Arch before it was cool

Ten years ago Judd released the first version of Arch Linux. This is quite an age for a Linux distribution and we are still rolling. Allan just posted a brief history of mile stones that were important to him. Inspired by this nice idea…I am going to do exactly the same.

It has been a long time but it seems I started a more serious look at Linux back in April 2003. That time I joined linuxforen.de.

In June 2004 I came in contact with Arch when I was looking for a lightweight and technical easy distribution with rolling releases.

Here is the Arch Linux history from my perspective:

2004-06-26 I asked for a new distribution at linuxforen.de and tried Arch for the first time.
2004-07-05 I registered at our great forums.
2004-12-21 My first contribution was setting up a forum for German users. I used to code my own forum system back then and hosted several boards.
2006-10-13 I send my application as trusted user to tur-users. Eric was so kind to sponsor me.
2006-10-29 My application was accepted by most Trusted Users and I joined the team. I started contributing the first set of lib32 package to be able to play games like Doom 3 or Quake 4 on the x86_64 port of Arch.
2007-05-12 I sent my application to the Arch developers in order to help out with x86_64 and KDE.
2007-05-13 I was accepted as a developer along with Eric.
2007-06-30 I wrote an article for the Linux User magazine about Arch Linux. People could actually buy this along with a DVD at their kiosk.
2007-07-10 We started to reorganize our repositories. The [core] repository and its signoff policy was born.
2007-08-26 First meetup of some developers at FrOSCon. Most people didn’t know about Arch yet and only very few found us at a distant room within the conference building.
2007-09-26 I started breaking PHP.
2007-10-01 Judd resigned and handed the leadership over to Aaron.
2007-12-19 I resigned as a Trusted User; in order to concentrate on my role as developer but also to keep the TU group independent from the developers.
2008-07-27 I replaced KDE 3 with KDE 4 and broke everything. I got a lot of mails from people who were really happy about that.
2008-08-24 Again, it was time for FrOSCon. We now had our own booth and a developer room. Thomas and I even gave an interview.
2008-11-06 I launched the pkgstats project. Statistics are still available at a “temporary page“.
2009-02-05 I started maintaining our wiki setup. I already did this for archlinux.de, so I made it independent from the language and the site it was running on.
2009-08-03 I introduced a split up version of KDE.
2009-08-26 We met again at FrOSCon.
2009-09-22 I also split PHP packages.
2010-02-10 “I am done with packaging” was the subject of a mail I sent to the arch-dev mailing list. I wanted to concentrate on our scripts and workflow in general. As such I took over maintainership of dbscripts and devtools. In the process I mainly dropped KDE and Andrea took the lead here.
2010-03-23 Packages could be compressed with xz to reduce their size significantly by about 30%.
2010-06-28 I took over maintainer ship of our forums.
2010-08-11 I started working on the concept of a [staging] repository again. I finally got enough positive feedback to get this implemented a long with a package pool.
2010-08-30 FrOSCon 2010 and we were there.
2010-09-06 I finished support for a package pool which makes moving packages between repositories a matter for adjusting some symlinks and updateing the db files. This improved the usage of the [testing] repository a lot.
2011-05-11 I uploaded the first signed package to the repository.

These are some information about my history at Arch I could gather in a reasonable amount of time. It has been fun to dig through all these old mails. Some information are hard to get or lost forever as we changed our mailing lists, forums, wiki and even switched from cvs to svn in the meantime.

I probably could have added dates to the timeline forever. But I’ll just stop here to keep it less boring. If I had missed anything important, let me know. Also I didn’t add other conference we had attended like last years FrOSCon, OpenRheinRuhr or FOSDEM as I simply have no pictures of those.

At this point I am still working on getting PHP 5.4 ready for action and helping to finalize the package signing process. I am also working on repository management and on the package building process in general. There will be separate articles about these ideas.

Arch Linux 0.1 and pacman 1.1

If you like to have a look at the very first version of Arch: I have uploaded arch-0.1-full-i686.iso to our mirrors. It’s md5sum is:

03cece0ee5ba6ffdaedb450baa7589b2

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