Why not Arch Linux?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Mrkvonic, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Here be an article discussing why Arch Linux is not a distribution of choice for testing and reviewing on Dedoimedo, focusing on the topics of tinkering, perceived and real knowledge, enterprise distributions, industry standards, certifications, automation, learning, other concepts, and more. Take a look.

    http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/why-not-arch-linux.html


    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  2. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Uh.... Arch can be installed and ready to go in less time than Ubuntu, specially if the user has a fast connection.

    Not necessarily. Although installing Arch can be an achievement on itself, it servers one main purpose for it's users: Control and simplicity. Not the kind of control you'd get from installing Gentoo (which can take weeks to compile), but the kind of control which lets you build YOUR OWN DISTRO, the distro of Dedoimedo, of the distro of Amarildo. Unlike Ubuntu/Mint/Debian/openSUSE, which tend to come preconfigured to suit the needs of most people, Arch comes as bare bones, and this allows the user to install only what he/she wants, without having to install the mom/dad/mary distro and then removing the stuff he/she doesn't want.

    I think the "Linux systems expert" should talk to Arch users to see what their take on this is, because it's a HUGE misconception that Arch is a distro that needs constant and hard maintenance; that is not true and any shape or form. In fact, the only "hard" part is learning how to install it, maintaining an Arch system running requires way less effort and thought than maintaining Ubuntu/Mint/Debian/openSUSE; I know, I've used all of these.

    And don't even start me on configurations. You may need to know a thing or two to get the system installed, but after that almost nothing requres configuration (at least most configs are easy).
    And, to be honest, the user should know that he will be trading a general/clogged distro for something that is more controlabe, although with the expense of reading a little.

    If the user doesn't like reading (most don't), then Arch is not for them. It's sad, but it also applies for life. If one doesn't study, this one most likely won't have all the benefits.

    That's not my case, at least. I do like some hand-holding for a change ;)

    Another misconception is that Arch users are wizzards that somehow can hack everything. While that is not true, it is known that most Arch users do have a more deep interest in Linux when compared to most Linux users, and that may or may not include tweaks on other distros that are more standardized.

    What matters most to an Arch user is not to brag or to show off as a Wizzard or to know everything about everything - but the good amount of control over the OS itself. Arch servers the user's needs for his own machine and OS, anything apart from that has no correlation to Arch.

    If the user wants to learn networking, he/she will learn it despite using Arch or not, or even while using Windows. The same for every other little subject.

    And why exactly do you feel that Arch enslaves it's users? If anything, Arch is more of user's slave than 99% of the distros out there. It's totally the opposite from your perspective.

    Maybe you're doing something wrong. Installing packages on Arch are just as easy as on most distros, and sometimes even easier.

    Want VLC? "pacman -S vlc"
    Want the NVIDIA drivers? "pacman -S nvidia", then just do "nvidia-xconfig".
    Want MATE? "pacman -S mate mate-extra"

    Simple.

    No, but that would be FABULOUS :-*

    Not really. Arch FORCES the user to become better at Linux in order to use the distro, so the choice of distro is NOT irrelevant.

    Just as the people who spread such rumors.

    Because Arch is user-centric. The user controls everything that is possible to control without actually using Gentoo.

    I've been telling people about this for a long time: LEARN what each command does ;)

    It doesn't if the user only memorizes the commands without understanding what they do.

    Correct :)

    It meets exactly the point of Linux, actually. Linux is supposed to be free, to give freedom to people, and Arch only facilitates that. Not on the way of compiling your own packages like what Gentoo does, but that's the beauty of if IMO: You don't need to spend weeks compiling the OS, you get greater control than 99.9% of distros out there, and you learn a bit more about Linux. It's a win-win for me :)

    It seems to me that it's not Arch users' ego that is hurt ;)

    I wonder where you get your information that the defining quality of Arch is to keep re-installing it just to show it to our friends.

    The quality of Arch is more control, simpler system. "Keeping it simple, stupid".

    Well duuuh??

    I understand the joke, but as you mentioned: people can't read and understand what they're reading. So for those: Arch will never be automated, because that's not it's targeted audience. If you want automation there are tons of other distros that suit your needs.

    I don't :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  3. linuxforall

    linuxforall Registered Member

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    Ubuntu way less time than Arch during install but its updates after reboot that takes more time as Arch installs all fresh packages during install and yes, fully agreed with Mrkvonic's post.
     
  4. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Even though I don't use Arch, I find the Arch wiki very useful.
     
  5. Joxx

    Joxx Registered Member

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    nuff said
     
  6. Nanobot

    Nanobot Registered Member

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    "The amount of time and effort needed to get it running." was a valid argument once, but not anymore, with tools like "Architect Linux" and distros like "Antergos" the time/effort needed to get it running it's pretty much on the same levels as your average mainstream distro.
     
  7. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Did you see the bit where I said "stock" Arch?
    Mrk
     
  8. Nanobot

    Nanobot Registered Member

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    Architect Linux installer IS stock Arch, the same applies for Antergos minus some theming stuff otherwise it's essential a stock Arch.
     
  9. fblais

    fblais Registered Member

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    I've used Manjaro for a while, in its beginning, and liked it quite a bit.
    Tried it again lately but was unable to have Boinc running.
    At least I stopped trying after an hour of effort and went back with a debian or Ubuntu based distro. (Ubuntu Mate at the moment)
     
  10. oliverjia

    oliverjia Registered Member

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    I don't use Arch, because I heard its not easy to use as compared to Ubuntu. I am looking for a balance between usability and security. Ubuntu appears to fit my needs pretty well.
     
  11. inka

    inka Registered Member

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    I read that you (dedoimedo) have pre-ordered an ubuntu Aquaris tablet.
    Although I, too, hope the "ubuntu tablet" concept will succeed, I was put off by the bleh processor (compared to the ubuntu convergence smartphone's processor) in this device. After all the hype these past 2 months, I was astounded when the price was revealed a day or two ago ~~ $50+ premium over the same-specced android flavor of the same tablet!
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  12. keithpeter

    keithpeter Registered Member

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    How many reviews will we need per year when GnomeOS(*) arrives?

    I'll miss the diversity of the current situation, but, then what do I know? I use Slackware. :p

    (*) [ GnomeOS is the nickname I use for a converged Linux distribution with common base software, an integrated graphical stack and uniform package management together with territory based codec installation and real name registration. Quite possibly published by Microsoft. We live in strange times. ]
     
  13. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Don't you mean systemdOS? ;)
     
  14. keithpeter

    keithpeter Registered Member

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    I was trying to keep away from that one :argh:

    Seriously, think about Android. One standard stack released to various vendors who then put their own icons and skin on top (basically).

    Mrkvonic's reviews (which I always read and enjoy) stress ease of installation, use, software installation/updates, desktop functionality and codecs. The logical result of progress down that line is a standard stack; kernel/systemd suite/wayland/messagebus/logind/notifications manager and the whole multiply connected pile of turtles all version locked against each other. Then each distro is basically branding and icons. My GnomeOS concept includes PlasmaOS by the way.

    I'll miss the diversity when it has gone.
     
  15. Trespasser

    Trespasser Registered Member

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    Totally agree with you, Mrk. :D. Arch is alright (I used it a time or two), but I tend to gravitate towards simplicity, functionality, and ease of use. Arch does nothing for me personally but have found their tutorials on different subjects to be extremely helpful.

    I will admit that I do start with a mini.iso then build my own Ubuntu/Cinnamon version via a bash script I created. Suits my needs perfectly.

    Thanks again, Mrk, for your article. I always enjoy them.

    Later...
    Bob
     
  16. Anonfame1

    Anonfame1 Registered Member

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    We are approaching necrobump territory, but I think Im still good to respond and I cannot leave this alone without adding one more voice to the chorus:

    I do not agree. Mrkvonic puts up a lot of great stuff so I hope he wont take this personally.

    My desktop has the same Arch install I installed 7 years ago. 7 YEARS ago. I havent reinstalled once. XFCE, openbox, the kernel, Xorg, everything is completely up-to-date. No "ok, end of service time to install the new release." It doesnt have an end of service life like every other distro (including Windows and OSX) in existence (gentoo and debian can be seen this way too). My laptop (4 years old) has an Arch install thats 4 years old and its the same deal. There is a ton of available software, makepkg/ABS makes compiling anything easier by far than Debian/Fedora/whatever, security updates are prompt as you always have the latest upstream software, and contrary to some suggestions pacman DOES do dependency handling without issue. Git packages for developmental versions of common packages are all over the AUR as well, making it possible to talk to a dev in a bug tracker/IRC channel/forum, hear hes added your feature or bug fix, and immediately compile from GIT with pacman handling the package for you. AUR helpers can even periodically update packages on your system installed from GIT.

    You can even go so far as to move Arch installs over to an external, transfer it to a new computer, regenerate initramfs, install drivers if necessary (e.g. you switched from an ATI card to an Nvidia) assuming they arent already in the kernel, and use it until you get rid of the computer. There are guys in the Arch community who still have installs going from like 2003! Thats 13 years on one operating system...

    I have and administer Linux Mint for my mom. My girlfriend has Debian which I administer as well. I happen to use Arch. All three distros are awesome for the purpose for which they were designed because all of them have sizable development efforts behind them. I only respond to this thread because it comes off as an Arch hit piece, and its important contrary opinions are logged in response. I think if our community policy is to refrain from political statements, this should apply to Linux distros as well- no need to drag down distro X because it isnt what you need or want. Arch isnt for everyone. Debian isnt for everyone. They both rock at what they do. They both deserve respect. All distros deserve respect.

    No offense intended...
     
  17. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    Even if Arch (when fully set up to be compareable with e.g. Ubuntu) isn't any faster / more performing than e.g. Ubuntu, then Arch still gives me the choice to easily install only what I want and need.
    E.g. my GNOME installation with only a hand full of packages instead of the complete GNOME bloat crap: http://files.bestmail.ws/Arch/setup/GNOME-Minimized.txt

    It is always up-to-date which is a security-must-have for me.
    It is actually stable and a system update never caused troubles to me so far.

    Yes, maybe the "myth" of Arch being so lightweight, fast and sharp like a samurai sword is wrong (when looking at a fully installed setup for every day usage). But that myth would be just a bonus to what Arch actually offers anyway.
     
  18. linuxforall

    linuxforall Registered Member

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    I have been running Arch since last three years. Its been stable so far as long as instructions are followed and before any major updates announcements are read. However I have faced issues with quite a few programs which would stop running or segfault from time to time till the upstream or Arch dev fixes it. Even then programs like Darkrtable lack in few features unlike the counterpart in the Ubuntu PPA. Thats why for work and backup, its always latest Ubuntu LTS with updates.
    I do enjoy Arch with its cutting edge up to date packages and latest kernel with many new features to explore, having said that its high time Arch gets Apparmor by default.
     
  19. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    Yes, true but sometimes things break. In my case this might have been largely caused by the Plasma 5 updates. Things that didn't work were mostly trifles - but annoying trifles. I moved to Fedora recently which I had been running for nearly 2 years in VirtualBox. In my experience it's very stable (more stable than Arch) and it also has the latest kernel and rather up-to-date packages. It's not a rolling distro, of course, but system upgrades following the steps here were very reliable.

    Regarding newest kernel and up-to-date packages: I have the impression that Fedora is a bit more conservative, perhaps due to more comprehensive testing. For example, Arch got the 4.6 kernel at the beginning of June while Fedora 23 was still using 4.5.7 and so was Fedora 24. Kernel 4.6.3 arrived just 2 or 3 days ago. That's totally okay for me if this improves stability.

    That won't happen in the foreseeable future, IMHO. It was not all that long ago that they abandoned AppArmor/SELinux/Tomoyo support.
     
  20. Anonfame1

    Anonfame1 Registered Member

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    If only I could find a grsecurity patched kernel for Fedora. It looks to be pretty awesome overall- SELinux, hardened packages, pretty up-to-date, etc. I really dont want to rebuild a kernel manually without any of Arch's assistance tools (makepkg, ABS, etc) every time a new one comes out though..

    linux-grsec is still at 4.5.7 for me, though it prolly wont be long before 4.6 hits the repos. Sometimes linux-grsec is actually ahead of the main linux kernel, and sometimes it tracks behind a release.

    Yeah, and this is something to be said against Arch overall- the devs mostly dont take a very good stance towards security. It was pulling teeth to get package signing implemented (!) when every other major distro had it, and security is more or less something not really of concern. If it werent for ONE maintainer (Daniel Micay), Arch would have a pretty dismal capacity to be secure. As it turns out, that maintainer also is the creator of Copperhead OS which is a hardened Android variant for smartphones, so Arch is very lucky to have him around.

    Ive heard it said that security is something that when done right never really gets the praise it deserves- if it works, nothing gets pwned and so noone really SEES the benefit. It takes getting hacked somehow to really see the importance.
     
  21. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    Indeed. And I feel safe without grsecurity ...
     
  22. Anonfame1

    Anonfame1 Registered Member

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    Just to be clear in case I wasnt, it wasnt my intention to suggest Fedora isn't safe without it. Not in the slightest. Fedora has a great security approach now, and has for quite awhile.
     
  23. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    I have used Arch Linux and i did quite enjoy starting with a base and then just installing what i wanted and editing a text file to sort out what runs on startup. the main issue I had was because it always has the latest versions of everything it can have some breakages.
     
  24. linuxforall

    linuxforall Registered Member

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    Ironically, if you put Dev PPA, Ubuntu gets the updates earlier than my Arch. My Darktable and SMPlayer are newer versions than Arch but in a week Arch catches up.
     
  25. oliverjia

    oliverjia Registered Member

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    Arch is far behind Ubuntu when it comes to hardware compatibility. For this alone I choose Ubuntu over Arch any day.
     
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