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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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 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 Parent Score: 1

RE: A few questions...
by big_gie on Wed 18th Feb 2009 15:55 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: A few questions...
by abraxas on Thu 19th Feb 2009 02:40 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 Parent Score: 2