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Arch Linux 0.7 Reviewed

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the closer-looks dept.

Software 31

Eugenia writes "Andrew Roberts posted a long and informative review of the newly released Arch Linux 0.7. It describes the installation method, post-install configuration, features included, package management and the available support for the distro. Trying to describe Arch Linux in a single sentence, many would say that it's a distro that's almost as speedy as Gentoo is, as simple as Slackware is and with a package management similar to Debian's. [Semi-]advanced Linux users would probably like it a lot."

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/. dead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502076)

What happens, no 'first post' shouting one minute after the story's up? /. is not what it used to be anymore...

Oh God, noooo (3, Funny)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502124)

Oh please no, not another Linux distro, there really is no reason to have as many distros as there are penguins in the world! We're running out of penguins!

Re:Oh God, noooo (1)

Tsalg (828169) | more than 9 years ago | (#11504404)

And where is that screenshot? :p ./T

Re:Oh God, noooo (1)

alexmat (792763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11518164)

That's pretty funny, but I think that one of the coolest things about GNU/Linux is in how many different ways you can put together an os. The applications are all the same anyways so not much effort is wasted. If anything it fills the needs of niche markets that other distros may not address. I for one have tried Gentoo, Slackware and Redhat, but am sticking with Arch because of it's power and simplicity (not to mention the awesome package manager).

I'm writing this post from a laptop running Arch, sitting in an office with an Arch development server and five desktop clients runnining Arch. Give it a go, the more distros you try the more likely you are to find one that you'll stick with and love.

3rd post (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502153)

Man, who would've thought it would get so predictable here. 3d post.

Natural disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502164)

Was there like a natural disaster that wiped out 98 % of the world's population and now there are only 3 of us left posting here on /.? 4th post!

Re:Natural disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502195)

No, just you know CowBoyNeal posted the story so we all run off .....visiting him.

5th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502198)

This is a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity, so don't mod me down too much. :)

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502209)

I am a Slackware fan, but I will give Arch a try, it does look interesting!

Re:Interesting (3, Funny)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502225)

You just ruined my most-consecutive-Slashdot-posts record attempt, you insensitive clod!

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503296)

If you were half a man, you'd have a script for that. Shame on you ;-)

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503432)

If you were half a man, you'd have a script for that. Shame on you ;-)

I don't have a subscription to Slashdot. ;)

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11506751)

I used Slackware from version 3.6 through 9.0 and now use Arch Linux exclusively. In the year I've been using it, I have only found a couple major problems -- far less than other distros I've used !

For example the package manager uses tiny files rather than a central database, so when you go to install a package, it has to scan all these hundreds of files when checking dependancies, a rather painful hard drive chugging ensues if you have a full distro worth of packages installed. It starts out being far faster than Debian's apt, and ends up being far slower. Judd is considering switching to a central database, I hope he goes ahead with it.

The most annoying problem is that the package manager will move files you have in /etc and replace them with the one from the package you install. This is simply "wrong". A package manager should never overwrite custom config files in /etc under any circumstance. It saves them first as .pacsave, and then if you upgrade the same package again before noticing what happened, it overwrites the .pacsave file. I lost a custom /etc/profile when there were two Bash updates in one day, which was a big piss-off. The work-around is to add all your custom config files to NoUpgrade lines in /etc/pacman.conf, for example:

NoUpgrade = etc/profile
NoUpgrade = etc/pacman.conf
NoUpgrade = etc/php.ini

Arch Linux does have a more limited supply of packages than a massive distro like Debian, but the quality of the packages tends to be far higher than Debian. Debian has a tendancy to fall on the side of "basic / stable" for all ./configure time options, to the point that a lot of Debian's desktop apps are downright unusable. ICEWM is a good example of this, it did not have support for transparent themes or antialiasing the last time I was on Debian.

The packages are the most up-to-date of any distro I've used, the archlinux.org site is incredibly fast -- it always maxes out my 380KB/sec net connection, and it is easy to create new packages using the PKGBUILD system.

Overall my favorite distro of the ones I've tried: Slackware, Debian, Knoppix, Red Hat, Mandrake, LFS, etc.

- raven morris

6th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502213)

Maybe I should tell a funny story in the 7th post?

10th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502236)

OK, OK, I'll stop, just one more... Does anyone know what the record for most consecutive Slashdot posts is?

11th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502251)

*yawn*

12th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502259)

On the 1st day of Christmas...

13th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502269)

99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer...

14th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502276)

I wonder if the universe would implode if I posted 42 consecutive posts, hmm...

Cool (3, Insightful)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502288)

(for the poster above, everyone is reading about battery stickers)

I thought the review was written pretty well actually! I'm always on the lookout for a better distro - not that this one really fits, but there are many links to other sites that lead me to other ideas.

15th post (1)

Anonymous Cowherd X (850136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502293)

To keep this series of posts at least a bit less off-topic: the codename for ArchLinux 0.7 beta is Wombat.

Womat? (1)

FlashBuster3000 (319616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502608)

I don't know much about Wombats but thats the 16th post! :P

Arch (4, Interesting)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503145)

I've used arch in the past and found it a great distro. It has its quirks, but for me it was rock solid and ran like a charm as a development/test server for a side project I was working on. It does require you to know a little bit more about linux and your hardware then most distros, but its not anymore complex then gentoo or slackware. Plus it is targeted at i686 which is nice for speed. I found the package choices a bit small, but it is way easy to make a new package from souce and install it with pacman.

Anyways, its a great distro.

Re:Arch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11503323)

but you wouldn't put it on a production server?

Re:Arch (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11503766)

Their package managment (pacman) doesn't have anyway that I know of to only do security updates. On a production server I want only security updates to my system. Arch Linux only has 2 releases to choose from, current or release. With current, the packages are cutting edge and always changing and upgrading, and as far as I know release is just a snapshot of current that doesn't change until the next release. That makes it a great desktop OS or test machine, but lacking in the production server area imho.

I used to use Arch Linux (2, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 9 years ago | (#11504050)

I used Arch Linux for about 6 months not too long ago.

It has some annoying quirks but nothing too bad I guess. The biggest problem is lack of packages and the very slow package manager. Although packages are easy to create, I got tired of having to create packages for every little thing I needed. After looking at the code for the package manager I could tell it was written by someone who did not know what they were doing. Maybe that has improved since 0.6, I don't know.

It is not any faster than any other distro. With the exception of boot time, all distros are really about the same performance-wise. In fact, I found the Arch package manager was incredibly slow (try running Arch on an old machine).

Overall, between the goofy quirks, lack of packages, and lack of coding skill, I went back to my old friend Debian (actually, Ubuntu Linux).

Re:I used to use Arch Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11504206)

If you think the package manager is slow, you are lying your pants off, this is perhaps the fastest package manager I've ever used. Stop making things up just to sound like you know something, you have not used Arch even once and I would not be surprised if you've never used Linux at all.

Re:I used to use Arch Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507659)

You're full of it. Pacman, Arch's package manager, is the fastest package manager I've ever used. It is way better than urpmi or apt-get. (I've never seen it fail to install a package properly and elegantly handles configuration file upgrades. Kernels, servers, KDE, xorg, you name it... all of it upgrades perfectly.) It is much more comparable to emerge, except you don't have to compile everything. I used to switch linux distros about every other month (having tried all the major distros and several of the minor ones), until Arch.

For anybody out there who is still trying to find the perfect distro, give Arch a try. As far as packages, you can browse their online package lists. If it is not there, you can easily make the package (instructions on the wiki.) Make sure to browse the TURs for packages as well, since many great packages are hosted by other users.

Re:I used to use Arch Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11510125)

To be fair, the RedHat crap is probably slower but pacman is pretty slow. Try an Arch installation on a 266 Mhz laptop some time... ugh, the pain. Debian on the other hand is no problem.

Re:I used to use Arch Linux (1)

evilmegaman (848826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11514800)

Wow, In case you haven't noticed this distro is made for newer machines. Not old ones. I don't know why people are so oblivious to everything. this a great distro with a great package manager :) I mean what can beat pacman?

Gentoo is not speedy... (1)

wolf31o2 (778801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11508335)

The subject pretty much says it all. Gentoo is not speedy. Gentoo can be speedy, but generally, it isn't any faster than any of the other guys out there.

This is compounded by the fact that most of the people who claim the speed of Gentoo overoptimize their machines and end up with slower binaries thanthose that don't, but I'll leave that one alone. ;]

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