December 2nd 2019 Distrowatch weekly review of Obarun

What a way to begin a month and a week, to have Distrowatch after a year and a half of listing Obarun (mostly inaccurately) to review Obarun and portray it as impossible to install.

Personally it is the installation software, the clarity and transparency of the installer, that inspires confidence that attracted me to Obarun.  The ability to use any arch (or arch based) base image and to download and install obarun-install in it and use it to install Obarun is unsurpassed.

So what happened?  What went wrong?

The real short story is that the “reviewer” used an old iso, when distrowatch was notified of the latest release and they list the link of the latest release.  This old iso image used the old installer which due to changes in repositories DOES NOT WORK anymore.

The not so short story now is that in the past three months people (devs and community through an open process of suggestions and recommendations – and contributions in some cases) the obarun-install package was rewritten from scratch.  It was released late October and was placed in the new batch of Iso images (base and JWM) as 2019.11.02, for which Distrowatch was both notified and listed since early November (within the same day, without of course correcting all the information for the Obarun entry that has repeatedly been asked for 8 months now).   Yet at the attempt to install, whoever did this, an earlier image was used, with the old installer and to top this off, as 66 software is developing, the old instructions of setting up a system does not lead to a bootable installation.  The structure of the 66 software was changed so it can be portable to as many different systems (linux and other unix) as possible.  It is easily transforming a number of different distros as listed on its forum, let alone arch which is its primary host.  Void boots, antiX boots, devuan and other debian-based systems, adelie, alpine, all have been success stories of using s6-66 with minimal effort.

How can a distribution be held liable for its outdated images and software not being functional when new upgrades exist and are public for more than a month?  This is insane!  The only public review of Obarun on Distrowatch is based on obsolete old editions.   The link itself listed by Distrowatch for downloading an image and to be used for installation was NOT USED.  At any time in the past 16 months an old image could have been used the installer would have updated itself before the start to the latest revision.  It is only this ONE TIME that the very new installer could not upgrade on its own.  If it had been upgraded through pacman within the live image it wouldn’t have this problem.

Maybe it would be a good rule at Distrowatch to use its own links for downloading and installing a distribution.

The people at Obarun are speechless and very disappointed at this.  This is a very cruel joke played on them when specifically there is so much pride taken for objectively the most advanced and updated installer in the industry.   If the developer finds a bug at moment 0.00.00 and corrects it at 0.01.00, and you run the installer at 0,01,01″ second you are running a 1″ old installer.  Who does anything like this?

Obarun install has rarely failed an installation, despite of traps set up by Arch rolling minute by minute, despite of weird combination of hardware …. despite of user deficiencies in knowing linux peculiarities, the community has been always supportive and encouraging for people to install.


I don’t know what to say, I sure do hope and expect a public apology by Distrowatch for failing to install because it is clearly their own fault for failing.

If you have an old image of Obarun and want to do an installation without redownloading a new image, just use pacman to upgrade obarun-install and obarun-install-themes and I would be happy to guide you through, either here or on the forum.

Note 12-14-2019:  Although instructions on how to update the installer in their old image or suggestions to use a current  image were sent to Distrowatch no response or announcement for this negative publicity has been received.  Obarun’s entry on distrowatch shows 1 review:  “after 4 tries the system installed could not boot”.

Then again, Obarun is not designed with “beginners in mind”.

7 thoughts on “December 2nd 2019 Distrowatch weekly review of Obarun

  1. Yes, Distrowatch did a poor job reviewing Obarun. I rarely leave comments there but felt compelled this time by Jesse’s strange experience. Thank you for attempting to explain this. I’ve installed Obarun upon new releases over the last few months and definitely Obarun November 2019 JWM. I am an average user too. The review was certainly unwarranted. Thank you for your work


  2. Thank you Jonathon, it helps and gives courage to keep on going, especially for Eric and J-M. Sometimes the amount of work they put in for what shows as a small improvement can’t easily be seen or recognized.

    s6 is an unrecognized weapon silently developing for 10 years. 66 is what makes this weapon usable by the average or below average user. We shouldn’t expect a red carpet rolled out for them, there will be traps, mines, backstabs, you name it. This is like 3-4 ants taking up a giant, a 3 letter giant, and who knows what other giants are hiding behind ….

    Which makes it all more fun …… 🙂


  3. It is quite clear on the main page: “Obarun is not designed with beginners to Linux in mind. ” 🙂


  4. That would have been an excuse, but we all know it is not true, which makes it even more serious.

    I saved the entire page of that weekly, because you know, things change and someone may say where is your evidence, he said no such thing. While doing so the page’s data is stored in a subdirectory with much of it missing from my view due to adblocking. There is fedora, rh, “Linux Foundation”, ads along with some others all sponsoring the page. This can explain some behaviors.

    Maybe we should all switch to bluestar, no repositories, no coding, pretty themes and backgrounds, and a very funky calamares installer that I would only use on a VM disk because I don’t trust it with my real one. What more can one ask, it is like windows only better(?) … I am beggining to doubt this as well.


  5. I was ready to say I would and then 5′ later I will have s6/66 on bluestar but wouldn’t be easier (quicker) to just bring the 10 backgrounds and 3 icon themes over to Obarun instead?

    And then I thought about it, it is easier to install 66 and reboot bluestar with its modified pacman than copying all those themes and pictures.

    If it was Manjaro I would be tempted, it presents the challenge of SOMETHING being a little different than Arch, and I haven’t done this since s6opts time. It is now easier, I think. That headache with those compiled service db’s is gone. Arco, archlabs, blackarch, arch-strike, those are distributions, bluestar is just a demonstation of arch with calamares. It is a non-distro and not even a build concept.


  6. maybe if it so damn hard to install Obarun they should just install arch and then follow the procedure in enabling Obarun repositories and pacman.conf and do the conversion by simple upgrading and installing s6 and 66 base. The conflicts alone will remove all “infected” packages.


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