posted by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Mon 11th Jan 2010 15:57 UTC

Arch Linux Team, 3/6
Do you "eat your own dog food?" In other words, what platforms and operating systems do you use every day? Under what circumstances is Arch the best choice, and when would another OS serve you better? Do you find you use Arch for some things you wouldn't if you weren't affiliated with it, just out of loyalty/pride?

Thomas Bächler: For my personal machines, one laptop and one desktop, I use Arch almost exclusively. At work I use openSuSE which annoys me a lot because so many things are broken which work fine on Arch.

Other than that I run OpenWRT on some embedded devices, and my desktop has Windows 7 as a secondary OS.

In my opinion, if you know your way around the *nix command line, Arch is always the right choice for personal machines. On the professional level, more things have to be taken into account.

Dieter Plaetinck: Arch is the least crappy distro I know, so I use it extensively. (Really, I think there are so many things that need to be improved in (GNU/)Linux distros, but that's another story.)

Allan McRae: I use Arch (with [testing] repo) on my primary work computer.

Aaron Griffin: Absolutely. Arch has been on my primary machine since 2001 or so. Originally on a desktop and an old HP laptop. Now-a-days my Thinkpad, Eee, and Slicehost slice all run Arch. I DO, however, have a Windows machine at home and use OSX at work (not counting remote machines of various UNIX flavors).

Ionut Biru: Personally I use Arch on every computer that I have in the house. IMO, I think that Arch is best suited for desktops and workstations but can be used as server if you know what are you doing.

Tobias Kieslich: I'm in the nice position to use Arch whatever I do. I converted my computer at work to use Arch and have less trouble than my co-workers using Ubuntu. Not to mention that I can always run the latest software. Our web designer, however, uses a Mac, and he does well on it. I think for universal design work, the Apple platform is superior.

Ronald van Haren: Yes, I use it on all my machines. I have no need for something else. Most of my non-personal tasks are science-oriented and mostly require programming in one way or another. Everything I need runs fine on Arch Linux.

For personal use, I just use a basic desktop system, probably everything which I can set up and customize to my liking should suffice. It just happens Arch Linux is the best for me for this.

Pierre Schmitz: I use Arch on my desktop, notebook and our servers (archlinux.{de,org}). It's the best choice because I am simply most familiar with Arch.

Dan McGee: Arch for the most part. I've used Ubuntu on occasion, especially at work, although I switched to Arch there recently as I find it a lot more flexible when I want more control. CentOS as a server distro when I care less about being cutting edge.

Arch is a hands-on distro. When you are a developer, you know it very well and are able to make good decisions when using it. If you care less about tweaking the OS and more about a stable, secure OS that just works all the time with as little interaction as possible, Arch probably isn't the right distro for the job.

Hugo Doria: I use Arch on almost everything. Arch is my only system on my laptop, on my work machine and on my PC. However, I also I run OSX at home.

Arch meets my needs completely, but I recognize that it is not the ideal solution for everyone. Especially for those who want a ready-to-use system.

Roman Kyrylych: I use Arch on my laptop, two mini-ITX "desktops" and a VPS.

I used Fedora on my job but didn't like it (it was an old version, though).

Using another distro for my own needs is not an option for me (because Arch is much superior for my needs, not because of loyalty/pride).

What's the biggest challenge facing the overall Linux movement today? What's your prescription for addressing it?

Allan McRae: People. Prescription == Getting rid of people.

Aaron Griffin: Attitude. People have crazy attitudes about Linux and free software in general. Some people act like it's some sort of holy grail that's going to save us from global warming, swine flu, and World War III. It's just software. Get off the high horse.

Ionut Biru: Users that are complaining because upstream decided to release a not-so-fully compatible driver :). Prescription: release when it is ready.

Tobias Kieslich: Attracting new users is a big one. And it's a two-step process. Provide the sizzle to lure users to your side. Provide the usability and the comfort to make their experience productive to keep them around. Sane defaults and good documentation will do a good job is the second task. Making interfaces more intuitive is certainly an area where many Linux programs lack.

Ronald van Haren: Is there a challenge? Other than improving driver support for all kind of closed devices, I think we're doing great. It would be good if hardware manufactures open up a bit, but I suppose this will take some more time... Pierre Schmitz: Hardware drivers and especially those for GPUs are still problematic. I don't know of any prescription to solve this issue. We just need to support open source drivers and keep asking vendors for specifications.

Hugo Doria: Linux users. Some of them need to grow up. Fast.

In the OSS ecosystem, we can see certain distros being popular for specific niches (for example: Debian and RHES on web servers, Ubuntu for the desktop, etc). Have you observed any popular or emerging niches for Arch Linux? What niche do you think Arch Linux is best suited for?

Thomas Bächler: Arch Linux doesn't focus on a specific use case, but on a specific type of user. Arch is best suited for experienced Linux users that enjoy flexibility, simplicity and freedom on their machines.

Allan McRae: Computers. You should always use Arch on a computer.

Aaron Griffin: Arch tries to be a "general purpose" distro. That's part of the reason that an initial install is so bare (and scary to some users) - because we give you a base to work with and it's YOUR job to make of it what you will. In a way, this actually does lend itself to a niche. A niche filled with tinkerers and people who like to build things.

Ionut Biru: Arch can be what you make it.

Tobias Kieslich: Development. It's hackable, provides the latest software. -dev packages (aka. header files) are not split out into separate packages. It was relatively easy for me to get the latest llvm/clang compiler going, even though that is not yet in the official repos. With FreeBSD moving forward on that in big steps, it became a very usable compiler. And the static analysis makes life much easier. It's relatively straightforward to get these tool chains going in Arch Linux without bypassing the package manger.

That being said, I run it on my server and my netbook, too. It does a good job on being a "multi-purpose" distro.

Ronald van Haren: Whatever you customize it for.

Pierre Schmitz: Arch is not dedicated to a niche usage but more to a niche group of users. If you agree to the "Arch way" and know how to handle it, it doesn't matter if you use Arch on your desktop, a server farm or your grandma's netbook.

Dan McGee: There are some community projects I hear of month-to-month that are based on Arch, which is interesting. I think it shows we provide a good solid base to build other projects off of. LinHES (a MythTV distro) just moved from Knoppix to Arch as its base; several live CDs are using Arch as a base, etc.

Roman Kyrylych: Personal systems, developer workstations, servers (if you don't need support) software appliances.

Table of contents
  1. Arch Linux Team, 1/6
  2. Arch Linux Team, 2/6
  3. Arch Linux Team, 3/6
  4. Arch Linux Team, 4/6
  5. Arch Linux Team, 5/6
  6. Arch Linux Team, 6/6
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