Updates on my Arch/Manjaro repository

Ever since Carlos Silva left a comment on my last post about this repository, I was left wondering if it wouldn’t be better to migrate my current VM to Scaleway. The price/specs seemed better and for the marginal difference of €1 I would get a dual-core virtual machine with 2GB of RAM and 50Gb of disk space.

After a couple of weeks of reflection, I bought a “Start1-S” VPS for €3,99/month and I’ve been (successfully) testing aurto to manage the repository updates. Things have been working out so great that I bought the userrepository.eu domain.

(I will add a certificate to the website, I promise!)

The address has all the instructions for you to add it to your system. But in case you can’t visit right now, here’s what you need to add to the /etc/pacman.conf file:

Server =
SigLevel = Optional TrustAll

I remind you, dear reader, that this repo only contains AUR packages.

I’ve built a Manjaro repository

Due to my own dumbness (I mistakenly deleted my Ubuntu partition), I installed Manjaro, using the Manjaro Architect release, on my laptop. I’d been thinking about doing it for a while and finally made it because I was too stupid to read the instructions from cfdisk. The shit you create yourself because you’re in a hurry…

Anyway, after installing Manjaro, I started reading a bit about this distro packaging and how I could leverage AUR and binary packages. Inspired by the work of Arcan1s, I bought a cheap VPS from OVH [almost €3/month] and built my repository using Arcan1s scripts. It took a bit of fiddling around the config file and the scripts to customize it to the VPS low raw power, but I eventually got it.

One thing you’ll notice is the packages are not signed. I do intend to start signing them but I don’t have a time frame for that just yet.

If you want to try out my repository, made from AUR packages, add this to your /etc/pacman.conf file:

Server =$arch
SigLevel = Optional TrustAll

The server checks for updates for the packages every 6 hours. This is mainly due to the fact that the VPS is low end – only 1vCPU @2GHz, 2GB of RAM and 20GB of disk space.

Agora já sou geek

Hoje chegaram os autocolantes que encomendei no Sticker Mule em dezembro, numa promoção em que o pack ficava a €1 e pouco. Com isto, já posso dizer que sou geek e o meu portátil ficou “lit af”.

Só tenho pena que o pack não incluísse um autocolante do projeto GNU. Teria sido ouro sobre azul.

Trying Debian Stable for everyday desktop usage

A few days ago I installed Debian Stable. I’d been using Sparky Linux, which is based on Debian Testing, and was happy with it. The tools it integrates make the life of a desktop user easier when managing the system, I had no issues with it and had a bunch of software available in the repositories.

Well, since Sparky is based on Debian, the “bunch of software available in the repositories” part was a given from the start.

Although happy, I was looking for an operating system a bit more conservative in terms of stability and reliability. I’d been inspired very recently by the short OpenBSD usage I had on a virtual machine and some readings about BSD systems, so I thought Debian Stable would be the best choice.

Here are my motives for choosing Debian over, say, CentOS or Slackware or even a BSD system:

  • It’s a Linux kernel based operating system and I’ve been mostly using Debian Testing or Debian-based systems for over a decade, so I’m familiar with it;
  • It prioritizes stability over the latest stable version of a software;
  • It has a lot of software available;
  • It has a very large community.

Almost a week went by and my fears of using older versions of any software (motivated almost exclusively by a potential lack of some functionality) are gone. The system is really stable and I have almost all the tools I need in the repositories. I only needed to install a handfull of apps from external sources (deb-multimedia, github, flatpak and snap) because they were not packaged in the distro’s repositories.

How to install an operating system to a USB drive

Sometimes, maybe for maintenance or data rescue reasons, you may want to have a USB thumbdrive with a GNU/Linux distribution installed. I’m not referring to writing a live ISO to a USB drive; I really mean having the distribution installed like it would be on an hard drive. An easy way to achieve this is using the virtualization software Qemu. Example:

sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -boot d -cdrom void-live-x86_64-20171007.iso -hda /dev/sdb -m 800

In this example, the -hda /dev/sdb part tells Qemu that the device /dev/sdb (the USB drive) must be used as an hard drive.

If you prefer Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch or any other distribution, you can install them this way too. There may be a need to adjust QEMU arguments, but in that case Google is your friend.

This also works with other operating systems that are not Linux based. OpenBSD, version 6.3, can be installed in a USB drive using the same parameters and booted after that.