Arch Linux…

Wow, Arch Linux… wow.

I’ve been getting sucked into the whole Raspberry Pi scene and hence the Gooseberry (RPi alternative), and recently found out that the primary compatible OS for Gooseberry is going to be Arch Linux.

Off I go into blindly installing Arch Linux, I fail miserably. Not really understanding anything about what Arch is and how it works. I go back to their world-renowned wiki documentation, truly the best and most detailed documentation I have ever come across. Amazing.

I manage to get Arch installed and working beautifully in a VM with Openbox, cairo-compmgr, xorg etc… Lovely OS. Perhaps my favorite so far. I seriously recommend getting involved with Arch Linux, if only to teach yourself about the inner workings and correct configuration of a Linux.

Arch Linux is a relatively controversial Linux OS as it uses a rolling release system (more on that later) and firmly adheres to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principles. The main OS (once finally installed, via. net-install) will have nothing, only the essential software to have the OS running. This allows the user to build the OS they want and thus have an ultimately streamlined Linux OS.

I feel the rolling release structure is a very nice system – as long as you keep updated! If you fail to keep your system updated you can run into (fixable) problems later on. It’s recommenced to do a full system update once per week.

sudo pacman -Syu

and always read the home page for any known bugs that you will need to manually accommodate.

Arch Linux as a Production Sever

Due to the control the Arch user has, its KISS/lightweight and streamlined approach makes Arch Linux seem like an amazing candidate for a mission-critical production server. (mission-critical = server cannot go down or there will be a financial loss & non-mission-critical = does not matter to much if it goes down for a few hours).

However its rolling release system (which in an everyday desktop environment is a massive bonus as it allows you to have the most cutting edge software), without proper care (and when I say proper, I mean extreme care, VM testing and some extraordinary Linux OS knowledge) it can leave the system vulnerable to breakage, especially if you don’t keep up-to-date regularly.

I reckon, realistically, the only viable way to use the amazing Arch Linux as a stable production server should be to have some kind of cluster (with redundancies), a lot of TLC and everything should be tested on a duplicate (non essential) setup or in a VM. Which is all covered in the documentation. It’s not impossible as itself runs on Arch. It’s just not the best solution for a production mission-critical server IMHO.

Arch Linux Desktop Use

Wow. Arch is truly amazing, I have learnt more than I thought possible in the last few days. Everything about the OS can and is controlled by the user, you can turn it into anything you want. Just checkout some of YouTube?q=Arch+Linux+Openbox. It’s a beautiful, beautiful OS. Not to mention its extraordinary tools such as pacman (its apt-get) and the AUR.

The Arch User Repository (AUR) is a community driven repo with pretty much all known Linux software source. Which is easily compiled with the “makepkg” command (one of the ways, easiest IMHO) with no prior source compiling knowledge. Obviously the software in the official repos will be more secure and stable.

Arch will firmly be my choice for home OS (desktop/home-server) – just always RTFM with Arch Linux, always.

Arch Linux…

3 thoughts on “Arch Linux…

  1. Anonymous says:

    Fellow Archer here, and I enjoyed the read. Thanks. I distro hopped for years, tried out dozens of distros, and now I don’t even think about it anymore. I run Arch on everything and forget about it. Pacman rules!

    I just wanted to point out that no one with any prior Linux experience should be afraid of Arch. Some people are probably scared off by statements (not here, but in other blogs and reviews) that it’s a distro for Linux savvy people, and that it’s not uncommon to have a broken system. It’s bull. I consider myself far from an expert (on the idiot side of things), and I’ve been running Arch for a couple years without any problems. Just read the news announcements before an upgrade (or better yet, subscribe to the arch-announce mailing list) and you’ll be fine. The community is awesome too.

    I hope you enjoy Arch for years to come.

    1. Thanks for the comment and I would like to agree with your statement about Arch being for Linux n00bs, but you can’t overlook the fact that you can only install the system if you are comfortable with using terminal and the actual inner workings of a Linux system.

      Especially now that AIF has been removed from the latest ISO image.

      However, I do agree that once the system is installed and working (with a GUI of course) even the least experienced Linux user could use and maintain with minimal effort (all they would need to do is check the website before upgrading).

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