Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th Feb 2009 17:34 UTC
Linux The ArchLinux Release Engineering Team announced the official release of the 2009.02 ISO after a long period of intense development. This distribution is among the first to officially support the new Ext4 filesystem. I've always noticed that Arch seems to be quite popular among OSNews readers, and I'm interested to know from our Arch users: why? What makes Arch such a good Linux distribution?
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Good or not â¦
by detto on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:01 UTC
detto
Member since:
2007-11-25

… it's your taste that defines the distro you chose.

Arch is for me the best because I can do a base install with it (even shrink that down a bit more after first reboot) and then install just what I want. And that in a very fast and simple way thanks to the pkg manager pacman.

Sure, you have to modify some config files, but to ~90% it's all about the rc.conf which is very well documented and therefore easy to modify. IIRC I had to add hal, fam and alsa to the modules array so they get loaded at boot. That pretty much sums it up for configuration that I had to do.

But the real beauty is makepkg and ABS imo.
Compared to other distros it's sooo easy to write a PKGBUILD file and therefore many many users are contributing such PKGUILDS via the AUR. There are already tools (yaourt for example) that let you automatically fetch those PKGBUILDS from the AUR, make a pkg from it and install it.
Combining the official binary repositories from Arch and the PKGBUILDs from AUR is probably one of the biggest package libraries in all distros.

An example of the awesomness of PKGBUILDs: If you don't need flac support in your mkvtoolnix then quickly grab the PKGBUILD, delete the --enable-flac line and the 'flac' dependency and issue a makepkg command to build it. That's all.

To sum it up (probably reads familiar to many other conclusions about Arch Linux): you can mold it into any possible way and that in a simple way. Easy != simple imo, but as soon as you know the basics about Arch you won't leave it anytime soon.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Good or not �
by bnolsen on Wed 18th Feb 2009 17:00 UTC in reply to "Good or not â¦"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Arch linux rocks because it does a good job of following the KISS principle. I appreciate what choices they made for a linux distro, it's a very good balance between customizability and ease of use.

I've run gentoo for 5+ years now and it's just plain crushing itself with complexity. Too many use flags, too many config files, openrc is a pain, consistency starting to fall apart, etc.

rc.conf rocks. Just list what services start, even indicate which services should start in the background.

I haven't messed with PKGBUILDS myself. I have arch running on my acer aspire one and on a 6yro laptop.

Reply Score: 2

It's just Linux, and community
by ralsina on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:01 UTC
ralsina
Member since:
2007-08-14

Basically, you get what the upstream provides instead of a bastardized/backported mess noone can reproduce.

Also, there is a very vibrant community of third-party packagers (AUR) which has the good side of gentoo (lots of enthusiasm and effort) and not much of the bad side (ricerism, attitudes).

It's awesome that you can create your own packages (the simplest packaging standard of all distros hands down) and almost every Arch user can try them immediately.

There is a very low barrier to entry, you can feel part of the community right away.

Awesome for hobbists.

Reply Score: 8

Well for me...
by Valhalla on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:01 UTC
Valhalla
Member since:
2006-01-24

Well for me it's how it strikes a great balance between control and ease of use. It's very lean and you get to pick and choose your system components. Some people likes that and some don't, I like it.

A strong community means help is fast should you need it (although in my experience I've never really needed to venture further than the extensive wiki to solve a problem). Lots of up-to-date packages in the main repository and a very active user repository means I can live on the bleeding edge if I so choose.

In short, it suits my preference of having good control over my system and it's resources. I can't swear that this is a common trait amongst Arch Linux users but I would guess so. I've tried alot of other distributions but Arch really fits me, but again it's all a matter of preference.

Reply Score: 3

UHU
by OzMage on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:09 UTC
OzMage
Member since:
2009-02-17

KISS for Keep It Simple, Stupid!!!!!
That means Everything.

Reply Score: 2

My experience
by sj87 on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:19 UTC
sj87
Member since:
2007-12-16

I've been bandying with Ubuntu and Arch for more than 1,5 years, though I believe I finally made my choise back in October/November last year, when I last time came back to Arch. In the beginning I wanted to make my Linux knowledge a bit more in-depth, I kinda wanted to start with a system that worked out of the box but only with the minimal configuration.

With Arch I learned some basic tasks like configurating user groups, locales and terminal charset/keymap. I also think it really is somewhat faster than Ubuntu due to it being optimized for i686 instead of i386. Actually I've now moved to x86_64, with which there might be no performance gap at all anyways.

I also think it as a positive feature to be a rolling release and always up-to-date, although I've experienced some bigger bugs like miscompiled VirtualBox kernel modules and broken Xorg that was pretty much completely messed up.

Arch's makepkg is a big plus too, on Ubuntu I never ever got the configure/make/make install chain run through without tears. With makepkg it's just "makepkg" to make a package manager installable package and then "pacman -U" to actually install it in my system.

Edited 2009-02-17 18:24 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Netfun81
by Netfun81 on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:27 UTC
Netfun81
Member since:
2008-03-25

Arch used to be my favorite distro..but since it's bleeding edge, there were issues after an update with the intel driver/kernel combo which made 3d performance suck. I switched to Debian which can be installed from a base system and customized like Arch, but with a bit less risk of an update breaking something.

btw, anyone know if intel 3d performance is fixed with this release?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Netfun81
by kajaman on Tue 17th Feb 2009 19:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by Netfun81"
kajaman Member since:
2006-01-06

I had the same issue, just switched to Ubuntu. I couldn't get my Quake 3 (!) to run smoothly without artifacts. The only thing that worked for me war recompiling X and mesa/dri from source (sic!) with different versions than provided with Arch. BUt amount of time I had to invest in doing so was too much for me to handle, so I just dropped this distro. Seemed like no one else - say Arch developers - were interested in fixing this issue in reasonable time, so I gave up.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Netfun81
by 3lusive on Thu 19th Feb 2009 19:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by Netfun81"
3lusive Member since:
2009-02-19

I have a laptop with intel x3100 aka i965

intel graphics are a pain, in general. However with the new
2.6.28 kernel GEM and the latest intel drivers, its better now.

I didn't use any official packages, I just grabbed the latest
intel driver and compiled it... you can just compile 3 things,
and be up and running.

there's a thread on the arch forums..

http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=61650

theres some changes going on with intel graphics drivers,
unfortunately you need the bleeding edge driver.

Reply Score: 1

rolling releases
by boofar on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:27 UTC
boofar
Member since:
2008-04-23

For me, the rolling release system is what makes Arch a winner. Basically, once you've installed it, news like this becomes totally irrelevant. No more reinstalling everything the system twice a year, just run "pacman -Syu" every few days to keep the system up to date.

As a former LFS and Slackware user, the general "feel" of the distro and the community also appeals to me. Keep it simple, and very little distro specific patches and tools.

Reply Score: 4

Linux, the FreeBSD way
by CodeMonkey on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:43 UTC
CodeMonkey
Member since:
2005-09-22

I was an avid FreeBSD user for many years and still am. I switched to Arch about a year ago though once my software development started going into 64-bit land and GPU land. The Arch Build System (ABS) and pacman for package management is much like FreeBSD's Ports and Packages system which I really like. I also like the rc.d style initialization. I also like the emphasis on vanilla software instead of containing distro specific modifications.

Reply Score: 3

Chakra
by da_Chicken on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:51 UTC
da_Chicken
Member since:
2006-01-01

Some time ago I tried the first alpha version of the Chakra live-cd. The Chakra project is integrated with KDEmod, which offers ArchLinux users modular KDE packages so you can pick and choose the KDE applications you want without installing full application suites like "kdegraphics", "kdenetwork", or "kdemultimedia".
http://www.chakra-project.org/about.html

Chakra offers also some GUI tools like Shaman, a graphical frontend to pacman package manager, Arxin system configuration tool, and an easy-to-use GUI system installer from the live-cd. These GUI tools are also available via pacman for users who install ArchLinux with the default installer.

Unfortunately the Chakra live-cd is still currently a bit buggy and the GUI installer failed to install the system onto my hard drive. It's nevertheless a very interesting project and I'd expect that the Chakra live-cd will help hordes of newbie users to explore the wonders of ArchLinux in the not too distant future.

I've found ArchLinux to be an up-to-date and snappy distro that certainly deserves much wider attention than it currently gets.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Chakra
by somnambulant on Wed 18th Feb 2009 06:42 UTC in reply to "Chakra"
somnambulant Member since:
2006-12-31

These Arch-based projects defeat the purpose of Arch's KISS philosophy. What's the point? Just install Arch. It's not that difficult. Even if you are an intermediate/advanced user you should be using the Beginner's Guide, which lays out everything you need to know.

And if you are a true beginner, it is a wonderful exercise in learning the linux way, and I would not hesitate for a second in recommending it to someone who has never tried linux before.

Print the Beginner's Guide- install it. Love it. It's that simple.

Reply Score: 1

A principal
by colpanick on Tue 17th Feb 2009 18:52 UTC
colpanick
Member since:
2009-02-17

Another reason I really like Arch is something that is not mentioned too often, and probably not liked as much by others. The Arch developers have a vision of what they want their distribution to be and they stick by it. Decisions are not dictated by what will attract the most users, but what is best for what they call the "Arch Way."

Also one more note worth mentioning. While I love pacman, updating is not just as simple as a pacman -Syu. You have to spend time merging .pacnew files with your current configuration, which can be a pain in the neck if you let yourself fall behind on it for too long. Not much of a con, but something worth warning about.

Reply Score: 2

Arch Pro Bullet List
by TheMonoTone on Tue 17th Feb 2009 19:11 UTC
TheMonoTone
Member since:
2006-01-01

* simple text file configuration
* very fast package manager
* no big "lets break everything" updates
* no half-assed patches that break more than they fix. I'm looking your way fedora/(k)ubuntu, please stop patching crap, you just make it worse.
* aur
* packaging things is super simple compared to the mess that is rpm/deb config files
* they never try to make overly fancy gui's that fail.
* chakra project, by far my favorite set of kde4 packages of any distro

Really you can argue that lots of other distros have a few of these things, but none of them have all of these things or equivalents.

Arch has everything I like about linux and really follows the way opensource development goes. Ubuntu/SuSE/Fedora with their semi-annual releases tend to fail more often than not at creating a set of stable packages. It never fails that some software a month or less after one of these releases gets updated with a ton of fixes/features added and its near impossible to upgrade because they would have to upgrade 20 other packages along with it. So they just wait another 6 months or more, during which numerous releases have gone by for some things and none for others, only to try again to create the mythical stable package set. Idiocy, if you ask me.

FOSS is constantly being worked on and the distro's should reflect that. Arch linux does a very good job of reflecting the reality of FOSS while still keeping it sane (no compile time, slight delay/testing period/upstream patches sent etc).

I've had fewer breakages with arch than any other distro ever. Compared to the nightmare that the rpm distros quickly become, typically because I want some software that isn't in their repo. Arch makes it easy to package this stuff myself so I *never* have crap in my system that isn't a package. RPM makes it a hassle, so I just don't bother if I'm in that situation. I know I'm not alone there...

Edited 2009-02-17 19:13 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Arch Pro Bullet List
by Rahul on Tue 17th Feb 2009 20:59 UTC in reply to "Arch Pro Bullet List"
Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

"I'm looking your way fedora/(k)ubuntu, please stop patching crap, you just make it worse. "

Pretty broad stroke there but refer

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/PackageMaintainers/WhyUpstream

There are good reasons to sometimes patch as well as listed in there.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Arch Pro Bullet List
by sbergman27 on Tue 17th Feb 2009 21:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Arch Pro Bullet List"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

There are good reasons to sometimes patch as well as listed in there.

I, personally, prefer distros which are not afraid to patch. The people closest to carrying responsibility for something working are in the best position to decide when applying a patch, in a current release, is warranted, even if the patch is a little ugly. It's easy to reject an important patch whilst sitting in an Ivory Tower. Not so much so when answering the phones.

Edited 2009-02-17 21:15 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Arch Pro Bullet List
by TheMonoTone on Tue 17th Feb 2009 21:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Arch Pro Bullet List"
TheMonoTone Member since:
2006-01-01

Well I've rarely had issues with unpatched software straight from the software developers themselves. In comparison I've had many more problems with the patched versions.

Lets take the X patches that recently made quite a stir.

Originated from Fedora, and the Ubuntu packages also have them.

Results... oh look at that! corrupted system tray icons.

Lets compare to the Arch/Mostly Unpatched packages... yep thats right. It works just fine.

Just one example of thousands of crappy patches that get applied every release and cause many more problems then they solve. Let the project developers do what they do best, fix the problems with their project. Thats my opinion anyways.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Arch Pro Bullet List
by ralsina on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Arch Pro Bullet List"
ralsina Member since:
2007-08-14

I think of downstream patches like when a studio cuts the movie instead of the director.

It may be better, it will probably be worse, and most certainly it's not the same thing.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Arch Pro Bullet List
by sbergman27 on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Arch Pro Bullet List"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I think of downstream patches like when a studio cuts the movie instead of the director.

I think of patching by downstream providers as representing a cooperative effort. The upstream providers are quite rightly concerned about the maintainability of the code. The downstream providers are quite rightly concerned about customer satisfaction.

The patches will either be integrated into the next upstream release, be improved and integrated into the upstream release, or turn out to be a mistake and get discarded, entirely.

Your "movie analogy" just doesn't click with me. Not at all. It's a different thing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Arch Pro Bullet List
by ralsina on Wed 18th Feb 2009 00:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Arch Pro Bullet List"
ralsina Member since:
2007-08-14

You seem to imply upstream doesn't care about user satisfaction. I think they do care, at least as much as downstream.

If downstream screws a patch, only the savviest users will blame them. For most users, it's that upstream's software is garbage.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Arch Pro Bullet List
by sbergman27 on Wed 18th Feb 2009 17:04 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Arch Pro Bullet List"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

You seem to imply upstream doesn't care about user satisfaction.

I think that both upstream and downstream, in general, care about both correctness and about user satisfaction. But I think that upstream, quite rightly, tends to have a higher focus upon correctness relative to user satisfaction, and that downstream, quite rightly, tends to shift the balance toward user satisfaction at the expense of correctness.

The Linux Kernel, and the downstream distros, are a pretty good example of what I am referring to. I think that we all come out better due to that division of responsibility and concerns. It is not my intent to criticize upstream. I think that both ends of the stream are doing their jobs.

This does not mean that a patch applied by downstream can't come back to bite one in the butt. Just that, in general, the fact that most all distros do some patching is a good thing.

Edited 2009-02-18 17:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

easy
by Yossarian on Tue 17th Feb 2009 19:53 UTC
Yossarian
Member since:
2008-11-14

Archlinux = Slackware but with sane packaging.

Reply Score: 3

RE: easy
by bralkein on Tue 17th Feb 2009 21:38 UTC in reply to "easy"
bralkein Member since:
2006-12-20

Yeah absolutely, I used to track Slackware current and use some kinda-working tool like slapt-get or swaret to have an easier time managing my packages. Once I discovered Arch it truly ticked all the boxes for me; I think of it as a rolling-release Slackware for the 21st century (if you get what I mean).

I dunno if I'd use it on a server but for a Linux hobbyist's workstation I'd say it's the best there is!

Reply Score: 3

Arch
by JMcCarthy on Tue 17th Feb 2009 20:24 UTC
JMcCarthy
Member since:
2005-08-12

Pacman is simple and fast, and configuration is simple and sane. Ubuntu/Debian are fine when you leave it to them (and it works) otherwise it seems like a mess, IMO.

Reply Score: 2

What's so good about Arch
by sweiss on Tue 17th Feb 2009 20:27 UTC
sweiss
Member since:
2005-10-01

In my opinion, Arch is the simplest form of Linux, and the most elegant. Simplifies everything, without limiting anything.

Reply Score: 2

So many things...
by denisfalqueto on Tue 17th Feb 2009 20:27 UTC
denisfalqueto
Member since:
2009-02-03

Rolling release system, simplicity of building packages with ABS and AUR, pacman, text configuration files over fancy applications, a great community, KDEmod...

I think that the control freak in me just can't let the control go away. Seriously, now, the power that Arch gives to us is amazing. We can easily build anithing with it, be it complex or simple. It really made me stop jumping from distro to distro. It is so sane that I can't think in any other way to use my computer.

Yes, it's subjective, but, to me, it is the best Linux distribution ever.

Reply Score: 1

It's been a while.
by jrronimo on Tue 17th Feb 2009 21:52 UTC
jrronimo
Member since:
2006-02-28

I last tried Arch at LEAST 4 years ago, but one thing I really liked about it at the time was the installer: while Arch did it's thing, I got to play Tetris. ;)

I had a lot of trouble with Arch's language after install (it came up in I think Portuguese rather than English), I'm quite positive that's been fixed by now.

I haven't tried it since back then, but I've heard good things about it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: It's been a while.
by ralsina on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:09 UTC in reply to "It's been a while."
ralsina Member since:
2007-08-14

Are you sure you are not confusing it with Caldera? That was the one with the Qt-based installer / tetris.

Arch's still a text mode install.

Edited 2009-02-17 23:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: It's been a while.
by jrronimo on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE: It's been a while."
jrronimo Member since:
2006-02-28

Well that's embarrassing. I think I was thinking of Ark Linux ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_Linux ), not Arch. Haha ;)

Edited 2009-02-17 23:29 UTC

Reply Score: 1

A few questions...
by abraxas on Tue 17th Feb 2009 22:12 UTC
abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

To me Arch just seems like Gentoo but with binary packages and without the advanced tools of Gentoo. Kind of like a Slackware with PORTS. I am a Gentoo user though so I don't know for sure. Two things I would like to know about Arch's PGKBUILD system is if it supports configure dependency checking (check dependencies based on configured options) in addition to package dependencry checking, and if you do want to patch a build is there a way to do it from the PKGBUILD or do you have to do that part manually?

Also I read somewhere that people vote on packages that they want to be included into Arch. Is there any formal testing for these packages or are they just voted in based on community experience?

Reply Score: 4

RE: A few questions...
by ralsina on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:13 UTC in reply to "A few questions..."
ralsina Member since:
2007-08-14

The vote is just a hint Trustd Users (TUs) can use to decide what to include in community. The QA is done by the TUs, since the community packages are their responsability.

Arch doesn't have something like gentoo's USE flags, if that's what you mean, and it's a good thing: USE makes it so that noone has the same options as anyone else, so packaging errors are incredibly hard to reproduce.

Yes, a PKGBUILD *can* patch the sources. It's a bit frowned upon, unless the upstream is unresponsive.

Patches belong upstream.

Reply Score: 1

RE: A few questions...
by big_gie on Wed 18th Feb 2009 15:55 UTC in reply to "A few questions..."
big_gie Member since:
2006-01-04

To me Arch just seems like Gentoo but with binary packages and without the advanced tools of Gentoo. Kind of like a Slackware with PORTS. I am a Gentoo user though so I don't know for sure. Two things I would like to know about Arch's PGKBUILD system is if it supports configure dependency checking (check dependencies based on configured options) in addition to package dependencry checking, and if you do want to patch a build is there a way to do it from the PKGBUILD or do you have to do that part manually?

I was a Gentoo user too and switch to Arch a couple of years ago. I though of it as a "binary gentoo" but after years of experience it is none.
First, Arch is "i686 optimized" which does not mean a thing today. I run Arch on a Atom netbook, two Core 2 quad core desktop, a Core 2 duo laptop and an old P4 server. So you see i686 is not as optimized as Gentoo.
What else can look alike and create confusion is the way to create packages. In gentoo you have ebuilds. On arch, you have PKGBUILD which are similar except:
-the compiled binary is distributed. you don't have to compile yourself. You can if you want, but need to fetch the PKGBUILD.
-You _don't_ have optional dependency "a la" use flags. So its either on or off: you need to modify the pkgbuild to correct this for yourself.
-Arch is _way_ simpler then gentoo. Its a breeze to use.

Also I read somewhere that people vote on packages that they want to be included into Arch. Is there any formal testing for these packages or are they just voted in based on community experience?

You have [core] and [extra], maintained by devs. Normal users can submit their own PKGBUILD on a web site called AUR where others can download them, and vote for them. When enough votes are gatered, a trusted user (TU) adopt the package and maintain it. It then goes to [community], available to others. There is also a [testing] repo. But you cannot use just a couple package from testing, its all or nothing, compared to mask packages where you take only what you want.

But then Arch is quite bleeding edge. So you don't need to use [testing] if you want to latest packages.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: A few questions...
by abraxas on Thu 19th Feb 2009 02:40 UTC in reply to "RE: A few questions..."
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

-Arch is _way_ simpler then gentoo. Its a breeze to use.


That's what it seems like but I have been with Gentoo so long that I know the ins and outs and some of the advanced features are necessary for me, especially the ability to individually unmask packages. I have yet to find another source distro that compares to Gentoo. It seems like Arch isn't centered around being a source distro though. Do you compile a lot of packages from source or do you generally install the binary? Also can you create one-off packages in a local repository?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: A few questions...
by big_gie on Thu 19th Feb 2009 03:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A few questions..."
big_gie Member since:
2006-01-04

Gentoo so long that I know the ins and outs and some of the advanced features are necessary for me, especially the ability to individually unmask packages.

Then Arch might not be for you. You cannot tweak to death Arch the same you can do with gentoo. Arch is simple and Gentoo is complex. It's easier to learn something more simple. But sometimes I miss some gentoo feature, but understand it is not "the arch way", simple and elegant.

[/q]It seems like Arch isn't centered around being a source distro though. [/q]
Arch _is_ a binary distro. People often compares gentoo to arch, but it is missleading. Being a rolling release and the similarity of ebuilds-PKGBUILD probably did not help.

Do you compile a lot of packages from source or do you generally install the binary? Also can you create one-off packages in a local repository?

I do both. Normally I compile my own kernel using a PKGBUILD. I test configuration, add/remove patches, etc. When there is no official PKGBUILD, I create a new one, a bit like an ebuild. I moft often never need to recompile another package myself. I could, but like most people I don't because there is no need.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: A few questions...
by abraxas on Thu 19th Feb 2009 16:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A few questions..."
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Arch seems like a good candidate for an older machine. I might try it out on a machine I have laying around. I actually installed Gentoo on a Pentium II once but it took an entire week, not the sort of thing I want to do again. Upgrading was a nightmare. It was often an all day affair just to upgrade a few packages.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: A few questions...
by big_gie on Thu 19th Feb 2009 16:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: A few questions..."
big_gie Member since:
2006-01-04

Yes indeed Arch is nice for older machine. You get a modern distro with all the latest features of new packages but without the need to compile everything.
But Arch is also really fast on new machines ;) A friend of mine had ubuntu on a new desktop where X broke. To get help, he installed Arch on his old desktop to access the web. He told me his old computer with Arch was faster then his new one with ubuntu! Instead of trying to fix it, he put Arch on the new one. He was impressed by the speed ;) But he was impressed also by the simplicity. In a week of Arch he learned more then a few month of (black box) ubuntu.

Reply Score: 1

Question re: rolling release
by bosco_bearbank on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:09 UTC
bosco_bearbank
Member since:
2005-10-12

I've never used Arch, so I have no personal experiences to relate, but I do have a question regarding rolling releases. I run Fedora Rawhide, which can, to some extent, also be considered a rolling release. How does the rolling release aspect of Arch differ from that of Fedora Rawhide?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Question re: rolling release
by ralsina on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:16 UTC in reply to "Question re: rolling release"
ralsina Member since:
2007-08-14

Arch has its "core"/"extra"/"testing"/"unstable" repos, which are all rolling. It's more like a less calcified Debian, in a way.

I'd say rawhide is somewhere between testing and unstable in general. More towards unstable.

Haven't had a rawhide (or fedora) system in years, though, so I may be mistaken.

Reply Score: 1

get the distro that works for you
by DRIQ on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:11 UTC
DRIQ
Member since:
2008-04-28

I think it is important to get the one that works for, and you are comfortable with it.

I have tried Solaris, FreeBSD and other Linux Distro, not sure how to play/decrypt DVDs. It is very easy with Debian. debian-multimedia.org provides everything I need.

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I have tried Solaris, FreeBSD and other Linux Distro

I have tried Solaris Linux and FreeBSD Linux, and I just wasn't that impressed. I have selected another Linux, which I will not explicitly mention, since I do not want to seem to be playing favorites, here.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ideasman42
by ideasman42 on Tue 17th Feb 2009 23:37 UTC
ideasman42
Member since:
2007-07-20

* minimal distro modification for packages (as with slackware)
* simple packaging system
* rolling updates (haven't broken my system yet!)
* no need to install every now and then

Before arch I compiled my own kernel, xorg, libc etc on slackware but it ended up being too messy.

However Id only want to run arch on my main workstation, my other systems run ubuntu.

Reply Score: 1

A little out of the choir
by RRockMan on Wed 18th Feb 2009 00:18 UTC
RRockMan
Member since:
2008-11-30

I must say I love the Arch philosophy and I would very much had preferred to have it now in this very machine instead of xubuntu, because I come from the Gentoo world (abandoned it when my Pegasos G4 machine burned itself up... the grief was too big to try to repeat the experience on my vulgar, fast-replacement x86, so I sticked with Windows for a while...).

What stopped me from installing it was the absence of a dead sure method of getting my wireless connection up without requiring a wired connection. I really don't and can't have a wired connection now and for the next 6 months, so the priority was not breaking my access to the internet which also is access to full system installation.

So I opted for xubuntu (finally departing from my original Linpus, since my machine is the great Aspire One) but only when a custom kernel with complete support for wireless was made available by an enthusiast developer in the aspireoneunser forums.
Because that way I could just install the base system (without connection), plug the previously downloaded custom kernel, and be live and hot in an instant.

If I had had access to a wired connection, I would have preferred the elegance of "nearly from scratch" Arch right away, because having such small resources to manage, I find it priority number one to have a clean system completely rid of clutter and in which I know exactly every component installed. Something just too hard with the easy but not simple ubuntus...

P.S. If all these Arch users can point out to me a way to get an atheros wireless card configured, up, and running on a freshly installed Arch, without the need of an additional connection to the internet, please let me know.

Reply Score: 1

RE: A little out of the choir
by ralsina on Wed 18th Feb 2009 00:28 UTC in reply to "A little out of the choir"
ralsina Member since:
2007-08-14

Just using this latest CD image wifi on the Aspire One should work out of the box, since the driver is included in 2.6.28, which is the latest Arch kernel.

Other than that:

http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Acer_Aspire_One

Reply Score: 3

RE: A little out of the choir
by iphitus on Wed 18th Feb 2009 22:17 UTC in reply to "A little out of the choir"
iphitus Member since:
2006-03-27

atheros drivers are included out of the box, as well as netcfg, wireless_tools and wpa_supplicant.

Reply Score: 1

2 things I like:
by license_2_blather on Wed 18th Feb 2009 03:15 UTC
license_2_blather
Member since:
2006-02-05

The freshness and configurability of Gentoo without all the breakage. I've never had an update seriously hose my machine. After a couple of reinstalls caused by updates on Gentoo, I abandoned it.

The rolling release thing may not be so good for a server (though I mostly use OpenBSD in that role), but it's nice to have everything up-to-date as possible on my laptop.

Reply Score: 1

RE: 2 things I like:
by terog on Wed 18th Feb 2009 12:56 UTC in reply to "2 things I like:"
terog Member since:
2007-03-09

The freshness and configurability of Gentoo without all the breakage. I've never had an update seriously hose my machine. After a couple of reinstalls caused by updates on Gentoo, I abandoned it


I have an opposite experience.

When I was a newbie with Linux I started with Gentoo. I used it for many years. Even though I run ~x86 ("unstable") it seriously broke only once due to an update. Even then I was able to fix it with the LiveCD.

Then I tried Arch and an update managed to hose it in a couple of months. Unlike with Gentoo, I didn't really even experiment with any unstable stuff except for kdeMOD.

This was a couple of years a go, so I don't remember exactly what happened. I didn't even care. I guess Arch wasn't able to make me enough enthusiastic about it (like I was with Gentoo).

The funny thing is that even after all those years learning Linux with Gentoo, I was really lost in Arch. I suppose Gentoo is much too easy to use after all...;)
Also, for some reason I really didn't like Pacman in comparison to Portage.

After that I haven't used either one for quite some time.

EDIT: Just want to add that I have nothing against Arch and might as well try it again some time. Hopefully with some better luck. It has has many advantages in comparison to many other distros and unlike with Gentoo, you don't have to compile anything;)

Edited 2009-02-18 13:12 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Simple, clean and fast
by J. M. on Wed 18th Feb 2009 05:22 UTC
J. M.
Member since:
2005-07-24

I use it for its simplicity and no-nonsense approach - very straightforward, clean and elegant.

But the thing I like the most about Arch is performance. It is a great distro for old computers - it does not include any unnecessary components, services, daemons etc. which means the memory footprint is really very, very low. With a modern LXDE desktop, the whole system takes about 35 MB of RAM, which is incredible. The only major distro that can compete with this is Slackware. I was also surprised how much faster everything is compared to any other distro (except for Slackware, which is very similar). Everything is noticeably faster - application startup, GTK+ drawing (it's still slow even in Arch, but not as slow as in other distros), CPU usage is much lower during many tasks. A truly lightweight distro. It reminds me of the BSDs.

Edited 2009-02-18 05:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Why?
by holizz on Wed 18th Feb 2009 07:04 UTC
holizz
Member since:
2006-08-21

The PKGBUILDs (easiest packaging system I've ever found).

It's fast. Where APT would take an age to install one package, pacman is so fast it feels like a front-end to wget and tar.

Reply Score: 1

good, but has lost quality
by reez on Wed 18th Feb 2009 11:03 UTC
reez
Member since:
2006-06-28

I've used Arch Linux since it came out, but I had to switch because some needed packages became out of date. They had security vulnerabilities, were flagged out-of-date, so I created updated versions, which I sent to the maintainer. I got no reply and after a while nearly all of my mostly packages became out of date or in other way unusuable. Since I spent most of the time creating my own packages I had to switch.

Don't misunderstand me. Arch Linux is a very nice project and a lot/most of packages become updated nearly instantly after they come out. Most of them also work well. I guess I really had back luck, but I want to share my opinion and I suggest to not use Arch Linux on a (critical) production machine. For desktop, home servers, etc. it's okay I think. If you really want have a Slackware + Pacman system you should be fine with Frugalware.

Oh, I haven't used Arch Linux for a while now, so this information, besides being very subjective, is maybe not up-to-date. Please don't stop trying Arch Linux because of this comment!

Reply Score: 3

It plays on Linux' strengths.
by TLZ_ on Wed 18th Feb 2009 18:25 UTC
TLZ_
Member since:
2007-02-05

[q]I've always noticed that Arch seems to be quite popular among OSNews readers, and I'm interested to know from our Arch users: why? What makes Arch such a good Linux distribution?

I don't really use Linux anymore, but my best memory of using it was indeed Arch Linux.
I think the reason is because it plays on Linux strengths and doesn't try to be anything that Linux isn't(or at least isn't in the same extent as OS X/Windows).

Instead of trying to be user-friendly and hide it's insides(which leads to complicated insides which leads to bugs) it just reveals the machinery but tries to makes the machinery understandable. Even I understand Arch Linux main principles and despite being a tech-interested guy I'm not a rocket-scientist in any way. I'm really impressed by how easy they made it to understand Linux/UNIX-workings.

And it's the fastest OS I've used yet. (Yes, I know it doesn't count before you install a DE, it was after GNOME was installed.)

My interest in the technical aspect of computers isn't what it used to be, but for anyone interested in Linux beyond Ubuntu I'd highly recommend it.

Reply Score: 2

What can I say...
by darknexus on Thu 19th Feb 2009 04:55 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

that hasn't already been said here? Arch is simple (as in simple internals, not outwardly pretty), light, fast, stable, and above all does not patch upstream software unless there is no other choice--meaning you get a system how upstream intended it to be, and without the ridiculous amount of patches you get with others, i.e. Ubuntu and Fedora. It is the ideals of slackware and crux, though it more closely resembles crux in configuration and handling. It's also has a distinct BSD flavor to it. Pacman has to be simply the best package manager I've ever worked with, easy on all counts from building packages to installing them, and it's freaking fast especially compared to dpkg. The system can be taylored to fit your needs exactly, and can be updated easily and with little fuss.
It's a pity the other oses, such as Ubuntu and Fedora, haven't been able to keep their ease of use for newbies and keep the simple internals. By comparison, they make OS X look simple. Given the choice, though, I'll take the simple internals every time. I can get the ease of use myself.

Reply Score: 2