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#1 2011-03-25 00:38:24

carolinabranden
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Registered: 2011-03-24
Posts: 9

Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

At the moment I am trying decide which Linux distro to switch to. Preferably after I finish a build I would rather everything to automatically update without human intervention. I prefer a very minimal maintenance environment. Windows has been nothing except a maintenance pig, so you can see why I don't want to deal with that in another OS. I've heard that the Arch community can be unpredictable. Arch Linux + Xfce has grabbed my interest for some time. I have researched it a lot already. I'd like to get some opinions from the people who actually use it before I switch over to it.

Desktop Rig
Antec 300 Chassis
BFG 550W Modular PSU
Asus M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3
AMD 1090TBE CPU
Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM
Ati 4670 1GB DDR3 GPU (Overclocked)
WD 500GB 7,200rpm HDD
LG DVD/CD Drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (Primary) w/ Linux Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit (Secondary)

Lenovo X120e Laptop
8GB PC3 10600 RAM (upgraded)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Replacing Windows 7 entirely on my laptop with a solid Linux distro.


Does Arch Linux in your opinion meet what I am looking for? Is it labor/maintenance intensive even after a final build? Can it be a virtually maintenance free environment once you've configured everything? Sorry for the broad questions.

These systems no longer exist.

Last edited by carolinabranden (2013-08-03 17:11:46)

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#2 2011-03-25 00:42:19

heleos
Member
From: Maine, USA
Registered: 2007-04-24
Posts: 678

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

There really isn't a "final build" for arch, since it's a bleeding-edge rolling-release distro.

Sure, you could install, get everything set up, and then not touch it... but where's the fun in that?!

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#3 2011-03-25 00:44:30

mundane
Banned
Registered: 2011-03-23
Posts: 49

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

If you are after "automatically update without human intervention" then Arch Linux is not for you, sorry.

Linux Mint is good, and Debian even better if you don't mind using old software. Debian is almost guaranteed not to break once you set it up, whereas Arch is almost guaranteed to break if you don't put the time in to maintain.

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#4 2011-03-25 00:46:47

Stebalien
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Registered: 2010-04-27
Posts: 1,227
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Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

As a rolling release, you will not have to perform a major update every six months or so. On the other hand, you can't automatically update. If you do, you will miss important information given in the '.install' files and your system will break.

Last edited by Stebalien (2011-03-25 00:48:30)


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#5 2011-03-25 00:52:18

carolinabranden
Member
Registered: 2011-03-24
Posts: 9

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

heleos wrote:

There really isn't a "final build" for arch, since it's a bleeding-edge rolling-release distro.
Sure, you could install, get everything set up, and then not touch it... but where's the fun in that?!

True, there isn't a final build. I just used that as an example. I'll still add programs or change the cosmetics time to time, yet I'd rather not have to update everything myself or run into software hardaches on a regular basis. lol Every time I turn around something in Windows has either screwed up or it needs a bunch updates. I like how almost maintenance free OSX plus some Linux distros are.

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#6 2011-03-25 00:55:13

the sad clown
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From: 192.168.0.X
Registered: 2011-03-20
Posts: 833

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

Try Crunchbang Xfce.  I really liked its defaults, and since its built on Debian stable, it should be rock solid once you are done with your setup.  As an added bonus, I think it has a very friendly and knowledgeable forum community.

Last edited by the sad clown (2011-03-25 00:57:16)


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#7 2011-03-25 01:04:31

carolinabranden
Member
Registered: 2011-03-24
Posts: 9

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

mundane wrote:

If you are after "automatically update without human intervention" then Arch Linux is not for you, sorry.

Linux Mint is good, and Debian even better if you don't mind using old software. Debian is almost guaranteed not to break once you set it up, whereas Arch is almost guaranteed to break if you don't put the time in to maintain.

Linux Mint was my second choice. lol I appreciate everyone's opinions and help. Please continue posting since I'll return to read it later. I might use Mint + Xfce for everyday use. (^_^) Thanks!

Last edited by carolinabranden (2011-03-25 01:05:27)

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#8 2011-03-25 01:05:08

stryder
Member
Registered: 2009-02-28
Posts: 498

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

The key characteristic of Arch is that it is bleeding-edge rolling release. You use Arch because you want the latest. Therefore you expect that things change. And when things change, as when you want to add a program, you have to manually intervene at times and you must know how to intervene. From your last statement - maintenance free OSX and some other distro - I would say that Arch is not for you. Debian is probably best.

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#9 2011-03-25 01:23:58

Anikom15
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From: United States
Registered: 2009-04-30
Posts: 836
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Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

Debian stable.
You only have to update it when you're the only guy still using IPv4!


Personally, I'd rather be back in Hobbiton.

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#10 2011-03-25 02:05:37

fukawi2
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From: .vic.au
Registered: 2007-09-28
Posts: 5,304
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Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

I'd add that Arch probably isn't for you. If you want "set and forget" with automatic updating etc, go with something like Debian.

I use Debian on my 'spare' laptop that I only use occasionally. I don't want to spend time maintaining and updating it everytime I want to use it (which is rare, so I would have to update/fix things almost everytime).

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#11 2011-03-25 02:59:50

Korrode
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2009-11-02
Posts: 110

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

I agree that all the previous suggestions in the thread are well worth considering and may suit you well.

A few more, just because being bombarded with choice is the Linux way tongue :


If you want a fast and reliable XFCE environment, take a look at Zenwalk current

My sister's netbook runs Zenwalk current and it's really nice. The distro's XFCE functionality, stability and integration are thoroughly tested, because it's the default DE.

Some others you may find interesting:

Mepis (Debian Based) (EDIT: Soon SimplyMepis v11 will be released, which is based on the new Debian (stable) 6.0, probably best to wait for that to be released if you're going to try it, or i guess you could take a look at beta 3.)

If you'd like something Arch-ish:
Frugalware stable/release may suit.
It uses (a forked version of) pacman as it's package manager, in many cases you can even use Arch PKGBUILD's with it (but you should always check the depends and makedepends packages are named the same in Frugalware).

Last edited by Korrode (2011-03-25 03:10:42)


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#12 2011-03-25 04:10:32

Gullible Jones
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Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 4,863

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

Frugalware obsoletes its stable branch every six months. I wouldn't recommend it.

My first recommendation is Debian Squeeze. IMHO its only significant failings it that it splits packages, which makes compiling some software a pain in the neck.

Alternatively, you could use Slackware. Slack has no official policy on obsolescence IIRC, but it looks like 11.0 is still getting updates for serious security bugs. And Slack 13.1 comes with Xfce 4.6, including the power manager. Slackware does not have a lot of software in its repo, but the presence of lots of libraries by default makes most software easy to compile; and large FOSS projects tend to provide binaries in Slackware's tgz or txz format.

And there are Red Hat clones. IMO the best of those is Scientific Linux, which is maintained by CERN and Fermilab. Scientific Linux 6 Live is kind of sluggish, what with the Gnome environment, but should be stable and low on maintenance. You might be better off with the DVD installer if you want XFCE, or something else lightweight. Because Red Hat is ubiquitous, almost everyone provides binary packages for it (and by extension for its clones).

As for Zenwalk. It's pretty nice, but it's also a very small project, and it shows. Many of the packages in its repo are broken, or have missing dependencies or dodgy install scripts. I love the idea of it, but I don't think it's ready for prime time yet.

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#13 2011-03-25 07:11:57

arinlares
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From: Anaheim, CA
Registered: 2010-02-01
Posts: 165
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Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

Arch is a really high-maintenance distribution, unlike Debian or most of its derivatives.  These sound a little better for you right now than Arch.

I'm not too big on Gnome (I like it, but it's heavy for my picky needs), but Linux Mint Debian Edition is much lighter (40mb of RAM) than even Linux Mint's Ubuntu-based XFCE releases, minus the drawbacks that anything already based on Ubuntu already has (bloat, broken packages), and the rolling-release nature of Debian's Testing release.  LMDE and Crunchbang (in an above post) are my two favorite GUI distributions.

They are working on a Testing-based XFCE build and have released an RC, as well, if that'll catch your interest, as it sure caught mine:  http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1708

Last edited by arinlares (2011-03-25 07:18:38)

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#14 2011-03-25 07:35:30

toad
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Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

I'd definitely stick to the rolling release principle. After all, why stick to this redundant stupidity inherited by other OSs which shall not be dragged into the mud here...

I would therefore recommend either LMDE (sounds like that has got your name on it) or Aptosid (formerly known as Sidux). Two great distros based on Debian with Aptosid being more up-to-date. However, take the forums and support structure into account. The less experienced you are with the Linux environment, the more I'd lean towards LMDE


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#15 2011-03-25 07:52:30

bohoomil
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Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

What I always recommend in similar cases (e.g. the least fuss / maintenance issues, etc.) is using one distro on all machines, or a distro derived from a similar core. If you've been happy with Ubuntu, stick with it. Alternatively, choose Linux Mint Debian for your laptop: it's flexible, fast, and quite unlikely to cause any serious problems in the long run.


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#16 2011-03-25 21:42:21

Korrode
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2009-11-02
Posts: 110

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

Gullible Jones wrote:

Frugalware obsoletes its stable branch every six months. I wouldn't recommend it.

They do test upgrading from one release to another though, and provide instructions detailing any steps required beyond just updating the packages.

That said, I don't have first hand experience performing such an upgrade, so I'm just speculating based on the documentation.

Gullible Jones wrote:

As for Zenwalk. It's pretty nice, but it's also a very small project, and it shows. Many of the packages in its repo are broken, or have missing dependencies or dodgy install scripts. I love the idea of it, but I don't think it's ready for prime time yet.

Ahh that's sad to hear, because I really like the look of it too... so much so that on a couple of occasions in the past i've come close to trying it on my main workstation.


toad wrote:

I'd definitely stick to the rolling release principle.

I definitely wouldn't. In fact, it's basically the only thing I dislike about Arch.
Right now my local (Debian) server is hosting a snapshot of the entire Arch repo (well, core/extra/community) taken on 2011-02-24 and I've stopped regularly pacman -Su 'ing against a normal Arch mirror. I made another repo section in addition to core, extra and community that sits ahead of them in pacman.conf and place fixed versions of any packages I find usability bugs/issues with in there.

I've never been happier, and doing this has stopped the looking at other distros that I had started feeling the need to do.
At some point i'll take a new snapshot and do it again (i.e. usual non-rolling release model).

I'm most likely going to make these repos publicly accessible and take 'fixed package' submissions from anyone interested in the near future... the main thing holding me back is concerns regarding hosting/bandwidth requirements.

Last edited by Korrode (2011-03-25 21:47:41)


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#17 2011-03-25 21:46:03

Inxsible
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From: Chicago
Registered: 2008-06-09
Posts: 9,079

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

@Korrode, Just curious .....then why use a rolling release distro if you are not rolling?


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#18 2011-03-25 21:49:28

Korrode
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2009-11-02
Posts: 110

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

Because in every other respect (configuration style, package management/format, etc.) Arch is great, I've never found another distro I like more.


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#19 2011-03-25 23:23:45

lives2evil
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From: GMT+7
Registered: 2010-03-21
Posts: 244

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

@Korrode: If you stop rolling once you finish installing, I don't think configuration style and package management make much of an advantage.
But it's your choice and I can't deny Arch is awesome even without rolling release big_smile.

As for my recommendation, LinuxMint would be a perfect choice.
PS: It's your choice so choose whatever you find comfortable. As up-to-date is a subjective term, don't pay it too much attention.
You may find that an up-to-date ubuntu system might be older than a not-so-up-to-date archlinux one.

Last edited by lives2evil (2011-03-26 00:05:14)


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#20 2011-03-26 03:24:52

Korrode
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2009-11-02
Posts: 110

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

lives2evil wrote:

@Korrode: If you stop rolling once you finish installing, I don't think configuration style and package management make much of an advantage.
But it's your choice and I can't deny Arch is awesome even without rolling release big_smile.

Just last night, for example, I made 2 packages for software that wasn't in the repos/AUR (that ofc are now in AUR wink libwps, wps2odt), this was a situation where I got to take advantage of Arch's package format of which I understand and can create myself easily. Not to mention, the software compiled perfectly first go, another advantage that can sometimes be lost on some other distros.

As for configuration style, well, not having to regularly find oneself having issues that require configuration troubleshooting is a key goal of the non-rolling... so yeah tongue
Still, if i install Arch on some other system or a friend's/family member's system with the intent to use my 'static' repos, I take advantage of the configuration scheme for initial setup.

Additionally of course, there's all the other reasons we all love Arch; it's fast, repos+AUR=huge amount of packages available, rare deviations from upstream, minimalist, great wiki, etc. smile

Anyways i'll stop semi-hijacking the thread now. tongue


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#21 2011-03-26 07:06:53

schivmeister
Developer/TU
From: Singapore
Registered: 2007-05-17
Posts: 971
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Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

carolinabranden wrote:

Does Arch Linux in your opinion meet what I am looking for?

No.

carolinabranden wrote:

Is it labor/maintenance intensive even after a final build?

No.

carolinabranden wrote:

Can it be a virtually maintenance free environment once you've configured everything?

Yes.

To sum it all up: if you're competent, know what you're doing, know your way around computers; Arch Linux is deploy-and-forget. Otherwise, what is not labour-intensive to me may be labour-intensive to you. In fact, if you have to ask, then it most likely is not the operating system for you..

Q: So should I use Arch Linux (as my so-and-so system for so-and-so work)? I have been using Distro X so far..
A: If such is your question, we are sorry to inform you that the answer is negative.


I need real, proper pen and paper for this.

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#22 2011-03-29 15:50:40

satchmosgroove
Member
From: Long Beach, NY
Registered: 2010-01-13
Posts: 66

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

I agree with schivmeister.

Just to add one thing about the x120e: I have one and it's running arch. Running 2.6.38 on it, works pretty much out of the box (wireless make take 5 minutes to visit the aur).

With a kernel < 2.6.38 you have a little bit more headaches regarding sound (mic and jack) and graphics. So here it may pay off using a bleeding edge distro. I don't know how long you would have to wait for 2.6.38 in other distros like debian or mint.

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#23 2011-05-09 17:32:12

GrannyTux
Member
Registered: 2010-09-13
Posts: 10

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

I have not checked recently but if she goes which Debian she should consider using testing it has a newer kernel. I just got an x120e myself and spent the night wiping their factory crap off and a clean install of win 7 ( I do need it from time to time ;-( . I want to duel boot and I am debating between Arch and Debian testing. My only hiccup with arch is a cfdisk error which the forum were helpful in tracking down. Dam windows and their hidden boot partitions... If she uses a Ubuntu based distro 11.4 variants seems to be better at auto detecting the hardware.

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#24 2011-05-09 18:18:57

demian
Member
From: Frankfurt, Germany
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 709

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

heleos wrote:

Sure, you could install, get everything set up, and then not touch it... but where's the fun in that?!

The fun would be the update after several months or years !°_°!


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#25 2011-05-09 18:35:37

tlmiller
Member
From: MD, USA
Registered: 2009-06-10
Posts: 78

Re: Arch Linux Labor & Dependability

demian wrote:
heleos wrote:

Sure, you could install, get everything set up, and then not touch it... but where's the fun in that?!

The fun would be the update after several months or years !°_°!

I actually did that last year.  Updated an Arch install that hadn't been touched in like 8 months.  Actually, wasn't much fun...really went pretty much without a hiccup.  Was surprised.

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