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Arch Wombat
Reviews Views Date of last review
17 99405 05-03-2006
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
82% of reviewers None indicated 8.4



Description: Arch Linux is a general purpose linux distribution that can be molded to do just about anything. It is fast, lightweight, flexible, and most of the parts under the hood are quite simple to understand and tweak, which can make it a good distro to "learn the ropes" on. We do not provide any configuration helper utilities (ie, you won't find linuxconf in here) so you will quickly become very proficient at configuring your system from the shell commandline.

Arch Linux uses i686-optimized packages which gives us improved performance over some of our i386-optimized cousins. This means that Arch Linux will only run on a Pentium II processor or higher. We try to stay fairly bleeding edge, and typically have the latest stable versions of software.
Keywords: arch linux wombat pacman


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Old 12-13-2004, 08:47 PM   #1
cs-cam
 
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 3,544

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9

Pros: fast, lightweight
Cons: devs could rethink some things



This is my first go at Arch Linux coming from Gentoo. Compared to Gentoo it was relatively simple, the install didn't take too many brains but the partitioning section could be worded better, kinda tricky to understand what's going on but once you get it theres no worries. The mirror list could also use updating when doing an FTP install, I came across two mirrors that didn't work, may have just been down at the time though. Something I don't like is that once the base is installed you can easily finish setup without installing a bootloader (seperate option on the menu), if on dialup this could mean a good few hours wasted.

Pacman is the built-in package manager for Arch and the setup program actually uses it to install your OS, it's recommended you only install the base packages and go from there which is what I did. Pacman is a binary package manager but like the distrobution, all packages are i686-optimised and seemed noticably faster than my optimised from-source Gentoo system. Plus, installing Xorg took under 5 mins compared to Gentoo's compiling time which was considerably longer.

Once the OS is installed you get a commandline on first boot which is exactly what I was after, nice! Then you have to run pacman -Sy to update it's package database and you're good to go. I do have a bit of a beast of a machine but I'm yet to find an application that has practically zero loading time once installed. Firefox, Open Office, as soon as I click the icon it's up which is more than I can say for my Gentoo system.

So far I'm very impressed, my only problem is instead of /dev/hda1 it's /dev/discs/disc0/part1. Annoying but nothing a few symlinks can't fix...
 
Old 01-13-2005, 10:33 PM   #2
s0no
 
Registered: Oct 2004
Distribution: Debian Pure / Arch Linux
Posts: 9

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Pacman, ABS, uptodate, FTP-Install, i686-optimized
Cons: Young project, still working some things out.


I started out with Arch linux back when it was @ version 0.5 I have since then tried other distro's, usually going back to Slackware. I have then since come back (this was around when version 0.6 came out) and have never looked else where for a distro. It has cured me from the Slackware hold that was taking over me. (Though Slackware is very good)

I can best compare Arch to Slackware, as it does keep to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) ideals that I have grown to love from it. It is apparently based on the Crux distro, but I haven't tried that distro.

Arch uses a great package manager called Pacman, which takes care of all dependancies and makes it a trivial thing for installing, upgrading and removing packages.

It also comes with a very nice packaging system called ABS, which makes the creation of Arch packages very simple. It only took me about 15mins on my first try to make an Arch package. (Though my Slackware background helped a lot)

The documentation has improved since my first encounted with Arch, but it's still very sparse and leaving much to be desired. The wiki is great though, which makes up for a lot of the missing information.

The forums are very friendly and active.

Arch is still a very young distro, but it has great potential. As it stands right now, for my uses, it's close to perfect.

My only complaints is there seems to be no real inovation and / or new idea's introduced into Arch. I feel that a young distro needs to create something that makes it stand out from the rest, to attracted new dev's and a larger user base. But, then again Arch is young and is still trying to work out some things here and there. Once it settles into a comfortable setup it will no doubt inovate. At least this is the feeling you get on the forums, filled with young and exciting people.

I give this distro a 10, even with some of its downsides coming to the surface here and there. Pacman, ABS, and the community make up for this in my books.

Give it a go.

 
Old 01-22-2005, 06:24 PM   #3
lg_alucard
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 16

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Fast, Light, Stable, Pacman, ABS, Easy/Fast Updates, Community
Cons: Install is a bit hard for new linux users


This is my favorite distrobution that I have used.

The initial installation is very much like slackware's once you're done. You're in command line and have to configure X. Though installing graphics drivers has been made easier with the help of pacman (pacman -S nvidia), and hwd helps you figure out what settings you need to use.

Once it's configured right you use pacman to install a desktop environment. Then edit your ~/.xinitrc file to start the desktop environment, and type startx as a normal user and your in gui.

Not having to install 3 different desktop environments and a load of other stuff that you'll never use is the real advantage of this type of install.

Arch is optimized for i686 processors so you can't use it on anything lower than a pentium 2. There is an i586 project but there are a lot fewer packages available for it. Pacman and the ABS build system make this distrobution not only very convevient and easy but also much faster in my opinion. Pacman is binary based and tracks all dependancies. This means that there is no more dependancy hell to get lost in if you're using an arch package to install something, and there are no more long compile times. The ABS build system provides the users a very good way to get involved in the developement of the project, and because of Pacman and ABS has a continuously growing and very useful line up of packages. Arch is the only good distro that makes it so easy to install mplayer out of the box.

Pacman makes updating easy by running pacman -Syu to download and install updated/upgraded versions of all your installed packages.

Arch is usually criticised for not being overly well documented, even the creater admits this is his weak point, but it makes up for it with an abundance of extremely helpful wikis, a freindly forum community, and a helpful and knowledgable IRC community, also they have someone working on the documentation.

Personally, I would recommend this young distrobution to anybody who has a machine with an i686 processor.
 
Old 01-26-2005, 12:55 AM   #4
guild
 
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: Auditor Linux
Posts: 64

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9

Pros: fast; light; very stable; keeps things simple
Cons: tough learning curve for new linux users; documentation could be better


I have been using linux for about two years now. My distro history is as follows:

red hat 9 -> mandrake -> suse 9.0 -> suse 9.1 -> arch 0.7

So up until now I have primarily relied on graphical managers to deal with configuration issues. I used suse 9.1 the longest and really enjoyed it. However I began to feel that it was bloated and I wanted to try different distros. I used yast in suse to do my partioning so I didn't have the same problems other reviewers had. I set up a primary partition and left the rest of the hard drive as free space. Then I installed suse so I could boot into that and fix problems with arch if necessary. Then I installed arch and used parted (through arch installation) to set up a new partition in the free space.

I am running this on an HP zt1170 laptop and arch has worked better on this laptop than any of the other distros. However I think this is because I have set up all the configuration stuff manually instead of letting an automated script from suse/red hat/mandrake do it for me.

Through the process of installing and setting up arch I have learned SO MUCH about Linux. As I ran into problems I read and searched and looked until I found a solution. What that means is that now I have my laptop set up in a way that is absolutely perfect for me. I ONLY have packages installed that I actually use and everything on my laptop works.

My favorite thing about Arch is the speed. Again - part of this might be due to manually configuring things - but since arch begins with a very barebones setup then you add the process and modules that are needed at boot-time one at a time. So there are no modules or processes being loaded that I don't need.

My only complaint about Arch is the lack of documentation. The WiKi was very helpful but it would be nice to have a document that took you through each step of installation (basic install - setting up X - setting up WM - setting up sound - etc).

The package manager is great - very simple and it is nice to have a simple package manager to keep track of everything.

One thing to note if you install Arch - in order to install a new package you need to type "pacman --sync" not "pacman --add" I'm not quite sure what the difference is but the --sync option is what works for me.
 
Old 02-16-2005, 10:44 PM   #5
ganja_guru
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Distribution: Arch Linux 0.7
Posts: 393

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9

Pros: Really fast, Easy to configure/change things once you get the hang of it, fantastic community
Cons: Partitioning during installation is *very* scary


I gave Arch a shot after reading reviews on LQ.org and Distrowatch, and I must say I'm really impressed. I didnt think Linux could be so fast. The previous distributions i've tried include RH9, Slack 9.1, Slack 10.0, Ubuntu, Suse 9.1, Suse 9.2, Mepis, Yoper and I can safely say that Arch outclasses every one of them.

So should you try arch? If you're a noob I would NOT recommend arch. The Install docs themselves say its a distribution aimed at a 'competent' Linux User. However, if you're sick of the bloat of other distributions or the lack of a proper dependency checker in Slackware (please don't suggest swaret/slapt-get), I would definitely suggest you try Arch. Its i686 optimized (and it makes a lot of difference, no matter what some hardcore Slackers might say--I used to be one myself) running on the 2.6.10 kernel.

Anyway, the good stuff,

PACMAN! = *the* best package manager out there, hands down.
They have a huge number of packages, and im running kde 3.4 beta 2 !

ABS = to build arch packages from source with optimizations.

Config files = more often than not, the only config file needed to edit is rc.conf. Nothing else.

Speed = *fastest* I've ever seen

Kernel Source = unlike some major commercial distro's , the kernel source is included by default and makes installing the NVIDIA drivers much easier.

Philosophy = Install only the base packages, add what you want later thru pacman for a mean system. It makes a huge difference to other distributions

GTK : no firefox sluggishness I've felt with other Distributions.

Community : very friendly, no RTFM!

CONS:

Installation : though simple, I wish that /dev/hda1 wasn't listed as
/dev/discs/disc0/part1. I crapped my pants during install hoping I got it right. Basicallty disc0 is hda and part1 is the first partition on hda(hda1). Anyway, post install, /dev/hda is symlinked, so no worries.

XFCE/KDE : Some weird bug, not sure if it is Arch specific, but when I had XFCE 4.2 installed KDE would not show menu items. There is a workaround though.

Seriously, try it. One of the posters on the arch forums had an interesting signature : 'I used to be a Distro Slut, till i met Arch'. Same holds good for me.
 
Old 03-24-2005, 04:57 PM   #6
drowbot
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Distribution: SUSE, ArchLinux, Gentoo, LFS, Slackware, Fedora
Posts: 100

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Speed, configurability, excellent package management
Cons: A little difficult for new users to install


A good, simple way to describe Arch would be "Gentoo without all of that compiling."
I was a Gentoo user before Arch, and, like many Gentoo-users, I was convinced that it was the greatest Linux distro ever. After switching to Arch, however, my views have changed.

Installation was a breeze, but it could be a bit challenging for a somebody that's new to Linux. One thing I didn't like was partitioning during installation. I prefer to use fdisk and partition my drives before running an installer. And getting used to "/dev/discs/disc0/part1" instead of "/dev/hda1" was a bit annoying at first, but I've quickly adapted.

The installer did have its strong points, though. It lets you edit your basic config files by hand, using your choice of vi or nano. This was a BIG plus for me, and something I thing other "power" distros should take heed of. It also let's you choose between LILO or Grub for your bootloader, rather than making the choice for you like a lot of distros.

Once the installation process was complete, I was able to boot into Arch without a single error. I was amazed...no...AMAZED at how fast the OS loaded. Even after installing my DE and all of my other applications, my boot time is still measured in *seconds.* That is not an exageration. And I didn't have to make any sacrifices in functionality or applications to achieve this.

It is recommended that you only install the base packages for Arch, and that is what I did. Although you do have the option to choose your extra packages during the installation process.

The place where Arch really shines, and the thing that sets it apart from the others, is its package management system: pacman. It is a binary package manager that can handle dependencies, a major headache for a lot of Linux users. It could be described as "portage without all of that compiling." Installation is fast and simple. And, surprisingly, the i686 optimized binaries seem to run faster than my custom compiled packages in Gentoo.

Despite its relative "newness" as a distro, Arch's package library is very comprehensive, and only a few packages needed to be downloaded and compiled manaually. That said, ABS (Arch Build System) can be used to create your own packages for pacman. I've never run into a simpler pacakge builder (including Slackware and Gentoo, I've used both).

Overall, I'd give this distro a perfect 10. This is what GNU/Linux should be. Not a comprehensive, do-anything OS, but the tools to customize an OS for YOUR needs. Arch's K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) philosophy is the way to go.
 
Old 03-29-2005, 01:54 PM   #7
tetanus
 
Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Yoper
Posts: 4

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0

Pros:
Cons:


Ok, I have installed Arch on a spare box and took some time to configure it. I disagree with claims that arch is a no noob experts only distro. It is a great distro for learning if only you take some time and with a help of a right tutorial
http://archlinux.org/docs/en/guide/install/arch-install-guide.html
http://wiki2.archlinux.org/index.php/Install%20and%20configure%20xorg

It is true that you must configure most of the stuf trough console, but that is a big plus since it teaches you a lot and you become distro indepedent this way.
the only thing I have disliked so far is arch installer not configuring network if installing from cd. It is really easy to set it up later, but for a noob this could be very frustrating. In case of ftp install it configures your network (loads eth0 module, set dhcp....).
Arch is lightweight, fast, very configurable and I strongly recomend it.
It makes you realize you use Linux and it doesnt try to hide the fact that some level of computer knowlege is required to have some real use from this OS.

But as said, being a noob is not an disatvantage on Arch, I guarantee you will learn more in a week trying to configure it just perfectly than on other "noob fiendly" distros in a few mounths.
 
Old 04-03-2005, 09:45 PM   #8
winsnomore
 
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: #1 PCLinuxOS -- for laughs -> Ubuntu, Suse, Mepis
Posts: 315

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 4

Pros: Fast .. yes it's true
Cons: Very immature, too much hand configuration, doesn't work right


I tried this Distro based on positive comments and lost a day !!
Only difference from the posted comments is that I I built the kernel during install
Install is curses based .. not a crime but the navigation is very bad .. every time you click to select something, instead of picking the next item in the list of things to do, it takes you back one-step ... annoying .. during the kernel build/config I saw more brain-dead behvior than most peple see, but there are bigger problems.
I compiled the kernel in less than 1/2 hour and able to boot in less than 40 minutes .. and that's where the trouble started.
DE/WM won't start .. reason, it couldn't find the "/dev/mouse" ..
this is after the xorg setup (again curses based) set up the xorg.conf that wants /dev/mouse ... that doesn't exist, /dev/input/mice does work :-)) and I had to handedit that too..
I hand edited the darn thing and made X start, but then I had contend with VGA display as it didn't find my display card.
I hand loaded the module (SiS .. pretty standard almost every distro found it on this hardware).
Has no options for selecting monitor .. so more hand editing
I didn't even get to finiding issues with sound ..

Disks are named starangely .. one can get over it .. but can't get over the fact that everyone is trying to be LFS complaint and this distros is way out on the left field.
It starts with a crummy WM and DE .. so I decieded to get KDE . welll it's 214MB and it took 2+ hours to get that down from the slow mirros .. and get this ..pacman has a perl-script to "sort the mirrors" based on the speed, but ohwell .. it needs netselect package that you have to first download .. what a catch22 .. I can't believe they won't include that 2 bit package in the base.
Fonts are all messed up in KDE .. they are truly ugly to look at .. and that finally did me in.
The real problem I finally gave up on it was because I couldn't resolve one error in kdeinit .. KDE starts up and i could use it , but for some reason libkdeui.so.4 had some unresolved references that kdeinit asked for .. and barfed, so the control panel will quit before making any changes (like adding new fonts).
For all the beauty of pacman I couldn't make it tell me which package had this darned library, not that it would matter, because all the archives have the same version, and I will have to compile on my own anyways.
Their web-site claims a bug in pacman. That causes menu-items to go missing, so they recommend unintttall and reinstall kde ..which i did before saying hell with it.

I would not recommend this distro .. it's better than yoper .. but it's not ready yet .. may be the reasons it's team is still calling is 0.7 is because they also see it's about 70% done .. in my opinion a bit less.

If you don't need KDE may be you can use it .. but there isn't a whole lot recommending this distro other than speed. I am not sure one should waste one day configuring it to get milli-second advantages in response !!!!
 
Old 04-25-2005, 02:42 PM   #9
ingvildr
 
Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Fedora
Posts: 358

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 5

Pros: i686 optimization, slim base install
Cons: stable packages too buggy, pacman's features seem to be hit and miss


I tried this distro out when i did a stupid etc-update on gentoo and it became unbootable, so i desided to give Arch a try, i had heard good things like, a mix of slack and gentoo and slack with package management. So i got it as quick as a could and had a few little issues with the install but nothing too big. With a small choice of WM's i picked enlightenment and started my arch expeirence. Now, is pacman as good as people say, well no, well pacman -Rs is a great tool for getting rid of loose dependences but gentoo has emerge --depclean, revdep-rebuild, so nothing too special. Then came the problems, GNOME haha the time i had with that, install after install, no background images or right click and also some programs from gnome-extra would not load so i though pff back to enlightenment, so i did something as simple as removing it and then when i did a reboot i could no longer log in :( so it was bye bye arch hello again gentoo my fast, flexable friend :), so all i can call arch linux 0.7 is average.
 
Old 06-15-2005, 12:18 PM   #10
lmellen
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: Arch/Ubuntu
Posts: 42

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Excellent OS
Cons: none


Just another linux user that got tired of Gentoo ( though a excellent OS)
I've had Arch on my t-23 for a couple of years now, It's just a excellent OS. They also have a excellent support forum, no smart asses! My number one linux OS!!!
 
Old 08-01-2005, 11:08 AM   #11
jackmetal
 
Registered: Aug 2005
Posts: 0

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9

Pros: pacman, abs, user community
Cons: none that I can think of


This distribution has stopped my 'distribution surfing'. ;-)

I started out in the early 90's with Slackware. Since that time, my primary distributions have been Slackware, RedHat/Fedora and Mandrake/Mandavia. I've probably tested nearly all of the others at some point in time, and have liked many of them including SuSE, Debian, Gentoo, etc.. But, I always came back to either Slack, Fedora or Mandrake..........Until..........ArchLinux.

As you know, once you have everything setup on your system, you'll get the itch to try something new. ;-) I read up on all of the distro's I could find, read all the reviews I could locate and a few distro's stood out for me to try.

I liked the idea that ArchLinux was a slim, 686 optimized distro. So I took the plunge.

I did an ftp install (so I would have all of the latest packages to begin with). Within 20-30 minutes, I had a fully loaded system and was surfing the net. ....Without all of the 'Bloat' that you typically get from some of the "Major", "Newbie Friendly" distro's. This was EXACTLY what I was looking for.

Once you have it loaded, you no longer have to re-build it to keep up to date. Just run pacman -Syu and your system is at the latest. Whether it was years ago or last week that it was installed.

Sure, there are places that could use some work...But overall, this is "THE" Perfect distro......"For Me".

You may constantly hear that ArchLinux is not newbie friendly.. I find it to be one of the easiest distributions to install....period. And it's one of the easiest to update/maintain. If you have any issues, the ArchLinux user community is one of the best out there. Ask a question and it will get answered. Usually within a few minutes. And...you won't get flamed. The only stupid question, is the unasked question!

I've stuck with ArchLinux, and haven't even had the urge to leave since. I still load other distro's as they come out and update (just to keep up to date on what's out there), but ArchLinux is my main working distribution (it NEVER leaves my desktop) and I honestly can't see that changing any time soon.

In addition to pacman, there is abs (the Arch Build System). With it, you can easily create/add/update new packages that aren't currently available in the repository. ABS is an extremely easy to use and very powerful tool. With it, you have an unlimited supply of applications at your fingertips.

So give it a shot!
 
Old 09-05-2005, 07:23 PM   #12
koolmansam375
 
Registered: Jun 2004
Distribution: Slackware 10.1
Posts: 8

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 8

Pros: pacman, rolling release schedule, slim install
Cons: packages arent updated quickly, some packages dont work right


Arch is a good distro imo but it has some problems. Its kind of like a compiled Gentoo but not quite. Some of the packages are broken or not kept current. I think of it as a current version of Slackware with a package manager. Too bad the packages are broken :-( .

The ftp install looks like a nice touch but never worked for me so I had to do a cd install and "pacman -Syu" after rebooting.

Its a nice little distro that needs a little tweaking to get it to work right (changing the order of the mirrors pacman uses).

i dont like the partition naming scheme. i much prefer /dev/hda1 over /dev/discs/disc0/part1. X wont work with the default mouse path (/dev/mouse) and needs "/dev/input/mice" to work

The AUR with pkgbuilds seems like a dumb idea to me.

I might try it again at a later release. If theyve fixed the issues.
 
Old 10-11-2005, 07:57 AM   #13
jsmarshall85
 
Registered: Aug 2003
Posts: 386

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: pacman, fast, you make of it what you want
Cons: current, extra, testing, unstable, AUR; they get kind of confusing


i have used Arch off and on since .5 nova, but stuck with it when i went back about 3 months ago for .7 wombat. Arch has stopped my distro hunting. period.

it installs fast from cd, but even an ftp install is about a thousand times faster than suse (yes i know there is a lot more to suse). it is light and you install just a base system and get what you want later. thats not always good for noobs, but it makes you learn. after a base install, i install xorg and then kde, samba, openoffice, firefox, thunderbird, opera...whatever i want.

and upgrades could not be any easier: pacman -Syu!

the only thing that gets me sometimes is the repositories. they are current, extra, testing, unstable, and community or the AUR (ArchLinux User-community Repository). sometimes i get confused as to what can be installed from where. i know that packages in unstable are names different from the same package in testing or current, so you can have two versions of one application installed? for example openoffice 1.1.5 is called openoffice-base in extra but the 2.0 builds are called openoffice2 in unstable

other than that this distro is the my one and only distro to use every day, sure i still install others for learning purposes, but this is my main distro. it is great, hasnt failed me, does what i want, and has taught me to read the man pages so that i know what i am doing. that carries over to other distros as well. the support forum is awesome as well.

highly recommended!

 
Old 01-25-2006, 12:22 AM   #14
javaduke
 
Registered: Jul 2005
Posts: 0

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 4

Pros: Customizable installer interface.
Cons: Poor hardware detection makes installation on laptops difficult.


I've been using Gentoo for a few years now, and I have tried Arch on a Compaq Presario 2140US and it managed to install fine. The real issue here is with machines that have "strange" hardware. Dell's Latitude X1 (Samsung Q30), for example, has a USB CD-ROM drive, but I was unable to get Arch to load the module for it (/dev/sr0 OR /dev/scd0). When attempting to use the FTP install, I also found that the ethernet module failed to load, and the installation halted there. It is true that Arch has to be able to recognize the CD-ROM driver because I could use the install CD to a certain point. I think Arch should include a hardware detector that is not loaded by default but is made available for those who have idiosyncratic machines.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 12:46 PM   #15
johndoe0028
 
Registered: Jun 2005
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 165

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: Fast, flexible, Learn CLI really fast :)
Cons: Setting up a complete system with printing and such takes a little while, eXtreme newbs may not get it


Installed it on a PIII Machine. 600MHz. Worked very nicely. All my (older) hardware was detected. I have never seen that thing go so fast!

The install was smooth, and straightforward. Everything worked right out of the box, even X. Pacman is freaking awesome, almost like a yum for .tar.gz files. Stable; I only had a couple of crashes (and that was with some old ndiswrapper modules). Ditched the wrapper, and the thing hasn't locked since.

ArchWiki was a huge help. Questions, go there.

I recommend this for more advanced users who don't want GUIs getting in the way of system administration.

Thumbs-up for Arch and it's developers!
 
Old 02-14-2006, 05:24 PM   #16
DeusExLinux
 
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 648

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9

Pros: easy installation, no GUIs to get in the way of system admin, Pacman, Pacman. did I mention pacman
Cons: can be a bit difficult to set up if you don't know the specifics of your hardware



I've been using Archlinux for about a year now. I have constantally been thinking I should post a review, but never got around to it. I decided it was time.

If you are thinking about installing this distro, I recommend trying it. As many of my cohorts above (and at the Arch forum) have been saying, I used to distro hop constantally. I would start with something that made me happy (I started with SuSE), and within a week, month, day, I would switch to something else that made me happy. I moved from SuSe to Mandrake(Mandriva now) to Fedora, back to Mandriva, to Mepis, to Ubuntu, to Debian, to gentoo. Then I installed Arch. I installed it because I was a little sick of compile times from gentoo, I didn't notice that much of a speed difference between the binaries and when I compile myself.

The first thing I noticed about Arch was how easy it was to install. A few packages installed, a few config files edited (all with very good documentation), and blammo. I was booting into a very basic setup. The first time I tried to start X, I ran into some problems, but it was only because of the different naming scheme for the mouse (all of which <i>is</i> documented in the wiki. After the first boot (which I noticed was much quicker), I was hooked.

System administration is a do it yourself deal. There really are no configuration GUIs to get in the way. You won't have a GUI changing your precious hand written config files, and screwing with the system. Aside from that, most configuration through the base system is done through the rc.conf file. You don't have to copy slinks and whatnots to the /etc/rc.5 file and hope you have it in the right directoy, or wonder why something isn't working when you boot into runlevel 3.

Pacman is one of the best package management systems I've seen as well. Apt-get is good, but I found it took way too long to install and upgrade things. Yum, to me, wasn't cutting it. Portage was great, but I had some personal differences with gentoo. Every once and awhile I'll run itno an odd update error, but it is normally because I didn't read an announcement on the Wiki or the Arch forum. The downloads are always fast, and almost everything is in the repo. If it isn't, making packages is a snap through the wonderful ABS. A simple file and a few commands and you've made your own package. It's so simple it's brilliant.

Which lies the Arch philosophy. KISS. Keep it simple stupid. Don't let things get in the way. As the great American writer Henry David Thoreau said, Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. Arch does this, beautifully.

It would be worth yout time to check out Arch. I did, and never looked back.
 
Old 05-03-2006, 07:55 AM   #17
coolb
 
Registered: Apr 2006
Distribution: Gentoo 2006.1(2.6.17-gentoo-r7)
Posts: 222

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0

Pros: Good default confs(hosts.deny etc), ABS
Cons: umm... if only it had better support for my lappie :-)


Nice, but I would rather be Slackware... but that is just me.

Pacman and ABS are winners :-)
 




  



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