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Why I always recommend Arch Linux

jvanbruegge profile image Jan van Brügge ・2 min read

Normally, the go to distro for newcomers is Ubuntu. It comes with a nice installer and an interface of brand "good enough". But I always recommend Antergos Linux for newcomers, because it is an Arch Linux based distro. Why?

Software

In Ubuntu the software is usually around one whole year behind the current version. Because the maintainers want the software to be tested and not buggy as new versions are often. In my experience however, the exact opposite is the case: I just had another "incident". Currently I have to use ubuntu, because it is not my PC. I was using Keepass and tried to synchronize the password database via my WebDAV server.

It was not working. Why? Because the version of Mono that was installed by Ubuntu (the "newest" version) was one complete major version behind the current stable version and this old version was not able to handle letsencrypt certificates. The solution after 1 day of searching: Adding the official mono ppa as repository and use the version from there.

With Arch (and Arch based distros) you always get the newest version in the main software repositories. I never encountered this issue on my Arch machine, simply because installing keepass also pulled the newest version of mono.

Software not in the official repositories

On Ubuntu, if your software is not in the official repositories, you are out of luck most of the time. If you are lucky, the software maintainer is hosting a ppa from where you can install it. If not, you have to download a .deb and update it manually.

Arch Linux on the other hand has the AUR - the Arch User Repository. Every user can upload a package build script to package any software available. This has the consequence, that if a software is available for linux, you can find it in the AUR. This also means you get normal package updates for those user packages.

Package manager

Ubuntu's package manager is very verbose, so you have to type a lot in order to do common tasks. To update all installed packages:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

compare that to pacman, the Arch Linux package manager:

sudo pacman -Syu

If you want access to the AUR through the package manager, the most common way is to install yaourt a wrapper around pacman. With this you can search easily the database of packages:

yaourt vlc

TL;DR

If you are a Linux beginner, install Antergos Linux. Once you are comfortable with the command line, switch to bare Arch Linux.

Posted on by:

jvanbruegge profile

Jan van Brügge

@jvanbruegge

Student of the technical university munich, chief software engineer for the MOVE-II CubeSat, likes functional programming and sports

Discussion

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Arch is great until it breaks, and it will break. If you want to deepen your Linux skills at debugging and repair, or just deepen your knowledge, there's no better distribution. But if you're just looking to get things done, Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora is a more stable option.

 

The point I am making is that Arch does not break. In two years of daily Arch usage, it never failed on me.

Ubuntu on the other hand was hell to upgrade from 14.04 to 16.04. Plus the annoying old versions.

 

Our experiences differ vastly then. Upgrading from 14 to 16 was very smooth for me the few times I tried it. Arch, however, would inevitably fail some months down the road after a world update. It's not a criticism of Arch per se - any rolling distro (Gentoo, etc...) is risky. The last time it was Xorg that got borked because the proprietary nvidia driver couldn't compile cleanly with the new kernel headers. After that I decided no more gratuitous kernel upgrades, and switched to something more stable.

I agree that the old versions of some of the software available in the 'static' distros is annoying, but it's easily overcome by installing from source, using vendor repos or the cutting edge releases available in repos such as Debian's backports.

When you run at the bleeding edge of everything, something will break. It's inevitable - it's the cost of living with the state of the art. Consider yourself fortunate it hasn't happened to you yet. It has for me, multiple times, and thus I can't recommend it for non-experts.

That's why I argued that beginners should choose something stable like Ubuntu ... great docs and resources and it just works. Did anyone ever try to install ArchLinux on a Mac? With Ubuntu it works and it's not even that hard.

I'd be curious to hear about that as well. I'm trying to install linux on an old macbook pro, but the dual-gpu frustrates me. I can get it running with the nvidia driver, which consumes power and generates a lot of heat, but when I remove the nvidia drivers to force it to use the internal intel GPU, the nvidia card remains powered. Bumblebee/Primus doesn't work in any of the distros I tried: Fedora, Debian or Ubuntu. Maybe I'd have better luck with Arch.

I did it two times, first on my Mac Mini, second time on my Macbook.

Second time went a LOT easier:

  • first time I used reFIND (boot manager), second time skipped that, just using the Mac book manager (pressing Alt while booting) works fine, the extra hassle of reFIND isn't worth it (first time I messaged around a lot also with creating the partitions). First time lots of fussing with reFIND, grub, "bios" installation and so on and so on (trial and error).

  • first time I had some trouble with video as well (not sure how I fixed that but it was a lot of hassle) and the network (Airport) didn't work out of the box, I had to manually download/compile a driver. Second time (Macbook) all of that was not a problem, PROBABLY because I used a much newer Ubuntu version.

(I think first time I used Ubuntu 12, second time Ubuntu 16)

  • first time I had to install the "LTS hardware enablement stack" (wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/LTSEnablementStack) to get proper hardware support (I also had the problem that CPU temperature/fan control wasn't working). Second time, not needed because I used Ubuntu 16 LTS.

I assume you've read the official guide:
help.ubuntu.com/community/MactelSu...

Don't have my macbook model/brand handy but I could give that to you.

All in all the second time things went 10 times easier than the first time.

At the bottom I pasted the notes ("installation instructions") I put together the first time (actually I did the whole process 2 times, talking about "get a life", haha), to illustrate how complicated it was. It was a terrible experience in fact but by now it runs just fine.

Some other links that might be useful:

frozenindustries.com/2012/11/04/ub...

askubuntu.com/questions/43939/macb...

lifehacker.com/5934942/how-to-dual...


My "first time" installation notes:

Mac mini 6.2

PREPARATIONS AND 'BIOS' INSTALLATION

  • preparations:

    • install reFIND
    • download 'ubuntu 12.03 amd-64+mac' iso and burn it on cd (using OSX diskutil)
    • in OSX disk-util:
    • resize HFS+ partition
    • create empty partition 490 GB
    • create FAT32 partition 32 GB
  • boot from CD 'ubuntu 12.03 amd-64+mac':

    • press C while booting mac
    • press SHIFT when setup entering graphics mode, then:
    • press F6, choose 'noapic'
    • choose 'try ubuntu'
  • once ubuntu is booted from live-cd:

    • sudo gparted -> create ext4 partition (disk04) + 2 GB swap partition (disk05)
    • install broadcom ethernet driver (wired):
    • get linux driver (zip file, download beforehand and put on USB)
    • mkdir ~/broadcom ; cd ~/broadcom
    • unzip linux driver file from USB to ~/broadcom
    • unpack source tar
    • 'make'
    • sudo insmod tg3.ko
    • install ubuntu using 'other' option (format the ext4 partition, mount it on /)
    • after install, do NOT boot immediately but edit /boot/grub/grub.cfg: add 'noapic' option at the end of linux boot command for the 'recovery' menu option
    • reboot Ubuntu, and in the reFIND menu choose 'linux' (Tux logo)
    • grub menu now appears; within 10 seconds, choose the 'ubuntu recovery mode' option (which has noapic)

CONVERSION TO EFI BOOT

  • once back in Ubuntu (now started from harddisk):
    • follow item 21-28 from Rod's "mac uefi" page to install EFI-grub (creates a file /EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi in the EFI partition)
    • reboot and choose first item from reFIND menu (grubx64.efi)
    • grub menu appears, choose 'recovery' or 'normal' option from the grub menu
    • once back in Ubuntu, check that it's booted in EFI mode: check that /sys/firmware/efi exists

POST-INSTALLATION CONFIGURATION

  • grub config:

    • edit /etc/default/grub and add 'noapic' to it
    • sudo update-grub
  • broadcom ethernet driver (wired):

    • activate with 'sudo insmod tg3.ko'
    • make permanent:
    • copy tg3.ko to /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/drivers/net
    • add a line containing just 'tg3' to /etc/modules
    • sudo update-initramfs -u
  • add wireless driver (broadcom/AirPort):

    • use System Settings -> Hardware -> Additional Drivers to add the 'Broadcom STA Wireless' driver
    • the option will display 'driver activated but not currently in use', fix: techdc.blogspot.nl/2011/02/ubuntu-...
    • then after reboot it still doesn't work, solution: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=... i.e.: sudo apt-get update sudo modprobe -r wl sudo modprobe b43
    • then the following is also necessary: sudo apt-get install linux-firmware-nonfree
  • add "Fan Control" to control the temperature of the CPU, as follows:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mactel-support/ppa

    sudo apt-get update

    sudo apt-get install macfanctld

    sudo apt-get install applesmc-dkms

Before installing these packages, you will see messages like these in /var/log/syslog:
applesmc: : read arg fail
After installing the packages, this message should not be there anymore.

NOTE: if you don't install fan/temperature control, then you can get system freezes due to overheating of the CPU.
(indeed this happened to me at least once per day before I installed the above!)

For background see:
frozenindustries.com/2012/11/04/ub...
askubuntu.com/questions/43939/macb...

  • ubuntu classic:

    • sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
    • login -> 'Gnome classic (no effects)
  • install "vim" (sudo apt-get install vim)

  • install "gvim":

    • sudo apt-get install vim-gnome
    • run gvim like this: "UBUNTU_MENUPROXY= gvim" to prevent the error message: ** (gvim:13236): WARNING **: Unable to create Ubuntu Menu Proxy: Timeout was reached
  • passwordless sudo:

    • run "sudo visudo"
    • add line: user ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL ('user' is your user)
  • create application/task shortcuts on panels (taskbar/menubar), 2 methods:

    • right-click panel while holding ALT key and select 'Add to panel ..' - you can then e.g. add "show desktop"
    • drag & drop an application from the 'Applications' or 'Places' menu to the desktop or directly to the panel
  • keyboard: System settings -> Layout -> English (US)

  • workaround for bad screen colors/dithering: use "suspend" option (make a keyboard shortcut for it)

    (this problem is not present under BIOS boots but only under EFI boots)

  • fix screen resolutions/displays (note: this is only needed when using EFI boot -
    when using BIOS boot the resolutions were okay already):

    • use "cvt" to generate 'xrandr' parameters for the desired resolution
    • use "xrandr --newmode" with the cvt-generated parameters to add the new mode xrandr --newmode "1680x1050_60.00" 146.25 1680 1784 1960 2240 1050 1053 1059 1089 -hsync +vsync
    • use "xrandr --addmode DP1 1680x1050_60.00" to add/activate the new display mode
    • create /etc/X11/xorg.conf (contents: see xorg.conf.dp1 file) according to: wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Config/Resolutio...

PROBLEMS AFTER UBUNTU KERNEL UPDATE (Linux kernel updated from 3.2.0-29 to 3.2.0-38 by automated update)

After this kernel update, the Broadcom wired (Ethernet) AND wireless drivers both stopped working.

  • solution for wired (ethernet) driver:

    • moved two 'other' tg3.ko-drivers away (necessary?): $ sudo mv 3.2.0-29-generic/kernel/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/tg3.ko ~/lib_modules/3.2.0-29-generic/kernel/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/ $ sudo mv 3.2.0-38-generic/kernel/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/tg3.ko ~/lib_modules/3.2.0-38-generic/kernel/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/
    • recompile and reinstall driver into 3.2.0-38 kernel: cd broadcom/Server/Linux/Driver/tg3-3.124c/ make sudo cp tg3.ko /lib/modules/3.2.0-38-generic/kernel/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/tg3.ko sudo update-initramfs -u
  • solution for wireless driver:

    • uninstall, then reinstall the Broadcom STA driver via System Settings -> Additional Drivers
    • reboot system and re-enable wireless networking

NOTE: this needs to be done after every kernel update!! An automated solution using "dkms" is described here:

frozenindustries.com/2012/11/04/ub...

and consists of executing the following commands (see the above web page for details):

sudo mkdir -p /usr/src/tg3-3.124c/src
cd /usr/src/tg3-3.124c/src
sudo tar xvfz ~/broadcom/Server/Linux/Driver/tg3-3.124c.tar.gz
sudo vim /usr/src/tg3-3.124c/dkms.conf
........
sudo dkms add -m tg3 -v 3.124c
#sudo dkms build -m tg3 -v 3.124c
#sudo dkms install -m tg3 -v 3.124c

(last two commands commented out - not necessary at this time?)

However when executing the last 2 commands ("sudo dkms build -m tg3 -v 3.124c" and "sudo dkms install -m tg3 -v 3.124c"),
they failed (see the error messages in: broadcom_tg3_dkms_errors.txt), so I'm not sure if this really works - check when the next kernel update arrives!

FINISHING TOUCHES

  • Install LTS Hardware Enablement Stack (wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/LTSEnableme...
    sudo apt-get install --install-recommends linux-generic-lts-quantal xserver-xorg-lts-quantal libgl1-mesa-glx-lts-quantal
    then change and recompile Broadcom ethernet driver:
    ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=...
    (see also changed sources under: setup_notes/broadcom/tg3-3.124c_changed_sources - note: tg3_flags.h is auto-generated by "make")

  • install Microsoft fonts, from Ubuntu software center or using:
    sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer

  • Desktop configuration:

    • see: help.ubuntu.com/community/PreciseG...
    • install the Gnome Tweak Tool: sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool and access it via the Applications menu: Applications -> System Tools -> Preferences -> Advanced Settings
    • optionally install Gnome conf editor: sudo apt-get install gconf-editor
    • bring back the Thrash icon on the desktop: gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons true gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop trash-icon-visible true [OR simply do this through the Gnome Tweak Tool]
    • disable overlay scrollbars:
    • type the command: echo export LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR=0 >> ~/.xprofile
    • logout and login
    • make window borders thicker to make window resize easier:
      ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=...
      -> use Applications -> System Tools -> Preferences -> Advanced Settings (Gnome Tweak Tool) to see which Window Theme is used
      -> edit the XML file for the theme under /usr/share/themes (make a backup first), e.g:
      sudo cp /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/metacity-1/metacity-theme-1.xml /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/metacity-1/metacity-theme-1.xml.backup
      sudo vim /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/metacity-1/metacity-theme-1.xml

      -> logout and login

As I said, crazy stuff, just to get a dual boot Mac working.

It sounds like an interesting hobby, I guess. I found that nothing I had to do on any form of Linux actually helped me to develop software, though.

I wouldn't really call it a hobby, it was something I undertook and which in hindsight consumed way to much time, especially the first time around ... second time it was a piece of cake though.

What's your point about Linux? In my opinion Linux makes for an ideal developer system, unless you have no choice but to run OSX or Windows (i.e. you need to develop OSX/iOS or Windows software).

Well I guess it's ideal if you don't mind spending so much of your time on it.

As a developer, I feel like working on Linux is a bit like being a taxi driver who has to spend time continually tweaking and maintaining their car, and every now and then the car won't start in the morning and you need to spend 15 minutes on doing something to it. That's not what taxi driving is about.

I used it (Ubuntu I think) until I was told I had to edit a text file in order to be able to increase the size of a grab point on a window in order to be able to resize it to make it usable, and the text file just didn't exist. At that point, I thought "I do not have time for this shit", and bought a Mac.

Haha, I like that analogy, a taxi driver who has to fix their own car.

In my experience it doesn't have to cost so much time ... system maintenance on a mainstream distro like Ubuntu is simple and does not need to take more time than on Windows or OSX. You can customize if you want but you don't have to babysit it.

I recognize your story about the border width, I tweaked that same file to make the border draggable for a mere mortal (I think it was called something like X-Windows/Metacity).

Flipside of the coin is that you CAN customize everything about the OS, with OSX or Windows if there's something about the OS that you don't like then you're out of luck. Hate the "Metro" interface on Windows 10 ? You're stuck with it. Don't like "Unity" on Ubuntu? Just dump it and install Gnome (takes less than 15 minutes, if your connection is slow).

Nowadays I'm mainly using OSX primarily because for one client I had to develop/test an iOS app, so you have no choice really ... I'm used to OSX now but there are still a few things that annoy me and that in Linux I would just have tweaked so that it works the way I want.

Last but not least it's a fast and efficient OS, and the Ubuntu package manager (installing software) is superb (although nowadays on OSX there's Homebrew, which works quite well).

Most important for me is that we have choices, that's a good thing.

You have ArchLinux everywhere or archibold.io to install ArchLinux pretty much wherever you want.

medium.freecodecamp.org/installing...

Okay cool, glad to hear that ArchLinux has so many fans.

Mine was just a hint on how to install on a Mac with just an ISO or a single bash line.

I've used most distros but ArchLinux has greater freedom thanks to AUR.

I can write (and I did) software for my own OS, and it's on GitHub, how cool is that?

Everything else is the same and the usual boring fan-boys comments I'm not interested in.

Ubuntu works for you? Good, I'm happily in ArchLinux since 2014 and I'd never change it, combined with GNOME.

Have a nice weekend.

You're right, if you're happy with something and it works for you, then why change. Besides, there's almost never a situation where you can say "XYZ is the best", it always depends on the situation and on one's preferences (and on what you're used to).

 

I'd make the argument that you're just lucky then. But I think it is fairly safe to say, it breaks for a lot of people - it certainly did for me. Things were going just fine, and then they wern't.

I've never had that experience with Ubuntu.

 

Running Arch for three years without any breaks I could not recover without a quick look-up on Google! <3

 

This is from my experience.

I have a laptop with Arch and RPi with Raspbian.

RPi - There are breaking changes if I directly upgrade from jessie to stretch and a clean install is recommended

Arch - The only time I broke my installation was when I accidentally switched off the machine during an upgrade. It was easy to fix too. One more time, GTK broke the sliders. A bug report was submitted and was fixed within a week upstream.

I think Arch is fair enough, if one has time to maintain one's system in case it breaks.

 

That is a fair assessment. Arch requires commitment. That's why I didn't agree with the statement that Arch is for everybody.

 

I'm on Arch at my workplace since 6 years and it never breaks. Same for my ThinkPad. But my colleagues with Ubuntu have every dist-upgrade problems ..

 

I'm not ok with the verbose. With Ubuntu, you understand what you ask. It's longer to type but whatever, you get what you do.

I have no idea what -Syu mean and no way to memorize it..

 

This, and there are always aliases to the rescue, like these:

alias agi='apt install'
alias agr='apt remove'
alias agp='apt purge'
alias agu='apt update'
alias agup='apt dist-upgrade'
alias agar='apt autoremove'
alias ags='apt source'
alias agbd='apt build-dep'
alias acsh='apt show'
alias acs='apt search'
alias acd='apt depends'
alias acrd='apt rdepends'
alias afs='apt-file search'
alias afl='apt-file list'
alias afu='apt-file update'
alias acp='apt policy'

It all boils down to the personal experience that's highly influenced by the environment, hardware, tasks and whatnot. I use Debian testing, it has much richer repos than Ubuntu and is more stable than bleeding-edge distros (like Arch). I also don't use DEs as they tend to break more often than anything else, Awesome WM is the choice.

If you know your system it'll work OK, if you don't any distro would be fragile and error prone.

 

I have been using arch for two years. The ones that I use most frequently are,

Syu - update, upgrade
Qe - query all explicitly installed packages
Qi - query info about a package
Qtd - unneeded dependencies
Ss - search repos for a package
Sc - clear local cache

These are muscle memory and are easy to use after some time :)

 

In my case, it's the opposite.
I find apt more confusing, some of the tasks by the apt-get and the others with apt-cache or ap-file.
Even using the python wrapper(apt), there are tons of completely different commands to remember (remove, purge, auto-remove, auto-purge and update, dist-update ...)

On the contrary Pacman is symmetrical, there are operations (8 of them) , the most important are S for Sync, R for Remove, Q for Query.
And then there are options to each of those operations.

if I need to do something related to a package installation, I am sure that I'll use the S.

 

While I generally agree and tend to use Arch (or Antergos) on my personal working computers and laptops, your mileage might vary when talking about servers.

Arch is great but the "rolling release" approach can be a major pain if you keep productive applications running on Linux servers and, in example, want or need to install security patches but can't risk "larger" upgrades because they might break parts of your applications. That's where distributions with stable releases and long support terms (such as Ubuntu LTS or Debian) are better or at least make your life a bit easier. ;)

 

It's a two-edged sword for non-server users too. I run Arch and love it most of the time, but have for instance found myself unable to work with jobs in a remote Kubernetes cluster because kubectl had rolled to a newer version that wasn't 100% backwards-compatible with the unupgraded cluster.

 

True, yes. I used to run into issues like these too, and this is a painful mess most of the time. But on a workstation it's way easier to resolve or work around this, at least given most of the people I know using Arch are somewhat tech-savvy and able to fix this more or less quickly. Nothing compared to an external production server not coming up again just because your application doesn't like the new libc which you can't easily downgrade without breaking half of your distribution ... ;)

 

Yeah, for Servers, I usually use Ubuntu Server. My Arch recommendation is for desktops.

 

ArchLinux rocks. My distro of choice since a really long time, no regret at all.

PD: yaourt does not need sudo, when installing it should ask for password. Plus I totally recommend using pacaur. (wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/AUR_h...)

 

Didn't know about pacaur. Thanks for that, it looks much better than yaourt according to the table you gave.

 

That sudo was a typo, thanks :)
Will take a look at pacaur

 

There's one huge argument in favor of Ubuntu: world + dog uses it, stuff actually gets tested on it, documented for it, and generally should just work. Especially cutting edge stuff tends to come with instructions that are typically ubuntu centric. Lets be honest, if your stuff doesn't work on Ubuntu, it probably isn't anywhere near mainstream.

I share your annoyance with the notion that stuff only gets major updates once a year and that that typically means all the stuff you would care about is out of date. But then you can usually find solutions for just these things. IMHO, ubuntu is overly obsessed with sticking with obsolete stuff for the wrong reasons.

Arch linux is nice if you know what you are doing. By definition, that excludes any first time users.

 

For me, that's the strongest point for Ubuntu (and any Ubuntu based distro): Ubuntu instructions for almost every software out there.

I'm not a web developer, I mostly work with embedded and backend stuff. Most tools I need have only instructions for Ubuntu, or packaged with Ubuntu in mind.

Even that, I've been using Arch in my work desktop for more than a year now, I had to fix some breaking updates (a big one, some minor ones with Virtual Box), I like having quick access to the latest version of (almost) everything, I love the Arch Linux wiki, I enjoy adapting to any Ubuntu installation guide. But I still have some fear that the next update may break my system, and that I'll need to use my time to recover it instead of getting stuff done.

I have two laptops, one not too old (4th gen Intel Core i5) and an older one (Core 2 duo). I run Xubuntu 16.04 on both of them, the oldest one with the 32 bit version, Arch just dropped 32 bit support last year. To be fair, that's something that will happen with most distros in the near future. I like that after the installation process, I have a complete usable system (desktop and basic software, and know that I can customize it if I want to).

So, I will always recommend Ubuntu (or any Ubuntu based distro) to a beginner, they will always have time to try any other one once they get more confident :).

 

I know many first time users that tried ubuntu, got annoyed with "linux" because of stuff not working (which os working on my Arch) and switching back to Windows/Mac.

Documentation is even better for Arch, the Arch Wiki is the best source of Linux knowledge I know of and the forum is very helpful very fast.

 

You can set up an alias in your .bashrc file that automates the upgrade process so now all I do is type upgrade and it does both commands. Don’t like verbose? Try setting up your own aliases. Very easy.

 

God damn it you made me want to try Arch. I did it in a VM and it was cool, but a part of me would prefer to keep my current, working, system :P

EDIT: I now use Arch :)

 

Some good points but I've been a happy Ubuntu user for years and I've never run into serious roadblocks with it. Even installed it dual-boot on both my Macbook and Mac Mini and it works.

So I'm choosing it (sticking with it) because it's a professional distro, backed by a company (meaning stability) and has the largest community around it (easy to find answers online) - all of that means safety, stability, and less risk (choose an LTS release - Long Term Support).

As a beginner I wouldn't choose a distro with a smaller online community and less resources, Ubuntu is a safe choice.

 

Just a small point about finding answers online. This is not just about the size of the community - in many, MANY cases, the most helpful bits of information for any distribution are found on Archlinux wiki or forum.

 

Agreed, it's about the quality, not the quantity, but so far my experience with both the Ubuntu forum and the docs have been very helpful, I'm always finding good information there. Can't speak for the Archlinux community of course since I've never used it.

 

That's why I use Debian Testing. Debian has the largest software repository, and the testing branch is full of updated and tested software, so it's like the best of two worlds.

Currently we are with Linux 4.14, PHP 7.2, Mesa 17.3.3 and Wine 3.0, just to mention some of the most famous packages.

I used before Manjaro and Arch, liked both but no matter what distro I test, I always came back to Debian.

 

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is
cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I
screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me...
Or feels threatened by me...
Or thinks I'm a smart ass...
Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...
Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

 

Hey everyone,

I have a question, I use a laptop main computer, which I runs windows 7 (yes, I know windoz), and run Rasbian on my Raspberry pi so that I can run program made for Linux systems, i.e from github etc.

The main reason I use windows is I have had issues with ubuntu (swap drive error and was going to use autodesk 360). Ideally it would be better to run a linux based system on my laptop, however I am reluctant due to past issue. Does Antergos Linux work well with laptop or am I better off trying to get desktop with a bit more power than my raspberry pi?

Hope this makes sense, thanks in advance

 

If you are not experienced with Linux I would recommend Mint instead of any Arch based distribution. Some stuff just doesn't work out of the box on Arch and that is fine if you want to make highly tailored system to fit your preferences. On the other hand, Mint works out of the box, I never had to do anything myself and even my parents, who don't know anything about PCs, use it as their only OS. When you learn a bit about Linux and a bit about scripting(BASH, Python, etc.) I would recommend using Arch based distribution or plain Arch because you can customize everything and it forces you to do some stuff manually(e.g. you need to write script in order to audio to switch automatically to HDMI when connection is present). Because some stuff is not out of the box you get highly efficient OS that uses small amount of resources and does only stuff you need and want it to do.

EDIT: Also I had many problems with Ubuntu as a newcomer so I wouldn't recommend it over Mint.

 

Antergos should work as well as any up-to-date Linux distribution. Personally I prefer Fedora, but Arch tends to stay rather up-to-date. That being said, how well a distribution runs on a machine usually relies on what desktop environment you're using. Lightweight environments like XFCE will usually run faster than heavier environments like GNOME. Even lighter, you can forgo a DE and just use a window manager like i3 or Openbox.

 

Antergos is dead. use another arch based distro.
here are the top 10:

  1. Manjaro Linux (2)
    Manjaro Linux is a fast, user-friendly, desktop-oriented operating system based on Arch Linux. Key features include intuitive installation process, automatic hardware detection, stable rolling-release model, ability to install multiple kernels, special Bash scripts for managing graphics drivers and extensive desktop configurability. Manjaro Linux offers Xfce as the core desktop options, as well as KDE, GNOME and a minimalist Net edition for more advanced users. Community-supported desktop flavours are also available.

  2. ArcoLinux (18)
    ArcoLinux (previously known as ArchMerge) is a distribution based on Arch Linux. The development takes places in three branches - ArcoLinux, ArcoLinuxD and ArcoLinuxB. ArcoLinux is a full-featured distribution that ships with the Xfce desktop (as well as Openbox and i3 window managers). ArcoLinuxD is a minimal distribution that includes scripts that enable power users to install any desktop and application. ArcoLinuxB is a project that gives users the power to build custom distributions, while also developing several community editions with pre-configured desktops, such as Awesome, bspwm, Budgie, Cinnamon, Deepin, GNOME, MATE and KDE Plasma. ArcoLinux also provides various video tutorials as it places strong focus on learning and acquiring Linux skills.

  3. Archman GNU/Linux (36)
    Archman GNU/Linux is an Arch Linux-based distribution which features the Calamares system installer and a pre-configured desktop environment. Archman also features the Pamac package manager to make installing new software easier.

  4. ArchLabs Linux (56)
    ArchLabs is a distribution based on Arch Linux and featuring the Openbox window manager as the primary desktop interface. ArchLabs is a 64-bit, rolling release distribution which provides a live DVD. The distribution can be installed using the AL-Installer system installer.

  5. Bluestar Linux (58)
    Bluestar Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that is based on Arch Linux. The Bluestar distribution features up to date packages, a full range of desktop and multimedia software in the default installation and a live desktop DVD.

  6. ArchBang Linux (67)
    ArchBang Linux is a lightweight distribution based on Arch Linux. Using the Openbox window manager, it is fast, up-to-date and suitable for both desktop and portable systems.

  7. Chakra GNU/Linux (70)
    Chakra GNU/Linux is a user-friendly and powerful distribution and live CD originally forked from Arch Linux. It features a graphical installer, automatic hardware detection and configuration, the latest KDE desktop, and a variety of tools and extras.

  8. SwagArch GNU/Linux (73)
    SwagArch is a GNU/Linux desktop distribution based on Arch Linux. The SwagArch distribution features a live DVD that runs the Xfce desktop and uses the Calamares graphical system installer. SwagArch offers popular FOSS applications pre-installed, including Firefox and the VLC multimedia player.

  9. BlackArch Linux (75)
    BlackArch Linux is an Arch Linux-based distribution designed for penetration testers and security researchers. It is supplied as a live DVD image that comes with several lightweight window managers, including Fluxbox, Openbox, Awesome and spectrwm. It ships with over a thousand specialist tools for penetration testing and forensic analysis.

  10. Artix Linux (91)
    Artix Linux is a fork (or continuation as an autonomous project) of the Arch-OpenRC and Manjaro-OpenRC projects. Artix Linux offers a lightweight, rolling-release operating system featuring the OpenRC init software. (An alternative spin features the runit init software.) Three editions of Artix are available, a minimal Base system, an edition featuring the i3 window manager and an edition which runs the LXQt desktop.

source:
distrowatch.com/search.php?ostype=...

 

Nice information. Archman beginners may check out six easy steps to install Archman Linux as single host system by creating bootable flash drive and replacing existing Windows system. techsolveprac.com/install-archman-...

 

About Breakage

No idea why People advocate here that Arch does not break. Of course it breaks, it's a rolling distro. A few of our main devs have even a title to cause frequent breakage. So I think it's more about the mentality and what people do when stuff breaks. Having the capability of fixing breakage in not more than 5min (knowing where to look and what to do) is a guarantee for smooth sailing and comes with experience. After a while you've seen most of the things that can happen. I use Arch for years and yes sometimes it breaks. I am then like wuuuh where, when, how? Unfortunately I fix stuff too fast so the other 99% I use arch, I am just frustrated and bored that nothing breaks... :)

 

There's a case to be made for dogfooding the distro that you build for, even though (or precisely because) it may be behind a full major version.

This way you find out earlier. I find it misleading to be on the bleeding edge only to keep being reminded that we can't ship/assume things.

 

My thought is, use a pure Arch linux box is better than using Arch based distro. After gathered some experience in linux, try Linux From Scratch projet. It'll give you better understanding about linux if you wish for deeper knowledge.

linuxfromscratch.org/lfs/

 

Agree. I love the way Arch updating its package. No more hassle in "Oh, my machine runs Ubuntu LTS, how the heck I run this version of program?", "Holy T-shirt! The major upgrade breaks all dependencies!", "Oh no, there is no official release, should I compile it my self? ".
I ran dual-boot Win 7 and Ubuntu for years because of I couldn't bear Ubuntu's dependency error. Finally, I managed to wipe Windows 7 from my computer, I trust Arch Linux.
.
Always recommend Arch Linux to all my friend!

  • Well-written wiki
  • Rolling-release
  • If it breaks, you are not alone. I can solve most of my problem in minutes, (Well, an half of hour, sometimes.)
  • Really love pacstrap.
 

I might have to disagree. One of the most important things to me when starting to use Ubuntu as my first Linux experience was the resources that were available. Thanks to sites like AskUbuntu, there are just so many more people that have experience and have had the same issues that you might have. If you deviate from this, then you will have to figure out a lot more by yourself because of less people using the distro, which I feel makes your first time trying Linux more difficult than it has to be.

If you want access to the AUR through the package manager, the most common way is to install yaourt a wrapper around pacman. With this you can search easily the database of packages:

I'd also just like to point out that, compared to the other AUR helpers, Yaourt is not secure, because it sources (aka runs the commands in, for those unfamiliar with Bash) the PKGBUILD before asking the user, which could lead to malicious scripts being ran without consent. Personally, I would recommend Pacaur, but I'm sure the other secure helpers here work equally well.

 

Arch is hard to use when you are beginner to Linux

 

What do you see as the advantages of Antergos over plain Arch? You hint at it might be the desktop / Window manager?

 

Only for newcomers, because it comes with a graphical installer. If you know Linux basics, just take the fantastic Arch wiki and install your system from the command line.

 

Arch, the best!

AUR is the largest, cleanest, most practical repository.

Really love it!

 
 

Yeah, I switchrd to pacaur myself in the meantime

 

I liked Arch after learning how Linux worked and used it for a while. I just prefer OpenSUSE now.

 

What do you guys think of Manjaro? Am I missing something by using it instead of Antergos?

 

I had issues with them fucking up their package signing keys. Result was that you had to know what you are doing to get updates again

 

I'm planning to use Manjaro, another arch based distro. Any tips how to make it look decent? I'd probably use XFCE but damn it looks bad.

 

Manjaro has a healthy amount of 'out of the box' options when it comes to looks, that being said, looks are always up to your likings, I do like budgie desktop with adapta theme.

Here you can see the common officially supported options
manjaro.org/get-manjaro/
And here you can see community based options
manjaro.org/community-editions/

There are look and feels for almost anyone there

cheers!

 

Obligatory yaourt==hitler post.

 

Interesting, I must have been trying to install a bare bone version of Arch and for me Linux is really new territory. Thanks for that, I will give it a try :)

 

Once you are comfortable with the command line, switch to bare Arch Linux.

Why? I currently am running bare Arch Linux, but what is better about Arch linux than Antergos?

 

I had several occasions where the Manjaro and Antergos devs fucked up their package signing keys, resulting in an inability to update packages. Fixable, but annoying

 

If anyone is still wondering why linux has only 2% adoption amongst regular (desktop) users - just read this article and the comments below