Monday, June 2, 2008

Arch Linux: First impressions

So, I finally got fed up with Ubuntu. I really wanted to use FreeBSD again - but unfortunately the hardware in this box is not compatible. Arch Linux looked like a decent alternative so I downloaded the 2007.08-2 image and started installing. Misfortune struck again as I had to spend a couple of hours trying to get wireless working, but everything worked well as soon as I switched to the 2008.04-RC image. I wonder why they don't link to the RC image on the "Get Arch" page.

After some configuration I ended up with a really slick system - It's amazing how much faster stuff runs on OpenBox! Also, the BSD inspired rc.conf and init system made my day. The only real problem I encountered was when I tried to install an older version of a library. Pacman (Arch's package manager) doesn't support this. I consider this to be a flaw in the package manager (which all over feels immature compared to apt or BSD ports), and I predict the devs will realize this sooner or later - even though they currently consider it to be a "feature".

I find it amusing how things tend to move in cycles. When I started out with Linux ~8 years ago Slackware was the coolest thing around. Then we somehow ended up with Ubuntu. And now the "KISS"-distros are turning into the hippest kids on the block again. If you're fed up with the bloat, give Arch a try. :)

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