Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 21st Mar 2005 11:22 UTC
Linux 2003 was the year with Gentoo written all over it in the Linux universe. Last year was Ubuntu's & MEPIS'. I believe that Arch Linux's year is the current one. Read more for a comparison of Arch to existing distributions, and why we think it rocks and where we think it still requires some work.
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One slight flaw in the article...
by Mark on Mon 21st Mar 2005 11:45 UTC

$distro = "insert_favourite_distro";

I find $distro to be the best of all worlds, given you are a bit proficient with computers. Highly recommended for either a workstation or a server.

Name one fanboy of any distro where that wouldn't apply.

bashing?
by Ankit Malik on Mon 21st Mar 2005 11:57 UTC

yeah! ok we got it that you mean arch is the 'best'

but stop saying that ubuntu runs slow or something like that.

these are very vague statements and can likely turn off some ppl against trying them out.

in other words stop bashing to make your review look better

RE: bashing?
by Eugenia on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:01 UTC

>but stop saying that ubuntu runs slow or something like that.

Ubuntu *is* slower than Arch. Or, at least it certainly feels so. I have both installed on the same machine, same drive, side by side.

The article was not meant to be bashing. I have used all these systems (and still use some of them). So, don't take it personally because your distro got a negative comment. I simply wrote my own personal experiences with these systems and where Arch fills in.

Besides, I even wrote my gripes with Arch as well. It's not that I claimed that it's perfect or anything. ;)

arch is ok, but ...
by bb_matt on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:03 UTC

Even for experienced Linux enthusiasts, it's just a pain in the ass to install.

I installed it and got most stuff working after about 6 hours - the fact that pretty much nothing is configured during the install process makes post install a totally tedious exercise.

If your into spending time during post install to setup what really should have been done during the install process, arch Linux is for you.

I'll stick with Slackware 10.1 thanks.

2005 - Not the year of Arch IMHO
by Lennart Fridén on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:11 UTC

"Despite what you might think though, Arch is not perfect and no matter what Archers might advocate to you in the forums or IRC, Arch is not for newbies. Semi-experienced users will be able to successfully fully configure their setup with a bit of pain, but less experienced ones will probably be presented with something that resembles a chaos in their minds. This is not to say that Arch is not a great distro, cause it is. But it does target a more experienced part of the overall userbase."

Which is why I don't think 2005 will be the year of Arch, but rather the year of Ubuntu (again).

RE: 2005 - Not the year of Arch IMHO
by Jon on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:14 UTC

2003 *was* the year of Gentoo and Gentoo was for experienced users too. So yeah, I think Arch does have a shot to totally own this year.

Never tried it
by greg on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:17 UTC

It sounds like a healthy mix between gentoo and slack, and therefore only really appeals to such users.

Saying Ubuntu was 2004 is a bit wrong though, I've never seen such sustained hype over a distro as we've seen with Ubuntu, and Ubuntu looks set to take 2005 by storm as well.

I just don't see how you can say apt-get is hard to use, the first package manager I ever used was apt-get and it's simply.. easy, apt-get install, apt-get remove, what's the problem? Also, Synaptic is an amazing utility, especially the very latest version which is just fantastic.

Overall the review is pretty weak, just why should I try it, again?

Re: arch is ok, but ...
by nggalai on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:18 UTC

Even for experienced Linux enthusiasts, it's just a pain in the ass to install.

I installed it and got most stuff working after about 6 hours - the fact that pretty much nothing is configured during the install process makes post install a totally tedious exercise.


I posted it before I think ... Arch was my second Linux distribution ever, and I had no problems installing it. I'm a writer, not a techie, and if I manage the basic installation and setup in less than an hour, my bet is most people shouldn't have too many problems getting Arch up and running.

Most of my teething problems with Arch were related to my POS scanner/printer/copy machine thingy. The rest, including internet access, audio etc. was very easy to set up thanks to the Wiki and installation documentation.

re: bashing
by Rick Lopez on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:19 UTC

I've been running Hoary and it seems that it is getting slower after each big X/Gnome upgrade. There was a thread about this over at the ubuntu forums.

Warty was always zippy though, so I don't know what's going on.

I might give Arch a try though. I think I'm gonna check out KDE 3.4

Some thoughts about some packages
by Andrea on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:22 UTC

Weird that only apache 2.0 is supported in the packages.
Most of today webserver are still running apache 1.3 so I think with arch you should install 1.3 by yourself ;) .

On another note rails, rubyonrails, is not supported too.

Ubuntu and Debian does not support direct installation of J2SDK, J2RE from packages due to their policies.
Arch it does support it.

Hope that JEdit will be supported soon with Arch.
I remember a topic in the forum asking for it.

Gentoo Installation time
by lu_zero on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:29 UTC

Using the stage3+GRP approach would require you to spend more or less 30min. Please stop using common places (FUD?) when writing articles.

Debian
by sindre on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:35 UTC

Debian doesn't come with any inherent performance/boot-time penalty, but this is probably a nice alternative for those not liking/caring to learn Debian's way of doing things.

I've had well-configured Debian and Gentoo setups, and there's no perceivable difference in performance in general. Gentoo actually turned out to use more memory whith customized USE-flags and CFLAGS="-march='my-cpu' -O2 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer". It's true though that Debian (annoyingly for power users) does a few things by default that needs to be adjusted by the user (something which should be quite simple if you read some docs) if you want Gentoo-like behaviour.

Anyway it's always cool to have alternatives, and if Arch has done some kind of magic tricks to get notably higher performance (which I seriously doubt), that's just great. I'd love to see some "scientific" performance analyses, but I'm way too much in love with Debian to care to do those myself.

makepkg vs/ checkinstall
by nggalai on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:37 UTC

Another weak point is the creation of home-made packages. Archers will advocate that makepkg is dead easy, but it's not as dead easy as Checkinstall (but still much easier than creating RPMs, of course). Makepkg still requires a bit of extra knowledge and some extra time. With Checkinstall you "./configure" and you "make" but at the end, instead of typing "make install", you type "checkinstall". Checkinstall will strip the binary, will create the package for you and will install it, all automatically. Makepkg is definetely not as convenient, at least for ex-Slackware users.

I don't know Slack, but do these packages also contain information about dependencies, file conflicts etc. as Arch packages do? If yes, I concede that the Slack way seems more straightforward. If no, you can't really compare the two, IMO.

Arch is great
by James on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:39 UTC

I have used a ton of distros, but always use Arch as my default one. It's very fast, easy to setup and works on old PCs as well. It seems to be more stable now (0.7 vs. 0.6).

Hardware support 9/10 ???
by Pikachu on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:43 UTC

I think you're wrong to give that distribution a 9/10 for hardware support (or any other). Did you try to get exotic hardware working with it ? Just try a HPT372A PATA RAID controller :p
It doesn't work with Gentoo, Suse 9, Red Hat, Fedora, etc...(null pointer dereference) only Novell, but not in its native raid mode.

I bet that it's the same for Arch Linux.
And honestly, if hardware companies didn't give the sourcecode for their linux drivers, maintain their own drivers or some people reverse engineering it, there wouldn't be many supported hardware at all

pacman simpler than apt-get?
by Timo on Mon 21st Mar 2005 12:51 UTC

apt-get & dpkg and all these related tools are not as brain-dead simple to use as pacman is (and Synaptic is not really as wonderful either).

pacman -Suy (update the whole system by syncing)
pacman -S firefox (install Firefox from -Current)
pacman -R firefox (remove Firefox from your system)
pacman -A package-name.tar.gz (install a local package)


What's so difficult with apt-get? IMHO, the cited operations are have more intuitive commands in Debian:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade (update the package database and upgrade the system)
apt-get install mozilla-firefox (install Firefox from repository)
apt-get remove mozilla-firefox (remove Firefox from the system)
dpkg -i package-name.deb

I have nothing against Arch. It's nice to have new distributions available.

i wanted to give it a try
by The MESMERIC on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:01 UTC

but it wouldn't run on my Toshiba Satellite Pro.
then again many distros don't
apart from the big Three.

Arch
by tristure on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:04 UTC

Arch is definitely an excellent distribution.

I have some minor complaints about it though:

-the docs aren't bad, you can install Arch without any problem with them. But they are not very good either. Gentoo comme to my mind when speaking about good docs

-the default kernel misses some options I like, and I still haven't found an easy way to roll my own kernel in the "arch" way (ABS or pacman). There are articles about that on the wiki I know, but they are still too complicated for me, I need to gather some more experience with Arch to understand them I think.

-I wish the devs would split kde packages so I could install KDE without the full blown set of apps... I really hope to see that happening.

All in all these are minor complaints. The installer could be improved as well, it's sometimes confusing (at a certain point you just browse submenus, check options and go back to a main menu, without knowing for sure if something's actually being done or if the installer only gathers information in order to perform the installation).

Otherwise, pacman is awesome, simple and efficient, the community is quite friendly, Arch runs fast (I don't do speed tests so I won't say that it runs faster or slower than X, Y, Z, but it feels as fast as the other distros I've used so far).

Right now I'll keep gentoo as my main distribution (I've used it for 1 1/2 year now), but I'll keep an eye on arch, and if the minor problems I have with it happen to be solved, I think I'll make the switch... Portage is very good, but compiling everything is tiresome after a while. Waiting the whole weekend for KDE to compile while it only took 2hours to download and install in arch... You know what I mean. :-)

Heh
by postlogic on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:08 UTC

I fail to see how a person can use 6 hours to get Arch up and running.

During the install, it even gives you the option to configure the main files!

I had my system up and running in 45 minutes, and spent a couple of days installing smaller software and making it my own; a process I actually enjoy.

v This is what I always say
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:10 UTC
Statistics?
by Daniel de Kok on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:15 UTC

Slackware and Arch Linux have more things in common than not and this is the main reason why many Slackware users have moved to Arch recently.

This is a pretty big claim, can you back it up with reliable statistics?

Well
by postlogic on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:16 UTC

That's where Linux shines, though. If you configure a box well enough, you shouldn't need to update much save server software and maybe some security.

I do agree on the fact that Linux is a hype at this time, though, seeing as more people tend to use it due to eyecandy. And the fact that it's a "deviant" compared to Windows and OS X. It offers something else.

RE: Statistics?
by Eugenia on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:16 UTC

Of course not, no one can. However, judging from the forums on Arch and even from some comments on osnews, many ex-slackware users have noved to Arch. For many, it felt like the logical step forward.

Debfoster/deborphan
by sindre on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:18 UTC

Does Arch have similar "must have" tools to clean out leftover dependencies and other unwanted packages?

Author's Hilarious Statement on Gentoo
by . on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:18 UTC

Apparently, the author doesn't know one can install Gentoo as fast as Ubuntu. Considering Arch's immature software repository, scanty documentation, small community, totally ridiculous platform portability and primitive package management system as compared to Gentoo's, I found the authors statement about Gentoo being a beta distribution absolutely hilarious.

..
by postlogic on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:19 UTC

"Apparently, the author doesn't know one can install Gentoo as fast as Ubuntu. Considering Arch's immature software repository, scanty documentation, small community, totally ridiculous platform portability and primitive package management system as compared to Gentoo's, I found the authors statement about Gentoo being a beta distribution absolutely hilarious."

Spoken like a true Gentoo-user.

Frugalware, Ubuntu
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:21 UTC

If you want to try a distro that combines the good aspects of Slackware & Arch, try Frugalware. But since the introduction of Ubuntu/Kubuntu there's little reason to use any other distro. I really do believe that Ubuntu will unite the fragmentary "Linux on the desktop" scene around just one distro -- and I also believe that this will be a good thing. :-)

RE: Statistics?
by Daniel de Kok on Mon 21st Mar 2005 13:24 UTC

Of course not, no one can. However, judging from the forums on Arch and even from some comments on osnews, many ex-slackware users have noved to Arch. For many, it felt like the logical step forward.

Were these people long-time Slackware users, or just distro hoppers? "Many Slackware" users sounds like a huge chunk out of the Slackware user base is gone, but on the other hand this may as well be people who ran Gentoo in 2003, Slack in 2004, and Arch in 2005.

I do not have much of a statistic either to support the contrary claim. But I have watched the top-50 statistics of some software distributors (like Mensys, which is pretty large in Europe), from 2002 till this day, and it seems to me that Slackware sales are pretty constant. My counter-conclusion is that the core of Slackware users are going nowhere else.

no need to reinstall arch...
by quiet on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:09 UTC

"Even touching the word "TCO" would be completely stupid. I mean what is always claimed is that a linux box just runs and bla bla bla. Thing is, you have to change distro at least once a year to keep up to date... Linux is no wonder, it's hype.

It's a software aimed for students who has time and don't run anything critical and can afford the time loss of reinstalling software every N months.

Well it's proven once again what so many others for so long have known.

Stability or low TCO means *BSD, Solaris, OSX or Windows..."

The lovel thing about arch is that it's a rolling distribution.. so there's no reason to reinstall "every Nmonths" because a simple pacman -Syu will give you your latest version...just like gentoo...

The lovel thing about arch is that it's a rolling distribution.. so there's no reason to reinstall "every Nmonths" because a simple pacman -Syu will give you your latest version...just like gentoo...

Yes this is nice, but Debian-based distros are only slightly more difficult, unlike Fedora or Suse where you have to download the new ISO's, burn them, then do an upgrade.

For example, if you are running Ubuntu Warty, as soon as Hoary is released, all you have to do is these three commands:
sudo sed -i 's/warty/hoary/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

I admit that this would be difficult for inexperienced users, but a lot simpler than some alternatives.

it's
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
not
sudo apt-get upgrade

Packman
by Sard on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:25 UTC

Does Packman have a GUI? Apt-get has synaptic Slapt-get even has one. Yes command prompt can be handy, but for browsing and tagging numerous packages for various operations a GUI is a must.

just few points
by bozo on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:26 UTC

1. Stability or low TCO means *BSD, Solaris, OSX or Windows...
and you claim that there's no need to update *BSD, Solaris or Windows once a year?
2. Ive been long time slack user, switching to arch is just a matter of evolution
3. Debian is slow, that's not a matter of configuration; besides apt is nice and can be a great tool for those lazy system administrators...
4. I don't see a reason why arch sould set up everything by default if you will have to change almost everything to suit your needs anyway
5. unfortunately linux based systems are still percieved as distros not different operating systems based on linux kernels and GNU tools; you use an operating system named Slackware, ArchLinux or anything else, try to mind that
6. to Pikachu: silly post, this is clearly a kernel problem
7. giving points for hardware support offered by GNU/Linux system is also useless, you would have to grade the kernel hardware support rather thatn the OS that has nothing to do with the drivers (OS can actually suggest you what drivers to use)
8. OS specific configuration files are a bad idea - see Debian. OS should be as generic as possible

RE: Debfoster/deborphan
by Solskogen on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:29 UTC

Yeap. pacman -Qe.

RE: Debfoster/deborphan
by cal on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:33 UTC

Pacman keeps trace of everything you install. So let say you have 3 packages A, B and C. A depends on B and C. You install B by hand because you need it, and later you decide to install A.

When you'll remove A, you can tell pacman to remove all packages that depends on A and also all its dependencies, which in this case will be B only (because pacman, which is great, thinks that if you have installed B yourself and not only as a dependency of A, you probably want it, even if you remove A).

This ability is one of the reason I choose arch. Sometimes I just want to test new packages / applications, and be able to remove them if I don't really need them (or enjoy them), but also removes their dependencies.

I've been considering gentoo for a long time, but I'm not sure how to do that with portage. And more, I don't want to compile everything again and again and again...

I wanted a distrib with both binaries and sources, easy and powerfull package management, up to date every day (and not every 6 month), and easy to create your own package (compared to rpm and deb, I feel like creating a package for Arch is far easier, but that's only my feeling). Arch is everything I have ever dreamed off. The only thing I lack is more packages, but this will change as the distrib get more users.

Thanks
by jmich on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:45 UTC

Thanks to the people who test things out and write about it later. For they bring in suggestions. Especially with the numerous distros to choose from, you would have to be someone without a real job to pick one out. However, sticking to one seems a problem.

PS. Gazillion, there is no such thing. "Google" is the largest in the number system.

@tristure
by OpenBSD on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:45 UTC

-I wish the devs would split kde packages so I could install KDE without the full blown set of apps... I really hope to see that happening.

--->
pacman -S kdebase (not too hard, eh)

NO x86_64
by justinc on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:46 UTC

Any distro that doesn't support x86_64 OS doesn't have a chance at being the "Next big thing"

Seriously, amd64's are so cheap there satruating the market like coke/pepsi so until a distro supports 64bit compuitng it's not that big.

I have used arch and it's ok, BUT the Q&A on packages is terrible, bugs are plenty and again, NO amd64 support.

W00t
by Chris on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:51 UTC

I love Arch, I've ran it on my main desktop for about a year and a half; on the same install and it's never out of date (unless I decide to let it go out of date). It's pacman that makes it so good btw; pacman is just a great package manager.
It's so simple that anyone with a little bash experience can manipulate it to do a lot without reading a fifty page man-page.

Recursive dependencies
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 14:58 UTC

There is still a reason why slackware stupid simple package manager might be better than pacman (or whatever else) with automatic resolution of dependencies. If you e.g. try to install KOffice in Arch, you'll also get glib and gconf installed, although they have nothing to do with KOffice. It seems to be very difficult to prepare packages and dependencies so as not to end up with completely useless recursive dependencies.

Re: Recursive dependencies
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:03 UTC

If you e.g. try to install KOffice in Arch, you'll also get glib and gconf installed, although they have nothing to do with KOffice.

I don't know about gconf, but glib is required by KOffice's Word import filter (wvlib).

It seems to be very difficult to prepare packages and dependencies so as not to end up with completely useless recursive dependencies.

Any examples?

RE: no need to reinstall arch...
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:12 UTC

Yes this is nice, but Debian-based distros are only slightly more difficult, unlike Fedora or Suse where you have to download the new ISO's, burn them, then do an upgrade.

Not true. At least in Suse you can point yast to the latest version on the ftp servers and do a complete upgrade or just update selected packages.

re:re: bashing
by Ankit Malik on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:27 UTC

You said 'Ubuntu is slower'
You meant 'Ubuntu on my system runs slower'

You should have said 'Ubuntu on my system runs [tends to run] slower'

that is the d/f ;)

Good stuff.
by Sphinx on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:34 UTC

Makes me wonder about ROCK linux and why it arches. b-)

just wondering....
by Ankit Malik on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:35 UTC

just wondering how am i gonna tell my folks to learn how to edit the config files in order to run arch linux when i am not home since arch is supposed to be distro of 2005 ;)

btw ubuntu is still on fire as it was in 2004... it hasn't subsided with the new year ;-)

Ubuntu x86_64
by tobaccofarm on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:38 UTC

Ubuntu x86_64 doesn't run slow at all,well at least on my AMD64 XP3000+ 1024 DDRam system,neither do CentOs,RHEL4.0,Fedora.No need per se for optimized CFLAGS etc.
there isn't much difference between AMD64 GENERIC and AMD64athlon/opteron in terms of performance than between a i386 and a P4 or Atlon-xp.

Year of Arch?
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:46 UTC

I don't know if this is the year of Arch Linux, but I will say that it's my favorite. A great, simple package manager (pacman). A great way to build custom packages that can be installed with pacman (abs). Great speed through simplicity, which actually makes it easier/more transparent (IMO) than some of the distros that could be seen as similar (Debian, Slack). The only weakness is that it is still a bit young. But time wioll heal that.

Arch is such an elegant distro...I normally install it with the base ISO from FTP, and I get a complete system, right down to the WM and applications in about 45 minutes...all with the lastest packages, all fast as heck. But, yes, I am an Arch fan boy, so don't take it from me...install it yourself.

RE: just few points
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:48 UTC

"3. Debian is slow, that's not a matter of configuration;"
So, you're saying that Arch/Slackware running lots of unneccesary services with a generic kernel is faster than Debian running only needed services with a specialized kernel?

I find it most interesting that some people believe that Arch/Slackware magically compiles faster/slimmer binaries than other distros. I find the truth to be that Slackware/Debian/Mandrake/SUSE/Fedora/etc are all almost equal in speed if configured correctly. The exceptions would be if they use different versions of packages with inherent performance differences. Also, most distros use very similar cflags, and setting -march makes things better about as often as it makes them worse from what I've seen as a programmer. If the programmer has profiled and optimized his code, you'd usually have the best luck wrt performance by compiling the software with the same compiler he/she used (and preferably the same flags). Compiler optimization isn't magically making everything better when the code is tuned for something else.

It all comes down to which is most practical. Speed-difference is usually neglible if you know how to configure the distribution. Distros doing really retarded architectural choices that impact performance greatly are very, very unusual from what I've seen.

Arch looks like it's becoming a great distro. I hope we/they get the resources to do more thorough QA too though.

Re: This is what I always say.
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:49 UTC

Even touching the word "TCO" would be completely stupid. I mean what is always claimed is that a linux box just runs and bla bla bla. Thing is, you have to change distro at least once a year to keep up to date... Linux is no wonder, it's hype.

Well, stop always saying that. ;)

I've used arch for the past 2 years, 4 months. Same install for the last year and a half.

arch
by tobaccofarm on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:53 UTC

I actually meant the great advantage of x86_64 is, most distros who support it contain a x86_64 kernel and most packages are compiled for x86_64 out of the box.There is hardly any need for optimized CHOST/CFLAGS anymore and or compiling everything from source.

Re: Packman
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 15:56 UTC

Does Packman have a GUI? Apt-get has synaptic Slapt-get even has one. Yes command prompt can be handy, but for browsing and tagging numerous packages for various operations a GUI is a must.

It's PACMAN, not packman!!! ;)

There's not a true, full-featured GUI yet, but pacman is set to be libidized soon, so GUIs should start to appear then.

But there are some limited-functionality GUIs posted on the forums now, though.

Re: No x86_64
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:00 UTC

I have used arch and it's ok, BUT the Q&A on packages is terrible, bugs are plenty and again, NO amd64 support.

There have been problems with QA on the packages in the past (in fact Eugenia was one of the big critics of this), but things have gotten better and continue to do so.

There is an x86_64 port happening right...NOW. ;)

Re: just wondering
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:02 UTC

just wondering how am i gonna tell my folks to learn how to edit the config files in order to run arch linux when i am not home since arch is supposed to be distro of 2005 ;)

Once the system is up and running, there is little to do to maintain it. Similar to Gentoo...the "Distro of 2003" right?

v Skipping this article
by thors_hammer123 on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:05 UTC
re:re: bashing
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:06 UTC

You said 'Ubuntu is slower'
You meant 'Ubuntu on my system runs slower'

You should have said 'Ubuntu on my system runs [tends to run] slower'

that is the d/f ;)


Well, Arch IS faster. Ubuntu COULD be tweaked heavily to be comparable speed, but Arch KISS mentality let's the users TURN ON the services they want, rather than expect the user to TURN OFF the ones they don't need.

This, plus a simple initscripts/config system makes Arch very fast, while Ubuntu (in the Debian tradition), tends to make things a bit over complicated.

IMHO ;)

Grub, Schmub
by John Lowell on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:08 UTC

Eugenia,

The problem you experience with the grub installation resolves when you repeat the attempt to install. Like you, I have grub in use on other partitions and have run into this problem too. Just be persistent, it'll take. :-)

jlowell

Re: Skipping this article
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:08 UTC

First of all, I have not read the article and don't plan to. I am sick of the little fangirl posting the millionth Arch review. Arch may be nice, but it surely does not deserve a daily glowing review and I do not appreciate having it crammed down my throat.

Well, it's not being rammed down your throat, it's on a website. Maybe you're hallucinating? ;)

And no, pacman is not any easier than apt-get. And if you like pacman better than Synaptic, there is something very wrong...Synaptic is almost for the brain-dead.

We're talking pacman vs. Apt-get, not synaptic. Both apt-get and synaptic are awesome, but Arch has a different philosophy. KISS.

Credibility 9/10 ?
by Gonçalo on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:18 UTC

That rating is at least funny.
Lots of unstable packages, and I'm not talking about some rarely used software, I'm talking about broken thunderbird, nautilus to name some.

Stability/Bugs/Security (how do you even rate security?) leaves a lot to be desired in Archlinux, and the fact that x86_64 support doesn't seem to be around the corner isn't good too.

Not Distro of the Year
by Corey on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:22 UTC

I've played with Gentoo and Arch but while those linuxes are good for small segments of the user base it does nothing to promote Linux where it matters. At home. Maybe a kid could figure it out if he was the type that liked things that were complicated and hated to configure his system via gui's but for everyone else that needs a Linux that requires minimal installation hassle and works as needed with a understandable package manager Arch could never cut it.

Linux dominates the server market in many segments yet were still questionably ahead or behind Mac's depending on which way the wind blows and the alignment of the planets. More home uers = more commercially available software = more compatible products.

Arch
by anon on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:25 UTC

I've been using it for a while - easy FTP install and then on reboot create a user, unhash your repos, pull in X and your favourite WM or D.E with pacman - # pacman -Sy <packagename> - then # xorgconfig - trivial really - and then add what you want after that - I like it and would reccomend it ;)

Re: Credibility 9/10
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:27 UTC

That rating is at least funny.
Lots of unstable packages, and I'm not talking about some rarely used software, I'm talking about broken thunderbird, nautilus to name some.

Stability/Bugs/Security (how do you even rate security?) leaves a lot to be desired in Archlinux, and the fact that x86_64 support doesn't seem to be around the corner isn't good too.


Broken Thunderbird/nuatilius? It's funny, I use these packages and have for quite some time. They work fine. When was the last time you used Arch Linux?

Security, I assume, would be rated by things like the number of unneeded services turned on by default, etc. possibly? Obviously, the true lockdown of a system is up to the user, largely. Especially with a distro like Arch.

Gentoo vs Arch
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 16:35 UTC

I have never understood why Gentoo isnt all that Arch is and way more .... would it really be that hard to keep an up2date and stable repository of core binary(GRP) packages?

Ofcourse it would require a _lot_ more resources to compile the core packages(GRP) for every USE flag setting and architecture and keep them up2date - but it would be worth it! Every year would be the year of Gentoo ;)

@tobaccofarm
by Chris on Mon 21st Mar 2005 17:15 UTC

That's because i386 is a 17 year old arch, and i686 is a 9 year old arch (plus i386 doesn't necessarily have onboard float if I remember correctly). Plus, Intel copied AMD's instruction set almost exactly for 64bit; which is sad because I almost hoped to see someone try and use this opportunity to maybe help kill x86 (but noooo!).

Credibility: 9/10 (stability, bugs, security) ???
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 17:16 UTC

Let's see, does Arch Linux have proper package QA, does it ship a firewall by default, does it use exec-shield, does it fortify binaries, does it use adresse space randomization, does it deploy SELinux?

Last I tried Arch Linux it was infact broken half the time, tracking current was a pain because there would always be a bug. They never deployed security technologies by default.

Now I like Arch as a whole, it's a nice little distro, but to give it a top rating in credibility seems misleading to me.

Then again this is Eugenia's soapbox and her beloved Slackware pimping has now been replaced with Arch pimping - so of course no flaw can be found in Arch.

RE:Gentoo Installation time
by scott on Mon 21st Mar 2005 17:24 UTC

Well after the 30 min it takes to bring up how about you insatll x with kde and then openoffice and then tell me how long it takes to set up.

RE: i wanted to give it a try
by TheClaus on Mon 21st Mar 2005 17:25 UTC

I was able to get Arch up and running on my Toshiba Satellite Pro 490CDT. There was some problems but I have most of them worked out. The first problem I had was trying to get it up with XOrg using S3/VirgeMX driver. This will just not work. Instead I went with Generic VESA and it works great. Sound I am at a lost because I have tried compiling from source and still cannot get it to work.

All in all it is a nice Distro and I look forward to seeing more come from it.

RE: RE: just few points
by bozo on Mon 21st Mar 2005 17:26 UTC

So, you're saying that Arch/Slackware running lots of unneccesary services with a generic kernel is faster than Debian running only needed services with a specialized kernel?

first of all during install you can compile your own kernel (what most sane people do), secondly you can turn off unnecessary services (simple ay?), and thirdly at my system axp 1700, 512ram etc. system starts up in roughly 18seconds together with apache, mysql, sshd, dhcpd and others + xdm
as for debian, never made it to start up in such short time
now you may draw some conclusions

Arch Rocks
by bert2002 on Mon 21st Mar 2005 17:49 UTC

Hi,
i use a long time slackware and i live it. Till 2 month i used arch on my firm laptop and its rocks ;)

so many distros
by kwanbis on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:04 UTC

the main point here, is that we continue to get more and more distros, divinding effort, and confusing potential users ... can't we just have less distros?

VS,
by djulusch on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:08 UTC

arch is really a great distro,and it became even better since 0.6.the installation is just a thought/arch_base for me about 5 mins on an old 850Mhz Athlon/it works great,needs a bit more time to set up then slack,but it just works good.

but,anyway i just don't understand why this arguing comes up here,LINUX is great,doesn't matter if it's debian or slack.it just the kind of taste.i like slack,can't stand debian,but i don't think that's a bad distro just because i don't like it.It's great that we have so many choices,arch is one of them,seems to be good,i can't see this as a bad point.

standard files?
by AdamW on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:24 UTC

"For more configuration, you will have to use /etc/rc.local or the utilities' own configuration files, e.g. /etc/conf.d/pcmcia.conf, or udev's configuration files, or /etc/conf.d/wireless etc. There is definetely a learning curve in there, but Arch is using default file settings and so you won't have to learn distro-specific tricks (as it is very common for the Debian subsystem or the main RPM systems)."

How are any of those "default file settings"? If you install pcmcia-cs from source, it puts its configuration in /etc/sysconfig/pcmcia . What's /etc/conf.d/pcmcia.conf got to do with default file settings, then?

Re: Gentoo Installation time
by Mario Vazquez on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:26 UTC

Using the stage3+GRP approach would require you to spend more or less 30min. Please stop using common places (FUD?) when writing articles

Yeah, until you do your emerge -u world and had to install a new xorg + (kde or gnome) updates which involve a +12 hour compile time.

Knowledge
by Corey Burger on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:28 UTC

Arch and Ubuntu occupy to very different niches.

Arch looks to capture the Slack/Gentoo crowd, who like to optimize and can compile their own kernel.

Ubuntu is headed towards GUI everything, and no compiling of your own stuff if you don't want to. This is a good thing. Yes, it is. GUI tools can be good.

Corey

Tribes
by Quag7 on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:29 UTC

I'm not sure how apt-get is difficult (though maybe if I had some intractable problem I'd think differently). Sometimes I'll do an apt-get upgrade or apt-get dist-upgrade and something will fail, but generally just running the command again will fix problems (In fact I think that's always done it. I run stable on a server at work and testing at home on one of my machines). I've just never had any problem with Debian though I don't use X on it so I can't comment about that (or Gnome or KDE on Debian). As far as everything else goes though, I really like Debian though I don't spend tons of time maintaining it. Which is probably a testament as to why I like it.

Gentoo tends to have more problems but that is because I am a promiscuous installer of masked packages. Gentoo is sort of the Studio 54 of distros. Hard to get into initially (especially if you're inexperienced with Linux), but then full of dangerous temptations (You don't have to bury your nose into the temptations and inhale but some of us don't have much willpower). I find it worth it because I know it pretty well and it would be a whole bunch of no-fun to switch. (As a side note, I'd be curious to see the percentage breakdown of how many Gentoo users use the GRP, as well as how many start at stage 2 or 3. I always compile from stage 1, out of habit I suppose).

I mean, that's really what it's all about for most people, especially those who have used something for awhile and no longer find any novelty in trying new distros every few months (I'm not slagging people who do; without them there'd be no reviews, news, comparative criticism, etc. - It just doesn't hold any attraction for me anymore. Though I do always read reviews of those who do try a lot of distros anyway to hear what peoples opinions are.) You can use a distro with problems and continue to use it because you know it the best and know how to reconfigure things, install things, administer things.

I find it kind of hard to believe there'd be any kind of mass exodus from any well established distribution (Slackware, Debian) for a few reasons. First, it's not just about which distro is functionally better, that drives people to one or another. Most distributions are a bunch of trade-offs anyway, having negatives and positives. The negatives on one may matter to you but not to someone else who considers them a small nuisance or even a strength. The endless arguments about Debian's crustiness (as if there is no testing branch - I have never understood why this debate even occurs; just run the testing branch if things are too old for you - I do, on one of the boxes anyway) are a good example. If you run a server, you probably love the ultraconservatism. If you want the latest and greatest desktop gizmos, you don't. It will take you a minute to switch to a less conservative branch.

Second, and this site is a better example of this than any other I can think of, distribution choice is tribal. There is a weird emotional element for a large number of people, as regards their distribution of choice. This is partially a result of the psychological need to defend one's own choices (which comes off as "defensiveness") but more significantly, we forget sometimes about how much community can matter to people - the human element, basically. Gentoo is the example I'm most familiar with - the personalities on the forums and so on. The Gentoo community has been of great help to me and will no doubt be in the future, and that counts for a lot. There is an understanding that Gentoo is a different way of doing things from most distros, so cluelessness is a little expected, especially from new users. Similarly, it seems a lot of what is driving Ubuntu's popularity (haven't tried it, either) is this really positive vibe from the community there.

Slackware, which I've never used, has a dedicated community which is obvious even to outsiders. I think this may be where Richard Stallman comes in. Sure, many people hate him, or are...let's say...annoyed with the GPL. But the thrust of all of his ideas about free software is rooted in human community, which is often missed. I've always liked the guy even when I disagreed with him because he's never forgotten that humans use computers for human purposes.

The communities you see that spring up around Linux distributions (and the BSDs, GPL or not) are an example of this same current. This may be counterintuitive when thinking about something cold and digital like technology, until you consider what ends (human) technology serves. Technology is developed by human minds, and used by human minds, so there will always be a human element. When you add in the fact that everything is free, you have to bring human values into that.

So many of the more emotional responses you see when their distribution is attacked is a result of one's own "tribe" being slagged - even if it's a legitimate technical criticism. I'm sure there are many people out there who wish that the discussion could just be around technical issues - virtues and deficiencies - but it never has been just about that, not with Linux anyway, and I predict it never will be.

Frankly I'm glad for that because there's an upside to it, and that is that people want to continue contributing, for free, to their tribe and community. I'm not just talking about developers, but the patient users who spend a lot of time trying to help others fix their problems, answer questions, write howtos. People who write documentation, articles, etc. People who hang out on IRC to help.

I don't have any particular reason to try Arch because I'm not dissatisfied with what I'm using. I hope that Arch develops a robust and helpful community, (if it hasn't done that already - it may have). It will ensure that it survives and improves.

Lastly, you know, if next year I am somehow forced to use Arch, I'll figure it out if I have to, and probably get used to it. It's just Linux.

I will say this though, and this is probably not an audience this largely applies to: Any person who uses Linux extensively - more than an hour a day - should learn to:

(*) Disable unneeded services.
(*) Compile a kernel.

#1 is trivial, no matter how much of a beginner you are, and frankly #2 is a lot easier than those who have never done it, think it is (I really like the Debian make-kpkg way of doing this, incidentally - just my own opinion).

What I would like to see to facilitate this is better documentation for kernel modules. There's still stuff in the kernel that I have problems understanding. Not just what a module does but how it can affect real-life performance, and what audiences could use it and how. The help for each module is, say, 95% effective of telling me whether I really need it or not but I'd like more complete information, written for users. It could also be that there is such a database of information and I just don't know where it is.

comparison:
by AdamW on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:29 UTC

"Fedora, Mandrake, SuSE: they require at least 192 MB RAM, they are much slower & much bigger, RPM package management is too modularized and easy to end up with broken or incompatible packages all of a sudden."

192MB of RAM? No. MDK needs 64MB minimum for the installer, and will run happily with icewm or another light environment on such a system. I think Fedora and SuSE are the same.

Slower and much bigger? Please, prove it. I see these assertions on OSNews all the time. I'm yet to see any concrete *numbers*. What's Arch's minimum installation size? Where are the benchmarks showing that it performs faster than MDK, SuSE or Fedora?

Package management too modularized? That's got nothing to do with RPM. It's called a 'design decision'. RPM would work quite happily if you split the entire system up into three gigantic packages. However, the major distros modularize the packages because it allows more granularity of control of what is installed and the size of updates. How do you suggest RPM distros reconcile your demands for smaller size *and* less modularized packaging? The two would seem to be contradictory demands, as one is the way we ensure the other. How does Arch reconcile this? Are you suggesting it has less modular packages that are also somehow smaller? Neat trick.

"and easy to end up with broken or incompatible packages all of a sudden"

Only if you do something wrong. I see nothing about Arch's package management system which would make it immune to these problems if there were a bunch of third-party and differently version .tar.gz packages available on the internet for anyone with Google or rpmfind to pick up and misuse. If you use MDK's, SuSE's or Fedora's official sources with their official package management tools, this will not happen. I fail to see how you can hold the distros responsible for people who don't.

@OpenBSD
by tristure on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:49 UTC

Thanks for the tip. But actually I didn't mean it that way.
What I meant is I want some KDE apps (e.g. Kmail, Kopete, Kmix), but not necessarily the whole package from which it comes from (in this case kdepim or kdemultimedia).

Kdebase is light, but a little too light imho, and while some KDE apps definitely seem useless (at least for me), I do love some of them!

Context
by jofas on Mon 21st Mar 2005 18:52 UTC

So many forget that one of the great things about linux distros is that you can pick one that's right for YOU. If you just want some no-gui, stable-as-rock server running backend, you may want a vanilla bsd 4.10 install. Despite all its flaws, Ubuntu really does have an easy and fairly hardware-accurate out-of-the-box install. If you don't like the boot time, pick something else. Heck, if you want easy install, try knoppix...hehe.

*please don't flame about my examples, they were just that...examples.

re: Quag7(IP: ---.pimaco01.az.comcast.net)
by tobaccofarm on Mon 21st Mar 2005 19:19 UTC

I will say this though, and this is probably not an audience this largely applies to: Any person who uses Linux extensively - more than an hour a day - should learn to:

(*) Disable unneeded services.
(*) Compile a kernel.


Just a good documented procedure should (think it is) be enough.I started to fiddle with redhat Linux 5.2.The first time i allready had an obstacle with new hardware from a PC prive project,my 1mb Trident graphics card wasn't supported.
Thank god i found a well written cake recipe online.Allthough i didn't have a clue what the heck i was doing,i got the graphics card working. The problem in my opinion is not the huge amount of different distributions but still a lack of good documentation,and trivial boring( but usefull) standards.Being able to compile a Debian kernel will not per se garantee you the same procedure will succeed when compiling a kernel on SuSE.

Don't mod this down
by Rawnak on Mon 21st Mar 2005 19:21 UTC

Hi Eugenia:
It is unwise to promote GTK/GNOME based distros so unabashedly. Agreed GNOME is your choice of DE and it shows in every article, edit and review. However, it is unwise to not consider KDE based distros when every man and his dog knows that KDE runs at least 3-4 times faster than GNOME on any hardware!

How about trying Arklinux or Kubuntu for a change? Kubuntu itself runs miles ahead of Ubuntu, which is everyone blue-eyed boy anyway. This comment comes to you from a Kubuntu desktop. I am not even mentioning Xandros, although it provides much more *usable* desktop than either GNOME or XFCE.

Consider this: I don't even use firefox now. Konqueror is so quick and complete that there is no need for me to use even the so called *light* firefox.

Why is it that we are still supporting GTK bloat? Qt is much cleaner and quicker -- and fits on every platform natively (widget wise).

What you should be promoting is usability for KDE and KDE based distros rather than ignoring it entirely. Already, this area is on the top of the list for KDE 4.

I really want to know one good reason why you prefer GNOME over KDE -- other than extreme minimalism (which btw, was not a forte of Linux to start with; wher choice was supreme). We have always had (even in unix) more than one way of doing the same thing. So why blame KDE for giving more options for everything? Isn't that the basic premise we all started off with?

Regards.

Re: Knowledge
by stonecrest on Mon 21st Mar 2005 19:26 UTC

Arch looks to capture the Slack/Gentoo crowd, who like to optimize and can compile their own kernel.

I don't agree with this. I run Arch and I have never "optimize[d]" anything (the i686 optimizations for Arch packages make everything incredibly speedy on my laptop to begin with), nor have I ever compiled my own kernel.

Many people like to compare Arch to Slack or Gentoo, and I frankly don't see it. Arch fits in with a lot of users. I myself came from Fedora Core 3. I'm the kind of user that doesn't like to mess around with stuff, I just want to be able to install or remove updated packages - and aside from the initial installation/configuring of the system, that is what I get.

Re: Don't mod this down
by stonecrest on Mon 21st Mar 2005 19:31 UTC

It is unwise to promote GTK/GNOME based distros so unabashedly.

Sigh. Did you even read the article?

1) Eguenia did not mention GNOME/GTK a single time in her article.

2) Since when is Arch a GTK/GNOME based distro? There are plenty of KDE users of Arch. In fact, Arch doesn't even have a "default" DE, it's up to the user to pick one.

Please get your facts straight before you go on a rant that you know nothing about.

aren't they all?
by rockwell on Mon 21st Mar 2005 19:33 UTC

//The distribution's installation procedure is curses-based //

Hell, every Linux distro I've tried has been based in curses, in one form or another.

Oh ... different kind of "curses" ...

ncurses
by tobaccofarm on Mon 21st Mar 2005 19:40 UTC

(n)curses

Not bad
by Michael Payne on Mon 21st Mar 2005 19:41 UTC

It's alright, but I prefer Slackware/Slamd64. Too bad Pat decided to remove Gnome. I really like Gedit and Gnome-terminal. Oh, well. Ion is working out much better for me as a window manager than anything else.

Distro of the year
by Bitterman on Mon 21st Mar 2005 19:51 UTC

Granted I'm a Fedora 'fanboy' but didn't you just post an article a week ago saying how fedora doubled in popularity and is roughly half of linux's install base yet its not or never has been "distro of the year"

I'm used to Fedora getting no credit but nobody elses install base even comes close.

here is the netcraft survey posted here as a reminder http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2005/03/14/fedora_makes_rapid_pro...

RE: Favoring Gnome
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 20:11 UTC

>It is unwise to promote GTK/GNOME based distros so unabashedly. Agreed GNOME is your choice of DE and it shows in every article, edit and review.

You *must* be kidding. You apparently haven't been reading this site for very long. Charges of blatant favoring of KDE are long and historied here.

To Lennart Fridén
by Derion on Mon 21st Mar 2005 20:21 UTC

Haha, exactly my words, man!!
Good point.

the year of arch my ass
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 20:22 UTC

i think arch will fade away into obscurity like the nitch distro it currently is.

this year, like last will be the year of ubuntu. the release of hoary will send this review to the bottom of the heap.

Ubuntu?
by JB on Mon 21st Mar 2005 20:29 UTC

What is the big deal about Ubuntu? I've used almost every major distro over the past 6 years. I also tried Ubuntu. Nothing really set it apart from anything else. Can you explain why it's so great that you 'fanboys' keep talking about it in response to the article about arch?

Re: 9/10
by benn on Mon 21st Mar 2005 20:54 UTC

Let's see, does Arch Linux have proper package QA, does it ship a firewall by default, does it use exec-shield, does it fortify binaries, does it use adresse space randomization, does it deploy SELinux?

QA is improving, but no.

Firewall, by design, is the responsability of the user.

Exec-shield...no.

SELinux is underway, unofficially, for the moment.

Address-space randomization...is this as effective as is commonly believed?:

http://www.stanford.edu/~blp/papers/asrandom.pdf

What do you mean by fortifying binaries?

Thanks for the well-though out post.

RE: Arch, Ubuntu
by Nickos on Mon 21st Mar 2005 21:37 UTC

My opinion of why Ubuntu is popular (positives listed only):
(1) Tons of packages available (& pretty well programmed)
(2) Easy, simple to install & configure (with no config file editing).
(3) Synaptic (GUI) package manager (installs & uninstalls).
(4) A GUI software updater (for currently installed apps/packages).
(5) Lots of computer hardware is supported.
(6) Many developers working on packages, updates, improvements, etc. (makes it a *big* distro).

My brother installed Arch on his system. It seems to be very responsive & quick (compared to Mandrake, Suse, Redhat). Speed is what it has going for it (based on viewing it in operation). Installs fast (25 minutes or less) (probably installs less packages than other distros). Lean, efficient packages (not bloated). Sum up - Speed!

Arch Negatives - Not that many packages available (compared to bigger distros). No GUI package manager (pacman is command line; simple to use once learned, but not as appealing as using a GUI version). May require editing config files for proper installation. Installing new programs could require extra steps or manual configuration. Sum up - Not as easy to use or install & way less packages available. (better suited for intermediate or advanced skilled Linux users).

Comparison between Ubuntu (Gnome) vs Arch (KDE) is not really fair. (Should only compare Gnome to Gnome or KDE to KDE for linux distros). ie: Kubuntu vs Arch (& use actual benchmarks to prove your statement)

I'm not sure if Kubuntu runs faster. I've only tried Ubuntu (Hoary) & it seemed average (ok) speed (from observation).

Mandrake, Redhat, Suse, etc. are optimized for i586 processors (doesn't that tell you something). Ubuntu is i386 architecture compatible. A i586 Ubuntu or Kubuntu would perform quite faster. (I believe 10%+ depending on which system it was used on, ie(something like this): P2 300Mhz 10% (i386 vs i686), P4 3Ghz 30%;*note, these are not actual performance numbers; just made up to illustrate a point).

I hope that Kubuntu & Ubuntu will optimize their software for i586 or i686 soon to get extra speed improvements.

(One way to test speed difference between i386 & i686 is to compile Gentoo, apps & benchmarks for i386, run benchmarks & record the results. Then recompile Gentoo, apps & benchmarks for i686, run same benchmark programs, record results & compare both sets. This should prove it. My assumption, the faster the computer (fast CPU, & 512MB RAM) - the bigger the performance spread between i386 vs i686 (I think). I'm surprised no one has taken the time to do this type of comparison/review (I just don't have the time to do it).

My personal statement. If Kubuntu/Ubuntu would optimize their distros for i686 (or i586), then I think the speed and responsiveness would be close to or better then Arch (plus Ubuntu would have all the other benefits I listed at the beginning). But, sigh, many distros want to remain compatible with the i386 architecture. When it should be i586 instead.

RE: RE: Arch, Ubuntu
by bozo on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:05 UTC

the other point is, whether you like GUIs or not. the authors usually give you only a limited set of options that you can play with (whereas manually editing, well it's up to you)
besides, use the keyboard it ain't that hard
just comparing
mouse - 3 buttons
keyboard - 104 buttons (keys)
then which of these gives you the power? ;)

Re: Don't mod this down (stonecrest)
by Rawnak on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:06 UTC

Got your point there. Then, how come no one is protesting about the screenshot showing GNOME desktop running. If what you're sermonising to me about reading the article, it should be made imperative that a desktop neutral screenshot (if one can be taken) be shown.

And, Kind Sir, I have most definitely read the article.

RE: Arch, Ubuntu
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:10 UTC

My opinion of why Ubuntu is popular (positives listed only):
(1) Tons of packages available (& pretty well programmed)
(2) Easy, simple to install & configure (with no config file editing).
(3) Synaptic (GUI) package manager (installs & uninstalls).
(4) A GUI software updater (for currently installed apps/packages).
(5) Lots of computer hardware is supported.
(6) Many developers working on packages, updates, improvements, etc. (makes it a *big* distro)


You forgot the 6 months release cycle ;)

Re: Don't mod this down (stonecrest)
by Eugenia on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:11 UTC

What is a desktop-neutral screenshot? TWM?
Give me a break. I do run Gnome with Arch. Everyone's using something specific. That's why the screenshot has Gnome in it.

Re: Arch Linux: Why It Rocks
by ex-slacker on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:21 UTC

Arch Linux is the best Linux distro on the market nowadays - this claim comes from ex-slacker. I don't see a reason for running Slackware when we got Arch right now, it's Slackware for the new generation.

Arch Linux is great....
by stapula on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:29 UTC

Arch is a great Distribution. I use it since more than a yeah without any major problems. The review is very neutral...good job.

To archers: Please dont let us fall into this "we-have-to-convince-everbody-to-use-it-mentalism" i hate about the gentoo community.

Arch
by anon on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:47 UTC

My brother installed Arch on his system. It seems to be very responsive & quick (compared to Mandrake, Suse, Redhat). Speed is what it has going for it (based on viewing it in operation). Installs fast (25 minutes or less) (probably installs less packages than other distros). Lean, efficient packages (not bloated). Sum up - Speed!

The way you achieve this (and the way I do it) is to only install the base packages on an FTP install, then on reboot use pacman to add X and your WM etc, and then go from there in a piece-meal fashion - to that extent it's "un-bloated".

@ Eugenia - Arch (Gnome)
by Nickos on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:51 UTC

In my previous post I assumed you were using KDE on Arch, just because my brother installed it with KDE. I went back to the article to look at the screenshot and saw you have Gnome installed on Arch. So, your observation of responsiveness between the 2, Arch (Gnome) vs Ubuntu (Gnome) is well based.

Sorry, for the incorrect statement in my previous post stating you shouldn't compare Arch (KDE) to Ubuntu (Gnome) as unfair, because you did made it fair (using Gnome on both).

It is fairly obvious that Arch is fast (from what I've observed), but good to backup these statements with numbers (benchmarks) to convince others, because some people will say "X" distro is faster (or just as fast) and who to believe. (The exact reason why we have benchmarks - to prove it). (ie: copy a large file from one partition to another, do a video encode or conversion test, run a video, cpu and game benchmark, etc. on both distros & then compare).

Fairly informative article you wrote. Good starting point for getting background info on Arch.

RE: RE: RE: just few points
by Anonymous on Mon 21st Mar 2005 22:55 UTC

"first of all during install you can compile your own kernel (what most sane people do), secondly you can turn off unnecessary services (simple ay?)"

Don't be ridiculus, everyone knows the only distro capable of running custom built kernels and choose which services to run is Debian :roll:.


"and thirdly at my system axp 1700, 512ram etc. system starts up in roughly 18seconds together with apache, mysql, sshd, dhcpd and others + xdm
as for debian, never made it to start up in such short time
now you may draw some conclusions"

My pentium4 2.6GHz 768MB RAM etc. Sarge system starts up in about 21 seconds with sshd, dhcp, kdm, udev, cups, privoxy and many others, big deal.

Great distro
by xerxes2 on Mon 21st Mar 2005 23:26 UTC

I wiped out MDK a year ago and haven't looked back.

And to you people that thinks that arch is Gnome based I can say that there is no default DE in Arch. You can run whatever you want in it, even ION or WMI.

"nitch"
by AdamW on Mon 21st Mar 2005 23:44 UTC

OK, I saw this twice in this thread.

NICHE. THE WORD IS NICHE.

It's spelled 'niche' and pronounced 'neesh'. Pronounce it 'nitch' if you really, really, really must, but spell it right at least.

RE: "nitch"
by xerxes2 on Mon 21st Mar 2005 23:55 UTC

That's right.

Arch is for geeks and Mandrake is for the other 95% of people. I never say to "normal" people that they should use Arch, that's what MDK and almost all other distros are for.

Arch is awesome for hobbyists
by Magic8 on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 00:14 UTC

Arch is a very nice system and pacman truly is a marvel. On the other hand, I think it is a much nicer server environment than desktop. Like Slackware, it was originally designed as a server environment (ie. minimal, clean) and as such it requires too much setup and configuration (even for a server environment it is time consuming and nit-picking). Further, it is too bare bones, relying on individual packages to integrate seemlessly with each other instead of providing additional patches to make sure that everything fits together well.

This matters little on server boxes but on desktops, people want to be up and running as fast as possible and the more the desktop seems integrated and works together (and alike) the better the experience is. Like Slackware, Arch is plain vanilla. Some people like that but most people who fall into that camp tend to pick pristine as opposed to ergonomic.

Even if Arch is marginally faster than Ubuntu, it is not nearly as user friendly, easy to install, stable or generally "ready". Besides, Ubuntu is plenty fast. Furthermore, while Arch packages cover a great deal of popular software, it can't begin to touch distros like Slackware let alone Debian (and hence Ubuntu).

I love Arch nearly as much as I love Slackware, which is a whole lot. I haven't been running Arch for awhile though--I'm waiting for it to mature. It only recently hit version 0.7 and the fact that it hasn't even hit a 1.0 release yet is very telling of its current state. It is fast and since moving on from road bumps that occured during the 2.4->2.6 upgrades as well as pacman upgrades (which enabled source compilation builds akin to Gentoo), it is starting to stabilize. There are still caveats but its momentum is increasing and I suspect that within 3-5 years it will be an established distribution.

If you are an enthusiast or want to learn more about the nuts and bolts of linux then it is a great distro. If you are running a few servers which you want to keep tight control over, it could be helpful but not any more so than Slackware. If you have more than a few servers, it lacks the management tools you will likely require to maintain them. If you are a developer who likes to stay clean vanilla, it is great. If you are a desktop user there are better choices right now.

One last note: it is unfortuante that Arch is essentially a private label distro. Unlike Gentoo, Debian or Ubuntu it lacks a community charter. Like Slackware, it is essentially one man's pet project (though that understates the involvement of others in the Arch community, I realize). Again, if you are a hobbyist, it behooves you to try out Arch. Otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere for now.

RE:RE: "nitch"
by ex-slacker on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 00:40 UTC

Man, why you lying? Arch is not suited for "normal" people? That is so untrue.. because everything just works in Arch you want to label it "for geeks only"?.. That's nonsense. If you ask me Arch is much more easier to maintain and configure (one simple rc script which handles EVERYTHING) than all those bloated to maximum RPM based distros. Not to mention all those problems with dependencies there... in Arch it just works, a little naive you may say but actually it's true...
Because companies like Novell pump big money into their distributions doesn't mean they have the best product out there..
and most people don't know that actually they will run into less problems in the long run with distros like Arch than with Suse.

Arch x86_64 port!
by broken_symlink on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 01:04 UTC

Here is a screenshot of my amd64 running a custom compiled arch on the amd64 (this is a 64bit version of arch). http://genesis.blogdns.net/packages/screenshot3.png
xfce 4.2.1.1 with metacity, glxgears, firefox, and xchat... I also have compiled gnome 2.10 for amd64 arch port and i am currently working on kde 3.4. I hope to be able to release an iso for install soon!

Comparisons
by ryan on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 01:17 UTC

Eugenia, thank you for your comparisons with other popular distributions. It gives me a sense of what this has to offer in comparison to what I'm using and what I've used, so I can put it in the proper context. I can look at what advantages it has over distributions I like, and think "gee, are the advantages worth the switch for me?" In this case I'd say firmly they aren't worth it for me, so this review gave me the sense that Arch is really good for certain groups of users, but isn't exactly what I'm looking for. I learned and saved time... something to keep doing in future reviews, well done.

Arch packages
by Shane on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 01:20 UTC

I've used Arch linux for a few months at the end of last year. I like pacman. However, the quality of the packages was a let down at that time. I'd find myself doing a pacman -Syu and praying that nothing breaks. I was told that experienced Arch users would look at the forums for reported issues with packages before upgrading. This is pretty much unacceptable to me. Pakages must be tested properly *before* being made available. Things may have improved since. I sincerely hope so, because I liked Arch a lot. I will probably try it again sometime in the future.

my 2 cent
by kristian on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 01:42 UTC

I must say that Arch is a great distro. It runs really snappy on my old Thinkpad X20 with just 192 megs. I also tried Ubuntu 5.04, but had the problem, that my network card was'nt found by the installer. Of course Arch needs a lot of things that had to by done by hand, but with the great forum it's possible to get all up und running (as in my case).

Of course we should be realistic in that point that Arch isn't a distro for beginner! But it's vary funny to make it running. Great distro and an awsome forum with an huge ammount of informations
http://bbs.archlinux.org/

RE: Arch, Ubuntu
by Dave on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 02:54 UTC

My opinion of why Ubuntu is popular (positives listed only):
(1) Tons of packages available (& pretty well programmed)
(2) Easy, simple to install & configure (with no config file editing).
(3) Synaptic (GUI) package manager (installs & uninstalls).
(4) A GUI software updater (for currently installed apps/packages).
(5) Lots of computer hardware is supported.
(6) Many developers working on packages, updates, improvements, etc. (makes it a *big* distro)

You forgot the 6 months release cycle ;)


Sounds like you are decribing Mandrake, or SUSE, or FC3.

The problem for me with Ubuntu is it is a fad, and 50% of the people migrating to it do so because it is cool and for no other reason. It's what everybody is doing. Same for Gentoo before it.

Let's face it, there are several distros that provide this, so again I say, to each his own. If you like it, use it, if you don't move on.

interesting ...
by JeffS on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 03:42 UTC

By what was written in the article, it could have easily been titled "Arch Linux, why it sucks". Seriously, what Eugenia was describing as assets, could just as easily been described as liabilities, depending on the user. I mean, having to spend all that time editing config files, and downloading software, can be a major pain in the rear to many people.

And I don't see Arch being much faster, if at all, than other highly optimized distros like Vector, Yoper, and Ubuntu, all of which are much easier.

Oh well, to each his/her own.

Figures...
by Shadowhand on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 03:54 UTC

OSNew's readers once again show that 98% of them cannot comment intelligently.

"Arch's packages are broken" I've never had anything broken because of Arch. KDE 3.4 didn't work after upgrading from KDE 3.3, but that was because the packages changed.

"Arch has an immature package selection" If you're a Gentoo user saying this, I don't know what you are complaining about. This is why ABS and MakePKG exist... For people that want to compile their own software. You COULD have a totally source based Arch installation if you wanted.

"Ubuntu isn't a fad, and it's going to be $outragous_claim" No, I'm sorry, you're wrong. I installed Ubuntu the other day because the old "distro searching bug" hit me. The installation was nice, but it took too long. The configuration was easy, but not that easy. The desktop looked ok, but XOrg didn't work without a lot of tweaking. The packages worked good, but were about 1-4 months out of date. Boot times gave me time to have ANOTHER cigarette, which isn't good. I still have Ubuntu installed, but I'm very thankful I still have Arch installed. Ubuntu will disappear in a couple of days, another distro added to the list of "almost good enough to use every day."
The only thing Ubuntu seems to have going for it is that it's a slightly faster, newer, more up to date version of Debian. I think all those users that Ubuntu says they've gotten are just people that were sick of using packages that were a year old, so they opted for having packages that were 2 months old. Guess what? Those packages are STILL out of date.

"$favdistro is the best, $yourdistro sucks." Have you tried Arch? I've tried your distro and wasn't happy until I tried Arch.

Now look, I'm no better than anyone else that posted above me, but seriously folks, the distro wars are only continuing because of people like you and me. I wish people would back up their claims though.

RE: interesting...
by Shadowhand on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 03:59 UTC

Yoper might be more optimized, but have you ever used Gnome on it. Oh wait, you can't, my bad.

Ubuntu more optimized? How do you get more optimized than KISS?

Vector... yeah, maybe. But it's not i686 optimized is it? It's just a more stripped down version of Slackware.

Once again, someone posting without doing any research.
Yoper is only easy until you break it, which means installing anything that isn't related to Qt/KDE. Ubuntu IS easier, until you want to modify something on a low level, or install a custom made package. Vector is Slackware, so it's about (+/-) as easy as Arch.

Love it...
by Danno on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 04:12 UTC

You guys can argue all you want... Arch is another fad distro, just like Gentoo.

There are far too many people wasting time and effort duplicating other peoples' efforts in the open source world these days. Why start a new distro, when you can improve another?

Arch brings nothing new to the Linux distro landscape. Gentoo brought nothing new to the Linux distros either. Everything's still based on the Linux kernel, still based around the same tools and ideas from years past, etc. Same shit, different package.

No, I'm not a Windows or Mac advocate. Yes, I use Linux based operating systems every day, and I'd like nothing more than see Linux/GNU/free software get better for everyone.

We're getting nowhere, because of the infighting between developers and maintainers of software.

Benchmarks?
by bucky on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 04:54 UTC

Let's see the numbers.. and installed on the same hardware on the same place on the hard drive.

I like ubuntu better...
by Mark Watson on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 05:25 UTC

I like Ubuntu better because it just works. I install it, open up synaptic, and install my extra packages (inkscape, etc.) and I have my system. I tyed Arch, and it took all evening to configure.

Like Arch enough to give up Slack?
by cc on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 06:19 UTC

Eugenia,

So, just out of curiousity, what's your primary distro now? Any of these make you give up Slack?

(Sorry if this was answered earlier in the thread -- I skipped to the end.)

RE: Like Arch enough to give up Slack?
by Eugenia on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 06:24 UTC

Arch is my primary distro these days, since last November actually.

my comment
by punkass on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 10:17 UTC

I used Arch when it was in the 0.5 - 0.6 stage, it worked well for me, took a bit to configure. But then as someone mentioned earlier I started worrying about upgrades breaking something. Now that was over a year or so ago, so they may have fixed that up now.

After that, trying to find a new distro, I did the whole distro install marathon, install a distro, try it for a week or so, install the next, and so on. I am now on Ubuntu, not because its "cool", but because it just worked, and that ended the marathon. I am now running it on my AMD64 and it works great.

just my 2 cents.

irrelevant
by evil backstabber on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 10:57 UTC

Does it matter, which distro is faster? Does it really matter, how hard it is to configure? I bet you guys found your favourite distros/OSes already and there's no use in writing one review after another. Believe me, some people, including me, find Arch's philosophy really appealing. But that doesn't mean that everyone has to like it. One's man meat is another man's poison, as they say. Every distro has its cons and pros, moreover, it isn't said that gui configuration, hardware autodetection etc. must be a pro. I'm not gonna force anybody to use Arch, just because I think it's the best distro for me. And please don't post about things, which you don't anything about. To name few:
a) does 0.7 must necessarily mean beta? It's just a versioning scheme, it could be 39839483.5 without any problem,
b) who said it's a one man's distro? I admire Judd and all his work, but, honestly, it's the community, together with Judd and other devs, who create this piece of software - and they're doing it well enough to suit *their* needs - it's not about pleasing just everyone out there, there are enough distros providing user with something else. I agree there are too many distros out there doing just the same thing, but believe me, Arch finds its own place in all of this - and you guys want it to be just like other distros. What for, I ask?

I, and I believe a vast group of Arch regulars as well, don't think Arch needs any more publicity. You see what it causes - infamous flame wars. Let everyone use what they like, that's what free software is about, isn't it? Just leave Arch to people, who know how to get their way around it and enjoy it in everyday use.

As for article's author - I really feel like stabbing you sometimes, Eugenia :-) But that's probably because I'm plain evil ;-) Nevertheless, I'd nicely ask you to sssshhh (not to mistake for ssh) about Arch. I don't think this review made anyone any good, except from allowing people, like myself, to write some useless comments.

Cheers to all those great people out there, who serve us all of this great free software, including those bundling Arch together.

Re: I like ubuntu better...
by ex-slacker on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 14:08 UTC

"I tyed Arch, and it took all evening to configure."

If you edit ONE simple rc file the whole evening then maybe instead of playing with computers you should do something else. If anyone claims that Arch is ONLY for experienced Linux users he/she is just spreading lies. I don't know more easier distro than Arch.. I think that most of y'all saying that it's only for "geeks" never tried it and just tell what you read on the internet somewhere.. Try it and then speak about it..

@ex-slacker
by xerxes2 on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 14:45 UTC

If you edit a configuration file you're a geek. Most people don't even know what a partition is, or bootloader or vim or....
Arch is for geeks, end of discussion.

Geeks of my arse...
by scarecrow on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 14:54 UTC

Arch Linux is great, and it definitely is NOT! a "geek distro". I am next to noob, and I need some 30 minutes to have it running, an xdesktop included.
Having toyed a lot with Debian spinoffs, like Ubuntu, I have found out that Arch is WAY more easy to manage (and about equally easy to install). It's only con is the lack of the vast Debian/Ubuntu repo, but for anyone that is not a total noob on Linus, the ABS build system is so darn fucking easy, that yu shouldn't notice- until tha Arch package repo is enrichened.

my experience
by micr0c0sm on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 16:31 UTC

I've legitimately tried ubuntu, gentoo, sorcerer, lunar-linux, and arch. With arch the only geeky thing i needed to know was how to type 'dhcpcd' to start my network. Then 'pacman -syu'. I have been using it for 3 months now and dual booting with any other distro that looks nice, and overall it is at least subjectively faster, which is the only kind of faster that counts on a desktop. In addition nothing has ever been broken for me, even when using other people's pacman packages on the Trusted User Repositories list. I have been able to easily try out different window managers / desktops for x. If i wan't to see what the big deal about enlightenment is 'pacman -S enlightenment' , change .xinitrc to point to enlightenment, and startx. Like it? keep it. Don't? 'pacman -R enlightenment'. Same thing - i tried out 4 window managers in two hours (i wanted some usuability testing, not just themes) and so far im settled with xfce until I get my fvwm config done.

I digress though - arch is simple to maintain, fast, and up-to-date. The hardest thing I have encountered is that to get to a desktop you have to know what xorg is and the desktop environment you want. Which can be a big deal if you are a total linux newbie and think that KDE *is* linux. But besides that the distro is everything I have ever wanted, and in the end it isn't a debate of the merits of design etc (gobo anyone?), it's 'does the user want this?'. Arch excels in that area.

Wow.
by Monte Lin on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 17:27 UTC

>> If i wan't to see what the big deal about enlightenment is 'pacman -S enlightenment' , change .xinitrc to point to enlightenment

That seems to me very like FreeBSD.
And what if you are using GDM or KDM?

What if you want to switch among Gnome/KDE on the fly?

And when you switch among ion, Windowmaker, xfce, icewm, metacity, kwin..., do you still got the menu for all the installed applications?

And regarding to self made binary package from source, I don't believe it's all that magic. I had beein with FreeBSD for several years, and I know the limit of the 'make configure' thing. I personally fear to build from source for package like xine or mplayer. Ethier I would have a bloated development system (and longer and longer update time) or I got a non full functional media player. I'm no expert for everything in every field of computing, and I would rather trust dedicated package maintainer to build packages for me, like the Debian way.

The other concer is the single rc file. This also reminds me of FreeBSD. How do you manage to start/stop single service manually? Is it necessary to kill 'rpc.lockd', 'rpc.statd', 'mountd' and 'nfsd' process to stop NFS? How do you restart network interface?

Re: Wow.
by lucke on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 18:02 UTC

It's the same with gdm/kdm. You just start it via inittab or as a daemon and choose the appropriate DE in its menu.

Here's an excerpt from mine rc.conf:

# Daemons to start at boot-up (in this order)
# (prefix a daemon with a ! to disable it)
# (prefix a daemon with a @ to start it up in the background)

DAEMONS=(syslog-ng !hotplug network alsamixer gensplash !netfs @crond @portmap @fam !dbus !hal @archstatsrc)

As you see, nothing complicated. And if you want to start or stop some daemon manually, you just execute '/etc/rc.d/network start' or '/etc/rc.d/nfs stop'. Mere KISS for people, who like it easy :-)

About packages: people mostly use binary packages, but if you feel like rebuilding some package with different configure options, add some patches or whatever, or if you want to build a package which isn't in the repos yet (there are plenty of packages there already), ABS is there for you. That makes Arch utterly flexible, I'd say.

Please don't comment how this corresponds with other distros and stuff like that (I know you want :-P), I was merely answering Monte Lin's question, not comparing anything.

Nice review, but one disagreement
by Shahar on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 18:53 UTC

That was a nice review, I've been using Arch now for over a year.

One thing I disagree with you though: I do not think Arch should start creating more custom text files for printers and the like. I'm afraid it will become text-bloated in time and will lose its simplicity factor, which was the reason I started using it myself.

rc.conf is really great - and it refers to the core components of an operating system - timezones, modules, daemons etc., and not to optional components.

Another thing, using checkinstall is indeed easier than makepkg, however it can not (as far as I know) track dependencies and other things which pacman needs (and uses). There is however the prototype PKGBUILD which fits the common ./configure && make && make install process.

Shahar.

Arch Rocks
by lilsirecho on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 21:26 UTC

I have been on Arch for almost two years, started with 0.5 and have advanced along the way to 0.7wombat.

If it is a "geek" OS that makes me a grandfather-greatgrandfather geek at 80 years old.

I enjoy Knoppix, PCLinux, Puppy, UnionFS,klik,kde, slackware,KnoppixDVD,Helix and "archie LiveCD".

I am a noobie by any stretch and a noobie can be an "expert" trying a new program for the first time!

I even discovered an animalistic device while googling..it is called COWLOOPfs..copy-on-write!!!!!

RE: arch is ok, but ...
by kyle on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 22:06 UTC

Huh? Are you serious?? Arch is the fastest distro to set up I've ever used (which is the main reason I use it). A clean install can be done in about 5 minutes... Configuration/installing packages after that can take a little longer, maybe 10-20 minutes depending on your knowledge and Internet connection, but 6 hours??? I don't know how it can take you that long...

Significative Boost!
by Eric Lapointe on Wed 23rd Mar 2005 06:11 UTC

I install 0.7 yesterday !!! And i was surprised of the speed of this distribution !!!

In my case it was not SUBJECTIVE boost !!! but very Objective !!! I never use a so fast distro !!!

No more "$APPS is launching...",applications are up very fast

I admit that put all woking as i wanted to was something!
"a la gentoo !" But i worth it !

Now, everything is configurated... everything work ! This is my "perfect distro" (in date of 23-03-2005!)

NOTE : i was happy with Ubuntu last week...but Now, i am very happy of switching to arch !!! It is the best move i have done this year !