had only been hours so I didn’t have to. You will probably want to if you are reading this days or weeks after release. If I planned to dual boot or wanted custom partitioning this is the place to do that as well (Partition manager option). I don’t need to do this for a virtual machine but will be testing it when I get back home. I used the ever so subtle START THE INSTALLER! button to, you guessed it, start the installer (I kid…there are some fun little touches I enjoy like the See you later button).
Now we get to the heart of this release. When launching the installer, you are asked if you want to perform the traditional offline Xfce desktop install or the new online method. I am of course choosing the online option in this case. The familiar Calamares installer launches next and the initial steps are exactly the same (locale, partitioning and so on). Then you get to the screen below.
It could just be the holiday season but I could swear I heard a choir of angels singing somewhere in the distance. Here it is. This beautiful screen is what we have been waiting for. Simply select your favorite desktop, click Next, wait a few minutes and then…
Beautiful! What you find is a stock GNOME desktop with an EndeavourOS wallpaper. There are some GNOME-specific apps installed but otherwise it’s a clean slate. It’s what you’d expect from a base Arch install with GNOME so I’m glad to see they didn’t stray too far here.
They include GNOME Tweaks by default which is helpful. The
chrome-gnome-shell package is installed by default as well so installing extensions from https://extensions.gnome.org only requires installing the browser addon. They have also added the
gnome-software-packagekit-plugin as well so GNOME Software “just works” out of the box.
Beyond that, there are some EndeavourOS packages installed. From the announcement:
No matter which Desktop Environment you choose, EndeavourOS ships with some preinstalled packages and apps you already know from our current installer and some of those are: Grub, the mainstream Linux-kernel, Nano, broadcom-dkms, intel-ucode/amd-ucode, Nvidia-installer, arc-x-icons-theme, eos-welcome, eos-update-notifier, reflector-auto, Yay and Firefox.
Except for our in-house developed reflector-auto, eos-welcome and the eos-update-notifier, the rest of the packages are coming directly from the Arch repos or the AUR, so they are not customized or modified package versions in our own repo, we are still close to Arch.
So not 100% stock Arch but very close and what they include are quality of life improvements meant to make it easier for people to install and use.
The welcome screen makes and appearance again on first boot and provides several helpful tools.
The After Install and Add More Apps sections are particularly helpful, providing an easy means of performing common tasks like choosing a local mirror, installing NVIDIA drivers, and installing LibreOffice. All simple, easy to use and well done.
A big thanks and congratulations to the EndeavourOS team for this holiday surprise. I know the community played a big hand in pitching in to get this ready so congratulations to all involved as well.