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#1 2013-03-18 22:09:33

Skyxer
Member
Registered: 2012-05-27
Posts: 7

Should I go Arch?

This question gets asked often enough - this represents the collective wisdom of the boards on the topic.


tl;dr - if you have to ask, probably not...

-jwr


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This might sound a dumb question, but I have to ask it.

I'm currently studying Computer Engineering, and for the past month, I've left all that is related to gaming and did a full migration to Linux.
Yes I do like to thinker with my computer, and modify everything until its exactly the way I want it, but maybe I'm doing it all wrong!

I've been using Ubuntu (Which was the first distro I've ever used) full time for the past month and it now feels that I've completely overcome the need to use Windows OS(finally!), I've tweaked it to my liking and stripped down any additional stuff that I would not or might not need that came bundled with the default Ubuntu install, and unity just felt right for the time being, but, as you all know, even though I have 8GB of ram on both my desktop and laptop computer, Ubuntu is quite memory hungry, and I actually prefer minimalist over pretty (I use Vim as my default code editor, or sublime depending on what I'm doing).

I understand that Arch is bleeding edge, but, do I by using it am taking the risk of sitting in class one day and Arch stops me from using Eclipse, or even Java itself that would be some kind of setback? I'm also pretty scared of the new no installer arch version (last time I installed arch it had the GUI).

Please help a Arch newbie find its way before even starting out, because I'm sure if I manage to get it running on my laptop again (I already tried Arch once and successfully installed GNOME 3 so I could test all my hardware).


Thank you for reading.

Last edited by jasonwryan (2013-06-11 08:46:58)

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#2 2013-03-18 22:21:20

mrunion
Member
From: Jonesborough, TN
Registered: 2007-01-26
Posts: 1,569
Website

Re: Should I go Arch?

Use what you like best. As for Arch causing an issue with an upgrade and it quits working -- it can happen. Read the forums and news before upgrading to see if there are any showstoppers. Upgrade on the weekend to be safe -- and have time to roll back or fix issues if they arise.

But bottom line -- like the distro you use no matter which one it is.


Matt

"It is very difficult to educate the educated."

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#3 2013-03-18 22:26:35

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,688

Re: Should I go Arch?

Skyxer wrote:

I'm currently studying Computer Engineering, .... I'm also pretty scared of the new no installer arch version (last time I installed arch it had the GUI).

All we can say is try it. Or not.   It seems odd, however, that a Computer Engineering student should be scared of a reasonably main stream distribution.

If you remain timid:
Try it in a VM.
Install it on the same machine alongside other OS's.


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Like you, I have no idea what you are doing, but I am pretty sure it is wrong...Jasonwryan
----
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#4 2013-03-18 22:28:25

s1ln7m4s7r
Member
Registered: 2013-02-22
Posts: 262

Re: Should I go Arch?

This might sound a dumb question, but I have to ask it.

There are no dumb questions, just unknown answers. If you have a doubt nothing better than to ask for help.

I'm currently studying Computer Engineering, and for the past month, I've left all that is related to gaming and did a full migration to Linux.
Yes I do like to thinker with my computer, and modify everything until its exactly the way I want it, but maybe I'm doing it all wrong!

Then you are in the right place.

I've been using Ubuntu (Which was the first distro I've ever used) full time for the past month and it now feels that I've completely overcome the need to use Windows OS(finally!), I've tweaked it to my liking and stripped down any additional stuff that I would not or might not need that came bundled with the default Ubuntu install, and unity just felt right for the time being, but, as you all know, even though I have 8GB of ram on both my desktop and laptop computer, Ubuntu is quite memory hungry, and I actually prefer minimalist over pretty (I use Vim as my default code editor, or sublime depending on what I'm doing).

Yep, seems tike a future archer! :-)

I understand that Arch is bleeding edge, but, do I by using it am taking the risk of sitting in class one day and Arch stops me from using Eclipse, or even Java itself that would be some kind of setback? I'm also pretty scared of the new no installer arch version (last time I installed arch it had the GUI).

About updating, if you follow these topics https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=57205 you won't have a problem with it. And about the installation and setup, just read the wiki and it will all be ok!

Please help a Arch newbie find its way before even starting out, because I'm sure if I manage to get it running on my laptop again (I already tried Arch once and successfully installed GNOME 3 so I could test all my hardware).

If you search the wiki before doing something, you will probably find the answers, and there are always many users ready to help you. Just ask and you shall be answered!

Last edited by s1ln7m4s7r (2013-03-18 22:29:43)

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#5 2013-03-18 22:29:37

Ashren
Member
From: Denmark
Registered: 2007-06-13
Posts: 1,221
Website

Re: Should I go Arch?

Since you are studying you will have plenty of time to break your installation and fix it again and you will get deeper into Linux along the way. I'd say go for it.

Do it because it is harder than Ubuntu. Doing hard stuff tends to keep the brain sharp.
Do it because you want control and freedom.

Remember to backup.
Read the front page news.
Read pacman output.
Don't do major upgrades before a class, except if it is a boring class.

Use LVM.

Last edited by Ashren (2013-03-18 22:30:08)

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#6 2013-03-18 22:43:39

WonderWoofy
Member
From: Los Gatos, CA
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 8,412

Re: Should I go Arch?

Just FYI, LVM has been kinda wonky for me lately.  It was rock solid for a long time, but every now and again, the initramfs lvm2 hook fails to find my root partition.  Of course this can be solved for the time being by simply doing vgscan and vgchange -ay, but I am just putting this here for full disclosure. 

Arch Linux is a great distribution and has a seemingly knowledgeable and vast community.  Being bleeding edge, things occasionally break, but for the most part (and most people) it is a solid stable distribution. 

Oh and the thought of going back to a non-rolling release makes me cringe.

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#7 2013-03-18 22:58:29

Xyne
Moderator/TU
Registered: 2008-08-03
Posts: 5,644
Website

Re: Should I go Arch?

Skyxer wrote:

I understand that Arch is bleeding edge, but, do I by using it am taking the risk of sitting in class one day and Arch stops me from using Eclipse, or even Java itself that would be some kind of setback? I'm also pretty scared of the new no installer arch version (last time I installed arch it had the GUI).

Arch doesn't automatically upgrade the system for you, so it won't just break out of nowhere. If you absolutely depend on the system, only upgrade when you have some time to sit down and deal with eventual issues. Breakage is very, very rare in my experience and a solution or at least a temporary workaround tends to show up quickly on the forum.

Always read the front page news before upgrading, and always read the Pacman output while upgrading. They will tell you when manual intervention is required or when something might break. For critical packages you can always wait a few days to see if any issues are reported on the bug tracker or forum. Some bugs are specific to combinations of hardware and/or software configuration so they don't show up in testing (Arch has testing repos for critical packages and big changes).


As for the installer, if you are afraid of that then Arch might not be right for you. You could always try it out in a virtual machine for a couple of week to get a feel for it before committing a partition to it.


WonderWoofy wrote:

Just FYI, LVM has been kinda wonky for me lately.  It was rock solid for a long time, but every now and again, the initramfs lvm2 hook fails to find my root partition.  Of course this can be solved for the time being by simply doing vgscan and vgchange -ay, but I am just putting this here for full disclosure.

LVM isn't wonky. The kernel and/or udev are/is wonky. No?

Last edited by Xyne (2013-03-18 23:01:16)

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#8 2013-03-18 23:23:02

xacobe97
Member
From: Galicia, Spain
Registered: 2013-03-17
Posts: 5

Re: Should I go Arch?

Skyxer wrote:

(I use Vim as my default code editor,

10 points for you man big_smile
If you care about Java, Eclipse and that, you can tell Archlinux to not upgrade that packages, but upgrade the others

Skyxer wrote:

I'm also pretty scared of the new no installer arch version (last time I installed arch it had the GUI).

It's easy if you follow the steps.

Go on dude, you will enjoy this distro.

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#9 2013-03-18 23:41:24

Skyxer
Member
Registered: 2012-05-27
Posts: 7

Re: Should I go Arch?

I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to answer and clarify the questions I've wrote, you guys even answered some questions that I didn't even ask, you truly helped me out so very much.

ewaller wrote:
Skyxer wrote:

I'm currently studying Computer Engineering, .... I'm also pretty scared of the new no installer arch version (last time I installed arch it had the GUI).

All we can say is try it. Or not.   It seems odd, however, that a Computer Engineering student should be scared of a reasonably main stream distribution.

If you remain timid:
Try it in a VM.
Install it on the same machine alongside other OS's.

Well, it is still my first year (2nd semester) and by no means is Linux being thought or are we being informed in how it could be implemented in our current classes, but, I do it as a hobbie and I think it was a misexpression from my behalf, i'm not scared of it in any way (besides not having enough spare time for the install these couple of next two days), I'm just hesitant of being overwhelmed by all the new changes since my first time with arch (Including the implemention of systmed, i think thats the replacement of the previous rc file?). No timidness remaining, I shall go full-man-mode and go for a physical install or arch wink.

I will try arch in a VM first, just to see how smooth it goes. Then I'll delete all the data on my current linux partitions and I'll install on the existing file system (Which was previously formatted by me, not automatic in any way, so it will fit arch perfectly).

And, I might try LVM (Newb-alert: But i'll have learn what it is first).

Thank you again for all the replies, you really helped me make up my mind.

Last edited by Skyxer (2013-03-18 23:42:41)

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#10 2013-03-18 23:46:57

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 18,524
Website

Re: Should I go Arch?

xacobe97 wrote:

If you care about Java, Eclipse and that, you can tell Archlinux to not upgrade that packages, but upgrade the others.


Please don't recommend that newcomers adopt bad habits. Partial upgrades are unsupported.


Arch + dwm   •   Mercurial repos  •   Github

Registered Linux User #482438

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#11 2013-03-18 23:50:23

ngoonee
Forum Fellow
From: Between Thailand and Singapore
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 6,815

Re: Should I go Arch?

jasonwryan wrote:
xacobe97 wrote:

If you care about Java, Eclipse and that, you can tell Archlinux to not upgrade that packages, but upgrade the others.


Please don't recommend that newcomers adopt bad habits. Partial upgrades are unsupported.

Yes, the right way to handle that is to have separate installs of Eclipse (I did that throughout my PhD) and the rest. Eclipse is particularly easy to maintain outside your normal package management system.


Allan-Volunteer on the (topic being discussed) mailn lists. You never get the people who matters attention on the forums.
jasonwryan-Installing Arch is a measure of your literacy. Maintaining Arch is a measure of your diligence. Contributing to Arch is a measure of your competence.
Griemak-Bleeding edge, not bleeding flat. Edge denotes falls will occur from time to time. Bring your own parachute.

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#12 2013-03-18 23:59:18

Xyne
Moderator/TU
Registered: 2008-08-03
Posts: 5,644
Website

Re: Should I go Arch?

ngoonee wrote:

Yes, the right way to handle that is to have separate installs of Eclipse (I did that throughout my PhD) and the rest. Eclipse is particularly easy to maintain outside your normal package management system.

Yeah, just install it in a VM... tongue

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#13 2013-03-19 03:13:35

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

Re: Should I go Arch?

s1ln7m4s7r wrote:

If you have a doubt nothing better than to ask for help.

This is dangerous (or at least ambiguous) advice.  Mine has always been: If you have to ask the community if Arch is right for you, it probably isn't.  Read the wiki, try it out, and see what you think.  For what it's worth, I've been using Arch for a couple years, while going to school for both a bachelor's in history and web design/development certification; it's done me just fine so far.

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#14 2013-03-19 08:19:12

andmars
Member
Registered: 2012-03-13
Posts: 155

Re: Should I go Arch?

hi, I too went to Ubuntu linux in 2008 and haven't felt the need for a Windows OS ever since. For me Arch feels very stable and I don't have to tinker with my system much. Every now and then you get a .pacnew file you have to look into but that doesn't happen very often. And if there are some major changes you always get the news on the front page of archlinux.org that tells you exactly what to do. These things won't break your system. The only one who can break your system really is you when you try to do stupid things with it :-)

Jason has written some nice posts about "bleeding edge" and "breakage" that I can't add much to it.

http://jasonwryan.com/blog/2012/07/19/breakage/

http://jasonwryan.com/blog/2012/06/16/misunderstanding/

as for the no-gui installer: I like it a lot better because you fully understand the install process after doing it this way. And there are good video tutorials on youtube you might want to watch first to get a feeling of what you have to do;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NQ12QJTqEY

or if you like a video from soviet-russia ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFvJ09LWwZA

Last edited by andmars (2013-03-19 08:26:51)

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#15 2013-03-19 10:43:21

lord_rafa
Member
From: Canary Islands (Spain)
Registered: 2013-03-19
Posts: 8
Website

Re: Should I go Arch?

In my opinion, even if you are a computer engineer student, Arch is not a good distribution for start in Linux. There a lot of concepts about Linux that you need to know and a lot of stuff that can fail (and a lot of solutions in the forum/wiki). I'm computer engineer and I have used Linux for a really long time but I still with doubts in Arch. In my opinion Ubuntu is the best for new users getting experience. Anyway if you want you can use VirtualBox to test Arch without format your computer and test by your self how much hard arch can be.


Errare humanum est sed perseverare diabolicum

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#16 2013-03-19 11:52:16

thesystematic
Member
Registered: 2013-02-08
Posts: 44

Re: Should I go Arch?

I'm pretty new to this forum, and I'm already seeing at least one post like this a week - read them if you're interested, but nothing is going to give you the same experience as trying it yourself. As mentioned above, dual boot or try in a VM first to get a taste and over time you'll use it more and you can make it your main distro.

If you want to learn about Linux, use Arch. Read the Arch Way, that will give you an idea of what it's all about. As for beginners trying Ubuntu - I agree and disagree. I think Ubuntu is different enough now that it is almost not 'Linux' enough to really give you a taste of the differences.

Just my two cents

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#17 2013-03-19 13:02:06

satanselbow
Member
Registered: 2011-06-15
Posts: 530

Re: Should I go Arch?

andmars wrote:

as for the no-gui installer: I like it a lot better because you fully understand the install process after doing it this way. And there are good video tutorials on youtube you might want to watch first to get a feeling of what you have to do;

Youtube Arch install videos really aren't (generally) the best place to start... frequently out of date (there is a new ISO monthly with Arch) and omitting some pretty important initial configuration steps wink

Follow the Beginner's Guide and you'll be fine - it's what it is there for  big_smile

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#18 2013-03-19 13:03:51

Skyxer
Member
Registered: 2012-05-27
Posts: 7

Re: Should I go Arch?

Just to get things straight, I've never once said that I was a complete and utter newbie on the Linux scene.
I'm currently using Ubuntu due to the fact that it was a hassle-free setup for school usage purposes, I did not have time for anything else at the moment. Also, I prefer Debian over Ubuntu, and I feel that running Ubuntu at the moment is quite an overkill, besides being a hassle-free setup it come with to many stuff I just don't use.

I want a distro that is lightweight (A hobbie, I like tweaking linux and fixing it in my spare time), and something that overall can offer me stability when i need it.
Keep in mind that I've already installed arch before on my school laptop (It was very fun, and very rewarding) with GNOME3, but this time I'm going for something even more lightweight, like AwesomeWM for example.

Thank you for reading, and for all the great replies.

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#19 2013-03-19 14:30:03

IsSuE
Member
From: Upper Austria
Registered: 2006-04-29
Posts: 309

Re: Should I go Arch?

I don't get why everyone talks like Arch breaks on a daily basis. I have been running Arch for around six years now and never encountered a problem that was not fixed by reading the frontpage/wiki/forum.

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#20 2013-03-19 15:01:50

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,163

Re: Should I go Arch?

You should not use Arch, unless you can sense the Deep Resonance, even if not connected to the Matrix. Arch hosts are known to attract free or even wild sprites, which can be an issue for normal hackers (or even deckers!).

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#21 2013-03-19 18:56:23

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

Re: Should I go Arch?

IsSuE wrote:

I don't get why everyone talks like Arch breaks on a daily basis. I have been running Arch for around six years now and never encountered a problem that was not fixed by reading the frontpage/wiki/forum.

**emphasis mine

exactly. problems do occur. breakages do occur, but the users need to have the wherewithal to deal with them.


Forum Rules

There's no such thing as a stupid question, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots !

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#22 2013-03-19 19:53:33

MagicSkyFairy
Member
Registered: 2013-03-14
Posts: 79

Re: Should I go Arch?

The thing about linux is that most of the time it's you that broke it!  Arch is pretty stable.  Things will break sometimes during upgrades and whatnot, but usually you can either read the news page, find/ask a similar question on the forums, or read the wiki and you will usually find a solution.  Any linux distro will have problems.  Even with ubuntu, you might have to change a bunch of configurations just to get a program working.  Sometimes you won't have any clues on why it's not working.  These things are not specific to Arch.

What I do is to keep a small windows partition for school/windows only apps.  You could also just keep an arch vm as a practice run.

So, if you want, download arch.  It's not as difficult or unstable as many people might say.


I have wasted atleast a second of your time by making you read my signature.

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#23 2013-03-19 20:30:44

triton60
Member
Registered: 2012-04-17
Posts: 23

Re: Should I go Arch?

Over about 6 months I tried Fedora, SuSE, and finally Ubuntu. I wanted a rolling release and ended up using Arch (for nearly a year now I think smile).

I have never had a breakage in Arch, as people have mentioned read the front page for news items and if you are worried an update might break your install wait a few hours to see if other people on the forum are having issues. I used to have an Arch VM I would update before I updated my main installation but I don't bother doing that any more.

Honestly, I had breakages on the other distros I tried and couldn't fix them easily for the simple fact they hide so much stuff from the user; it makes it hard to fix breakages, you learn so much while installing Arch you can fix it yourself if it were to break.

Andrew.

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#24 2013-06-11 03:43:47

linuxpcplus
Member
Registered: 2013-06-11
Posts: 21

Re: Should I go Arch?

I spent years using Ubuntu & its many derivatives. A few months ago I decided it was time for a change. I wanted a distro with the latest software & no need to reinstall in order to upgrade to the latest version.
Naturally, this led me to Arch, Gentoo, Slackware and other rolling distros. After much research I decided I preferred Arch. But I was not sure I was ready to make the change. So I decided to start with Manjaro, an Arch derivative. A simple way to get a basic imtroduction to Arch. Manjaro is great! But now I am ready to graduate to "Arch proper"! But like most folks coming to Arch, I do have a few concerns/questions.

My primary concerns surround my computing needs/resources.
I am currently a college student and run my own business. I have only one machine (and, no I cant afford a new machine) I use for both school & work so extended periods of downtime can be very costly to me. I do have a Nexus 7 I can use for short periods, but obviously not a reasonable substitute for my computer.
So my concern is that when I switch to Arch I will need to take the time to build my system to what I want it to be. I am concerned that this may be a problem since I may not be able to use my computer during this period, and masy experience breakages due to mistakes I make. So here is my question:
Does anyone have suggestions/advice on how to minimize downtime while installing/building my Arch system?
Any advice that might help a new Arch user get started & ensure the most success?

I have been reading the Wiki & the forums in depth. But any other advice would be appreciated!

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#25 2013-06-11 04:04:10

drcouzelis
Member
From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 3,437
Website

Re: Should I go Arch?

The rule is simple: Install and update Arch Linux when you have time to fix possible problems.

Bad: "I have a 15 minute break in my work schedule, so I'll do a quick update."
Good: "It's Sunday afternoon, so I'll update Arch Linux like I do every weekend."

Arch Linux is quick and easy to install, but when you're done all you have is a terminal and Bash. What can be challenging is installing all of the other applications you need and configuring them the way you like it. You know, like X, a window manager, a web browser, and so on.

Or, to avoid pretty much any problems, just dual boot with what you're already using. I have four operating systems install. If I break Arch Linux, I can just boot into Haiku or FreeBSD! Just kidding. I just boot into an Arch Linux live CD I keep handy. Which, for the record, I've only had to do once. (Stupid Linux Mint installer...)

linuxpcplus wrote:

a distro with the latest software & no need to reinstall in order to upgrade to the latest version... Naturally, this led me to Slackware...

Woah. Slackware, the super conservative "release when it's ready" distribution? When did it become a rolling release distribution or start having the latest software? yikes

Last edited by drcouzelis (2013-06-11 04:05:31)

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