Arch Linux – a distro collector’s pick

[ Monday, 16 March 2009, Adam M. ]


Are you tired of frequent seeking or all these mega-piles of CDs constantly growing on your desktop? Is there any place left out there? Do you really need to wait another six months to update your software or get the feature you expect? Well, what I want to tell you is that there is a solution! Let me introduce to you, Arch Linux.

In this article I would like to encourage you to give it a try, especially if you’re a beginner since the advantages of using the distro are really worth your effort. I also realize that it might be somewhat problematic to some of you, but you’re not alone – there are tonnes of resources out there on the net, so you can safely accomplish the installation and eventually enjoy one of the best desktop distros available (in my opinion).

Why me?

As stated above, Arch Linux will probably change your Linux habits. I have travelled among an uncountable number of distributions, and it was a painful experience when you couldn’t get what you really needed. I didn’t find myself very comfortable with the lack of fresh package updates that I need in my everyday job. It definitely exceeds my sense of good taste I also haven’t found any distro that suits my needs completely, as there was always something that forced me to switch to another, and another… until now.

Frustrated?

Wait a minute, as I said, there is a solution. At this point I have to honestly warn you – it probably won’t be as easy as ”close the cd tray, reboot, and click next a few times to get it working” but – believe me – it is just a beginning of something far better than you have possibly experienced before, so why don’t you just try?

The recently released image allows you to pick one of several installation methods. You can use the most common FTP installation media which will download all base packages from the net, base installation, that contains all above on a single CD, or you can use a special image file, which can be used with USB sticks. The FTP installation will allow you to have the most recent packages, which you will have to update anyway when using a base-install CD, so it would be the best option to use this media in installation process.

For Linux newcomers, it is usually a good idea to check out the Wiki entries to get familiar with Arch philosophy, and make some initial touches. You can choose from a variety of different language versions, so probably you can even find your native one. This is helpful at the initial phase, where you have to set some things manually. You can now switch to the preferred timezone, set a keyboard layout, terminal font and more. Still there?

If you are an unexperienced distro-traveller, please don’t be afraid of installation procedure, since the setup tool that Arch Linux comes with is really straight forward. You are, however, likely to know some Linux basics to go on with that. It shouldn’t be too complex though. You can safely rely on the offered default settings, and you won’t break anything, I promise :) . In case I was wrong, just visit Arch Linux Wiki page to find some desired information.
As you can make a package selection one by one, you can build your system to meet your requirements as much, as you wish. You can even build your own packages with ease using a community developed tools.

When everythings done you can proceed with the package installation.Again, it’s highly recommended that you rely on the default selection, to avoid possible future issues. It is also good to download some extra stuff while you are in live cd mode. You can for example grab a web browser. That will allow you to surf the web resources while installing – all you need to do is simply switch to another virtual console. It is also very important when you get stuck for some reason. Installing stuff in Arch Linux is just as easy as:

pacman -S packagename

Please refer to our articles to get know what pacman is and how to use it.

Black magic

Everythings installed? What now then? Well, your new Linux OS is set up and running :) . It offers no more, no less, but terminal screen, so you have to push things forward a bit to make it a desktop distro.

You shouldn’t forget to create a new user, so that make Arch more secure. Please refer to the Xorg setup guide and Arch Linux Desktop Guide to set up your environment properly. Arch has a great online documentation, and a friendly community, so even if you get confused, you’ll get a helping hand. It is also worth to mention, that in view of the strict and simple structure that meets the KISS philosophy, you can also benefit from the contribution of other communities, like Gentoo or PLD for example. The power of Arch documentation is behind its strict form. I have rarely met with the statements like „If it doesn’t work, please do something, and if it fails, please do something else… if the ‘something else’ fails, please follow the instructions here, but…”. It’s so common in other distros! In Arch there are no such things. Well at least they are not so common. Everythings straight and usually works with a given solution, without any „buts”.

If you encounter a problem, you can simply resolve it by reading a corresponding Wiki entry, that’s all.

It’s obviously not enough for any modern desktop OS nowadays, however it is a fact, that at this point you’ll get a fully functional system which you can even use with some fun despite the fact that it’s only running text mode. If this doesn’t satisfy you, you’ll need to install the X server, and the desktop environment of your choice. At this stage Arch doesn’t force you to use any specific desktop environment. It gives users a choice so they can select and use what they really want to use. There is no any ‘default environment’ – you get what you like.

If you prefer KDE, you can either get it from the official repos, or use external KDEMOD repository, which I personally recommend, as it is much more clearly organised.

Arch Linux running latest release of KDE
Pic.1 Arch Linux running the latest KDE release

Give me more

What I love the most in Arch Linux, is that it’s relatively easy to manage. It doesn’t come with any graphical wizards, but all you need to do is to edit some configuration files. These are very clean and well described so it won’t take ages to understand what they do.

Generally there are two places, where most of the administrative tasks can be made in Arch Linux. One is /etc/rc.conf, where you can set many aspects of your system, and its behavior, like a timezone, the modules loaded at boot time, network specific settings and so on. The second is /etc/pacman.conf which holds all information about repositories, mirrors and some other useful options like showing a total download progress while getting the software.
Once you get familiar with the configuration files, you might even forget they exist :) .

What differentiates Arch from many other distros out there, is that it really gives you freedom. Of course the freedom is occupied by many difficulties for new users, but once you manage to install Arch Linux, it might serve you for years. If you can sacrifice some time, you can note with some surprise, that it’s faster to set up a ‘raw’ Arch Linux environment, and then add what you need, than install some ‘user friendly’ Linux and then spend weeks on removing what you don’t since Arch is not overloaded with unnecessary things. It comes with some essential packages only and you’re the one that decides what to include, and what not to.

Another noticable highlight is Arch’s speed. As it is dedicated for 686 machines, all the packages are optimized for it, what affects in overall system speed. It’s a really nice feeling to have a system that boots within just few seconds. It’s fast, responsive, and stable, despite being a rolling release. I haven’t had too many problems with it, and even if there were, I could easily find a solution on the website before I’ve even updated a critical package.

The most important thing is that Arch is one of these „burn and forget” distros. Once you had burn your CD, you won’t have to do it anymore since the install CD serves mainly as an installation media. Burn once, use forever. Of course they provide many new possibilities every release (ext4 support in current release for example), but generally it is used only at boot time, since everything else is updating constantly. You can then save some space at your messy desktop :) . No CD stacks anymore! Additionaly. the ease of maintenance of the distribution, what else would you need?

Arch Linux with fresh packages installed
Pic.2 Arch Linux – fresh packages every day

As you can see from the screenshots, Arch comes with plenty of new and hot packages, and even if you think that there are less packages than in Debian, there is a special community repo called AUR that holds many more. Personally I didn’t find any package that wouldn’t be there, so I think it makes Arch a very complete distribution. Also in a terms of package availability. Every time a new software is released, the Arch Linux developers are working hard to provide it for you. You don’t need to wait any longer since the software you need is already there (generally it takes a few days or hours). It may lead to a situation, in which I get to know about a new release from the Arch Linux website :) . Weird, eh?

Closing thoughts:

Having a ten years experience of using various Linux distributions I can say with all responsibility, that Arch Linux is one of the most complete Linux desktops I ever used. Moreover, if you care about expanding your computer knowledge, and you’re ambitious, it is just what you need. I wouldn’t say it would be easy from scratch, but, well, what is? Especially if you do care about your undermined nerves and mental health in general, Arch Linux is just for you too :) . There was no other distro that I could get as much knowledge while using it. Of course there are many with similar objectives, but I find Arch Linux very balanced, so as to make newbies as comfortable, as it’s possible, and leave more experienced users as free as they expect. Gathering numbers of so called ‘user friendly’ distributions also taught me that you may spend much more time on fixing problems if this is what you have been imposed. Why don’t you use the time for enjoying your Linux journey? You decide.

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47 Comments

fold this thread Gen2ly  Monday, 16 March 2009 o godz. 11:47 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Arch is definitely the easiest distribution I’ve ever used. It does take a little Linux knowledge to get it set up right but the documentation is good. In the future when I do updates, I’ll find out if Arch will be easy to maintain too. Updating configuration files looks to be a trick I’m going to have to learn.

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fold this thread cbart387  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 12:12 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

The updates are as easy to maintain. However, due to it be a rolling release that doesn’t have different levels of testing (like debian 3 levels that it has) there will occasionally be something that stops an update. Everytime that has happened to me (maybe once every 3 months), I can find that exact problem in the forum and how to get around it. Typically, you’ll see that when some files need deleted so a new version of a package can be installed. I’ve never had an update bork my system though.

 
 
fold this thread blampars  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 12:13 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +5

I spent about 10 months with ubuntu before I got fed up with 6 month release cycles for new features and package updates. I think I initially installed 7.10, upgraded to 8.04 and was fed up by 8.10.
When I found arch, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to get through the initial setup, but following the beginners guide on another computer I got through it no problem. The other thing that worried me when I decided to switch to arch was if it was really going to be easy to maintain, or if I was going to spend more time fixing my system than using it. I am happy to report that I have had zero problems with keeping my system up to date.

When I was using ubuntu, I think i pretty much learned only the very basic things needed to use my system. Using arch, I’ve learned a heck of alot more about computers and linux in general. Which is exactly what I was looking to do. Personally I wouldn’t recommend arch to a new linux user. I think it helped me greatly using ubuntu for as long as I did, building my base linux knowledge up before jumping into arch.

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fold this thread truzicic  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 12:23 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Well, Arch is great distro, but… For a control freaks like me, I think that best choice is Slackware… Why? Well, both distros share same philosophy, simplicity is beauty, but where comes to control, Slack rules. It’s packaging system that don’t do dependency checking is great plus for it. I managed to broke few times an Arch installation when upgrading.
But, Arch is uberdistro too, my second choice…
Remember : Simplicity is beauty…

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fold this thread Larry Stamm  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 9:18 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

I agree: slackware is best for the ultimate in Linux stability and control.

I tried Arch for about six months, but the occasional problems after an update along with the inclusion of too new versions (IMO) in the updates, drove me back to Slackware.

 
 
fold this thread rview  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 12:30 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

Here’s another way to try Arch, sort of. I prefer the regular Arch way (I’m sure), but this project does it differently. Looks decent, although I’ve never tried it.

http://kdemod.ath.cx/

Actually been using Fedora for a while, it’s been solid/works for me. If I get tired of it I’ll head to Arch for sure, that’s what I’m planning anyway.

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fold this thread Distromaan  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 1:20 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Maybe you should also give credit to Chakra Linux (based on Arch and KDEmod) also since that is what you apparently used for this review.

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fold this thread Adam M.  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 10:16 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Chakra is just pure Arch Linux plus their graphical installer plus kdemod, so I used it indirectly, since the kde screenshots you can se above are all kdemod. I didn’t mention Chakra Project because it’s still in early development, and it may cause some problems, however kdemod itself is great indeed. Just to mention Shaman which is – IMO – one of the greatest package management frontends I’ve ever seen…

 
fold this thread Andreas  Monday, 30 March 2009 o godz. 11:00 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I’ve tried the Chakra-installer, it looks grat and I must say, that the live-system providet by chakra-project is absolutely great, it shows what arch-linux/kdemod is capable of, but the installer is at an early stage, after install i was not able to use the touchpad, and apache didn’t work.

So I went back to ubuntu but next time I will try arch-linux bottom up!

I just need a free weekend for this!

 
 
fold this thread Kris Bergstrom  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 1:37 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

What do you find better about Arch than Debian? I’ve been a happy Debian gnu/linux user for a long time and love the “base install” concept.

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fold this thread Antonio Diaz  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 3:27 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  --2

Nothing amazing about it, just another Slackware or FreeBSD kind of system.

 
fold this thread Antonio Diaz  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 3:28 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  --4

By far Debian is better than most.

 
fold this thread anony-mouse  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 8:25 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +4

1) It’s probably the most widely used *officially rolling release* GNU/Linux distro. Unlike Debian’s testing/unstable, the stable branch of ArchLinux is rolling.

2) It’s a minimalist distro. Debian/Ubuntu (in my humble opinion) is not.

3) Package-management-wise: It’s packaging process is way much easier to grasp. It also has a ports-like system for building packages from source. And, in my experience, pacman is way much faster than apt-get.

4) ArchLinux intentionally tries as much as possible to keep packages with no distro-specific patches (pushing any fixes they make upstream). But when it’s necessary, they will patch a package to make it work.

5) The Chakra/KDEMOD group that maintains packages for KDE (other than ArchLinux’s official packages) does a remarkably excellent job of providing a great, stable, up-to-date KDE (my favorite desktop) experience on ArchLinux.

5) It’s fun and awesome with all the latest packages. (Debian is awesome too, I guess. It was my distro of choice before ArchLinux)

 
 
fold this thread John  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 2:21 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I have never used this or Slackware and mainly due to the install and having to partition the drive myself. I have printed out the beginners guide so I will have to try this one day. I checked out the software they have and found that only in the AUR section do they have kmymoney2 which is not a big deal but they have the old version from way back. I have used kubuntu but was sick of looking for software. I really like Debian but did not like having to work to get non-free software. Mandriva was pretty nice and so is OpenSUSE. With OpenSUSE I have not had to wait for updates for the most part as far as the desktop goes and other updates. My machine at home is just a system that I reload when ever I want to so I might give this a try and see if it is what I need.

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fold this thread Adam M.  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 10:26 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

John, you don’t have to partition your hard disk manually. In the installer, you have an option to create a partition layout automagically for you. All you have to do is to adjust the proposed size values.

Talking about kmymoney2: i just checked out in aur and here’s what i get

community/kmymoney2 0.8.9-2
Personal finance manager for KDE which operates similarly to MS-Money or
Quicken
aur/kmymoney2-cvs 20080925-2 (6)
Personal finance manager for KDE which operates similarly to MS-Money or Quicken (Testing Development version)

I do not know if the version in community is the latest one, but the numbers next to the aur section usually doesn’t mean anything special, since as it is a cvs version, it will synchronise with cvs repo automatically during installation

fold this thread John  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 8:47 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Thanks for the information. I did check the AUR before posting and kmymoney2 is up to 0.9.3 but this is the development version but it has some nice features that the 0.8 branch does not have. I realize that I can probably build this from the source but I have not had to do this in quite some time. I will install Arch probably this weekend and give it a try. I just installed Mandriva 2009.1 RC1 so I may give this a little run through and see what it is like.

 
 
 
fold this thread valves  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 3:53 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Hi. I’m not a Linux expert. I just know the basics. I like Debian very much, but it takes much time to update some software, like Ooo. I don’t like very much Icedove and Iceweasel, too, and I don’t want spend hours tweaking my system. So, since version 200806, I have Archlinux on my laptop, with Gnome. It was very hard to me to configure Xorg. But it worths. After 18 months searching and trying, I found “the” distro. And what a very good wiki!…

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fold this thread evilgold  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 3:58 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Great article!

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fold this thread Amit  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 5:42 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

I’m Linux user since long (7 years). I’m Debian/Ubuntu fan. Recently, I have installed Arch with Gnome desktop. Let me say, Arch is ONE OF THE BEST distro I have ever seen. But let me also say, I can do everything on Debian/Ubuntu that I can do with Arch, and I’m sure I can do the same on any other LINUX distribution. Arch is good because it’s a Linux based OS.

Here are the two features of Arch I like the most:

1. Easy packaging system
2. Latest packages from the official repository

Thanks

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fold this thread mandog  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 8:01 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I’m dyslexic and it took me a while to set Arch up but it was a good decision the file system on Arch just makes so much sense. I use Gnome on one system and KDE4 on my other and I must admit Kde4 although a windows clone has a lot going for it. AUR is simplicity its self and expands the system. Arch is a good base system as it is not biased or tweaked for one window manager as most others are.

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fold this thread wizzard  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 10:49 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I dual-boot between Debian and Arch and I like both distros. Debian is probably a better option for new users because after a Debian installation, you can boot your computer straight to a GUI environment, while in Arch all you get after a new installation is the command line.

Arch has very up-to-date packages in the official repos and it feels fast. It’s also an excellent idea from the Arch developers to use one central configuration file /etc/rc.conf for setting up all the most important stuff. Debian doesn’t always have the latest versions of applications, but Debian has much more packages. I’ve never needed to compile programs in Debian, but in Arch there is often no other way to install programs than compiling from source. The AUR repository for Arch is a nice extension to the official repos, but the packages there are not always up-to-date and you need to compile them from source.

I recently left my Arch system unused for about four months (because I was using another computer at the time). Then I thought: OK, I’ll update the Arch system and start using it again. But the package manager in Arch, called pacman, couldn’t resolve the dependencies for the new packages, and pacman failed to update the system. So I had to reinstall Arch. Sometimes I’ve left my Debian system (Testing/Unstable) without updates for several months and never had trouble with package dependencies. So Debian clearly wins there.

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fold this thread casperh  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 11:01 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Like most I started using Ubuntu for about a year ago. I’ve been around Fedora which worked OK. But when I first discovered Arch Linux I was impressed. It’s fast, you can do what ever you want and it’s really simple. The installation took some tries to figure out how it worked, but after some tries it’s pretty easy. I use Arch Linux on my desktop with LXDE and it boots up in 30 sec. I’m considering Arch Linux + LXDE on my laptop, but the wireless+Network Manager seem to cause some trouble.

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fold this thread stuffjeff  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 1:56 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

For the regular networks use the awesome netcfg2 scripts. They’re really easy to use and modify. I run Arch on my laptops and use my wireless through the netcfg2 scripts almost exclusively.

fold this thread Adam M.  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 2:14 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I totally agree with you. Some time ago I needed to set up my home wireless network, and I didn’t manage to do it with Ubuntu (really!) however with netcfg it only took a few minutes to complete. There are some community developed tools in Arch, that made my life easier. I did not mention them though – it would be too long :P

 
 
 
fold this thread snorkel  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 3:05 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

It should be noted that ArchLinux is noticeably faster than Ubuntu or Debian. KDE 4.2.1 on Arch is a better experience than on Kubuntu.

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fold this thread snorkel  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 3:09 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Oh, and the ArchLinux 64bit version totally rocks, it’s pure 64bit, not a dual lib system like Ubuntu and it’s very very snappy.

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fold this thread Swift Arrow  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 3:23 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Sorry, I just cant tell if this article is a satire, or not :)

I’ve been using Linux for almost a year, so maybe I’m not qualified to state that just editing the text files is NOT the easiest way to configure my system.

Having travelled distros quite a bit, (I actually did use slackware back in 1999 for a bit) recently I have been missing the huge lists of package selections before installing.

And it’s true that a rolling stable is an interesting thought… but I like to have a little more constants.

Anyway, it did read like a satire on the “ease” of install of Arch… though I have never tried it myself, this article tells me that it’s more than I want to bite right now.

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fold this thread Adam  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 3:59 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

Swift Arrow: well, I didn’t say, and didn’t even mean to say that it’s easy. I meant I find it easy enough to install even when you’re an unexperienced user. It might appear that it’s not as easy as many other distros, but ir’s not impossible… and it CAN be a lot easier, really (what doesn’t mean it HAS to be easier) Moreover… editing the config files in many cases would be easier than using super-easy-GUI-thingy. Why? Well, most of these ‘auto-wizards’ have their own config files, which are placed “on top” of what your system is using to configure a device/service/whatever. When something goes wrong, and your gui tools doesn’t cope with it, all you can do is to refer to these config files, but wait a minute! Where are they? Some time ago I had to set up a wireless network on opensuse distribution, and you know what? I had to disable the YAST module responsible for that, since it was using its own configuration which dissconected me each time i wanted to connect :) .

 
fold this thread Xiong Chiamiov  Monday, 23 March 2009 o godz. 7:54 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

As stated in “The Arch Way”, “Arch Linux targets and accommodates competent GNU/Linux users by giving them complete control and responsibility over the system.”

I disliked using text files for configuration at first, but now I quite prefer it, as I can easily see what my settings are at a glance. Plus, I can transfer text files between systems easily. It’s not “easy to use without learning”, but “easy to use once you’ve learned it”.

 
 
fold this thread cwrinn  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 4:42 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Arch was once great, worth the praise it receives in this article. However, of late, more and more stability issues have cropped up, and more and more jerks hang out in #archlinux. I am not saying it is not good, it is a good distro. It has a solid foundation and philosophy. But to make something a great distro, it must have a consistency to quality. Maybe they are trying to rediscover what it was that made them great, being under relatively new development management and all.

As for me, I’ve returned to Gentoo after years of being an Archer. Gentoo provides me with what I was liking in Arch, a simple, minimalistic environment with rolling releases, optimized for my architecture (x86_64), but provides a more consistent level of quality, and I don’t mind building my packages myself.

As for Arch, I may return in the future, but using a Virtual Machine for testing before dedicating my Desktop to it again. I tip my hat to what once was, in hopes to see it again in the future.

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fold this thread Rob O.  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 6:16 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

A while back I decided to try Debian Testing. Ironically, it was after being introduced to the concept of a “rolling release” after reading an Arch review.

Debian Stable gets old after a while, with an approximately 2 year lifespan. Debian Testing, on the other hand, is a rolling release just like Arch.

One negative is that Testing gets “frozen” for a period of a few months when the new Stable release is being finalized. At that point it stops “rolling”, but it picks up again after the new Stable is released. Arch, as I understand it, does not do anything like this.

One positive is that Debian Testing has a great installer that is really easy for beginners. You can use a “netinst” cd, similar to Arch’s FTP installation. Debian lets you choose to install a GUI at the time of installation if you wish.

I haven’t tried Arch enough to say which is better. If you’re interested in a rolling release distro, you might want to give Debian Testing a try (as well as Arch). Ubuntu refugees will find Debian a pretty easy migration.

All that said, I’m going to make a point of using Arch a bit more.

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fold this thread gdf  Thursday, 2 April 2009 o godz. 11:28 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Yeah, but even Debian testing can be amazingly out of date with it’s packages. Right now, it’s still using Gnome 2.22–even though 2.26 was just released. Even with Ubuntu’s six month schedule, I think it’s generally more uptodate than testing. And testing can be buggy. So what’s the point if you get neither stability, nor up-to-date packages?

I’m not saying Debian isn’t goot. Testing is still my main distro. But I am getting frustrated with it. Arch is looking like a new good option.

 
 
fold this thread Carl  Tuesday, 17 March 2009 o godz. 6:57 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Even though I agree that Arch is a wonderful distro that I have used with great pleasure, I need to bring in a word of caution. Arch’s rolling release model keeps you on the forefront of the latest and greatest, but the bleeding edge will also mean that things can and will occasionally break.

I have run Arch for a year or so on a production laptop (which I use for work every day). It never broke so seriously as to forcing me to reinstall, but on a couple of occasions it caused enough problems to keep me entertained for a couple of hours. Combinations of new packages can also lead to annoying problems. The 2.6.28 kernel with the latest Xorg and Intel video drivers causes a serious Open GL performance issue.

Apart from that, the packages can be a bit rough around the edges. E.g., the integration of KDE3 apps in KDE4 in Arch is not as smooth as in Debian.

I admire Arch, they have the best wiki around and a very active community, but running Arch on a business machine can be tricky. Having done an upgrade yesterday to find that you can no longer mount media in Dolphin today quite a pain when you need to access that USB disk with that important presentation you wish to show that important client one hour from now. The fact that it is an easy fix only gives relief if you find it on time….

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fold this thread Xiong Chiamiov  Monday, 23 March 2009 o godz. 7:56 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

One nice thing about Arch is that downgrading packages is easy, and only takes a sec.

 
 
fold this thread shamil  Wednesday, 18 March 2009 o godz. 4:33 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I’m a big debian net-install fan. But, i did try arch. Very similar to debian net-install except loads harder. Arch is not bad though, once you get it up and running, it’s great. I do like the /etc/rc.conf, that was very easy to control startup processes.

However i still prefer my debian net-install for building a system package by package.

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fold this thread eldarion  Wednesday, 18 March 2009 o godz. 7:54 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

@namdog
I use Gnome on one system and KDE4 on my other and I must admit Kde4 although a windows clone

Don’t say that. EVER! I can make my kde to look like windows, Mac, etc… That can be made using Gnome too.

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fold this thread John  Friday, 20 March 2009 o godz. 5:25 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I installed ARCH on Tuesday but just got KDE installed today. It was mainly due to the fact that I had no internet access. I did have issues with the X server as the first time the drive I selected made matters worse. It was easy to fix and did not take much time at all. It would have been nice if you had instructions or a link posted for the kdemod. It was easy enough to find these with the link that one of your readers posted. So far I like it but will have to learn more as I still need to load the unsupported to pacman. It is strange since it has the community that it does not include unsupported. I also will need to see how to install other programs from source. It should be easy enough as the next few days I will do this. I do like the release and now just have to make it the way I want it.

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fold this thread Adam M.  Friday, 20 March 2009 o godz. 11:23 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Link added. Thanks for your suggestion, John and… good luck.

fold this thread John  Friday, 20 March 2009 o godz. 7:48 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I updated my system and now get the dreaded Plasma crash. I some times hate KDE. The update had noting to do with KDE as I just installed flash and then gnucash. I will have to play around with this as at the moment the only reason I can send this is because under the crappy message that the plasma crashed is a link and you click on it and the only thing working is the browser. I do not blame Arch for this though since this has also happened in OpenSUSE. I should have installed other desktops as well. Oh well I will have fun fixing this. Before I would just do a reinstall but now I think I will try and figure it out.

 
 
 
fold this thread Windows shall-always-rule  Saturday, 21 March 2009 o godz. 10:34 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  --7

welcome to the nerd world of nerd Linux users,..

Definition of Linux?,…:– A mess,.. masquerading as what should be a simple program.

Linux is supposed to be a “superior” product???
HaHa. its so “superior” its unable to be easily installed by an amateur old age pensioner over say over 50 years old,..
Why make it easy to install in about 10 simple clicks,..when you can make a complicated mess-up such as Arch, Gentoo, BSD,..etc

No wonder normal people stay with Vista, XP,..the Linux users and designers are so far up their own nerdy assholes smelling their own snobs sh*t,..they fogret about the rest of the normal world.

Word of advice:–
If you want LINUX to be used by the majority in the world,..(as Linux is always touted as being SAFER than Windoze)
Then do have the good manners to produce something for NORMAL people to install in a few minutes in a few simple clicks

As for ARCH ?….its just another nerdy Nerds pain in the a**hole of people,..
What kind of numbskull nerd want to sit for hours having to read pages of Linux documentation to sift through

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fold this thread Tim  Saturday, 21 March 2009 o godz. 1:49 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

If you want installation simplicity (a la Windows), look at PCLinuxOS. It’s relatively stable, they don’t constantly update, and they have a fairly large repository.

But if you are looking for lean, mean and totally under your control (not to mention the Linux standard freedom from viruses, ad-ware, and spyware) then Arch, Debian, or perhaps Gentoo could be for you.

I’ve reached the point with PCLOS that I want to “take back my machine” and do things myself. I’m not a nerd (though I DO wear glasses, there’s no adhesive tape on them LOL), but I resent other people making decisions for me because they think they know best.

My $0.02 (USD)

 
fold this thread Xiong Chiamiov  Monday, 23 March 2009 o godz. 8:00 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

There are many, many things that could be said to this troll, but I’ll keep it short:

If you want LINUX to be used by the majority in the world,.. Then do have the good manners to produce something for NORMAL people to install in a few minutes in a few simple clicks

Who says we want Linux to be used by everyone? I use it because it’s great for me, and I don’t really care if it works well for you.

That, and users are the greatest security problem, not the OS. Transferring them from one to another can help quite a bit, but it won’t solve the problem. And if I’m your sysadmin, then you’ll use whatever the hell I want you to. (BTW, in that case, *I’ll* be the one reading man pages, not you).

 
fold this thread dick  Sunday, 5 July 2009 o godz. 6:13 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

As an old age pensioner (69+), I found Arch very easy to install. I just printedout the beginner intall manual and went step by step and it worked first time. Very pleased with it. Pity you have to be so snarky with something you do not understand.

BTW the reason I left Windows was that I was spending a couple of hours a week just running utilities to defrag the files, clean up the registry, run spybot, adblock, malware defenses and it still was slower than Linux, even the bloated versions of Linux. I am not a game player so there is nothing that Windows can offer me that I cannot find done better in Linux and i don’t have to spend mucho dollars and hours just trying to keep it cleaned up and also spend mucho dollars again just to but the new releases – and then I can’t really just update from one release to the next and have any certainty that it will work.

You really need to clean up your act if you are trying to sell that Windows is worth using at all. You also need to define NORMAL since the psychiatrists and psychologists really can’t. If I follow what you are saying, NORMAL people are too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time. If they have to click 11 times rather than 10 they will sit there and cry because they were forced to do something that would teach them something.

 
 
fold this thread dano  Sunday, 22 March 2009 o godz. 9:35 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I just installed arch on my dell mini. the install went flawlessly with an ftp/iso. the wired net drivers worked out of the box, tons of documentation for install & config, wifi works perfect with ndiswrapper, pacman is fast and easy to use. i was able to install video drivers & touchpad drivers without a hitch.

i would have liked to run gentoo since i was more familiar with it, but i’m not too keen on compiling everything on a puny netbook and portage binaries seems like heresy :P

we’ll see how it holds up after a kernel compile and future updates, but i’m really impressed so far.

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fold this thread W  Thursday, 26 March 2009 o godz. 9:58 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I have just install arch linux. First on virtual box though, just to see what all the fuss is about. What I see is that this distro is quite interesting, it was easy to install. It was easy to set up fluxbox, and some other programs that I need (e.g. python-numpy, python-scipy, matplotlib). Currently I’m using CentOS on my HPC (high performance computing) server, and ubuntu on desktop. In few weeks there will be ubuntu 9.04 released and I strongly think that I may move to arch on desktop! Not 100% sure now, but I keep testing arch on virtualbox. Definitely, the first impression is positive!

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fold this thread Mark  Monday, 6 April 2009 o godz. 6:36 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

>Linux is supposed to be a “superior” product???
HaHa. its so “superior” its unable to be easily installed by an amateur old age pensioner over say over 50 years old,..
Why make it easy to install in about 10 simple clicks,..when you can make a complicated mess-up such as Arch, Gentoo, BSD,..etc

I’m over 50 (almost 52, actually), and I installed Arch easily … both ways!

I downloaded the Chakra CD image, burned it, put it into my desktop CD drvie and … away it went. Six “clikcs” later (plus some typing for the machines name, root password, my logon name and password) and it was installed.

I also have a netbook, which does not have a CD drive. I used the bare install image, wrote it to a USB flash memory stick (using my Arch desktop) and booted that, and installed it on my desktop. I copied a fes configuration text files from my desktop to configure pacman, and followed simple instructions using pacman to download the rest of the KDEmod desktop software.

It was fairly easy, really. The Chakra LiveCD especially was way easier than installing Windows on a bare machine, where you have to type in CD keys, register/activate online, try to figure out how to get the right driver (say for your printer) of CD driver install disks, etc, etc. Even then, after all that work trying to install Windows … you have just got the bare OS. Oh, plus Notepad, Pain and Calc. So you then have to spend countless extra hours (and possibly a lot iof money also) getting a useful collection of applications on to the machine.

Arch is blindingly quick too, being optimised for either i686 or x86_64, unlike Windows. I can run Linux without a virus or anti-malware scanner too, so I’m even further in front.

KDE 4.2 really rocks compared to Windows.

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fold this thread DeafMute  Friday, 1 May 2009 o godz. 6:38 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

don’t feed the troll dude

 
 
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Adam Mrówczyński

Lousy IT specialist based in Poland, Warsaw Currently PolishLinux.org's editor in-chief. Always busy graphic designer as well, and a true believer of FLOSS and Linux. Happy Arch Linux user, an (more...)

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