Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 02:42 UTC
Linux It's been over a year since the last time I reviewed (1, 2) the Linux distribution that I use most of the time, Arch Linux. Since then, while the distro-specific innovations have slowed a bit down, maturity and stability has emerged.
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GNOME at 50MB?
by jackson on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 03:07 UTC
jackson
Member since:
2005-06-29

I am an Arch user, too, and I love it. I am wondering, though ... how do you have a fully functioning GNOME desktop at only 50MB? Can you list the daemons you start in the daemons array in rc.conf? I am very curious. Thx Eugenia.

Reply Score: 2

RE: GNOME at 50MB?
by Eugenia on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 03:22 UTC in reply to "GNOME at 50MB?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

These are the daemons I use (from memory, as I am on OSX atm): network acpid portmap fam dbus hal gdm. Also, I try to not use many gnome-panel applets cause these are the killer. That "50 MB" of RAM is the initial starting point after a clean boot. In fact, on my other user account where I use even fewer gnome-panel applets and a single gnome-panel, the system starts up at 48 MBs of RAM (and remember, that's with gnome-system-monitor loaded. G-s-m itself takes away quite a few MBs of RAM).

Please note that these numbers are from a 128 MB laptop (which I put on sale on Craigslist the other day: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/sys/176423192.html ;-). On a machine with more memory it's very possible to get different numbers for the same kind of configuration because the kernel would use there more cache/buffers.

Edited 2006-07-03 03:31

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: GNOME at 50MB?
by jackson on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 03:35 UTC in reply to "RE: GNOME at 50MB?"
jackson Member since:
2005-06-29

Interesting. I have: (syslog-ng network portmap fam crond gpm dbus hal alsa nvidia sshd cups) and not too many extra applets (system monitor and weather plus the regular ones by default) and my mem usage is closer to 100MB. This is on a P4 with 1GB of RAM.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: GNOME at 50MB?
by Eugenia on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 03:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: GNOME at 50MB?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Cups uses quite some memory and the fact that you have 1 GB of RAM already, gives the "green light" to the kernel to use more cache/buffers as required.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: GNOME at 50MB?
by Luis on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 10:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: GNOME at 50MB?"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

I think that one key point might be if you're enabling 3d acceleration or not. I use XFCE and without 3d acceleration, it uses about 30MB of RAM on a clean install/boot. But if I enable 3d acceleration (on an intel integrated graphic card) it will use an extra... 60MB of RAM ! (with xorg 6.8.2 it was just 25MB extra).

To disable/enable 3d acceleration you can comment/comment out the line in /etc/X11/xorg.conf where it says:

Load "dri"

(if you don't have that line in the "Module" section you should also add at the end of the file:

Section "DRI"
Mode 0666
EndSection

To check if 3d acceleration is working, you can type at the command line "glxinfo" and in the first few lines you should see "Direct rendering: yes" if it's enabled.

Disabling DRI is a good way to save RAM in older computers. It's not much used in Linux anyway (except google earth, some games,...)

Reply Score: 1

RE: GNOME at 50MB?
by dswain on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 03:22 UTC in reply to "GNOME at 50MB?"
dswain Member since:
2005-07-03

I must admit also that the 50mb's of memory is real impressive with a Gnome desktop. I have gnome 2.14 running alone (without any other major applications) taking up ~80mb's. Not a huge difference, but still 50mb's is tight. I wonder if it makes a difference from first starting up Gnome to later on since my machine has been running all day.

At any rate, Arch has been basically the only distro I can truly get into. I don't know why but for some reason I just seem to be able to grasp it well. There's something about this distro which really just keeps me happy. It has its issues. Installation for example. Don't bother trying to install the newest version of Arch from a slightly dated livecd (.7 for example). I've only had issues fighting with it. For fair reason, but it doesn't hold the trasition well. First time installers may be a little baffled too. Once you move beyond this point though, there's something that keeps me in tune with the system for long long periods of time. I think it's the only distro, or rather, OS that I've kept installed on my system for over a couple of months at a time... closer to a year at a time or so. It's really amazing to me.

Reply Score: 2

Some lose ends on the news
by gothicknight on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 03:13 UTC
gothicknight
Member since:
2005-07-06

Using it for some time... not a problem with the distro.

There's also to add that the community is getting bigger and bigger, the forums are crowlyng with people willing to help, develop and test.
I was a gentoo user, so the change wasn't that hard, from a ultra-optimized distro to a i686 optimized, the speed is the same (faster on the init scripts of arch, openoffice,..). So if I wanted to compile critical parts of my distro I could do it using ABS (Arch Build System).
There's also another thing missing, aur.archlinux.org (Arch User Repository) is a wonderfull place to get PKGBUILDS (bash script installation file) for other packages unavailable from current,... there's also a package manager for that to named aurbuild that makes que build easier without having to go to the site and search, and for searching... there's qpkg (available in aur).
So, it doesn't have fancy wizards like mandriva or suse, but it has A LOT of packages ready to install, there's also a graphical installer for pacman named pakman but it is still in development (search the forums at bbs.archlinux.org), so arch linux has become my distro of choice.

Edited 2006-07-03 03:16

Reply Score: 1

WOW
by deanlinkous on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 06:07 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

A bit short. I dont think it would break me from my debian addiction but I like to occasionally try others but usually run back to debian. ;)

That boot time is awesome. I was happy with my minute or so on debian. ;)

You mention stability and maturity but then I dont see much about what has matured and stabalized. Unless you are just talking in general it "feels" more mature and stable.

Reply Score: 1

RE: WOW
by siimo on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 06:25 UTC in reply to "WOW"
siimo Member since:
2006-06-22

In her previous reviews she mentioned package upgrades in Current and Extra repositories often broke system or caused problems and not enough testing was put into it. Now it has been improved and such breakages are rare - this is what she means by stability and maturity I think.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: WOW
by Eugenia on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 06:35 UTC in reply to "RE: WOW"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Yup.

Reply Score: 1

RE: WOW
by n0xx on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 12:14 UTC in reply to "WOW"
n0xx Member since:
2005-07-12

The reason why Arch boots fast is partialy because it enables parallel execution of some init scripts, but mainly because the scripts witch must be executed sequentialy are few and get processed quickley. Its, at least to my experience, the fastest booting linux distro.

It would be nice if Ubuntu (the others aswell but Ubuntu is my distro of choice) implement something similar on the next release.

Yes, I'm a speed freak.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: WOW
by Sphinx on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 16:21 UTC in reply to "RE: WOW"
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

You could always enable simpleinit and boot parallel in any distro, it's part of the util-linux package:

cd util-linux-2.12a
make HAVE_KILL=yes HAVE_SLN=yes
cd login-utils
make HAVE_KILL=yes HAVE_SLN=yes all-getty all-init all-misc
make HAVE_KILL=yes HAVE_SLN=yes install-init install-getty install-misc
cd ..
make HAVE_KILL=yes HAVE_SLN=yes install

and you'll need some new rc scripts or add needs/provides statements to your existing, or take and hack mine: http://gnnix.org/base/root/dist/usr/src/gnxbootscripts-0.8/sbin/ini...

Reply Score: 1

Package creation is not hard
by siimo on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 06:18 UTC
siimo
Member since:
2006-06-22

there is a PKGBUILD master template avaiable here: /var/abs/PKGBUILD.proto

With most the the common apps that you can install with checkinstall - all it takes is entering name, version, source location, md5sums and you are ready to go! Optionally other stuff as well if you know it like depends and builddepends etc but not really needed.

you really do not need to write the entire PKGBUILD unless you are going to redistribute the build. For the technically challenged, few attempts might take a bit of trial and error but then you will be able to do it just as fast as checkinstall.

Edited 2006-07-03 06:19

Reply Score: 1

system stability
by siimo on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 06:21 UTC
siimo
Member since:
2006-06-22

i find the AUR reviewed packages in community are pretty stable as well - never had any problems or breakdowns with upgrades and i use atleast 25-30 packages from Community repository.

Reply Score: 1

ahhh
by deanlinkous on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 08:20 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

me understand now. Probably good to mention in this article for those of us doing a quick drive-by. ;)

Reply Score: 1

Stow
by transami on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 11:28 UTC
transami
Member since:
2006-02-28

Two thumbs up for Arch as well, I would really like to manage software with stow though - I wonder if there's a way to modify pacman to automitically use stow?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Stow
by dswain on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 14:21 UTC in reply to "Stow"
dswain Member since:
2005-07-03

I'm not exactly sure what "Stow" is, but if it's another package manager, you may very well be able to replace it over pacman. I don't imagine it being too difficult. If it's a repo to download packages from then yes you can add it. You just need to make a line in /etc/pacman.conf for it. It would look something like this:

[shadowhand] #This being the name of the repo
Server = http://arch.os-zen.net/pkg/shadowhand #This being the server address

Then go ahead and run pacman -Sy and then it should update that repo for you.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Stow
by AlexandreAM on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 16:24 UTC in reply to "Stow"
AlexandreAM Member since:
2006-02-06

Just for your information, I believe the parent was referring to GNU Stow:

http://www.gnu.org/software/stow/

A kind of package manager that installs software in isolated directories and ... well.. read the page ;)

Reply Score: 1

v I Liked It
by Agent69 on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 12:10 UTC
Just keeps going
by arooaroo on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 12:40 UTC
arooaroo
Member since:
2005-07-06

I've been running Arch Linux for about 18months. I'm still using the original installation! I've never had to reinstall. Pacman just keeps everything up-to-date with only one command (pacman -Syu).

Reply Score: 2

Community Repo
by Ford Prefect on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 13:24 UTC
Ford Prefect
Member since:
2006-01-16

I have installed some packages from "community", I had never any stability issues with even one of them.

Reply Score: 1

Well
by Anonymo on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 14:21 UTC
Anonymo
Member since:
2005-07-06

agent69, i don't think pornography is allowed on this site

Reply Score: 0

Arch > *
by rx182 on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 14:53 UTC
rx182
Member since:
2005-07-08

I've been using Linux since 1997. I started with Slackware 3.2 (good old days).

For so many years, I kept coming back to Slackware. Yeah, I do like distributions like Ubuntu but not on MY machines (thus said, I use Ubuntu at work ;) )

As soon as I consider using a box for more than a few months, I prefer something way more flexible than Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. Why? Package management goes too far. Everytime I tried to hack Ubuntu severely, I broke it. It needs to be used as-is, without too many changes.

So, I kept coming back to Slackware. But nowadays, it's not updated enough. Pat still use gcc3, linux24, etc. He didn't make major changes to his distribution in the past 10 years. Same old package tool. He should really consider making major changes to Slackware.

Anyway, not so long ago, I discovered Arch. Arch is like Slackware but just better. Pacman is a wonderful tool. IMHO, it's the best package manager out there. It helps you maintain your system current without taking the control of it. And unlike Debian, Red Hat based distributions, it doesnt include a million of useless config tools. For example, Debian includes Defoma to deal with fonts. Why? It takes more time figuring it out than dealing with fonts yourself. Arch is way more simplistic, and when you have a problem, you just take a look at the Wiki, IT'S HUGE!!!

<3 Arch

Reply Score: 2

RE: Arch > *
by axel on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 16:03 UTC in reply to "Arch > *"
axel Member since:
2006-02-04

our wiki is pretty good, there's a couple problems though, some of its out of date, some of it is just what one guy did to get something working more than an explanation, i tend to search the forums before i check the wiki

Reply Score: 1

It ownz...
by MastaShake57 on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 16:48 UTC
MastaShake57
Member since:
2006-04-10

What is so appealing to me about Arch Linux is, not only its speed, but its "easy to get your hands around" package system and PKGBUILD system. Matter of fact, I like it so much that it now powers our corporate proxy server, a high-traffic SMTP server in our office and a intranet blog server.

If it wasn't for the friggin' power outages we've had, those servers would have been running over 300+ days, easy.

Overall, one bad a$$ distro.

Reply Score: 1

Distro Development
by negativity on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 20:09 UTC
negativity
Member since:
2006-02-23

I don't think Arch Linux is very advanced as a distro development hub. For instance, I checked out Archie, a LiveCD based on Arch, and it's pretty obsolete compared to the packages of Arch. I believe that Ubuntu can leverage the development borrowed from the community much better than Arch, because Ubuntu can and produce ISO CDs every day or so, including the LiveCD versions.

These distros that have nothing to lose do get some traction, but unless they go the extra mile and make their development straightforward, I think Ubuntu and Debian will appeal to many more distro builders and users.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Distro Development
by axel on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 21:46 UTC in reply to "Distro Development"
axel Member since:
2006-02-04

thats because the script that was written to make archie doesn't work with udev (well work is being done). Even when it was new however it was still just a couple guys' pet project not a part of arch officially.
although a newer version is in the works
we also have a live cd creation tool called larch made by a user, its just that the devs and the community aren't particularly bent on evangelation so its not a really high priority.
http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewforum.php?f=27
is the forum for anything cool archers make

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Distro Development
by negativity on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 23:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Distro Development"
negativity Member since:
2006-02-23

That seems more interesting, thanks.

FYI:
http://www.fsphost.com/gradgrind/

Reply Score: 1

RE: Distro Development
by lilsirecho on Wed 5th Jul 2006 02:36 UTC in reply to "Distro Development"
lilsirecho Member since:
2006-04-05

Check our user contributions in the forum for Larch..a LiveCD creation program which allows custom arch Live CD.

Archie has limitations as a LiveCD for archlinux due to latest developments in arch system which haven't yet been addressed in archie.

Larch can probably circumvent the difficulty introduced by arch system changes in latest upgrades.

Reply Score: 1

Not bad
by kernelpanicked on Tue 4th Jul 2006 00:54 UTC
kernelpanicked
Member since:
2006-02-01

I'm primarily a BSD user and have pretty much ignored Linux over the past couple years, because I hate where the mainstream distros are headed. However, I recently decided to try out Arch and it's probably the best Linux available for us users that don't want a bloated distro full of useless gui tools. Other than the (over)use of /opt, that makes slicing up your disk a bit of a headache, I don't have any complaints so far.

Reply Score: 1