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Old 14th Apr 2017, 13:58   #1
jrs77
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Arch Linux - Antergos Mate DE

So I finally thought it be the time for installing Linux on my main-rig to periodically phase out the use of Windows. The chosen distribution, after toying around with Antergos for a week on my laptop would be Arch with the Mate desktop environment. It's simple, small and very fast. It also plays nice with all the software I intend to use... barebones really, only some 10-15 programs installed for everyday use.

First I tried to install it alongside my existing Win7 installation. That wasn't possible due to me not installing Win7 back then as UEFI, but in legacy mode. That ment that there was no FAT32 boot-partition where Grub2 could be installed.
So I fetched me the actual Win7 SP1 ISO, created a USB-stick and installed a new Win7-system with EFI.
That was no problem, and I went on to installing Arch using the Antergos installer.

Now the FAT32 boot-partition was there and it did install as expected. However, after setting it all up and installing the basics I tried to boot back into Win7... and lo and behold there was no boot-entry in the Grub-loader.

So I opened the boot-menu of the motherboard (F12) and there I was able to choose the Windows Boot Loader and Win7 booted just fine.

Now comes the funny part... When I tried to boot back into Arch there was no boot-loader for it anymore and the system automatically booted into Windows. The boot-option for Arch has also vanished from the motherboards boot-menu.

This is a real PITA and I'm out of ideas to solve this problem.

Why has this all be so complicated? Why isn't there an easier solution for installing two systems alongside each other?

EDIT:

So I finally solved the problem by simply ignoring Windows 7 for the time being and do a fresh Arch Linux installation using the Antergos installer with the Mate desktop environment.

This system is ruinning fine so far. After booting up it only uses some 800 MB of memory, which is unheard of in the Windows world since WinXP. The GUI (desktop environment) is blazing fast and highly customizable and you can even switch the desktop environment from one to another without reinstalling the whole system. Simply switch and reboot.

I still need to find a solution for my mandatory Windows-software however (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). I found some tutorials on how to do it via PlayOnLinux (Wine), but I've not tested it yet. If It works I'll let you know.
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Last edited by jrs77; 15th Apr 2017 at 12:10. Reason: Problem solved
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Old 23rd Apr 2017, 14:15   #2
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You should be able to add Windows to the grub bootloader by simply updating grub from antergos. I'm using a similar setup with Windows and Antergos on separate disks.

If you think 800MB is small for memory usage you can go even smaller with super lightweight DEs (like LXDE and i3) so you can use a system with less than 1GB of RAM, if you can even find such a system these days. Alternatively can try to match windows' memory usage with flashy DEs (like KDE and Cinnamon). I use XFCE since it has a nice balance of flashy features and low memory usage.

Regarding Photoshop and Illustrator, there is GIMP, Inkscape, and Krita that are similar but may not do everything you want. There is blender too but that is more focused on rendering and animation. Can't help you with inDesign as I never used it.

Games are hit or miss and that is primary reason I still have Windows. Wine works often and requires at least a little effort but I'd rather play the game written for Windows in a Windows environment. Work arounds like qemu are just painting over a hole in the wall.

Welcome to the world of linux
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Old 23rd Apr 2017, 14:29   #3
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My approach has always been to partition the disk first, then install windows on one partition(if not already installed) then install linux on the second. This way grub will be set up and will find your windows install and add it to its list of things it can boot into.

I also use separate disks for each and just select the disk (thus O/S) during the POST process.

If you want to stay in linux you can use a windows virtual machine with virtual box. You can download a Windows ISO and try it out without paying for activation to see how it suits you.

As for why things are so complicated and not user friendly? Well that's basically Linux.

Last edited by theshadow2001; 23rd Apr 2017 at 16:55.
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Old 25th Apr 2017, 12:59   #4
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I've learned some things in the last weeks about dual-booting and it's issues. It was way easier back in the day, when there was no UEFI around. Now with UEFI it becomes more and more of a hassle, as there's no MBR anymore. More often than not installing Windows alongside Linux on the same disk is allmost impossible for that reason.

Another thing I've learned is, that nothing can replace Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for a very simple reason... CMYK colourspace. GiMP, InkScape, Scribus etc don't support CMYK and that makes these software unusable for printmedia production.

So I'm back at using Win7 and Adobe CS/CC as that is the only solution really. Dual-booting makes the system unstable and using Linux prevents me from doing my work.

Nevertheless, I've installed Antergos + Mate DE on all of my other machines that I don't use for work, as it is a very nice and small distribution. Especially Arch looks fantastic as it's a rolling release OS that is allways upto date. Just make sure to wait a few days before installing updates and look out for update-issues on the Arch and Antergos websites.
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Old 26th Apr 2017, 09:54   #5
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I've encountered a problem formatting a new disk when upgrading my laptop from HDD to SSD. I came across MiniTool Partition Wizard (Free version specs here) which is now my go to tool for creating partitions and formatting disks. resizing partitions on the fly and even switching from GPT and MBR is stupidly simple using it.
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Old 26th Apr 2017, 10:18   #6
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Yeah, there's a couple of these tools, but partitioning and installing wasn't the real problem after I decided to start from scratch.
The main-problem (atleast in my described attempts) seems to be, that Windows rewrites the bootsector with certain updates and so the Linux boot menu vanishes and Linux becomes inaccessible. And not updating Windows is no option.

But thanks for the information about it anyways, as there's shure some people interested in it.
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Old 26th Apr 2017, 10:49   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77 View Post
Another thing I've learned is, that nothing can replace Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for a very simple reason... CMYK colourspace. GiMP, InkScape, Scribus etc don't support CMYK and that makes these software unusable for printmedia production.
At the risk of making an arse out of myself, doesn't Krita support the CMYK color model or is it converting like most seem to do?
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Old 26th Apr 2017, 14:16   #8
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Krita, like a couple others is really for digital drawing/illustrating, but it's not a fully fledged graphics-manipulation software. GiMP really come closest to Photoshop in that regard. And allthough CMYK can be used in Krita, it doesn't really support it when it comes to colour-proofing and or printing and admits in their FAQ...

Quote:
In Krita, there's also the fact that the default color is a perfect black in RGB, which then gets converted to our default CMYK in a funny manner, giving a yellow look to the strokes. Again, another good reason to work in RGB and let the conversion be done by the printing house.
I don't really know why no other graphics-software than Photoshop gets CMYK right for printing-purposes, but that's the big issue with all of them.

I don't really use Photoshop for drawing anything. When I need to draw something by hand then I draw it on paper, scan it and rework it in Photoshop. I use Photoshop for image-manipulation primarily, like touching up photos, copy pasting parts of images into new backgrounds, etc. Everything you usually find in print-media like catalogues, brochures and flyers.
Those images/graphics are then used in InDesign to create the final product for printing.
Back in the day when I was fresh out of school the standard DTP-software was Quark XPress and the standard vector-graphics software was Macromedia Freehand. Adobe then bought Macromedia and a couple of other smaller companies and went on to developing their Creative Suite, where you have all needed software in a single package and since then there's no real competition left, as mst others don't seem to bother with print-media anymore, but only care about digital media. Maybe that's the reason why there's no other software available supporting CMYK to a point where it's usable for print-media.
Fact is, I'm basically forced to use Adobe software, if I don't want to outsource all of the pre-production, which is really the bread and butter of my business to do it all inhouse.

Nevertheless, thanks for the information about another good software available. I use Sketchbook Pro on my iPad, which is quite similar to Krita and also available for PC.
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