I’ve spent the last few days reading over my views on arch, and the pursuing sandstorm it seems to have caused a over all seemingly negative response from arch users, even to the point, of almost “bashing” other distro’s...
I feel I should take a moment, to reiterate what the purpose of this was, why arch was done first, and general summarizing of my thoughts towards arch linux.
The purpose of this thread, I’m a ubuntu user, I prefer ubuntu, I like ubuntu, and I’ve learned ubuntu. I didn’t treat ubuntu as a stepping stone to get into other distro’s. I tried out a bunch of distro’s when I decided to make the change, and Ubuntu was the one I was most comfortable with, and still am comfortable with it. As I don’t believe I made a choice out of error, or simply can not see the “perceived” problems that people have said about ubuntu over the years.
I get these “urges” the best way to describe them, to see what I could potentially be missing, as I hear some fantastic things about various distro’s, and the monotony that using only Ubuntu brings, I like the change every once in awhile.
Sharing my views and thoughts on these distro’s, help me “organize” my experience with them better. I also go into these distro’s, to see not only how they differ from ubuntu, but I also see how they compare with what I already do, how I setup ubuntu, and what I know about ubuntu.
Now my reviews of these other distro’s, might come off as just being negative, to poke at other users of these distro’s, I can not stress enough that is not my intention. I also welcome the challenge to my opinion, cause I could very well be wrong, either thru ignorance of not knowing enough about the distro, and the way they do things, or just simply cause I didn’t bother or summarized my experience with it.
I chose Arch first, simply cause it is the one I hear the most about, and the one I have the least hands on experience with, as the first time I used it, it ended in disaster, and instead of trying to fix it, I simply gave up and ran back to ubuntu’s comfort.
Yes I had what I would call serious problems with the installation thru its install media. Even to the point where it almost made me go “okay, not for me”. Instead of throwing my hands up in failure on this, I went forward, looking for solutions, when I could not achieve this. I started using my experience, and figured I could try what seem at the time (even now) as something that was just begging to fail. I was actually quite surprised it had not failed, as it was a combination of things I do with ubuntu when building a custom live iso, when I tried out gentoo, and a paragraph in the arch wiki.
Even after successfully installing it, I still had trouble booting it, I spent a few hours, and my persistence paid off. If at anytime, I felt I was going to just give up on this distro and blow up on it, would’ve been this time.
These sort of installation problems, I’ve never had before, with ubuntu or any of the other distro’s I’ve tried. The closest I can come with it in terms of not being able to use the installer, was when on my sisters laptop I used ubuntu’s alternative installer cd instead of the live cd. which actually later to find out, was not a ubuntu problem, but one with that generation of kernel code, concerning intel graphics. (this was in the 9.10 release, and I think it was also in the 10.04 release, it has since been resolved afaik.)
I enter into Arch linux, with a lot of hope that this Distro would wow and dazzle me. That I would long last find a Ubuntu replacement and go “and this is what I’ve been missing.” unfortunately, I did not.
overall I think arch is a fine distro, it has a lot going for it, to the right user. for me, it offered me in nothing in terms that I don’t already get out ubuntu. I’ve taken into consideration that have been said about my opinion on arch and some of its prized features. They honestly do not change my mind on it.
To me arch’s approach to things, simply do not make me think “oh this better than ubuntu’s approach”, it does however make me go “oh this is different, but do I like it?”.
the over all answer, is no.
AUR, how do can I review the AUR, without it sounding like I’m making excuses.
I use PPA’s, I use third party repositories, and I also check to see if the developer happens to offer a .deb package. if they do not, I will resort to building my own package, which I typically do in most cases, now the other times I compile from source, is to either optimize it cause the software could take advantage of features my cpu offers, to add or remove a feature, or to patch the software with either a security/bug fix update, or it is a patch to add functionality.
With that in mind now, when I would need to use the AUR, compared to the shear volume of PPA’s, third party repositories, and packages on developers site, the potential thought of having to replace that with a majority of source building, then customizing the script if need be, and the added time of compiling in, with the potential of not gaining nothing from it, the AUR to me, is really a poor alternative to adding to the software availability in arch linux.
With the few exceptions to this, I would loose abilities in arch linux going this route. With PPA’s and Third party repositories, adding these to apt’s sources.list, the installed package is not only tracked, but apt will sync with these, and if their is an update available, will notify me of this. as with the AUR, things are constantly being moved from PPA’s, third party repositories and stand alone deb packages, into the repositories based on the popularity and demand of them, often times in the span of a single release, as Ubuntu freezes debian’s sid branch, and things get added to sid very fast most times.
ABS, its actually quite easy to review the ABS, as it is something you will find in all distro’s, in one form or another. with arch complying to gpl an various other free licenses, the source has to be made available upon request. the ABS was arch’s solution, ubuntu adopted debian’s solution to this, by making source repositories, accessible via apt.
These two systems, are very much alike. the reason I say this, well lets look at example:
We are going to assume you’ve already installed abs and edited /etc/makepkg.conf to customize compile flags.
^this is a basic, just compiling with the new compile flags.
export CFLAGS="-march=native -O2 -pipe"
export CXXFLAGS="-march=native -O2 -pipe"
sudo apt-get build-dep [package]
apt-get source [package]
dpkg-buildpackage -j#(number of cores to use)-rfakeroot -uc -b
sudo dpkg -i package.deb
^ as with arch, this just compiles the package with the compile flags. Now this is only one way to build a package in from sources, to me this is the easiest method to obtain, and the other methods are for more of developing for ubuntu than they are for average users to rebuild a package or two.
If you want, you can easily throw this entire process into a build script, and run that, and keep it on hand for later use or modification.
I know i said this process is very much alike to that of arch’s, but the ubuntu way, is a bit more complicated, but do me a favor, open up the PKGBUILD and look at what they’ve done for you...and you say ubuntu is hand holding...
I guess if you want to streamline this process a bit, you can export the compile flags, alias make to make -j#(cores to use), and then run it like this:
sudo apt-get build-dep [package] &&sudo apt-get source -b [package]
sudo dpkg -i package.deb
As for the rest of the system, startup resource use, hard drive space used, and processes running at startup, boot up time, they are virtually identical for me in both, to actually set here and detail the difference, would actually be petty in my eyes.
For the other parts of the distro, the speed of the GUI, the speed of the soaftware once opened, I’ve not noticed actually differences in this area, if there are some, it is so minute I can’t visually feel this.
Now on to stability of Arch. I left windows cause of stability issues, why would I want to return to it? The actually stability issues i’ve had, its like this, I mentioned them, but over all they didn’t weigh that much on my thoughts on arch. these things happen, I just thought it was worth the mention, since when I searched about issues, I saw the most given answer to it was “find a stable point and stop updating”, to what end is what I wondered, if anything it was a cry for help on my part, to see what “theories” could be generated as to these problems.
A lot people find ubuntu’s approach to dependency to be some what “bloated”, I don’t, when I install something in ubuntu, I don’t have to go searching on the web/arch wiki, for a solution why a feature isn’t working, cause what I consider to be an actual dependency, is only considered “optional” in arch.
So when I look at all I could potentially give up to use arch, I say “it isn’t worth it for me.”