This article's aim is to provide answers to questions often asked by users who moved to Hyperbola GNU/Linux-Libre from Arch GNU/Linux 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 GNU/Linux FAQ.


Is Hyperbola a distribution based on Parabola?

No, Hyperbola is a fully free long-term support distribution based on Arch snapshots and Debian development, with special emphasis on stability, privacy, security and init freedom.

Hyperbola has forked some Parabola projects such as the blacklist, libretools and your-freedom, but it does not mean that Hyperbola is a distribution based on Parabola.

If Hyperbola is a fully free distribution, is it following the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG)?

Yes, it is the main goal. Hyperbola contains its own social contract and packaging guidelines which are the commitment which Hyperbola makes to follow the philosophy of Free Software Movement.

What is Long Term Support (LTS)?

Long Term Support (LTS) is a type of special versions or editions of software designed to be supported for a longer than normal period.

Unlike distributions such as Arch which are rolling release models, our goal is extend the period of software maintenance; it also alters the type and frequency of software updates (patches) to reduce the risk, expense, and disruption of software deployment, while promoting the dependability of the software.

See our releases page for further details.

How Hyperbola stability works?

Understand that the job of Hyperbola, independently of Freedom is, and always is, to produce a Stable version of Arch. The other releases are means to that end. You may find the other releases perfectly usable for whatever use you have for them.

Understand, however, that Testing is testing; things are expected to break from time to time. Testing is just what it says it is; it's for testing whether it works reliably prior to its release as a future Stable. You may well find Testing reliable enough, and in fact others have remarked that Hyperbola Testing is more reliable than some other distributions' Stable releases.

Corollaries to this in the commercial world are Development, Testing, and Production. In theory, businesses don't let anyone anywhere near their Production servers until they've proven their latest release isn't going to break anything which currently works, and whose new features or functionality have been documented to the business's satisfaction. This is what Hyperbola's Stable name means: that, once released, the operating system remains relatively unchanging over time.

YMMV. Caveat emptor. You get what you pay for. As the saying goes, “If it breaks, you get to keep both pieces”. ;-)

See our packaging guidelines for further details about our development.

What means privacy for Hyperbola?

Hyperbola's objective is to support the privacy of its community, it means distribute all software secure from global data surveillance revealed in the publication of Snowden's NSA documents, as well as additional hardened packages which remove lower level protocols that may cause privacy leaks, metadata/fingerprinting, and vulnerabilities.

What is the Init Freedom Campaign?

The Init Freedom Campaign is about restoring a sane approach to PID1, one that respects diversity and freedom of choice. Hyperbola refuses init systems that breaks portability, ignores backwards compatibility, and replaces existing services, forcing into adoption (eg. systemd).


Why Hyperbola is using old versions in comparison to Arch GNU/Linux?

Hyperbola is a long-term support distribution based on Arch GNU/Linux plus stability and security from Debian GNU/Linux. It isn't a rolling release distribution like Arch because Hyperbola is using Arch snapshots for its versions and Parabola blacklist as base to keep it 100% libre. Also Hyperbola is using Debian patches, therefore all packages are being stabilized with improvements through its development. See the Packaging Guidelines and Social Contract for further details.

Why is package X missing, even though it's available in Arch GNU/Linux?

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

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

Why is systemd missing if it is free software?

Hyperbola's objective is to support the Init Freedom Campaign. Hyperbola refuses init systems such as systemd that breaks portability, ignores backwards compatibility, and replaces existing services, forcing into adoption.

How is package X different from its counterpart in Arch GNU/Linux?

Packages are typically modified for reasons such as containing non-free parts, recommending non-free software or branding. Also there are another reasons such as privacy/security issues, instabilities. 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 our core, extra, community and multilib repositories containing PKGBUILD files used for building our packages. Grab corresponding PKGBUILD from Arch website and just run diff on both of them.

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

No. Hyperbola doesn't support AUR in any way. After migrating to Hyperbola 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 our official community repository. If you can't find the package you need there, ask a Hyperbola dev to pull it.

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.

How can I extract a RAR archive?

unrar command is missing in Hyperbola because it's non-free software. You can use bsdtar 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 unar.


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.

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 the case for almost any internal Wi-Fi card.

The usual fix to the problem is either to replace the card or use an external USB Wi-Fi dongle. You can buy one with Atheros chipset (eg. ath9k_htc for external USB dongle or ath9k for PCI and PCI-Express expansion slots) or RTL818x chipset (eg. rtl8187 for external USB dongle or rtl818x_pci for PCI and PCI-Express expansion slots) since there is a free firmware for these Wi-Fi adapters. 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 in the Linux-libre device blacklist.


This wiki article is based on ParabolaWiki.