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Arch Linux 2010.05
Reviews Views Date of last review
11 48665 07-19-2011
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
64% of reviewers None indicated 7.2

Description: "New installation media are available. There are fewer of them and they are smaller. But they can do more. Notable changes: all ISO files can now be burned onto CDs as well as written to media like USB sticks; more than half of the packages in core are now xz compressed; next to the single architecture images we provide dual images which can be used as 32-bit or 64-bit medium; use isolinux bootloader exclusively for booting the live media; snapshot of current core, including Linux kernel, Pacman 3.3.3 and glibc 2.11.1; updated Memtest86+; support for PXE booting; provide wpa_supplicant; support virtio...."
Keywords: xz-compressed kernel- dual-image-32/64-bit

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Old 10-21-2010, 05:45 PM   #1
Registered: Jul 2006
Distribution: CentOS, Xubuntu
Posts: 4,924

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

Pros: Fun for hackers
Cons: Time-consuming and sometimes unstable

The official documentation describes this as a bleeding-edge distro and that, plus the rolling-release approach, explains the frequent complaints of broken software in the user forum. Running Firefox from a terminal gave 23 warning messages, compared with 0 in Fedora. This is not a distro to which one should entrust business records or college coursework.

The installation is very time-consuming, with a lot of files to edit. The documentation is excellent: if you follow it precisely you will succeed, but it may take several hours. After a day's work I had a GUI, 3 applications, and a dead Alt key.

Computer hobbyists will like Arch, but those who just want a working computer should look elsewhere.
Old 01-17-2011, 05:58 AM   #2
Registered: Nov 2007
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 11

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

Pros: Easy to use
Cons: Not too easy to install

I've been using Arch Linux for more or less one and a half year now.

I've faced some minor problems, but were easily solved.

I even use it for servers, but I do not recommend you doing so.

For your Desktop, or not too critical server it should OK.

Check out this Arch Linux review Listed also in
Old 01-26-2011, 04:00 AM   #3
Registered: Jan 2011
Posts: 1

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 1

Cons: Racists on the Arch Linux Mailing List

Racists on the Arch Linux Mailing List:

I joined the Arch Linux public general mailing list and posted a free opensource FOSS font for coders to use, Rail Model font. I was accused of spamming and trolling by certain developers there. These were just excuses from them as underneath they had a racist attitude to my email address for the mailing list:
hare_krsna_hare_krsna_krsna_krsna_hare_hare_hare_rama_hare_rama_rama_rama_hare_hare -at- .....

Thus when I tried to defend against their accusations I was banned from there, no discussion nothing.
Old 01-27-2011, 11:50 AM   #4
Registered: Feb 2010
Distribution: Arch linux and backtrack 4 r2
Posts: 53

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

Pros: Very Fast
Cons: You need to know what you are doing

I love arch linux, and as a desktop/laptop distro it does very well. It is incredibly responsive, and average boot time is around 15 sec. You do need to know what you are doing, or else folow the online documentation or you will end up frustrated, and with a broken distro. If you have been using Ubuntu for awhile (nothing wrong with ubuntu, this is just what I did) and are looking for something very fast, customizable, and want to learn more about how linux works I highly recomend arch linux.
Old 02-18-2011, 01:24 PM   #5
Registered: Mar 2010
Distribution: Arch, Fedora
Posts: 71

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

Pros: Speed, no unnecesary software installed, flexible
Cons: time consuming setup, not for novice users

I had been using Fedora as my desktop, but was tired of upgrading every 6-8 months, so I looked around at rolling releases. I settled on Arch and have been using it for development at work and at for casual use at home.

If you're afraid of the command line, or want an OS to just install and go, Arch is not for you. But if you want to KNOW what is installed and have control over your system, then this is the OS for you. Configuration is simple and centralized, the package manager, "pacman", is arguably the best Linux package manager out there, and everywhere, you see signs of Arch's "Keep it simple" philosophy.

And if you're worried about not knowing how to administer your system, Arch's wikis are extensive and accurate with lots of step by step instructions.
Old 02-27-2011, 05:59 AM   #6
Registered: Jun 2009
Distribution: Archlinux
Posts: 125

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

Pros: Portable, KISS approach
Cons: not fot CLI Noobs

I use Arch and KDE on my desktop. But my laptop was still a Gnome/Debian based system, so i copied the complete root partition from the desktop to my laptop just added the bluetooth and wifi stack and reinstalled the nvidia driver to the mobile version. The reason i did this was to get both the same "look and feel" due to the fact that i do a lot of DTP and graphics work on both of these systems and the fact that my homemade Wacom driver/setup and a modified Gimp versions work the same way. With the Arch way of keeping it simple turned out that i just had to change minor things like the hostname and fstab and a first start up in the fallback mode rebuilding the initramfs. Try this with some quirky python based distro's.
Old 03-08-2011, 10:50 PM   #7
Registered: Aug 2005
Distribution: Debian Jessie
Posts: 809

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 6

Pros: Very light and fast, very flexible, puts you in control
Cons: Very difficult to install and configure, not very stable

Arch is a lot similar to *hobbyist* distros like Linux From Scratch, Gentoo, the oldest versions of Slackware or even NetBSD: be ready to build it yourself almost piece by piece.

After installation, you have to edit several configuration files. That is mandatory, as there are no defaults to get you more or less started. Editing those configuration files is tricky, you have to know what you're doing, you have to be proficient in Linux configuration.

After the first boot, you don't get a graphical environment at all. You can install X, but there is no default configuration. I had to go through documentation to get my Wifi connection working. I also had to read documentation to learn how to *enable* the package manager and install more software. The documentation is pretty good, but learning all the stuff is time consuming, even for me, I am quite experienced with Linux. I installed X and the LXDE window manager, but even the window manager comes with no default configuration to get you started. Everything about Arch Linux is read-and-learn and do-it-yourself.

Personally, I hate that approach. I love the concept of having control in my hands (in comparison with Red Hat or Debian developers who love to reinvent wheels and introduce arcane tweaks), that's why I used Slackware for several years, but I think that should be no excuse for delivering such an incomplete OS. I think it should come more ready, more capable out of the box. Only then, by means of simplicity and the KISS philosophy, it should do everything possible to stand out of the way and let itself be changed to your heart's content. I mean, a basic default window manager configuration and example files for X, Wifi etc. would definitely not hurt the intended goal of flexibility and control.

Then I gave up on it and installed Arch Bang, a more user-friendly version of Arch. It's better, it has X, window manager, but then I couldn't find several of my favorite software packages in the official repositories. Apparently, I would have to learn then install then use something called AUR, which is a repository of user-submitted packages. I don't like the idea of installing user-submitted packages in terms of security. From what I read, the Arch team oversees the security aspect, but I found many reports of unstable software.

Then I tested hardware, I was surprised that my audio card and Web cam were working out of the box (Acer Aspire One netbook), but that was on Arch Bang. The USB slots didn't work so well. Plus, I couldn't figure out how to configure either the netbook's own keyboard or the external USB keyboard. I had problems in all cases. I didn't find any Hibernate function, which put me right off because I really need that feature. Maybe KDE or Gnome would install it, but I was hoping to use such a light and fast distro with an equally light and fast window manager, like Openbox.

Arch Linux is one of the best examples of why Linux has put so many people off during so many years: it doesn't quite work out of the box, rather it forces you to work for the computer instead of having the computer work for you. Then again, it's clearly a *niche* distro intended to scratch some itch that I imagine just a few people have. It should be interesting for Computer Science students, but then Stage 1 Gentoo or Linux From Scratch should be a lot more interesting. It seems to me that Arch sits awkwardly between Linux From Scratch and a slightly more user-friendly distro like Slackware, which doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. I can't figure out what blank is there exactly between Linux From Scratch and Slackware that Arch is filling. Anyway, it seems to have been picking up quite some popularity lately for some reason I do not know.
Old 03-18-2011, 08:56 AM   #8
Registered: Feb 2011
Posts: 14

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

Pros: Stellar package system
Cons: Poor security and bad forum

I write this Arch review as I'm preparing to change distros. I am a hobbyist developer who originally started Linux with SUSE, then Kubuntu, and then Arch. The first thing I would mention to a new user about Arch is something that is very poorly done and misleading...

1) Arch has NO package security. This means that if data on the 150+ mirrors is compromised, so is your system, which is very behind-the-times for a modern distro. Even Windows signs their updates. I wrote an in-depth article on this: Arch’s Dirty Little Not-So-Secret In discussing this with the devs, I was left with the sense that they don't take security seriously. I would not recommend Arch to anyone requiring a reasonably secure system, at least not until they implement package signing. Even then, their attitude toward security is poor. Also note that I wrote paccheck which helps improve the security of updates - if you use Arch I recommend using paccheck for updates. The only good thing I can say about Arch security is that their packages are vanilla, so they don't introduce many bugs, and you're very up-to-date, so you have the latest bugfixes almost as soon as they are released by the original developers.

2) The forums are very unwelcoming. They like to think they run a tight ship and keep it all business, but the reality is more that it is run like an insider's club. The moderators are very intolerant of even polite dissent and discussion of security issues, and they don't follow their own rules. The attitude toward newbies is harsh and often unfriendly. There are many friendly and helpful people in the community, but it's a very serious corporate-like environment. Don't expect much. But if you do have a problem, research it as best you can (including searching the forum), then ask on the forum, showing them that you've already tried your best. One advantage is Arch users know their stuff.

3) Arch's development team seems to be in decline. It's very hard to get changes made, which I have heard from other developers as well, and is one reason why package signing is still under development after years. It's not really run as a community-supported project. You pretty much have to put up with things their way. In some cases their way is great, in others not.

That's about all the negatives I have for Arch, and explains why I am distro shopping. Arch does have advantages.

4) The Arch devs work quite a voodoo with making Arch rolling release yet quite stable. They put a lot of work into dealing with changing versions and libraries. The available package list is large, and the user-contributed AUR supplements this. Just about any program you want to install is usually just a command away, sort of like Ubuntu's apt-get. The difference is that Arch leaves the software as vanilla as possible - minimal patches and mods. This means you get to see the software the way the authors intended, and bugs aren't introduced as much by poor mods, but you also may need to configure things more than in Ubuntu, for example. Except for its total lack of security, Arch's package system is stellar.

5) To install Arch, I recommend setting up a spare dual-boot partition where you can play with it, but still boot into your current OS when the day is done. Arch can take some time to setup, but the Wiki is fantastic, and if you follow the instructions you will be successful AND learn a lot. You will really know your system well. Most configuration in Arch is done by editing the config files - I really like this method more than GUIs. It's more stable and direct. Another advantage to Arch is that you can build a fast, minimal, or custom system without having to remove lots of pre-installed stuff - almost nothing is pre-installed in Arch.

6) Updates in Arch usually go smoothly, but being rolling release, sometimes an app or daemon will break. However, you also tend to know your system well in Arch, so you aren't clueless. My general update procedure with Arch is to first make a quick backup of my system partition (once you learn how, that is a quick method). Then I do my update. If there are problems I can't resolve, I then just roll the system partition back using the backup I made. Then I wait awhile or read on the forum for resolutions. Usually the problem is resolved quickly, or at least there is discussion of it. I would say 90% of updates on Arch go flawlessly, with 10% causing minor breakage, and 2% major breakage. However, I use only Openbox, no KDE or Gnome, so this simplifies my system. But in general I would say the breakage problem is over-stated in many Arch reviews. I like the 'a little at a time' update approach more than the 'huge upgrade every 6 months' approach. I only installed Arch once and it is still running great. I find maintaining an Arch system is easier than maintaining Ubuntu over time.

Arch is not for those completely new to Linux, unless you're really patient and willing to study. But someone familiar with another distro, who has had experience solving a few problems using the command line and editing config files, will pick up Arch without too much strain. You'll do more for yourself, but the advantages of that will soon show themselves. The wiki is your friend - use it. The forum is not exactly friendly, but it can be helpful, especially to search for known issues and solutions.
Old 07-02-2011, 09:16 AM   #9
Registered: Jun 2011
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 151

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8

Pros: Very customizable, rolling realease, cutting edge, close to upstream
Cons: difficult to set up

What I like most about Arch Linux is the package management system. Managing packages is incredibly easy, especially with tools like Yaourt and packer. And if a package isn't in the main repository, it is probably in the AUR, and if it isn't there, it is incredibly easy to create your own package, which allows you to easily manage custom packages on your computer.
Old 07-09-2011, 12:27 PM   #10
Registered: Jun 2010
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu, Arch Linux
Posts: 8

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8

Pros: The customizeability, the speed, the wiki and other documentation
Cons: The installer

I switched from debian to Arch linux aq little while ago, and I have to say it's really funny working with Arch. I still consider myself to be a linux newbie, but Arch sure is learning me a lot about linux!

The very best thning (in my opinion) is the ability to build the system from scratch. It's a lot of config, but in my opinion, that's better than the opposite, no possibilities. Another really great thing is the Arch wiki, it's one of the best documentations I have ever seen! Way better than Debian's wiki.

The installer, though, is not that good. cfdisk won't run properly on my laptop (yet, I AM going to get it working :P), and I had lots of trouble with the manual partitioning. I don't know whether it has to do with the fact that I installed it together with Windows 7, and did something wrong. The auto partitioner on an older machine worked flawlessly though.
Old 07-19-2011, 10:36 PM   #11
Registered: Apr 2011
Distribution: Arch Linux :D
Posts: 50

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

Pros: Incredible wiki, light memory footprint, always up-to-date packages
Cons: I like all the tweaking and system setup, so I can't list it as a con!

A great distro for those who don't mind taking a couple days to get it working right. Since it takes this from-scratch approach, I find that once I get everything working, It uses half the memory Ubuntu does when idle. I've heard it's because it doesn't load a bunch of useless daemons.

The wiki is absolutely incredible, and I doubt there's a better documented distro out there.

The stuff in the default repo is also stellar. It's always up-to-date, and I can find almost everything I need. If I can't find something, it's almost certainly in AUR, which is basically a bunch of scripts to compile stuff for you. If you install a program like Yaourt, it's as simple to install stuff from AUR as installing packages from the default package management program. That is one of the reasons I switched from Ubuntu: I had to add a bunch of repos just to be up-to-date. Not Ubuntu's fault of course, but it's just not how I roll.

Great for people who don't mind taking a few days to set it up and get it working properly. It's not that hard, but it's NOT for noobs. If you don't even know what the command line is, go with a distro like Ubuntu until your are more comfortable with how Linux works.


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