Installing Arch Linux is somewhat comparable to build your own house. You have to dig the foundations, raise the walls, build the ceilings, install the plumbing and the electricity … And then everything that is missing. Simply put, Arch Linux is not comparable to any other distro, which you install and is ready to go with your desktop and its base software list.
I have several computers in my possession: two Windows desktops, one of them at home (which I use to play games) and another in my recording studio (which I use for my other daily work). Also, I have a laptop that I take with me everywhere I have Arch Linux installed. On this laptop, by the way, I do most of my work as a blogger. Why? Simply put, because I’m hooked. I think there is reasons to consider it as one of the best distros today.
It is worth mentioning that until a few weeks ago I used Ubuntu MATE on this computer because I have always had a special affection for GNOME 2, but I always end up going back to Arch. In addition, I have used other distros such as openSUSE, different flavors of Ubuntu, Elementary OS, Linux Mint, Debian … I have tried many, but for my taste Arch has a huge advantage over them. Why? Here are my reasons.
By the community, for the community
This is one of its strong points. It is a project aimed solely and exclusively at users, you do not have to worry about what the market or your customers want, which could affect your development in very, very negative ways.
I’m not even sure that Arch have an organized structure. The distro survives due to the efforts of many people in the community and the main development circle. None of their contributors are paid for their work, and they depend on the efforts of users, and of certain institutions such as RedIRIS in the case of Spain, to maintain their servers. up-and-running.
What they do have is their own package manager (Pacman) and official repositories for the main components of the system, but beyond that it is all from the community, for the community. And this has been working well for many years, I can attest to that.
Arch Linux does not patch anything. In this sense, it resembles an experience with pure Android, where you use what has been developed. When you install and use a package, it has not been adjusted by the distro development team, but rather arrives as released.
A huge software repository
I have not yet found a single package that is available for other Linux distributions and that it is not for Arch Linux With the exception, perhaps, of certain specific packages of some distros. The responsibility for this lies with the Arch User’s Repository or AUR.
This repository it is maintained by users, and through it you can install and compile packages from source code, using specific managers such as Yaourt. And these managers are used in the same way as the main one. Suppose we want to install the package
chromium-browser available in Arch Linux’s own repository. For this we would use the following command:
sudo pacman -S chromium-browser
Now, let’s imagine we want install Google Chrome using Yaourt:
yaourt -S google-chrome
When we install an AUR package we do not have to provide the administrative password, unless the installation process asks us for it later (which it will). Any program that is hosted in this repository can be installed using this formula, without adding PPAs or anything like that.
Also, Ubuntu PPAs do not have a centralized search feature. The truth is that openSUSE, through software.opensuse.org, implements the search system of any program more efficiently, but there is no way to do it and install it from the terminal. The AUR has centralized search and, in addition, it allows to install any program that we look for from the terminal.
Almost every desktop environment at your disposal
We all know that many Linux distributions have a predefined desktop: Ubuntu has Unity, Linux Mint has Cinnamon, openSUSE with KDE … And although other graphical environments can be installed, tend to cause conflict that spoil the user experience. I’ve tried with Ubuntu, but I always end up with a desktop that doesn’t quite work.
With Arch I have XFCE, LXQT, Budgie and Deepin (light desktops, the poor one is not a very powerful machine) installed on a single machine and I have not had a single problem. It is true that Ubuntu-based systems do tend to have more problems because they have GNOME-based components, which often create conflicts. Other distributions, however, tolerate the coexistence of different graphic environments without problem.
Full control for the user
In Arch Linux philosophy, user is in control. There are no intermediaries. There is no business agenda or goals to meet after the project. Since you are the one who builds everything from scratch, you can choose the components that the system will have and that you think will give you an optimal user experience. And since the developers don’t patch anything, what you get is a pure user experience.
That’s what it means for Arch Linux to be customizableTrue customization goes way beyond making the system look better or worse, it’s about making the system exactly what the user needs. No more no less. Bottom line: Arch will be whatever you want it to be. And in my humble opinion that is a very good thing.
Learn what Linux is, from scratch
I must say that when I started to dive into the world of Linux with Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, I really liked the experience but I did not understand how the system worked. It was all transparent to the user, I saw all the steps that the distribution took when it was updated or when a package was installed (something that has always seemed very positive to me), but I did not understand why.
When in early 2012 I started with my first Arch Linux installation (which took me a few hours) suddenly I understood everything: why the file system is organized as it does instead of believing it because yes, what was the happy issue of dependencies that Ubuntu solved for me, what packages on a desktop really interest me and which ones don’t, I had to edit files configuration by hand … In those hours of installation and configuration I learned a lot.
Now I have a few Arch installations behind my back, even on some occasion I have opted for the easy way and I have installed Manjaro Linux, although currently ISOs like Arch Anywhere they make the process much easier to have Arch Linux pure and simple on your machine.
Now, as some of you already said in some comments about the Arch Anywhere article, Arch Linux is for learning. Using the automatic installation scripts can make the system lose its purest essence, okay, but wasting a weekend reading the wiki installation guide is not available to everyone.
As the ad said, “when you pop, there is no stop“. That has been my experience so far with Arch: I go back and forth a lot (I suffer from a syndrome known as distro-hopping), but this distribution is always my first choice. It’s the good thing about Linux: you can try any distros you want and return to a specific one if you like it more than others.
It will hook you because it gives you a system without bloatware and fully customized. You will love how easy it is to install programs, and you will love that you can always keep it up to date thanks to its rolling release model. You will love that their forums are so active and that you can always find a solution to a problem by doing a little searching. Personally, this is what I want as a Linux user.
Having said that, Arch is not for everyone. It costs a lot to install it and take the necessary steps to do so, and you have to be willing to learn and make an effort to make it work (it doesn’t hurt to have the help of a person with Linux knowledge in that first experience). I already said it in another article: my first installation lasted eight hours, with me reading the wiki and going very, very slowly, but when I got it the feeling of victory and satisfaction was unspeakable.
Arch Linux is for those who want to invest time in having a robust Linux distribution. Due to its philosophy, you will learn a lot in the process. Above all, the basics of how a Linux system works. And once you have done it, everything else will be a breeze. If you’re willing to do all of that, then don’t hesitate: install Arch Linux from scratch.
Yes you’re curious but you don’t dareThen you can try the aforementioned Manjaro or Antergos, which is receiving very positive reviews. Arch Linux is a world worth discovering, and I encourage you at some point to try installing it in its purest form.
Images | painlessrob, kant-o
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