Arch

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Arch Linux

In late 2011 I decided it was time to switch distributions of Linux. As I put it to the PLUG email list:

The disadvantages of Ubunutu (the newly introducted desktop, the every six month re-install, the slowness of package updates for LTS versions) have finally outweighed my laziness.

Kubuntu had been my distribution of choice for the past few years. Over the past year some testing was done with various '"Studio"' distributions that had default installs including bunches of stuff for music and video editing, animation and art work. All of these options featured many decisions being made on my behalf to make life easier. Unfortunately the costs of that ease were getting too high.

Enter Arch a Linux distribution with a truly lean base install.

Initial thoughts:

only root user at first. You want user accounts? Add em yourself.

default init level is to console, You want X? Choose it and add it yourself.

iptables not installed then again there were no network daemons running so there was nothing to protect.

Software is at current level from the creator, not a release or two back.

minimal auto configuration and software installation, just enough to get the system up.

No auto-configuration, no forced configuration or reconfiguration with installation of applications. You must remember to do the config after the install is completed.

If an upgrade includes a replacement config file it is saved as /<path>/<conf_file>.pacnew

The Arch Wiki is extremely good documentation set. Its articles are informational without advocating for a way of doing something. It presumes the reader wants facts, not opinion.

You will not do well with this distribution if you like to go with the default, go with the recommended items. There are no recommendations. Even for what, in other systems, are deemed necessary choices like Desktop Environment and MTA software. You will not get ticked off when you have to slog through uninstalling the thing you dont want to replace it with the thing you do. On the other hand you will have to install the thing you do want. Arch is not going to plug it in for you.

'About the "rolling release" aspect...'

Arch provides repositories of up to date software packages. The time between an application release and Arch repository appearance is minimal. Compare that to a distribution with regular release schedules and package choices frozen weeks in advance. Everything is frozen in lock step. {fuzzy thinking here} If Favorite_App is released after the freeze you dont have it available. Not so in the Arch world. App updates follow their own schedule and are made available to users. Like everything else in the Arch universe, you decide when and what to upgrade.

No freaking nag screens about "XX updates available" - security is your responsibility too.

Some Arch vhosts to whirl about.