Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 16th May 2006 22:00 UTC, submitted by alcibiades
Linux "I've been a Linux diehard since my early days with Debian 1.3. I visited various RPM distributions, including Red Hat, Mandrake, and SUSE, flirted with Gentoo, and jumped on the Ubuntu bandwagon, but I could never find a single place to settle - until I tried Arch Linux."
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Ford Prefect
Member since:
2006-01-16

Today everybody talks about Ubuntu. Ubuntu is the same as SuSe, Redhat, .. but seems to have been done a little bit more clever.

Still it is a clumsy distro targeted as "I don't even change my brown wallpaper" users. Almost every user of Ubuntu I've seen so far ... didn't even change his wallpaper.

This is fine, but it is still that Ubuntu doesn't make it very easy to it's users to modify their system, set up some basic services or build own packages.

It's just that even debian makes all these tasks complicated. Not complicated in obscurity (as would go for SuSe) but in just complicated.


Arch provides both comfort and customizability. Sure, you have to know many things the typical Not-wallpaper-setter would never know to get it up and running. But Arch makes every task you have to do as simple (not easy) as possible for you. The BSD init is not only fast, it's also damn easy to get a module loaded or a service started. You want to have a job done every day? just place a symlink / wrapper script to /etc/cron.d/daily/... Arch also uses udev magic to any extend; when talking about modules to be loaded, I talk about thinks like fuse (for sshfs)...

So ok, you have to set up your own Xorg config. But you don't have to check what network card you have, or sound card. You can plugin a usb camera and only have to add your user to the "camera" group to get access to it...


This is what I am missing in other distros. I'm not a zealot who wants to compile every package himself, because just it's for doing myself. But I also want to have my own X setup with dualhead, I need services like apache, tomcat, I want to use sshfs. So every piece of extra stuff I want to do, I can do. But every piece of ridiculous stuff to be done I don't have to care about ;)

Reply Score: 3

arooaroo Member since:
2005-07-06

No one's pretending that it's a newbie distro (although I'm not saying it's complex either). It makes it simple to be a power user, although, admittedly, I'm a fairly lazy user and don't always take advantage of that fact.

Instead, I just use it as a stable platform for doing other stuff, like the pacman GUI frontend, Jacman! (http://www.andy-roberts.net/software/jacman/) [/plug] ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

Scipher Member since:
2006-01-01

"Still it is a clumsy distro targeted as "I don't even change my brown wallpaper" users. Almost every user of Ubuntu I've seen so far ... didn't even change his wallpaper."

What a gross stereotype

"This is fine, but it is still that Ubuntu doesn't make it very easy to it's users to modify their system, set up some basic services or build own packages."

How do you come to this conclusion? Ubuntu doesn't keep you from doing anything anymore than any other distro; it just turns out that Ubuntu does it _for you_ most of the time.

"It's just that even debian makes all these tasks complicated. Not complicated in obscurity (as would go for SuSe) but in just complicated."

Yes, Debian isn't easy to use, you have to do everything by hand (that's why I switched to Ubuntu), but that doesn't mean that it's any more complicated than say... slackware. (or Arch for that matter) ;)

It turns out that Linux is Linux, if you can do it on one distro, you can do it on the other.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

Hi,


you obviously just lack of the Arch like experience. Arch isn't just Slackware which you referenced to.


Please don't get me wrong: I never stated (and it would never be my intend to) it would be impossible to do this or that with Ubuntu/Debian. Sure it is possible to do anything with it which is possible with any other distro! I'm with you regarding this.


What I said is that it is _complicated_. I don't know how complicated it is to modify slackware. I sure know how complicated it is with Debian or Ubuntu as I used these systems, too. Many tasks are just much, much simpler in Arch (best example is modifying or creating packages). You just have to try this out yourself to get an idea about how complicated Debian is. I had to have this experience myself ;)


Regards,
Ford Prefect

Edited 2006-05-17 20:04

Reply Parent Score: 1

snowbender Member since:
2006-05-04

While Arch may provide comfort and customizability, I don't think that modifying your Debian system is "complicated".

I think udev is pretty standard on most (all?) linux distro's nowadays. Also the scripts in /etc/cron.d/daily is standard. Things like plugging in an usb stick also just works, or an usb external harddisk for example. Adding services to a runlevel, is also fairly standard on Debian, just adding a link in for example /etc/rc2.d/ to the required service in /etc/rcS.d.
Modifying packages in Debian and then building your own, is also very simple, you can for example for existing packages use "apt-get source", then do your modifications, then use "dpkg-buildpackage" to build the modified version and finally use "dpkg -i" to install the new package.
Creating packages which have not been "debianized" is not that hard either. You could for example use "checkinstall" to easily create a debian package.
I believe it is not that hard to create a "real" debian package either. I've looked at how it's done, but never did it myself.

I don't really see why Debian would be complicated for a user who does want to modify/tune his system. However, I do think that the information to do this kind of things is not always easily accessable. For example Gentoo has excellent documentation on their website and excellent forums. I once looked at Arch and I remember their forums looked very good too, I don't know about the documentation though.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

You're right, most struggle I had with Debian was to find out what to do or how something was organized.

This is not such a big problem on Arch at first because it is much simpler. It has far less packages, no installer who asks a lot of questions and does magic, a very clean etc/ directory, a single file with all basic config in it. It has a comprehensive documentation about the package management which also covers building own packages so it's not hard to find this out, you're even pointed at it without asking for.

There is great support esp. at Freenode IRC, whereas in debian channels "newbie" questions mostly are ignored or even flamed at. In #archlinux, even the silliest questions like "how to search for a package" are answered ;-).


There is also a psychological thing, it's just if you have debconf with thousands of packages on your system, you tend to "better not touch". On the other side, if your system is as basic as it can be, you have to edit only 4 files to get X running, you better get the feeling of being in control and that it's worth to investigate.

Still it's simpler to add a script's name to an array in a config file and have a @ before it to make it start in background, a ! to disable it, than to create a symlink for which you have to think of the right number at the beginning of the name and so on ;-). Sure creating a symlink is a very basic operation but perhaps you see a difference ;) . And better not think about defoma ... I will never _really_ understand how to install fonts in debian ;-)

Edited 2006-05-18 00:05

Reply Parent Score: 1