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This article's aim is to provide answers to questions often asked by users who moved to Parabola from Arch and other non-free GNU/Linux distros. It discusses issues caused by making the system completely free. For explanation on technical details of the system look at Arch FAQ.

1 Packages

1.1 Why is package X missing, even though it's available in Arch?

This usually means the package is non-free or has some other freedom-related issues. Since Parabola follows the GNU FSDG we don't include proprietary software and you can't get it from official repositories. To make sure the package was removed from Parabola because of that, you can check the blacklist:

$ grep package_name /usr/share/doc/your-freedom/blacklist.txt

1.2 How is package X different from its counterpart in Arch?

Packages are typically modified for reasons such as containing non-free parts, recommending non-free software or branding. To find out how a specific package was modified check the blacklist:

$ grep package_name /usr/share/doc/your-freedom/blacklist.txt

If you're looking for more details, you'll have to clone abslibre.git repository containing PKGBUILD files used for building packages in [libre]. Grab corresponding PKGBUILD from Arch website and just run diff on both of them.

1.3 Why do I get an error message about missing shared library?

Some programs need a specific version of a library they use. When the library receives an upgrade in Arch, after some time it's pulled by Parabola server and programs which depend on the previous version of the library break.

Unless you're a Parabola hacker the best you can do is to downgrade the dependency which received an upgrade and notify Parabola hackers about the issue. The preferred form is to open a new issue on the issue tracker.

1.4 Will non-free AUR packages be removed after migrating to Parabola?

No. Parabola doesn't support AUR in any way. After migrating to Parabola you'll have to verify any installed AUR package and manually remove the non-free ones. Since AUR packages are typically built and installed by user, you can identify them by running:

$ pacman -Qm

Some AUR packages find their way into official Parabola repository named [pcr]. If you can't find the package you need there, ask a hacker to add it to parabola, either on the "assist" mailing list or the "package request" section of the bug tracker, and they can help determine if it meets the FSDG standards.

Some user made a request for the AUR blacklist, but apparently little work was done on it. For more details look at the bug report and unfinished blacklist.

1.5 LaTeX prints out error messages about missing fonts. How can I compile my document?

Some fonts got removed from our TeX Live distribution because of freedom issues and incompatible licenses. Solution to this is to use different fonts and/or different TeX engines. For more details look at TeXLive.

1.6 How can I extract a RAR archive?

unrar command is missing in Parabola because it's non-free software. You can use bsdtar -xf command to do the job. It should be installed on your system by default because pacman depends on libarchive which provides it. Unfortunately, it cannot handle some extra features of RAR archives in which case you may have more luck with unarchiver.

1.7 Why can't I upgrade packages?

See Pacman_troubleshooting

2 Hardware

2.1 Why doesn't my Nvidia graphics work?

This may be the case if you have a recent Nvidia card. Nouveau may not support your card yet. To check if your card is supported by Nouveau, first look for a code name of your card in the output of:

$ lspci | grep VGA

Next, look at CodeNames to further decode it. Finally, you can check support for your card on FeatureMatrix.

2.2 Why do my Wi-Fi card stopped working after migration?

It's common for Wi-Fi cards to require a firmware to be loaded into the card. Many cards doesn't work at all if the firmware is missing. The firmware is often proprietary, thus we don't distribute it. It's a common case for internal Wi-Fi cards.

The usual solution to the problem is either to replace the internal card or to use an external USB Wi-Fi radio for which free firmware exists, such as:

Atheros chipset:

RTL818x chipset:

You can also search the h-node database to find Wi-Fi adapters known to work well with free software or scripts/deblob-$ver to check Wi-Fi adapters included from Wi-Fi device blacklist known to not work with free software due which contains blobs from within exploded Linux source trees. Or check Respect Your Freedom Hardware List, which contains a lot of external and internal Wi-Fi adapters that are compatible with free software.