ArchLinux, The Distro I wish I had found sooner.
(could also be taken by someone as ..... I wish I would have listened to you months ago
Catchy title isn't it ?
"ArchLinux, The Distro I wish I had found sooner". is similar in perspective to "Linux, The OS I wish I had found sooner" and in my opinion, almost as much of a welcome suprise. You remember that feeling don't you ? The one where you realized that you DIDN'T actually have to depend on that OTHER OS
That almost giddy feeling of power that you could possibly thumb your nose at Redmond because you had found a better way, and it's name is Linux
.... remember that feeling ?
ArchLinux gives me the same feeling all over again.
Ok, right from the start, I want to say, I'm NOT trying to convert you away from your "perfect" distro.
If your happy with the version of Linux your running, congratulations, you can stop reading now.
No, really.... you CAN stop reading now. What? It's NOT perfect you say... well, you might want to read a bit further then
If you have been running Linux for more than a year or two, and haven't tried ArchLinux, you don't know what your missing. I speak from experience, I had been running Linux for years, and had not tried ArchLinux yet either. Those of you familiar with these forums, know that I've ran more than a few distros. I've been running Linux for some time, and while I don't claim to be any sort of expert, years of experience in installing different versions of Linux tend to give one a fairly good perspective (and sometimes a splitting headache) on WHAT we want in a distro. It took a lot of prodding and nagging on the part of a fellow Linux enthusiast to finally get me to install it. Believe it or not, I actually just installed it to shut him up. I just kept thinking that his fanboy attitude towards ArchLinux was so misplaced, but he wouldn't quit annoying me until I actually tried it. So I finally relented, I just couldn't take the PM's, emails, and sooo many other forms of nagging anymore
So, my first install was Thursday, Aug. 17th, 2006. I was sure that it wasn't going to meet my expectations and I would be back to running distro "X" again, and would be able to tell him ---- "I tried it, it stunk, I'm back to distro X again..... "
. It seems there is always
something that every distro lacks that is a deal breaker. Sometimes it's that they are slow, sometimes the updates break to many things, updates are a pain, won't work on system X, install is slow as molasses, or any number of other "deal breakers". Boy was I wrong.
I am however, still thanking him months later for being so persistent in getting me to try ArchLinux.
This Linux distro is exactly how "I" feel Linux should feel/run. It's very fast, easy to update, and has a "rolling release" system that doesn't require you to "upgrade" or re-install your existing system. Text based configuration files make setup fairly painless, as long as you have some experience with editing those types of files. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me introduce you to ArchLinux ....
------------ From the ArchLinux Website --------------
What is Arch Linux?
Arch Linux is an independent i686-optimized community distribution for intermediate and advanced Linux users. Originally based on ideas from CRUX, a great distribution developed by Per LidÃ©n.
Arch is fast, lightweight, flexible and simple. Those aren't very fancy buzzwords but they're all true. Arch is optimized for the i686 ISA, so you get more for your CPU cycle. It's lightweight compared to RedHat et al., and its simple design makes it easy to extend and mold into whatever kind of system you're building.
Unique Package Management
Arch is backed by an easy-to-use binary package system - pacman - that allows you to upgrade your entire system with one command. Arch also uses a ports-like package build system (Arch Build System) to make it easy to build packages, which can also be synchronized with one command. You can even rebuild your entire system with one command. Everything is done quite simply and transparently.
Only the Best
Arch Linux strives to maintain the latest stable version of its software. We currently support a fairly streamlined core package set with a growing collection of extra packages made by users and developers.
Simplicity is the Key
In its goal to be simple and lightweight, I've left out the relatively useless portions of a Linux system, things like /usr/doc and the info pages. In my own personal experience these are rarely used, and the equivalent information can be obtained from the net if need be. Man pages all the way!
Arch Linux also strives to use some of the newer features that are available to Linux users, such as Ext3/ReiserFS and udev support. Arch Linux 0.8 (Voodoo) uses the 2.6 Linux kernel by default, and has support for XFS/JFS.
Now.... some of the common comparisons of other versions of Linux.
Ripped from : http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_vs_Others
Arch vs Gentoo
Because Arch distributes binary, it is much less time consuming than Gentoo
Arch vs Slackware
Arch is i686 only whereas Slackware can run on i486 systems.
Arch vs Debian
Arch is i686 optimized and thus faster than Debian
Arch is simpler than Debian.
Arch vs Ubuntu
Arch has a simpler foundation than Ubuntu.
In general, developers and tinkerers will probably like Arch better than Ubuntu.
Arch vs RPM-based Distros
pacman is much more powerful and reliable than RPM.
Arch vs Mandriva
Arch allows much more freedom and less hand-holding. You actually learn to use Linux.
So some of the things on the plus side of the column, created for i686 systems (it's fast), distributes binaries (no long compile times), simple config system (most everything is in /etc/), pacman (fast/reliable/easy to use), freedom (install only what you want to use). On top of all of those, add the "rolling release system" and you have a Linux experience comparable to no other.
Some of the guiding ideas behind ArchLinux are found here:http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/The_Arch_Way
The basic nature of Arch.
* Lightweight and simple.
* Not designed to be a newbie distro it is intended for a more experienced user.
Arch Linux is my (Judd Vinet) perfect distro, to sum it up. I started building it for two reasons:
1. I didn't find any other distributions that met my ideals. Some came very close to what I wanted but there were annoying quirks, or an added complexity that seemed to hurt more than help.
2. For fun, and to give a little something back to the free software community, since I've taken so much.
* The aim is to develop Arch into a perfect base. A base doesn't include fancy tools and auto configure, but with manual configure tools and few functions for the users to be able to do further development on their own.
* It is a free gift "to give a little something back to the free software community, since I've taken so much". When you receive a gift from someone, its usually expected to give something in return. So, users are welcome to contribute ideas, tools and suggestions.
* There are two sides in Arch Linux: (1) Developer and (2) User contributions. Don't expect the two sides to merge but to have a mutual relation where anyone can pickup what they want to add in their machine.
* Don't let configure tools / GUIs control the system but be controlled by the user. There is nothing wrong of having GUIs as long as it follows this principle.
* Don't be controlled/depended what tools offer. When developing or selecting a utility tool, it should be written in hackable/readable programming language (KISS) to enable users to modify if they want.
* The core development of Arch Linux will not be providing any "newbie-friendly" GUIs/utilities at any time in the near future.
* We humble developers will continue to provide Arch as a solid base for everyone and anyone. If you guys want to make it pretty, give 'er.
System of values by which Arch develops.
* KISS (Keep It Simple, ...) is the base of Arch development.
* In Arch "simple" is different what other distros are considering. The learning is more important than getting something easily done.
* Relying on GUIs to build/use your system is just going to hurt a user in the end. At some point in time a user will need to know all that some GUIs hide.
* If you try to hide the complexity of the system, you'll end up with more complex system. Instead try to make the system more simple and logical from the inside.
* Sooner or later you will have to find the information on the web and usenet (if man is not enough). Learning how and where to find it on the net should be the first thing to learn for a newbie.
* When users say the such and such distro isn't like such and such distro, Arch allows the user to make all the contributions they want to as long it does not go against the ideals of the design or philosophy.
* The solution is not to demand Arch Linux to develop tools and docs but trying to understand what's the aim and philosophy of AL... what makes it different from others.
* The great thing about contributions is that you don't need anyone's permission to make them. No one can physically stop you from writing something that you (personally) find useful, even if the "powers that be" don't see it as a blessing. Write it and put it up in the User Contributions forum. If other people like it, you will receive feedback. If virtually everyone out there hates it but you, who cares? It took you 20 minutes to write, and you learned something along the way. It's a winning situation no matter what.
* It is what you make it.
So you see, there is no fancy GUI to help you through the configuration of your system, you actually have to get your hands dirty and mess with the configuration files. Most of these are found in /etc/ and are easy to understand and figure out. If your not afraid of using "nano" or "vi(m)" you should have little problem setting up ArchLinux. The basic setup is well documented on the wiki, and I recommend you print out some of the pages if your not totally confident in your installation and configuration abilities. At least print out the install guide I list below, it will make things a bit more bearable if you get stuck. Once you have your basic installation done, you can "pacman -S irssi" and have an irc client at the ready to use if you do get stuck. The irc.freenode.net #archlinux channel is full of helpful people, as is #usalug on the same server.
I definitely wouldn't recommend ArchLinux to someone new to Linux, for those people I would recommend OpenSuse. However, anyone with a bit of Linux experience can get ArchLinux installed and should be able to take advantage of all the benefits ArchLinux gives you.
A few final "tips" if you will for those that are brave enough to continue, and install ArchLinux for themselves.
1. Read (and possibly print) http://www.archlinux.org/static/docs/ar ... guide.html
2. Make sure you understand irssi and how to use it. (Makes it easy to get help from #archlinux or #usalug when you don't have X running yet.)
3. Download and burn a copy of SLAX. (Makes it easier to fix bootloader errors and other fun stuff if your system won't boot).
4. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you get stuck, we have all been there too. (I know I've asked my fair share of stupid questions).
5. Be prepared to READ and LEARN. (This distro doesn't hold your hand.)
6. Finally .... it's ok to smile once it's installed and you actually SEE what the fuss is about
ArchLinux is now my distro of choice, I have installed it on almost all of my machines , it seems my distro hopping days are over for now. I've been a happy ArchLinux user for over 4 months now, and I see no immediate plans on the horizon to switch from ArchLinux to another distro. Perhaps some day, some other distro will take control of my desktops, things always change. I'm sure I'll keep my test machine hopping and I'll wear out a few more sets of swappable drive trays, but for now, my normal day to day computers have found a new distro, and it's called ArchLinux !
Oh yeah, and before I forget.... Thanks AGAIN jbsnake ! ! !
Links of interest:
ArchLinux Wiki - Helpful Pages
http://www.archlinux.org/static/docs/ar ... guide.html
AUR and MISC
IRC Channels irc.freenode.net