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Arch Linux 2011.08.19
Reviews Views Date of last review
5 25881 05-18-2012
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 10.0

Description: "Time for a much needed update to the Arch installation media, as the last release (2010.05) is not only quite outdated, but now yields broken installations if you do a netinstall. What has changed in this period of more than a year? Experimental support for Btrfs and NILFS2; support syslinux bootloader; changes to configuration formats to support new rc.conf and Linux 3.0; make selecting source more flexible; show package descriptions when installing packages; snapshot of current core, including Linux kernel 3.0.3, pacman 3.5.4, glibc 2.14, mkinitcpio 0.7.2, initscripts 2011.07.3 and netcfg 2.6.7...."
Keywords: syslinux-bootloader rc.conf kernel-3.0.3

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Old 11-16-2011, 10:48 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2006
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 2

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

Pros: Simplicity, customizability, does only what you tell it to
Cons: Not for those who don't read documentation

Thanks to the previous reviewer for introducing my first point: if you want to avoid trouble, all you have to do is read the documentation! (Enabling the unstable [testing] repository will get you problems like the above.)

Installing and using Arch is a snap, as long as you don't expect it to hold your hand. That said, the phenomenal Arch wiki and Beginner's Guide are enough to teach you to walk, given you're willing to put in the time and the effort. This release includes even more improvements to the installer, which is starting to feel very polished for a text-based interface.

The sheer customizability of Arch is its truly addictive quality. Everything is tweakable if you know which configuration files to edit (i.e., can read man pages). You choose what applications are installed, what services will run, whether you have a GUI and if so, what window manager... in short, everything! Once you've got your custom system set up, all you need is a package list and a copy of the configuration files, and you can recreate it on another machine with minimal fuss.

If you've got the time and determination... definitely give Arch a try. Don't install it on your primary machine the first time, because you'll want to spend some time acclimating to the Arch way of doing things. Once you learn to set aside your expectations of complexity, everything will fall quite nicely into place. :)

tl;dr: Read the docs, give yourself time to learn and permission to make mistakes, and Arch will become whatever you want it to be.
Old 11-21-2011, 12:07 PM   #2
Registered: Dec 2009
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 103

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

Pros: exceedingly fast(responsive), great documentation
Cons: blindly updating 'could' break your system

well, as a windows refugee i used ubuntu for a while but got fed up with the sloooow speed and how hard it was installing exactly what i wanted

i looked at gentoo: couldnt get it to work in a VM (i was a noob)

so one day: i sat with my laptop plugged in to the router(broadcom wifi) with an old netbook with the arch beginners install guide open and in a surprisingly quick time (about an hour with the telly on) i had it installed
another hour and i had X, gnome, xfce (gnome shell hated ATI)and my broadcom wifi all set up with netcfg (far easier than wrestling with the broadcom-sta in ubuntu

so, in short: easy to install really (dont fear the command line) the documentation is the best i have ever seen and easy to understand

updating? easy as sudo pacman -Syu. only problem is that if you choose not to read what is updating first; then you may get a shock when something breaks; most obviously to me when my wifi and graphics break on a kernel update; though there are daemons and hooks to automatically reinstall on these occasions

so what to do: use arch of course! just spend a bit of time setting up, and read the news before updating. USE THE DOCUMENTATION; ITS ALL THERE!!
Old 12-06-2011, 07:24 PM   #3
Registered: Oct 2004
Distribution: FreeBSD Arch
Posts: 2,021

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

Pros: A great little somewhat BSD-like Linux distrtion. An intuitive Installer DVD that works for i686 or x86-64.
Cons: Not for someone who is too lazy to read the docs or feels entitled.

A net install will allow you to setup your ethernet interface, install the base, install X and configure it, install a GUI, install all of your favorite apps. There is a large repository of pre-compiled software for both i686 and x86-64. Arch has one of the better package mgr's I have used, it is called pacman. The entire system and userland can be updated (minus anything that you have compiled yourself) with a quick pacman -Syu. Arch is a rolling release that gets you the latest everything so there could be a hicup every now and then. (That's why updating without reading the wiki is not advised) Speaking of the wiki, it's quite comprehensive. It covers just about all of the problems that you'll encounter. Arch also a forum for that which is not covered in the wiki.
Arch doesn't give you a bloated or skimpy machine. You get just what you have built, nothing more, nothing less.
If you have a couple of years experience with BSD or Linux then you may find arch a nice little distribution to use and maintain. If you are brand new to *.nix then you may be less than happy as there is little hand holding. Although if your willing to read the wiki when you have a problem you should be able to get an Arch box running.

My review of Arch is: Light, Responsive, Simple, and Intuitive to build and maintain.
[CODE]uname -r
Old 01-10-2012, 09:08 PM   #4
Registered: Feb 2009
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 84

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

Pros: community, documentation, speed, doesn't include crap
Cons: requires being literate?

Arch is an awesome distrobution. The default install doesn't include a boatload of crap that you don't need or want and adding what you want or need is very easy. Following the beginners guide works perfectly for most setups and if it doesn't then reading the rest of the wiki forums or joining IRC solves every problem I have ever had. The only con I can think of is you must be literate and be willing to read every now and again.
Old 05-18-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
Registered: Aug 2011
Posts: 12

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

Cons: You need to be a Linux expert

Arch's greatest strength is its speed and light weight. Right out of a cold boot and with graphical interface started it takes like 75 MB of my RAM. Literally the only other OS I've seen weighing that little was Windows XP on Safe Mode. When you have tens and tens of opened tabs on Chromium including multiple Youtube tabs and Chromium is eating over 1 GB of RAM, Arch never slows down. When you're exporting a VM while copying a huge file while hashing about 50 GB worth of files while browsing Facebook, Arch never slows down. Arch literally allowed me to delay a new hardware purchase I was about to do because Windows 7 and Debian were starting to show signs of old age of my computer.

It is, however, not a distribution for beginners. You have to be a very experienced Linux power user, or you need to have taken a course on Linux at your college (which is fortunately part of my major's curriculum). Everything is done by hand, reading man pages, moving configuration files and using the command line. To use Arch you have to be willing to use Linux like the pros, and in our modern days of GUIs that lead you through the installation process this is something not everybody is willing to do.


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