It's been very few days that I (again) installed Arch Linux on my Desktop, which also serves as the host of this blog. The last time I installed Arch was months ago through a virtualbox, I had some troubles in installing Xorg and left it there and then. Arch requires too much time to install and I liked the easy-to-use Ubuntu setup I then had.

Some months back, I switched to Fedora. Fedora releases latest software in their update channel much quicker than Ubuntu i.e. It is somewhat a cutting-edge distribution. I started liking the cutting-edge ideal. Thus, I tried Arch Linux again.

  • Arch is a BLEEDING-EDGE Linux distribution. KDE 4.10 was added in its testing repo within hours of release. And there are no Arch releases (like 11.10, 12.04 etc) rather it has a rolling-release model , you just need to pacman -Syu to update your system making it just like the newest download link available on their download page (actually even newer) ;)
  • It has a wonderful package manager known as pacman, which downloads and installs simple binary packages from Arch repos, so no need is left for .deb or .rpm and other shit.
  • The installation is fairly long, you need to do everything from setting localtime to generating /etc/fstab from the commandline. But after a single successful install you would learn so much that your Linux knowledge can even go from a Noob to a Wizard. :D
  • Installling it might seem some wicked sorcery without this wonderful guide in ArchWiki.
  • Do not be surprised when after installation is complete you are left with just a bash shell. Install video drivers, Xorg, and a DE (I use KDE) to get a familar environment.
  • I would never recommend Arch to most users, because I feel that Arch is best suited for those Linux users who -
    1. Have some time to devote (for installation and maintenance). It is bleeding-edge so some rare updates might even break your system.
    2. Are geeks using Linux for a while now, and want to go a little more deeper into it.
    3. Are intersed in compiling some software (like Dropbox) that just provides RPMs and DEBs (they're more popular). And for them Arch Community have AUR which has almost every needed package's tarball avialable that can be compiled very easily using makepkg utility, which will also fetch the dependencies, and make a tar.xz package which is installable by pacman
  • If you just want a bleeding-edge distro but are not interested in long installations then you might try Chakra Linux which is a KDE-based fork of Arch, and doesn't require you to be an expert to use it.
  • I would suggest that you go through their wiki, and read The Arch Way once which describes the principles and philosophy of Arch Linux.
Published: 04 March 2013

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