Arch Linux 0.6 (Widget)

#1
I think I may have found a new favorite distro.

Most of you who have known me for a while know that I've been a Slackware junkie for a long time. Ever since I formatted my Slack partition about a month ago though, I've had my eyes on Arch.

It's a relatively young distribution (currently at version 0.6), but it takes the best of Slack - the simplicity, minimalism, and lightweight-nature, and adds to it a superb package management system (note that Arch is not based on Slack in any way).

I've been using this new toy for about a week now. Here are some of the things I really like about Arch:
- ABS and pacman: These two make up the package-management system in Arch. Whereas, pacman is responsible for the binary side, ABS takes on the source side and allows you to very easily build your own packages from source. ABS uses a ports tree structure. Both systems manage dependencies REALLY well. I even upgraded my kernel from 2.6.3 to 2.6.7 using just "pacman -Syu", with no further intervention. Rebooted to find everything just perfect. No missing modules, no extra modules. Now that's just awesome.
- Lightweight: install just what you need. You can download a small ISO with only the base packages, and install just that to get the most basic Linux system possible. Then use pacman/ABS to install only what you need. This is the approach I used, and it makes for a very, very clean system.
- Speed: This was something that really impressed me. I used to think Slack was fast. Arch is screaming. Base install took about 10 minutes flat (it uses an ncurses-based installer like Slack). Packages, even large ones like X and Gnome, install extremely fast. All packages are i686-optimized by default as well. System bootup time from the BIOS screen to a useable state is less than 15 seconds.
- Teaches you linux: This is another aspect that makes Arch so much like Slack. I first started my Linux experience with Redhat 6.x back in the day. Moved onto several other distros like Mandrake, Lycoris, Debian, Knoppix etc. Slackware was the first distro that made me learn the intricacies of the system. Arch is the same. No wizards and extras for every little task...most of the post-install configuration is done by editing files yourself. Depending on your personal preference, this may be a good or a bad thing. I prefer this approach because, in my opinion, wizards hide what is really going on backstage. That's all well and good if everything works the first time you try it...which is rare in the Linux world. If something doesn't work, and you're completely dependent on wizards and GUI-tools, you wouldn't know where to start looking to fix the issue. Arch is almost exactly like Slack in this respect, and I love it for that.

As I said, I may have found my new distro of choice. Even if I do continue to stay with Arch though, I'll always have great respect for Slack, not only because it was responsible for teaching me everything I know about the Linux system, but also because it's one of the oldest and most mature and proven Linux distros around.

I know there are lots of other Slack fans here, which is why I decided to post this rather detailed thread. I highly recommend at least giving Arch a shot to see how you like it...perhaps on a separate partition or a different machine.
I don't think you'll be disappointed.


http://www.archlinux.org
 
#2
grr, if I was able to somehow make linux installation not take the whole rest of the "free space" and leave some out, I'd try this out as well... (or is multiple linux not allowed...? wait that makes sense :p)
 
#3
You can have multiple distros installed at once, together with Windows. You just need to assign space appropriately during the installation of each OS/distro.
 

j79zlr

Glaanies script monkey
Political User
#5
Glaanieboy said:
Hmm. And security-wise? I now use FreeBSD because of the proven security, but can Arch give me that too?
No reason to downgrade to linux. :)

Linux == desktop, BSD == server.
 
#8
Glaanieboy said:
Hmm. And security-wise? I now use FreeBSD because of the proven security, but can Arch give me that too?
In an interview with DistroWatch, this is what Judd Vinet, the creator and lead developer of Arch said:

Is Arch Linux suitable for servers?
Well, I *am* a little biased here, but I would have to say that, yes, Arch is very suitable for servers. My day-job is mostly system administration and I've got 9 servers running Arch at work. They're all quite stable and perform great. Fast and painless to maintain, thanks to pacman and Arch's simplicity.
If FreeBSD is already working well for you, I don't see any need to move to Arch, since FreeBSD is also known to have an excellent ports tree, on which Arch's ABS system is heavily based.
But if you do want to use it, I don't see any reason why it should be a problem.
 
#9
SPeedY_B said:
You say that like it's a bad thing.


nice to see that there's a live CD for those who just want to try without partitioning and all that hassle :)
Oh, it's good you mentioned that. The Arch Wiki even has a tutorial on how you can create your own custom LiveCD for recovery purposes, or if you just want to carry a nice, working Linux system with you on a CD wherever you go.
 

vern

Dominus
Political User
#11
I've seen Arch before, but never did try it out. The package management looks really interesting though ... and it might be a good reason to try it out.

j79zlr said:
No reason to downgrade to linux. :)

Linux == desktop, BSD == server.
Whats wrong with Linux as a server? BSD server != Linux server || BSD server !> Linux server
 

Geffy

OSNN Veteran Addict
#12
FreeBSD is by far better than Linux for server use, more secure and much more stable.

As far as Linux is for Desktops, I would disagree there as well, its fine as a desktop system, and SPeedY_B your Desktop and laptop systems are at their heart FreeBSD systems
 
#13
Ok, let's not turn this into a Linux vs. BSD argument. The fact remains that no OS is inherently "better" than the other - it just depends on what you want from it as a user, and how you manage it as an admin. I'm sure a poorly managed *BSD server would be neither secure nor stable, just like anything else. Get over it.

vern said:
I've seen Arch before, but never did try it out. The package management looks really interesting though ... and it might be a good reason to try it out.
The package management system and the speed - two factors that should really prompt you to try this out. I didn't expect the speed factor to be so significant, but it's blatantly faster...even without a custom-compiled kernel!
 

vern

Dominus
Political User
#15
NetRyder said:
Ok, let's not turn this into a Linux vs. BSD argument. The fact remains that no OS is inherently "better" than the other - it just depends on what you want from it as a user, and how you manage it as an admin. I'm sure a poorly managed *BSD server would be neither secure nor stable, just like anything else. Get over it.
Word.

The package management system and the speed - two factors that should really prompt you to try this out. I didn't expect the speed factor to be so significant, but it's blatantly faster...even without a custom-compiled kernel!
I'm checking out their package browser now, and it's definitely very mature and advanced. So it doesn't use a vanilla kernel by default? That is one of the best reasons I liked Slackware. I will certainly give this a try.
 
#16
vern said:
I'm checking out their package browser now, and it's definitely very mature and advanced.
The main documentation that is linked to on the main page is a little weak. I highly recommend also looking over the Wiki if you haven't already done that.

These Wiki pages, in particular, describe pacman and ABS in detail, and do a very good job at that. Certainly something to look at if you plan to try Arch.

So it doesn't use a vanilla kernel by default? That is one of the best reasons I liked Slackware. I will certainly give this a try.
I think it should be a vanilla kernel. I haven't really looked into that aspect in detail yet though, so I'm not very certain.
 
#17
hm I think I will look into this multiple distro thing...
fedora kept wanting to take the whole free space
even when I designated its exact size for each partition I made
( root / boot / swap / usr -- meant to make home lol)
its "swap" kept "wrapping around" the rest of the free partition
(the way it looks in disk druid??)
bleh...
 
#18
w00kiec00kie said:
hm I think I will look into this multiple distro thing...
fedora kept wanting to take the whole free space
even when I designated its exact size for each partition I made
( root / boot / swap / usr -- meant to make home lol)
its "swap" kept "wrapping around" the rest of the free partition
(the way it looks in disk druid??)
bleh...
That's my biggest gripe with these proprietary wizards - if they don't work as intended, the user doesn't usually know where to start looking. Both Slack and Arch use cfdisk, the standard partitioning utility, which gives you complete control over what you're doing. I've installed so many versions of Slack over the past few years, and I've never had a problem with cfdisk's partitioning.

By the way, hasn't anyone else here given Arch a go yet?
 
#19
I think I am possibly afraid of the command line...
(I cannot get gentoo to install, even though I havn't really
looked into the documents... I had no idea it was like a LiveCD
then I have to type in commands!)
>.<
 

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