Linux Review 11: Arch Linux

After 11 successful looks at Linux, I think I may have found my favorite...

Arch Linux is a Linux distribution striving to Keep it simple. My opinions on this? Its great. Arch is lightweight and you can do anything in relation to Desktop Managers and configuration. I installed it on my Eee PC 904HA, and had similar results to Fedora. Sound from the headphone output is full of static, but I think that might be a hardware problem. Wireless basically worked out of box. Even with the core install, essentials to a laptop configuration were working. I went from there, installing and configuring X.org, GDM, Gnome, XFCE, and getting programs like Firefox, Pidgin, and OpenOffice.org. What I got out of doing this all by hand was a fast, slim system with only the essentials.

Arch Install
The Arch Linux installer is a text base installer, covering everything needed to get a working install on first reboot. It goes through partitioning, keyboard, time zone, and other settings. If you download the FTP image, you download packages from mirrors to use on the first reboot. I downloaded the ~150MB FTP image, and then downloaded some packages such as the kernel and Text editor, nano. I also dived into using EXT4 for my root partition. EXT4 is the latest EXT filesystem, and it seems faster than EXT3 would be. I had to use EXT3 for my /boot partition as GRUB doesn't yet support EXT4. Otherwise, the install went smooth, and I checked the configuration files to make sure that they were ok. They were, and I proceeded into my first installed start-up of Arch.

Arch Startup
The installed system was blazingly fast. I logged in as root, and I had a command line based system, that I was ready to install things like X onto. I read around the Arch wiki (Great wiki), figuring out how to go around installing what I wanted. Soon after, my system was ready and very usable.

Overview
Arch is a nice Linux distribution. It is lightweight and fast. It works great, once you have it configured properly. It gives you flexibility. You only download things you need. I have to say, with all of these things together in one distribution, it is my favorite. I have to give it a 5/5. I think this will be my distribution of choice for a while. Until something similar to arch comes along with a better mixture of performance and features, Arch will be my favorite. For now, I will stop distribution hopping and stay with Arch.

12 comments:

  1. Arch is a Linux distro hopping stopper. I love the stability and rolling releases. Arch with pacman and yaourt keeps your system up to date, bleeding edge if you like. Congrats on choosing a great distro.

    If you like to test other distros, give Sidux a try. It is another great one. I also like the BSDs, PCBSD is a great BSD distro comparable to many of the best Linux distros out there, IMHO.

    Cheers :-)

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  2. Nice review, I couldn't have said it better.
    Except for grub not supporting ext4.. am not 100 percent sure but i think Arch patched grub for ext4, or else it would have not included in install cd.
    I started using it over two years ago, after many distro hopping i finally settle it with Arch it reminded me about my old favorite distro Slackware. You gotta love the power of pacman, abs and PKGBUILD it so easy to maintain it.. you exactly know where everything belongs or where every file is at no more crap in your system.
    Till death do as a part Arch :)

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  3. If you like ArchLinux you will probably like Crux as well it is very similar to Arch but I personally think it is more hardcore than arch with similar speed or Crux a bit faster. Actually Arch original founder used to be a Crux user. withing my first year of using linux I used many different distros but Arch ended my distro search from time to time I download live cd iso to just check what they are all about like right now using PCLinux live cd but Arch never leave my Desktop. Well let me say it is an excellent distro but not perfect.

    Enjoy being an Archer

    Cheikh.

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  4. Read their June 2008 newsletter. No thanks, Arch.

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  5. What did you find in the newsletter that made you not want to use Arch?

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  6. Hmm... I guess this -
    ARCH is not a democracy.
    This letter is ugly man. My influence on debian is very minor, but at least it is a democracy. Just reading the letter gives me the creep. I can't see my self contributing or using such OS. That is why I don't use FreeBSD, even though I like their system, I disagree with their license policy.

    Here the link
    http://www.archlinux.org/static/newsletters/newsletter-2008-Jun-02.html

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  7. I actually think the newspaper in question has proved itself to be a genius text. The ones who want to contribute, not just talk, read and understand the text correctly. Arch is a small project with little resources, hence it's important to not waste time on opinions not based on a genuine interest of contributing "sweat" to its development.

    People who don't choose to do so might select one of several others distributions, since Linux stands for diversity and evolution. Archers shouldn't feel offended when somebody doesn't like Arch's strategy, just as they who don't agree should respect the freedom and right of every project to work according to whatever guiding ideas they view as most productive. Bigger distributions with more developers and richer monetary backing might have better resources to deal with and make use of debates and opinions.

    Unfortunately many seem to like the design of Arch but are not willing to live with the ideas that made it happen. With a so called democracy Arch wouldn't exist and flourish as it now does, I'm sure it would have vanished as a nice project that never made it. Let us hope there someday will be alternatives to Arch that might satisfy other kind of users.

    Don't make democracy to a holy cow. As Churchill understood, it's sometimes a less bad option in comparison other worse alternatives, but it's not and will never be greater than our human flaws. Besides that, democracy works terribly bad in some contexts. When it comes to technical advancements I prefer to rather see a pragmatic and practical stubbornness than never ending discussions. A majority might still mean that the minority is the loudest and hence halts progress.
    /KimTjik

    PS. There's someone, or a few, who hunts down nearly every article about Arch to post the above complaint. I still haven't been able to grasp the point of it. DS.

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  8. @pixie
    Hmm... I guess this -
    ARCH is not a democracy.
    This letter is ugly man. My influence on debian is very minor, but at least it is a democracy. Just reading the letter gives me the creep. I can't see my self contributing or using such OS. That is why I don't use FreeBSD, even though I like their system, I disagree with their license policy.


    So you are using the wrong OS, because as Linus said, Linux is not a democracy either.

    @openn0de
    Welcome to the family!

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  9. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Joannah

    http://linuxmemory.net

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  10. I have just install Arch linux! First on virtual box though, just to see what all the fuss is about. However, I'm not very convinced by the rolling releases. I think its better to have full distro checked and tested (just like in ubuntu or fedora) rather than individual packages only.

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  11. I think you should try Gentoo. Gentoo offers all that Arch does and much more. Gentoo wiki is the best in the whole linux community.

    Also, Gentoo support is much better than Arch [My personal view though].

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  12. I think I will try Gentoo, and Sidux. As soon as I have the time, I will be sure to. Thanks for the suggestions!

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