With distributions like Ubuntu attracting more and more users, have you ever considered a pre-built ISO for those that need a desktop in 30mins?
When you compare the short time you spend installing Arch with the years you are
going to use it, it seems like a waste of time to put effort into a
plug-and-pray installer. Furthermore, if you are going to use Arch, you better
know what’s installed on your system.
All that said, I can easily set up a working Arch desktop machine in 30 minutes.
I can relate to the wishes of getting a working system faster and
easier– that’s why we support automated installations. There is, however, no need for “pre-built” (whatever that means) ISOs.
I think we should just ship a few more example profiles for the
automatic installer to cover some common scenarios.
No, although several community-based projects have started to do so. Among the
most popular are Chakra and Godane’s Archiso-live.
If you mean a “Live CD”, then yes and no. We have tools to create our
installation ISO which can be used to create a desktop-based Live CD, but we’re
not focused on that. There are, as Allan mentioned, community projects which do
just this. We try to think of ourselves as the “core” of the distro and let
other people build on top of what we provide. This is such a case.
Arch Linux users don’t need a desktop in 30mins!
Not really needed. If you read the documentation before installing Arch, you can
have a working desktop in less than 30 min.
This, is in my opinion, is the most important question because it indicates what
really matters for Arch users.
Novice users can setup a desktop system using Ubuntu without knowing anything
about Linux-based operating systems. But advanced users will be scared of a
system trying to hide system internals by custom configuration and build tools
they have to learn that may also inhibit them from customization of the system.
Instead, advanced users will appreciate a simple build system based on GNU Bash:
A language they are most likely familiar with contrary to other systems using
custom languages like RPM spec or python-based portage.
Arch attracts people who want to understand and customize their system and build their own
packages “without a hassle” instead of (re)-installing the system in 30 minutes.
If it’s not your first time and you have a decent connection, a running desktop
is doable in 30 minutes. However, that requires reading and understanding of
the documentation. To put it in other words, there are a lot of people out
there driving cars. The majority of them are intimidated by looking under the
hood. Arch Linux is targetting people who are not.
Creating a distro like Ubuntu would take away from the advantages we get from
flexibility. Creating an ISO that runs in 30 min out of the box would not
prevent people from asking the questions they will ask. It just delays them.
As others have pointed out, it is always worth it to check out community
projects for things not found in upstream development.
Ronald van Haren:
Arch Linux is about freedom of choice. I therefore see no point in what a user
would need on the desktop. Looking through the forums, there are a lot of
different desktop setups, but there is no such thing as an average desktop which
fits all. If you have a desktop you really like, some work needs to be done, so
you better start building it from the ground up. I see not much sense in
rebuilding after breaking a default setup down first.
One more thing. It really doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to set up a full
desktop environment fully up to date if you have a reasonable connection and a
bit of experience.
It is no problem to setup an Arch system within half an hour if you know what
you are doing. Ubuntu and Arch have a very different target audience. One of
our principles is to let the user decide what is best and give him full control
over his system. So, by design we won’t have an installer that can be passed by
just pressing “Enter” long enough.
And last but not least our goal is not to build an operating system for as many
people as possible. We are just building the system that fits our needs best.
30 minutes is a long time for an install + desktop; I usually get my computers
up in 15 if I have a good connection. 🙂
Have you ever considered supporting other CPU architectures outside of i686 / AMD64?
We never even considered supporting x86_64. It started as a community project
and was integrated into Arch when it matured and gained enough popularity. That
might happen again – or not. Obviously, none of the current developers have any
other machines they want to run Arch on, so none of us will start a new port.
There are community projects for i586, PPC and ARM.
Yes, but it is all based on demand. Right now, the market is largely ruled by
x86 and x86_64 architectures, meaning that if we were to put a lot of work into
an additional port, we’d end up with very little users. All work, little gain.
That said, there ARE community projects for this sort of thing. i.e.
http://archlinux-i586.org/ and http://www.archmobile.org/
I considered other CPU architectures. There are external community projects for other CPU architectures.
Maybe in the future…
Like history shows (x86_64 port was a community project and now we are supporting
official), first things happen in community. Maybe in the future, when we have
the harwdware, we can support some new architectures like those supported by
commmunity: PPC, ARM.
kth5, a former Arch Linux developer, used to create a PowerPC version of the most
used packages. For now we have only i686/x86_64. Nothing else is planned to my
knowledge. But you never know what the community comes up with – especially
with the rising popularity and capability of mobile devices. Being active or
not, there are community projects around for some less popular architectures.
Ronald van Haren:
No, not really. If some architecture becomes really popular someday, I’m sure
we’ll have a community project in no time, like we see now, for example, with
Arch Mobile, optimized for ARM-based model devices. In the end, these projects
may or may not become part of the official distribution if we see a need for it
at some point.
No, but once there is a need for another port, I am sure the community will
provide an Arch port.
There are some community projects for this and nothing prevents others from
appearing. Everything depends on whether the community will need support for
another architecture or not.