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dhave 05-21-2005 01:41 PM

One Slacker's view of Arch
 
Over the past couple of weeks I've been playing with Arch Linux on a spare partition. I've been faithful to Slack for most of my short time with Linux (only over a year now, still a noob for the most part), but every now and then I like to go see what the other distros are doing.

Arch is well worth trying out. As everyone says, it's got some of the strongpoints of Slack -- speed, relative simplicity -- plus Pacman, a pretty decent package management system. I did find that Arch is not quite as straightforward as Slackware. For example, after I installed a half-dozen packages, I realized that libraries were being installed in some surprising locations -- arguably the result of package builders' preferences, but still not as consistent as PV's approach. I guess that's what happens when you get a lot of people building packages. (You also get more packages, though; see below.)

Pacman _is_ a nice tool, and I had very few problems. However, I realized that I was always nervous about giving over control of my machine to an automated system that I didn't know much about. I suppose I could have spent some time in advance examining the package build scripts and figuring out what was happening. I do know that if you're craving for an automated package management system, you could probably do a lot worse than Arch's Pacman.

New Arch packages come out at a pretty good clip. I noticed today, for example, that a complete OpenOffice 1.9.104 package is already up, along with binutils 2.16, Mono 1.1.7, most of the confangled *-sharp packages that you need to do a lot of Mono stuff, and so on. That's just from the past day or two. So you might stay a tad ahead of the game -- and generally ahead of Slackware Current -- if you're into not-quite-stable stuff. But, especially when it comes to maintaining my system, adding new packages, etc., I suppose I'm one of those who has gotten used to driving a stick shift. I goof up a good bit, but at least I can usually find where the goof-ups are, since I'm the one at the wheel.

I'm not qualified to comment on many of the technical aspects of either distro; I hope someone else will. I don't know how to gauge the significance of Arch's claim to be "optimized for i686", for example. I do know that it feels about as nimble as Slackware, but that's subjective, all the more since my Arch and my Slack installations aren't perfectly parallel in terms of system load. Obviously the Arch folks like to keep an eye on performance-enhancing developments. Arch has had NPTL for a some time, I think, while Slackware just added it a week ago. But I figure PV knows when it's worth going for speed, and when it's better to hold onto stability. Certainly he knows a lot more than most of the rest of us do, anyway.

I don't think most Slackers will feel like they're selling out if they use Arch; it still makes you get under the hood from time to time. But your hands won't stay calloused and your fingernails grimy, the way a lot of Slackers like it.

keefaz 05-21-2005 01:54 PM

I understand you and I don't see myself typing 'pacman' to manage my system..
(err... maybe if it was named 'tetris', I would like it)

egag 05-21-2005 02:34 PM

" doom " would be a good name for an auto-package- manager.

egag

slackMeUp 05-21-2005 02:43 PM

*high-fives egag*

Damn right!

killerbob 05-21-2005 03:29 PM

lol :)

uselpa 05-21-2005 03:35 PM

I played around with Arch as well and I basically liked it. But to me, some reasons make it a bad replacement for Slackware:

1- The lack of a stable branch with security updates. Arch is a bleeding-edge disto, and although Archers say they run production systems with it, I wouldn't.

2- The attitude of some of the people in Arch's forums. Too many, actually.

3- Arch is still a marginal distro. I think that the virtual community is an incredibly important aspect in non-commercial OSes. Both its size and the average skill level are important.

So, although being apparently similar to Slackware, I think that Arch rather appeals to Gentoo people which are tired of source-compiling but want to continue feeling "geeky" and "up to date".

Just my 2 cents.

jong357 05-21-2005 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by egag
" doom " would be a good name for an auto-package- manager.

egag

Funny... ;) I agree... Theres something inherently wrong with automated PM's... Just doesn't feel right..

Arch is allright... I don't think it comes anywhere near the stability of Slackware. Kinda close but not really. Actually, arch is nothing more than a Slackware/LFS hybrid optimized for i686.... Thats basically what the main dev stated... I used it for a little while but as with every other distro, I abandoned it and went back to Slack pretty quick... I think I hit the mark alot better with my own creation than arch did, that is, if they were shooting for basic qualities of Slackware (including the vibe it gives off)... :D

Oh.... What the hell am I talking about anyway?

Quote:

2- The attitude of some of the people in Arch's forums. Too many, actually.
Thats funny you should mention that. I agree. I found most of the regulars there to be quite prickish. HUGE turn off. Actually, that's part of the reason why I chucked Arch. Very pretencious and self-important people over there, generally speaking anyway... If thats the image they want to portray to new users of Arch, then they can keep the damn thing. It's nothing to write home about anyway...

chess 05-21-2005 05:23 PM

I used to hear that Slackware users were rude and arrogant, but at least from what I've seen in this forum, that myth is simply not true. I hope it is not true of Arch users either.

However, what I found interesting in perusing the Arch forums was that there was one thread basically saying that they didn't want Arch to become too popular, which sounds sort of eliteist to me, and other threads where folks jumped all over people who were proposing ways to make Arch easier for newbies or whatever. I don't know -- reading threads like that sort of gives me a bad vibe.

It's a fine distro, but for some reason Slackware just "clicks" for me.

jong357 05-21-2005 09:14 PM

right... Thats part of what I was talking about... It's really absurd. Don't quite understand it and don't quite care...

XavierP 05-22-2005 06:16 AM

Moved: This thread is more suitable in Arch and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.

XavierP 05-22-2005 07:28 AM

A short note: I moved this to the Arch forum because the original post discusses an "outsiders" view of the distro. Anyone who is thinking of moving to Arch will probably read views such as this as part of their decision making process. Any "flaws" mentioned can be discussed rationally by people using the distro and we are likely to see a more balanced discussion than if it were left in it's original place.

halo14 05-23-2005 09:06 AM

I've been using arch for several months now, and I really like it. I also really like slackware, and you're right, it's not quite as stable as slack. It it very awesome, and very fast on my notebook, but I'd never run it on a production server. Then again, I would need a very good reason to run Slack on a production server too, since I prefer BSD for my servers :).

As for the eliteism, I do know some people like that, but I'm definitely not one of them. I am never in the arch forums, but I am ALWAYS in the #archlinux channel on FreeNode. In there, we do a LOT of joking around, but in the end, we almost always do our best to help someone that's actually seeking help. On a normal day, there is about 120 people in #archlinux, and only maybe 20 that are actually talking, with 10 or so doing 80% of the talking.

Honestly, there are a lot of people that come in there with bad attitudes, and that's when some of the guys get upset. As for the people who are saying they 'don't want arch to become too popular'; that's mostly because arch is a distribution indended for more experienced Linux users, not a fresh windows-convert. They don't want a ton of people asking very simple questions, which they wouldn't have to ask if they were using a more newbie friendly distro to get their feet wet.

I use arch because it's still got a the all manual configuration of distro's like Slackware, but a great package management tools with good dependancy resolution. And it's faster than anything I've used on my notebook(including Gentoo). Sure, because it's so bleeding edge, there are occasionally....egh... *snafoo's* we'll call them. But I haven't had anything that rendered my system crippled. And even so, the ABS system can build you a new package from source anyways, if someone elses package broke something.

All in all, I think Arch is very nice; and yes, it is still quite young. It makes a great and fast distro for my notebook, and has excellent multimedia support(And ease of getting the multimedia stuff).

egag 05-23-2005 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by XavierP
A short note: I moved this to the Arch forum because the original post discusses an "outsiders" view of the distro. Anyone who is thinking of moving to Arch will probably read views such as this as part of their decision making process. Any "flaws" mentioned can be discussed rationally by people using the distro and we are likely to see a more balanced discussion than if it were left in it's original place.
quote from OP:
-----------
I don't think most Slackers will feel like they're selling out if they use Arch; it still makes you get under the hood from time to time. But your hands won't stay calloused and your fingernails grimy, the way a lot of Slackers like it.
-----------EQ

in fact OP asked for opinions of "people that use slackware " , not of " arch" users.
how will a post that " discusses an "outsiders" view of the distro " get the " the exposure it deserves."
on the forum of that distro ?
apart from the fact that it's rather a dead zone here, there will not be many " views of a slacker" responses.

so....please put it back where it belongs...

egag

cs-cam 05-26-2005 06:40 PM

Quote:

Actually, arch is nothing more than a Slackware/LFS hybrid optimized for i686.... Thats basically what the main dev stated...
As one of the "nicer" Arch users, I'd be pretty keen to see a link where you got this info. Arch Linux was built from LFScratch and its loosely based on Crux, not Slackware. After reading this thread from an outsiders point of view not having visited this forum for a while due to other commitments, it doesn't look like the Arch users are the ones who are full of themselves or their distro...

win32sux 05-26-2005 07:39 PM

Quote:

I used Crux before starting Arch. Arch started out as Crux, pretty much. Then I wrote pacman and makepkg to replace my bash pseudo packaging scripts (I built Arch as an LFS system to begin). So the two are completely separate distros, but technically, they're almost the same. We have dependency support (officially) for example, although Crux has a community that provides other features. CLC's prt-get will do rudimentary dependency logic. Crux gets to ignore lots of problems we have too, since it's a very minimalistic package set, basically what Per uses and nothing else.
http://wiki2.archlinux.org/index.php/Crux%20vs.%20Arch

just my :twocents:...


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