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"
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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.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Arch is way overrated
by earksiinni on Sat 17th Sep 2011 22:52 in reply to "RE: Arch is way overrated"
earksiinni Member since:

I also used Arch a few years back, so it's good to hear the perspective of a fellow Slack user who was in a similar position on Arch today. Stability was my main issue back then. Also, I'm a big fan of Slackware's fat DVD install, which means that I rarely have to worry about dependencies even when building my own packages.

At any rate, I'll have to try Arch out again, though Slack works perfectly on my MacBook for now (almost--wicd has some issue with the Intel wifi chipset where if there are too many networks it won't detect any, but this is surely a wicd/iwtools issue). Thanks for the heads up!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Arch is way overrated
by Morgan on Sun 18th Sep 2011 07:49 in reply to "RE[2]: Arch is way overrated"
Morgan Member since:

Interesting, the wicd problem in Slack was one of the things that drove me away. No matter what I tried, including building the packages from source, I couldn't get it to find any networks. I tried all the fixes mentioned on support forums to no avail. My wireless card is the Dell 1390, a Broadcom based chip, but I had the same issue with an Intel wifi card and a Ralink card under Slackware. Strangely enough, the same packages under Arch work fine on my hardware, though I will say the Ralink 2500 card has terrible reception compared to the other two.

Of course, wifi support wasn't the only reason I switched to Arch, it was just the final frustrating nail in the coffin. I do still love Slack on older, more mainstream hardware (though to be honest it doesn't get much more mainstream than the Dell Latitude series, the best supported laptops in the alternative OS world in my experience). I just want my computers to work with minimum fuss, and on the Linux side of things that has consistently been Arch lately.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Arch is way overrated
by ccraig13 on Mon 19th Sep 2011 15:10 in reply to "RE: Arch is way overrated"
ccraig13 Member since:

I'm not sure what your server needs are but every new system I deploy runs Arch. I too started with RHL and then found my home with Slackware. However, once I found Arch I never looked back ( Though I'll still play with new distros to see if they can steal me away ). What got me was the similarity to Slackware, speed, small size and pacman. I'm not sure why people are complaining about pacman. I've tried them all and think pacman works just fine.

Also, I did the Gentoo thing for a while and realized as one person put it, "I was learning Gentoo, not Linux". What they meant by that was that you spend an awful lot of time figuring out how to speak Gentoo. However, I did learn a bunch from Gentoo and definitely have a lot of respect for it.

In the end there's no perfect distro that fits everyone's needs, but there's at least one out of the hundreds of imperfect distros that will be perfect for you ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1