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#1 2012-05-24 16:23:36

avonin
Member
Registered: 2012-05-24
Posts: 4

Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

I'm trying to decide whether to install Arch or Chakra on my laptop. Currently, I'm running Arch on my desktop and Windows 7 on my laptop (which I plan to overwrite). My skill level with GNU/Linux is somewhat intermediate – noobs refer to me as an expert, experts refer to me as a noob. If it matters, I'm a KDE user and primarily use my computers for web browsing and python development. Anyway, I just wanted to get an objective opinion on the differences between Arch and Chakra. I have a few points that stand out to me, but I welcome any input.

-Stability
I started my journey into GNU/Linux with Debian back in 2009 due to it's stability. I really disliked Debian's ancient software and considered moving my system to Unstable. While doing some googling about Debian Unstable, I stumbled across Arch – it was love at first sight. I've been an Arch user ever since. I love the bleeding edge software, and haven't had any major problems since I originally installed it. However, every time I run a system update I cringe a little. While Arch hasn't broken on me yet, I've read plenty of horror stories and it makes me uneasy. I understand that Chakra is a mix between a point and rolling release model. Is it any more or less stable than Arch? I know there are other distrobutions out there, but I'm in love with the Arch philosophy.

-Security
Pretty self-explanatory, but is there any difference in security between the two?

-AUR
As much as I love Arch, I wouldn't be able to stand it if it weren't for the massive collection of software available in the AUR. While I'm perfectly capable of compiling software myself, I prefer to use a command like tool like yaourt to manage my software. I understand that Chakra doesn't officially support the AUR and that they have their own user repository. Seeing as Chakra is still relatively new, is it lacking? Will I miss the AUR as a Chakra user?

-Repositories
Is there much difference in the official repositories between the two distrobutions?

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#2 2012-05-24 18:10:00

Inxsible
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From: Chicago
Registered: 2008-06-09
Posts: 9,071

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

I believe they started as a distro based on Arch, but they have since made some major changes. I don't believe they use pacman anymore and so your packages won't be cross compatible. As for whether their repos are lacking or not -- only someone using Chakra can tell you that. So I think its a question best asked on their forum.

But if I may ask, if Arch hasn't broken on you for the past 3 years and given the fact that you profess your love for Arch in this post...why not just install Arch with KDE?


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#3 2012-05-24 18:30:13

Pres
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Registered: 2011-09-12
Posts: 423

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

Those horror stories you heard were most likely from people who didn't know what they were doing and messed something up, then made it even worse by still not knowing what they were doing to fix it.

Arch is surprisingly stable for how bleeding edge it is. You will run into issues every once in awhile, but most of the time they are easy to take care of (especially if you update every day or so, makes the guilty package easier to find). Also, you will learn quite a bit more from Arch, since you have to set everything up by yourself. This knowledge is useful.

BTW, I think Chakra still uses pacman, but they are planning on switching to their own at some point.

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#4 2012-05-24 18:35:06

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 3,437
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Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

avonin wrote:

My skill level with GNU/Linux is somewhat intermediate – noobs refer to me as an expert, experts refer to me as a noob.

Well said, but this will never change no matter how skilled you become. tongue

If you can read, follow, and understand the instructions in the beginner's guide and on the wiki, then you are a skilled GNU/Linux user. If you have decades worth of diverse GNU/Linux usage, then you are an experienced GNU/Linux user. I feel that's it's an important distinction. There's always more to learn, and it sounds like you're doing great. smile

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#5 2012-05-24 18:47:08

avonin
Member
Registered: 2012-05-24
Posts: 4

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

I just got done playing with Chakra in VirtualBox and I think it's a bit too infantile for me. I guess I was just trying to find a distribution that's as simplistic and bleeding edge as Arch, while being as stable as Debian or Slackware.

As for why I'm not sure about going with Arch. It took me a solid week back when I installed it to get it how I wanted it, and while I didn't mind then, I just don't have the time anymore. I was drawn to Chakra because it seemed like Arch+KDE with a GUI installer that would leave me with something close to my current Arch system, but with different branding. I'm thinking now I was wrong.

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#6 2012-05-24 19:22:39

ConnorBehan
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From: Long Island NY
Registered: 2007-07-05
Posts: 1,356
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Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

drcouzelis wrote:
avonin wrote:

My skill level with GNU/Linux is somewhat intermediate – noobs refer to me as an expert, experts refer to me as a noob.

Well said, but this will never change no matter how skilled you become. tongue

Haha... so true!

As for the repo size, I think you will find the selection of unofficial Chakra packages lacking. The CCR has 2200 packages, whereas the AUR has 37000. This might be because Chakra is newer, but I suspect that users who want their GUI to come with their installer and work out-of-the-box are less inclined to make source packages. Having said that, I occasionally find a package in the CCR that the AUR doesn't have and the PKGBUILD transfers over to my Arch system perfectly well.


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Great things come in tar.xz packages.

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#7 2012-05-24 19:35:08

avonin
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Registered: 2012-05-24
Posts: 4

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

I do have another question though. I've been pretty good with updating my desktop usually at least once a day, but my laptop doesn't get used as much. Sometimes it sits off for months.

How suicidal or painless is it to only run system updates once in a great while? My understanding is it's damn near suicide to wait long periods of time between updates. Is this just FUD?

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#8 2012-05-24 19:52:19

Lennie
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From: Sweden
Registered: 2011-10-12
Posts: 146

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

avonin wrote:

As for why I'm not sure about going with Arch. It took me a solid week back when I installed it to get it how I wanted it, and while I didn't mind then, I just don't have the time anymore. I was drawn to Chakra because it seemed like Arch+KDE with a GUI installer that would leave me with something close to my current Arch system, but with different branding. I'm thinking now I was wrong.

It should be possible to copy your installed Arch system to your laptop. I do it regularly with *buntu, but haven't tried with Arch. Make a backup with rsync, and "restore" it to the laptop. With Ubuntu the only thing to do is change fstab, grub menu and install grub in mbr. I guess there is a few more steps with Arch.

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#9 2012-05-24 19:54:47

Awebb
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Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,165

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

What is a long period? Two weeks is still fine (my machine at work). I'd say update before and after every major update of vital packages, say, pacman or Gnome.

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#10 2012-05-24 19:55:10

ANOKNUSA
Member
Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

avonin wrote:

I guess I was just trying to find a distribution that's as simplistic and bleeding edge as Arch, while being as stable as Debian or Slackware.

Aptosid, LMDE, and PCLOS all offer exactly that.  You don't have quite as much control as Arch offers, but they're all rolling-release distros.

avonin wrote:

How suicidal or painless is it to only run system updates once in a great while? My understanding is it's damn near suicide to wait long periods of time between updates. Is this just FUD?

1) Very.
2) True.
3) No.

Of course it's entirely possible to upgrade only once in a great while, but to do so you basically need to keep track of all the changes that happen in the meantime in order to manage your system.  But this of course takes more time and effort than just skimming over the Arch news and punching in a console command.

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#11 2012-05-24 20:09:00

Inxsible
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From: Chicago
Registered: 2008-06-09
Posts: 9,071

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

I recently updated an old laptop after damn near 8 months. Went smoothly. pacman got upgraded first without a hitch. The only problem was on reboot, where my WM (i3) had changed 2-3 configuration options which I had to fix in the i3config file.

Of course if you use heavy DEs like Gnome or KDE or even XFCE, there is a lot more interdependence and things might not be so smooth. YMMV.


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#12 2012-05-24 20:26:06

sitquietly
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From: Moscow, Tennessee
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 216

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

avonin wrote:

I'm trying to decide whether to install Arch or Chakra on my laptop. ... I'm a KDE user ... I just wanted to get an objective opinion on the differences between Arch and Chakra..

-Stability...
-AUR...
-Repositories...

My take on Chakra is that it's the same as Arch with different developers.  They use pacman. They have a different and rather nice build system for their developers. They're doing a good job, but I'd hate to give up the services of Allan McRae who must work full time keeping the Archlinux core and toolchain up to date.  Chakra devs probably piggy-back off his work.

As for "semi" rolling: I don't see Chakra as having a stable core.  A stable core sounds attractive, it would be like NetBSD which has a very stable core Unix operating system with apps added via pkgsrc.  But Chakra's core and toolchain is at the same version levels as Archlinux most of the time and are no more tested and stabilized than ours. Their core packages are updated piecemeal just like ours; there is no stable core that is released as a unit (afaik). Today Chakra has gcc 4.7 / glibc 2.15 just like ours. Their kernel is a little more stable: they're using udev 181 / linux 3.2.8 while Arch is on udev 182 / linux 3.3.7.  They are more conservative in upgrading xorg and the video drivers than Arch.  For example, today they're on xorg-server 1.10.4 / intel video 2.17 while Arch is up-to-the-bleeding-edge-minute with xorg-server 1.12.1.902 and intel video 2.19.  Yeah, I would consider Chakra to be a little more "stable" than Arch mainly because of their relaxed pace in changing the kernel and the xorg stuff.

Most of the patches that I look at for Arch packages (I build my system entirely from source and try to build monthly releases for myself) are needed because we use more recent core packages like glib2/glibc/gcc than the developers of higher level stuff like qt.  Chakra is in the same situation.  We're on the front of the wave big_smile

The Chakra CCR is compatible with the Arch AUR and mainly draws from AUR (an AUR buildscript will usually work fine on a Chakra system -- they just add one or two additional info fields.)  With a little effort you could get any package installed on a Chakra system that is available on Arch.

Last edited by sitquietly (2012-05-24 20:43:58)

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#13 2012-05-24 20:30:33

Inxsible
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From: Chicago
Registered: 2008-06-09
Posts: 9,071

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

Hmm.. Wasn't there a thread some time back as to how the main dev of Chakra was moving away from pacman and Arch itself? There was also a blog entry by him. Maybe the plan was delayed/scrapped ??


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#14 2012-05-24 20:37:28

loafer
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From: the pub
Registered: 2009-04-14
Posts: 1,683

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

According to their web pages pacman is still the package manager but will be replaced by Akabei "when it's ready".  So they do not intend to use pacman in the future.


All men have stood for freedom...
For freedom is the man that will turn the world upside down.
Gerrard Winstanley.

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#15 2012-05-24 23:43:49

abveritas
Member
Registered: 2012-05-04
Posts: 27

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

As a Chakra dev, not much to add here, all points are quite well explained, and someone being a happy Arch user for 3 years, probably no reason to move to Chakra.
From the start of the discussion for a split from Arch, one of the reasons was to get a new package-manager.  Though none/few on Chakra will say there is a better package manager currently available then pacman.  So akabei will only replace pacman, when it is fully ready.  And after almost 2 1/2 years of coding, it is getting close to enter the first actual testing phase.....

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#16 2012-05-25 00:04:39

Allan
Developer
From: Brisbane, AU
Registered: 2007-06-09
Posts: 10,394
Website

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

sitquietly wrote:

They're doing a good job, but I'd hate to give up the services of Allan McRae who must work full time keeping the Archlinux core and toolchain up to date.  Chakra devs probably piggy-back off his work.

Probably....  My favourite change to their toolchain was when the gcc PKGBUILD changes were copied which included pointing the bug url at our tracker. tongue  But really I do not care about this.  Making the toolchain stable for Arch is my goal and if they can benefit from that I have no issues.


As to whether to use Arch or Chakra...   I can confidently state that "Arch sucks".  I do not like KDE so can not say whether Chakra sucks more or less.

But as to your criteria:

Stability - probably +1 for Chakra given their distro core does not roll as fast as ours does.  Userland is just as (un)stable.  The OP should know how stable Arch is and whether this is really an issue fro them.

Security - I lean towards giving Arch the lead here.  I think that Chakra's core is too "stable" in that they just do not update new minor versions at all.  That means they do not get the automatic security fixes that tend to be involved and I do not see any backporting or a large enough team there to actually deal with that.

AUR/repos: Arch wins here.  Larger dev team and larger user base.  But then, I guess the main stuff you would want tends to be in both distros.

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#17 2012-05-25 03:42:17

avonin
Member
Registered: 2012-05-24
Posts: 4

Re: Questions about the differences between Arch and Chakra.

Thank you for all of your informative replies. After deciding that Chakra wasn't for me, I've resolved to try Aptosid and keep Arch on my desktop.

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