Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 17th Sep 2011 00:19 UTC
Linux "Many Linux distributions have taken the path of easy GUI-based installation, in order to appeal to a broader mix of users. But not Arch Linux, which emphasises simplicity of technical complexity over general usability. Richard Hillesley explains."
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RE: Arch is way overrated
by Morgan on Sat 17th Sep 2011 19:28 UTC in reply to "Arch is way overrated"
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

I cut my Linux teeth on Red Hat back in the day, but Slackware was what I ended up using for many years. It taught me how Linux really worked, and I liked the fact that Pat cared more about usability than having a pristine GPL only install. I switched to Ubuntu after the Great GNOME Purge from Slack, but eventually went back to Slackware with Xfce when Ubuntu started the Unity bullshit.

I had tried Arch a few years ago based on a recommendation by Eugenia Loli-Queru, but I wasn't impressed at the time. It didn't seem to offer anything over Ubuntu and Slackware. Then earlier this year, I gave it another go when I kept getting frustrated with the 13.37 release of Slackware. The past few months I've installed Arch twice on my laptop, twice on my desktop and I'm about to put it on my new (old) netbook.

The reason I've installed twice on my main systems was deliberate: I had spare hard drives for both and I wanted a "let's learn how this thing works" run on each before committing. I knew I would screw some stuff up, and I did. Now I feel I have a very good understanding of how Arch works, and I really like it!

The differences between it and Slackware might seem negligible, but there's a lot more going on besides a rolling release and dependency resolution. For one thing, the documentation is quite thorough! If you follow the Beginner's Guide exactly when setting up your system, you will have a solid base to expand upon within an hour of running the installer. By solid base, I mean a full core system with X and the DE/WM of your choosing, and all the tools and knowledge necessary to make it whatever you want.

I'm not saying Arch is better than Ubuntu or Slackware (or Gentoo or Fedora or whatever) but it's definitely better for me. I like the balance of simplicity and control that I used to enjoy from Slackware so much, combined with great dependency resolution and extreme modularity. Overall, the Arch Way + pacman + AUR just works better for me these days than Slackware + Slackbuilds. I still believe Slackware has a slight edge on Arch in the area of stability, but that comes with running last year's packages.

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