Jack Wallen shows you how to make installing software on Arch Linux much easier.
Arch Linux is powerful. It’s also very reliable, secure and all the things that make Linux such a great operating system. However, one thing that prevents many new users from adopting this distribution is its complexity. Arch Linux is simply not Ubuntu. And while there are tools such as the Octopi package manager GUI that make Arch easier to use, it can still be difficult to get applications such as Spotify installed with ease.
Sure, you can add the AUR repository, but even then Arch makes you trudge through a never-ending cycle of dependencies. Software installation alone on Arch Linux can permanently turn a new user away from the platform.
What do you do? You turn to Flatpak and Snap.
SEE: 40+ open source and Linux terms you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)
Flatpak and Snap are universal package managers that can be used on just about any Linux distribution and make the installation of software very easy. With these tools, dependencies are all taken care of because they’re rolled into the installer, which means you don’t have to fall down the dependency rabbit hole. Trust me on this: I lived through Linux in the late 90s and early 2000s, and chasing dependencies can be a bad time. With Flatpak and Snap, you don’t have to worry about that.
So without further ado, let’s get these two tools installed on your favorite Arch Linux flavor. I’ll be demonstrating on EndeavorOS.
What you’ll need
The only things you’ll need to follow along are a running instance of Arch Linux (or a derivative) and a user with sudo privileges. That’s it.
How to install Flatpak
We’ll start with the easiest addition, Flatpak. You can install Flatpak using the built-in pacman command, like so.
First, sync Pacman with:
sudo pacman -Sy
Next, install Flatpak with the command:
sudo pacman -S flatpak
Once the installation is complete, reboot the machine and you can now install apps like Zoom with the command:
sudo flatpak install zoom
That’s it for Flatpak.
How to install Snap on Arch
Now comes the more challenging installation. If you haven’t already done so, sync pacman with:
sudo pacman -Sy
Next, install the necessary dependencies with:
sudo pacman -S go go-tools python-docutils git
Clone the latest snapd package with:
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/snapd.git
When the clone completes, change into the newly created directory with:
Finally, build Snap with:
When the build completes, enable the Snap daemon with:
sudo systemctl enable --now snapd
You are now ready to install Snap packages. For example, you could install Spotify with:
sudo snap install spotify
Once installed, you’ll find the app in your desktop menu, ready to use.
And that’s how you can make Arch Linux (and its derivatives) considerably easier to use. I highly recommend anyone wanting to start working with Arch Linux add one or both of these universal package managers.
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