I decided that my Arch Linux installation was getting a bit crufty, so I decided to do a sort of “refresh”. It went OK. I mean, nothing bad happened. I just haven’t decided if any good came out of it.
You see, an Arch Linux user never really has to reinstall Arch Linux. pacman does a great job of keeping track of packages. My idea was to remove all packages and then install stuff I specifically want to use. This way, I won’t have any unused packages on my computer.
The first thing I should have done was make a quick backup of “/etc” and other important system files. Fortunately, like any responsibel computer user, I made a full backup about a week ago and just used those files when needed.
I editted “pacman.conf” commented out all repositories besides [core]. I then told pacman to remove all foreign packages. I was left with pretty much what I would have had if I just finished installing Arch Linux. I then reenabled the other repositories and went to work adding applications I like to use.
I ran into some snags when it came time to setup my web server. I installed Linux (of course), Apache, MySQL, and PHP, but back when I had removed those packages they took my configuration files with them! I struggled for a bit, rereading the Arch Linux wiki page on setting up a LAMP web server. It’s running fine again now.
I started with about 850 packages installed. After my little refresh, I have about 650. That’s nice, but, you know, those extra couple hundred of packages really weren’t hurting anyone. I think the best thing about this experience was relearning how to setup a web server. (Apache seems to be needlessly complicated in my opinion!)
In conclusion, I’d say it was worth the hassle, but only if I was really bored and wanted a relatively relaxing nerdy project to work on. I don’t plan on refreshing my Arch Linux installation again any time soon.