Why Arch Linux?

Chuck Hallenbeck chuckh at ftml.net
Sun Apr 24 10:38:20 UTC 2011

Hi Cheryl,

On Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 10:42:30PM -0500, Cheryl Homiak wrote:
> I was just interested to know what the reasons were for adopting
Arch. I've been a debian user for a long time, with brief forays into
fedora and ubuntu and gentoo so I don't know if I'll really switch one
or both of my linux machines but I'd like to hear what people find
compelling about this distribution.

My own experience is narrower than yours: I went from Slackware to
Debian to Arch, and have not implemented any GUI support here. Here are
my main reasons:

1. It is simple, assuming a moderately skilled user. 

2. The package manager and archiving methods are impressively designed,
and easy to use.

3. The package maintainers perform minimal tinkering with upstream
material, primarily just packaging those materials, not second-guessing
developers.  The result is that upstream innovations often appear in
the arch archives very early.

4. The concept of "rolling release" eliminates two issues that were
problematic for me in my earlier experience with Linux, i.e.:

4-A.  The concern that I might be using somewhat older versions of some
applications than might be available, e.g. in unstable rather than
testing, or experimental rather than unstable, etc.

4-B. The nightmare of performaing a major upgrade when a new official
release is announced. I give no examples of such problems, other than
to say that they drove me from Slackware to Debian, and then from
Debian to Arch. I perform a very simple upgrade procedure once a day or
maybe every other day, and in two years have had only minor issues a
couple of times, issues that were cleared up very quickly, often within

5. You mentioned consulting the arch wiki, and that's useful for Linux
users in general, but even more useful for archers in particular of
course. There are also active mailing lists for users and developers,
and a growing community of blind users, thanks largely to Chris
Brannon's modifications to the standard installation iso and his
dedicated support.

One caution: Arch Linux does not support as broad an array of hardware
as do other distributions. If you do not use an i686 or an x86-64
system, look elsewhere. 

The above are only my own personal opinions, and I hope they don't
provoke a distro war, it's not my intention. I learned a lot from my
years in Slackware and in Debian, and those experiences undoubtedly
helped me be comfortable with arch linux.


> -- 
> Cheryl
> May the words of my mouth
> and the meditation of my heart
> be acceptable to You, Lord,
> my rock and my Redeemer.
> (Psalm 19:14 HCSB)
> _______________________________________________
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Chuck in Hudson.
My website is hallenbeck.ftml.net, my Jabber ID is chuckh1 at jabber.org

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