Arch Linux

july 9, 2009

A while back, wonko was setting up his VPS and he tried a bunch of different Linux distros.  He settled on Arch Linux.  I figured I'd give Arch a try, but didn't really have a chance until now.

Over the last two nights, I got in touch with my inner-Linux geek and got my notebook running Arch (Athlon 2650e 1.60Ghz, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD).  I am not disappointed by Arch, actually, I'm an instant fan.  Don't get me wrong, I love easy-install-and-use (you know, "just works") distros like Ubuntu and Fedora.  But, there is something to be said about getting your hands dirty and installing Linux. 

It was good to do some stuff that I hadn't done in a long while (like adding routes, getting wireless setup manually, getting xorg installed) -- I have been pretty spoiled by Ubuntu.  The reward for two nights of work?  A very frakking fast Linux installation that is completely vanilla.  What do I mean? 

Well:  It is fast!  Blazing fast.  I have the x86_64 version installed and things are snappy.  Applications launch in the blink of an eye.  And, everything is vanilla as it comes from the developers.  An example, Gnome has no customizations at all.  No fancy audio touches.  No fancy themes.  No three-people-holding-hands icon for the Applications menu.  I love it!

The one big thing that made me a fan:  pacman!   Pacman is the package manager for Arch and it is fast, easy to use and works great.  It ranks right up there (and maybe higher than) apt.  Arch is a rolling release distro, so there is no "version" of Arch.  Just a constantly updated, bleeding edge distro -- so, if I keep Arch on my notebook I don't have to worry about upgrading to the next "version" every twelve to eighteen months in order to keep getting updates -- and to get new versions of software.

I am very impressed by Arch and am a fan.  It was fun to get setup and a joy to use.  If you want to learn about Linux and how different things work, give Arch a try.  If you want a fast distro that has cutting edge software and a great package manager:  Definitely give Arch a try.

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