Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 29th Mar 2005 19:32 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews Today we are very happy to feature a huge interview with most of the developer team of Arch Linux, including its founder, Judd Vinet. If you are curious about this young and promising Linux distribution, dig in for more!
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?!?!?
by Hm? on Tue 29th Mar 2005 19:42 UTC

Nine Pages?!?

Take it easy guys.

Nice Interview
by GreySim on Tue 29th Mar 2005 19:52 UTC

I've hopped on the Ubuntu train for now, but reading this interview makes me want to jump back on Arch. I'm so torn now. ;)

Almost installed it
by Lumbergh on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:11 UTC

I had the floppy images dd'd(had run out of CDs late at night), and was about to install, but went ahead with Gentoo instead. I guess just because Gentoo is a bit more mature and the great docs and forums.

This distro looks like it serves the need of slackware-type people that want a package manager.

Maybe I'll give this a try at a later time.

No mention of Ubuntu?
by greg on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:15 UTC

10. How would you compare Arch to Slackware, Debian, Gentoo and even FreeBSD?

I would have been more interested to see what they had to say with Arch Vs Ubuntu, which is like and like, and both going after the same market, rather than a list of systems which are ALL going in a completely different direction.

@me
by greg on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:19 UTC

Forget that, I confused Arch and Ark AGAIN, anyway, nice interview.

RE: No mention of Ubuntu?
by Eugenia on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:19 UTC

There is no mention of Ubuntu because Ubuntu is a desktop distro created for normal users while Arch is for more advanced ones -- as the Arch guys also confirm. Arch is closer philosophically and technically to Gentoo, Slack and pure Debian rather than any of the Ubuntu, mdk, suse or fedora.

RE: No mention of Ubuntu?
by woodstock on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:27 UTC

Ubuntu and Arch can't and should not be compared. Ubuntu is targetting the home user, and trying to make everything automated and also avoiding the cli (though you don't have to use the gui's.) Arch is for power users, or people looking to get their hands dirty learning the internals of a Linux system.

Seriously, what were you thinking? Arch and Ubuntu are totally different distro's with nothing in common except for the fact that they are using a Linux kernel... geez.. It even says this in the interview. Did you read it?

I don't mean to sound rude, so if I come off that way please excuse me.

That being said. I think Arch is a wonderful distro. I use it along side my Debian install and I really love it. I use it to play with all the new toys (gnome 2.10, kde 3.4 etc). It is still young, but it's chugging along smoothly, with a bright future ahead.

re:No mention of Ubuntu?
by anon on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:40 UTC

Arch and Ubuntu are quite different.... Arch provides the user with the option of starting from a minimal set of base packages and then creating your own "tailored distribution" from scratch (ie, typically a nice ftp install of the base packages then use pacman on reboot to add X & WM etc etc etc... nice ;) ) - Ubuntu does things quite differently.... they're cleary both good distributions and can cater for different audiences.

What's Ubuntu?
by scarecrow on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:42 UTC

Is it normal to REBUILD all your programs on (k)ubuntu to have MP3 support (for Gnome and KDE integration you are shit out of luck, even if you use universe/multiverse/unofficial repos...) because this thing has "fixed Debian for the Desktop" by simply screwing it?
For me Debian SID with all its bugs is much superior to Ubuntu, and Arch is a few ages ahead (for the desktop). A plain "pacman -Sy something" would install "something" in a matter of seconds, including things forbidden for (k)ubuntu, and for things not included on the official or TUR repos, a simple visit on the ArchLinux forum will most likely bring you an ABS building script, which is simply the most advanced and trouble-free way to build from source ever invented (sorry, Gentoo'ers...).

v Yet another Arch article
by thors_hammer123 on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:44 UTC
Last Ubuntu comment
by Eugenia on Tue 29th Mar 2005 20:46 UTC

Any more off topic ubuntu comments will be modded down. The original poster already said that he confused Arch to Ark and this is why he asked that question about ubuntu. There is no reason to go on and on about ubuntu forever. Keep it on topic.

ABS
by Anonymous on Tue 29th Mar 2005 21:19 UTC

a simple visit on the ArchLinux forum will most likely bring you an ABS building script, which is simply the most advanced and trouble-free way to build from source ever invented (sorry, Gentoo'ers...).

Can you explain how ABS is more trouble-free than portage? I am an Arch Linux user and used to use Gentoo, I have used ABS a bit (I finally got round to building a couple of packages that weren't in the repositories with it today), and whilst it isn't difficult once learnt it requires manual editing of the PKGBULD files to get the customizations you want whilst with portage you can just parse the USE flags you want to emerge and you get the package built with the options you want.

RE: ABS
by Eugenia on Tue 29th Mar 2005 21:24 UTC

>BS building script, which is simply the most advanced and
>trouble-free way to build from source ever invented

Sorry, but I still prefer CheckInstall. Checkinstall also does RPMs and DEBs as well as Slackware packages and it's *way easier* to use than ABS or EBUILDs. You just type "checkinstall" instead of "make install" and it will strip the binary, create the package (with dependencies when building RPM/DEB) and will install it for you. No reason to bongle your mind with filling deps manually and end up with multipe folders that ABS creates and complicates the matter.

I just wish someone could add a backend to Checkinstall for Pacman. Now, THAT would rock!

Re: ABS
by benn on Tue 29th Mar 2005 21:29 UTC

I just wish someone could add a backend to Checkinstall for Pacman. Now, THAT would rock!

Yeah...soon, when the pacman-lib comes out, we should start to see some cool pacman-related tools come out.

RE: ABS
by xerxes2 on Tue 29th Mar 2005 21:48 UTC

"Sorry, but I still prefer CheckInstall. Checkinstall also does RPMs and DEBs as well as Slackware packages and it's *way easier* to use than ABS or EBUILDs. You just type "checkinstall" instead of "make install" and it will strip the binary, create the package (with dependencies when building RPM/DEB) and will install it for you. No reason to bongle your mind with filling deps manually and end up with multipe folders that ABS creates and complicates the matter. "

How often are you installing RPM/DEB on Arch? Otherwise you have to fill in dependencies somehow anyway.
Here is an example PKGBUILD:

# Contributor: dibblethewrecker dibblethewrecker.at.jiwe.dot.org
pkgname=rxvt-unicode
pkgver=5.2
pkgrel=3
pkgdesc="rxvt-unicode is a clone of the well known terminal emulator rxvt, modified to store text in Unicode (either UCS-2 or UCS-4) and to use locale-correct input and output. It also supports mixing multiple fonts at the same time, including Xft fonts."
url="http://freshmeat.net/projects/rxvt-unicode/"
license=""
depends=('x-server')
source=(http://dist.schmorp.de/rxvt-unicode/$pkgname-$pkgver.tar.bz2)
md5sums=('52664198e7c6a500dd9728b1a2c97e8a')

build() {
cd $startdir/src/$pkgname-$pkgver
./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-everything
make || return 1
make prefix=$startdir/pkg/usr install
}

How can you call this difficult? You can continue trolling about checkinstall and whatnot but I don't think there are anyone that thinks that making Arch packages is difficult or timeconsuming.

RE: ABS
by Eugenia on Tue 29th Mar 2005 21:56 UTC

Xerxes, I suggest you be careful how you talk to me. I am not "trolling" about Checkinstall. I am simply keeping firm on my opinion on Checkinstall being much simpler to deal with.

Your sample IS NOT complete. A more normal sample would include dependency information that you convieniently left out of your sample. Dep information that must be filled up *manually*. Also, this one has to do with mdsums etc. Checkinstall IS simpler.

>How often are you installing RPM/DEB on Arch? Otherwise you have to fill in dependencies somehow anyway.

Checkinstall uses LDD to find out what deps are needed. You don't fill them up manually.

RE: ABS
by freakyc on Tue 29th Mar 2005 22:05 UTC

Well, to me, being able to cut and paste a PKGBUILD and type, 'makepkg', rather than having to search all over the place trying to figure out why a program, plus one or more of it's dependencies, won't compile, made ABS much more useful. Although if it can be made better, I'm all for it.

RE: ABS
by bozo on Tue 29th Mar 2005 22:09 UTC

well you won't checkinstall unless you ran configure and make, and even if checkinstall lists all the dependencies in the package (I used it with slackware which does not have dependency checking support), you still have to have them installed (what will be done manually)
hence, you will have to take care of dependencies by yourself, so what's the big deal with putting them in PKGBUILD?
the other thing once you have PKGBUILD, you can reuse it, rarely it will not work with newer versions of packages

Why I love Arch
by Chris on Tue 29th Mar 2005 22:39 UTC

When Xfce 4.2 first came out I decided I wanted to have the compositor (it wasn't built by default). Knowing nothing about ABS but it's existance I read a few pages of the docs; and within 40 minutes I had rebuilt xfwm4 with compositor and was using it. And if I want to switch to their build, I just uninstall it and sync it with the repo server in pacman!
Unbelievably handy for the occasional tweak!

Dependencies are not a problem
by Sphinx on Tue 29th Mar 2005 22:56 UTC

Program interdependency is easy enough to discover, deciding how to manage that knowledge is the problem.

$ readelf -d /usr/bin/gimp | grep '(NEEDED)' | cut -d[ -f2 | cut -d] -f1
libgtk-1.2.so.0
libgdk-1.2.so.0
libgmodule-1.2.so.0
libglib-1.2.so.0
libdl.so.2
libXi.so.6
libXext.so.6
libX11.so.6
libm.so.6
libc.so.6
$

He's right about this
by Ricin on Tue 29th Mar 2005 23:00 UTC

"Most users who like FreeBSD or Slack would probably like Arch Linux"

That's certainly true. I'm a FreeBSD guy and briefly tried Arch a little while ago (gotta peek over the fence now and then ;-), and indeed I felt right at home on the console -- their pacman was really the only tool I needed to "learn" and that was drop dead simple.

I'd say this is a very nice linux distro for those who sorta know their *NIX and want to have a full featured DE set up quick and easy though still customized to a large extent.

I must say that when I read that the hardest things are packages that don't compile (with or without the default toolchain being used), being used to FreeBSD ports I tend to shrug (as in: that's normal). But that's ok. The concept of a distro is different anyway.

Very interesting reading!

RE: Dependencies are not a problem
by Jon on Tue 29th Mar 2005 23:01 UTC

>$ readelf -d /usr/bin/gimp | grep '(NEEDED)' | cut -d[ -f2 | cut -d] -f1

How incredibly easy to figure this out. How user-friendly. NOT.

not to mention...
by AdamW on Tue 29th Mar 2005 23:11 UTC

...that this kind of automatic-figure-out-the-dependencies stuff is rather unreliable and doesn't lend itself well to the long-term. Which is why the more well-established distributions still do lots of manual dependency checking and tweaks.

RE: Dependencies are not a problem
by Jason Chu on Tue 29th Mar 2005 23:29 UTC

How incredibly easy to figure this out. How user-friendly. NOT

Would it be easier if you had a command like 'namcap <pkg file>'? Oh wait, you do!

namcap
by Damir Perisa on Tue 29th Mar 2005 23:39 UTC

> >$ readelf -d /usr/bin/gimp | grep '(NEEDED)' | cut -d[ -f2 | cut -d] -f1

> How incredibly easy to figure this out. How user-friendly. NOT.

there is ldd to check binaries --- very easy to use:

<tt>ldd /usr/bin/gimp</tt>

and to find out, what package owns a file this binary depends on you ask pacman:

<tt>[damir@Asteraceae ~]$ pacman -Qo /lib/tls/libc.so.6<br/>
/lib/tls/libc.so.6 is owned by glibc 2.3.4-2 </tt>

... and namcap to check packages on dependencies --- also very easy to use against PKGBUILD's or pkg.tar.gz

... but the important thing is: for the packages in the repositories in most cases you don't need ABS and manipulation and don't need to care about dependences in detail! simply <tt>pacman -S whatever</tt> and start using it.

quality
by seshu yamajala on Wed 30th Mar 2005 00:17 UTC

I think the quality of the PKGBUILDs needs to improve. It has been hard porting arch to the x86_64 because of some mistakes in the PKGBUILDs, for example the links for downloading the source tarballs. Other than that arch rocks!

Base
by Anyone on Wed 30th Mar 2005 00:20 UTC

Why not put the Bloody pcmcia-cs package in the base install? So a laptop install isn't so confuzzing.
There's a lot of work put into Xfce but I must be missing --- something what so great about it? I find FluxBox works well especially with the menuconfig tools package in Arch. To be even more diverse I think Kbuntu has some serious potential. Thats all Debian needs is a x86 focus release to win .

You guys are Nuts!
by Anonymous on Wed 30th Mar 2005 00:21 UTC

"> >$ readelf -d /usr/bin/gimp | grep '(NEEDED)' | cut -d[ -f2 | cut -d] -f1



there is ldd to check binaries --- very easy to use:

<tt>ldd /usr/bin/gimp</tt>

and to find out, what package owns a file this binary depends on you ask pacman:

<tt>[damir@Asteraceae ~]$ pacman -Qo /lib/tls/libc.so.6<br/>
/lib/tls/libc.so.6 is owned by glibc 2.3.4-2 </tt>

... and namcap to check packages on dependencies --- also very easy to use against PKGBUILD's or pkg.tar.gz"
********************************************************

# apt-get install gimp

voilŠ!

RE: You guys are Nuts!
by Nikos Kouremenos on Wed 30th Mar 2005 00:36 UTC

the comments are SO OFFTOPIC..
sudo pacman -S gimp is JUST ENOUGH. guys from archlinux control yourselves, others comment whatever you want.
A great interview, Judd is a really nice guy.
thanks for the interview eugenia
[zeppelin]

Re: You guys are Nuts!
by puntmuts on Wed 30th Mar 2005 00:37 UTC

#pacman -S gimp
Will do the same and resolving dependencies as well. Pacman is basicly spt-get where the 's' represents simple ;)

how many people spend weeks building the same pain-in-the-butt packages for the N different distros? so much wasted time. i do not mean that as a smart remark, i mean really, is there not one format (autopackage etc) that can capture this? people are wasting huge amounts of time duplicating packaging efforts into systems with minor differences.

why do people continue to put freebsd in some "hardcore" camp of people who hate installers, want to build everything from sources, generally do things the hard way...?

freebsd has an installer that is simple, practically dumbie-proof, and does a considerable amount of hand-holding. it has a frontend to do post-installation work without getting your hands dirty too (sysinstall).

package and ports are clearly defined and once again added by default by the hand-holding installer if you want.

oh by the way i am describing the installer circa 1997. i am sure it has only improved. i went to freebsd from windows BECAUSE of the hand-holding install, which at the time was more solid than any linux installer. its no anaconda to be sure, but it is not frightening or challenging in any way.

ports is basically idiot-proof, and breakage in ports is no worse than rpm breakage on avg. the freebsd site is simple and easy to use. ports are kept up to date.

really folks, painting this as some "elite" system is absurd. it sounds like arch is much much harder to deal with and frankly i have to wonder what is the point of just making a linux that from all appearances is just harder to deal with.

RE: ABS
by Shahar on Wed 30th Mar 2005 07:18 UTC

Hmm, well, Checkinstall is simpler than using an editor to create a PKGBUILD, but can we use Checkinstall itself to create a PKGBUILD?

While it probably is simpler to use Checkinstall for personal use, once you wish to contribute back, you're in a bit of a trouble. Checkinstall might be able to create the package nicely, and maybe even use namcap to automatically add dependency info (does checkinstall add dependency info to RPM/DEB? I only used it with Slackware). Putting the possibility of dependency bloat aside - how can a package made with checkinstall be shared back to the community?

No one has any idea how it is built, and since Arch's repositories are based on PKGBUILDs, well, it's a bit of a problem. More so, these packages can't really be "trusted", because again we lose the information about the way it is built.

P.S.
If I made any mistakes here, please fill me in, as I am not a checkinstall expert.

It's a shame...
by P-J on Wed 30th Mar 2005 08:45 UTC

...sorry for the off-topic, but I'd like to make a point that myself and a lot of people I know (power users and developers) never try Linux solely because of discussions like this. Watching people arguing (quite angrily I might say) about who has the best package manager and similar pointless arguments means I (for one) will never convert to Linux knowing that these are the sort of people I'll be mixing with.

It's not a flame, or trying to be flamebait, but a personal observation.

One more time ...
by acobar on Wed 30th Mar 2005 09:06 UTC

Repeat to myself, the distro package manager isn't the problem. The options that the maintainers chose is what shapes the distro.

That is irrelevant for small packages but will determine how the system will behaviour as a whole. And don't forget about patches that must be applied and file relocations that need to be done.

Anyway, good interview.

PS. I like checkinstall but frankly, keep in mind that it is to be used on small packages that are not in the distro repository.

RE: one more comment re freebsd comparisons
by Anonymous on Wed 30th Mar 2005 11:15 UTC

What FreeBSD comparisons? Who was painting it as being hardcore? Did I miss something?

All that was said was that users that like FreeBSD and Slack are likely to like Arch. So calm down on your rant. Arch may not be as easy as FreeBSD (I don't know I haven't tried FreeBSD), I personally think it isn't as easy as Slackware, but that doesn't stop them being similar.

RE: It's a shame...
by Nikos Kouremenos on Wed 30th Mar 2005 11:45 UTC

P-J, GNU/Linux community is not (only) what you see in OSNews comments! What I said is in the general moto: "Don't believe everything TV says you". Since you want to convert and you'll be n00b in lnx try www.ubuntulinux.org
a start from 0.6 archer

Arch good but
by Sard on Wed 30th Mar 2005 11:57 UTC

Arch was the last Distro I tried in my recent 2 month immersion in Linux. It installed perfectly on my Dell Laptop and is nice and fast, but after hours of fiddling I couldnít get the internet to work on my desktop.

Anyway, Sadly Iíve gone back to Windows 2000 having tried;

Mandrake
SUSE
Ubuntu
Mepis
Knoppix
Vector Linux
Vida Linux
Xandros
Debian Unstable
Libranet
Damn Small Linux
Arch

There are some very nice features and applications in Linux, but fundamentally the desktop was never as responsive (especially screen redraw) as it is in Windows. Getting things done (once the applications were installed and everything was setup the way I wanted) was always that little bit more cumbersome, clunky, and time consuming than in Windows.

If for some reason I was forced to use Linux tomorrow I could easily live with Debian, but itís still far from being a Windows beater.

Iím sure curiosity will keep me coming back every now and then to see what progress is being made though.

Archuser
by sn0n on Wed 30th Mar 2005 12:07 UTC

Eh.. my only quam with Archlinux is uhmmm.. i cant think of any right now.. :-D

Great Read thou..even if it was a bit long. ;)

RE:
by P-J on Wed 30th Mar 2005 12:43 UTC

@Nikos Kouremenos

My bad... I said 'try Linux', whereas I meant 'migrate to Linux'. I've tried many distros including Arch, and would consider myself a 'reasonably' seasoned GNU/Linux user but I've never felt comfortable using it as a desktop and always been unlucky enough to have these 'OSNews' type commenters on any forums I went to.

@Sard

I'm exactly the same. Windows is what I/we know and that's why it's comfortable.

If I did ever migrate, either Arch or raw Slackware would be my choice, but it's unlikely that'll happen this decade.

@ sard
by scarecrow on Wed 30th Mar 2005 14:43 UTC

If you couldn't make your internet work on your desktop, then it's pretty sure hotplug could not activate your network card. Simply adding your network card to the MODULES section of /etc/rc.conf should resolve this issue once and for all.
Having used both Slackware (extensively) and FreeBSD (just a little) I find Arch much easier to handle than both.

to sard
by Scott on Wed 30th Mar 2005 19:23 UTC

Speaking of simply and Debian, you got to try that new Simply Mepis 3.3. It rocks ;D.

RE: By Scott
by Theoden on Wed 30th Mar 2005 23:11 UTC

"Speaking of simply and Debian, you got to try that new Simply Mepis 3.3. It rocks ;D."

Bah! Now you are talking oranges and apples! SimplyMepis is strictly a newbie distro. It is designed for a complete newbie to be able to stick in a disk and end up with a working version of debian - with EVERYTHING being done for you.

Archlinux is NOT designed for the newbie user. Nothing is done for you in Arch - you configure it yourself from the cli.

Frankly - SimplyMepis has already accomplished all it has to offer - a simpleton installer for debian - everyone's doing that now. Beyond that - it's debian. Debian is everywhere.

Archlinux is a completely other beast. It's designed for capable linux users, not people looking for the complete hand-holding experience.

Portage vs. Pacman
by Chris on Thu 31st Mar 2005 00:03 UTC

I don't know what all the hubbub is about, and why people have to keep bashing one over the other. I'm a Gentoo nut and haven't tried Arch, but it looks really intriguing. The only reason I haven't tried it is because I'm way happy with Gentoo, and I have enough on my hands learning Linux to try another distro. But I used to use SuSE till I got fed up with RPM. I'm sure Pacman is a great package manager, but since I haven't tried it I'm not gonna stick my neck out and say that Portage is better than Pacman. I think it's safe to say enough of us have had enough bad experiences with RPM to want to try something else. I'm at the point where I prefer meta distros anyway.

I have almost no trouble with Portage, except when I get brave and try to emerge a masked package. I'm sure all those other package managers have their merits, too.

RE: ABS
by minimal on Thu 31st Mar 2005 01:19 UTC

I agree with Eugenia. The only distro's I've used is Redhat, Debian and now have finally settled permanently with Slackware. What they all have in common is checkinstall works perfectly on all of them. There is nothing better then checkinstall, it makes my life a lot easier. xerxes2 your example isn't difficult. But it's just extra "stuff" that I don't want to bother with... how is that easier then just typing ./checkinstall, done. It's not.

...
by Nick Borrego on Thu 31st Mar 2005 09:39 UTC

Nice interview.
I used Arch for a while and was quite pleased with it. I couldn't stand the naming of devices so I was quick to switch to udev. I read this interview with my own reasons for finding Arch usefull, but it's amazing how the dev's intentions are translated into their work. In other words, the distro does a good job of representing it's devs. You don't really get that feeling with many other distros.
It would be something to see a distro such as Arch to be able to have the financial and developer abilities in order to complete the goals of it's developers at the pace of a commercialized distro.

RE: @ Anonymous (IP: ---.cable.ubr10.croy.blueyonder.co.uk)
by ex-slacker on Thu 31st Mar 2005 10:09 UTC

" I personally think it isn't as easy as Slackware, but that doesn't stop them being similar."

----

What you talking about? Arch is definetly more simple than Slack:
1. rc.config (one config file to handle everything, kinda similar to FreeBSD)
2. pacman is much better and simpler than pkgtool (handles dependencies, keeps system up-to-date, removes unneeded packages WITH their dependencies and so on)
3. building packages is simpler: ABS

Now please tell me what's simpler in Slack?
Basically I don't know a better distro right now, it definetly ROCKS.

User contributed packages
by dimosd on Thu 31st Mar 2005 14:41 UTC

I think that ABS would pay for its extra effort if users could upload their custom packages, or at least their PKGBUILDs. It would save the effort for others. If they are not perfect, at least someone can improve them, and maybe they could end up in the main tree as well.

Recently I wanted to try QEMU cvs with the accelerator module. It doesn't use autoconf, I built it on Ubuntu, and it needed some tweaking to build cleanly (I would have to make a patch out of it for ABS). It took me some time to do it the "right" way, and I am sure this effort has and will be duplicated.

Also checkinstall doesn't output dependencies (using ldd), at least not when making .DEBs. But it's quicker.