Continuing the versus cycle.
To keep the article short, smart and simple I will break it into categories:
Arch Linux features
-simple installation with ncurses alike gui(dos like ascii graphics).
-after you install the system you can simply make this command:
and all your installed outdated packages will be upgraded. And pacman will do it the smart way: first download then upgrade. And when I say packages I mean packages not source and compiling.
-ABS(arch building system) – for those who like compiling from source it’s the definite choice.
-you can do command pacman -Syu weekly and it will take up to 10 minutes of background time to make your system up to date. That’s leads us to conclusion that arch is not your usual linux distribution. In usual distribution you will have package chaos in your system with different versions of programs(and in some cases it causes troubles). I can think of only one packet manager that is as brilliant as pacman – apt-get. Though I like pacman better :)
-great community site archlinux.org. You can find there wiki with all the answers for noobs(and believe all articles are made for noobs). You can find there articles on varying themes from kde and mplayer installation to making sound support in more than one application.
-AUR(archlinux user repository) – for those who don’t want to write PKGBUILD’s themselves. It’s definitely helpful.
-every config file initially has very useful detailed tips for manual configuration purposes.
-It’s not Ubuntu! Yes that’s right. Don’t get me wrong, Ubuntu is great for noobs. But arch is even better for noobs. Because you will find yourself digging in config files not in the gui options. It’s definitely better to understand configuring your system like that.
-It’s simple, not ubuntu simple though :)
Free Berkley Software Distribution is older than linux and caused major revolution in unix world.
-Simple installation with all options you need.
-Three branches: STABLE, CURRENT and RELEASE. I have stable installed. Current is for developers(as you can guess it’s unstable). Release is the most stable but packages are old(for example xorg 6.9 not 7.2) so you will want upgrade to stable.
-Ports – it’s a collection of metafiles with information about dependencies and sites to download the sources from. It’s a very big collection. It took me about one hour to download the tree. I want to underline that you have to compile from source. There is no such utility as pacman. Of course you can also download packages and process of downloading may even be mixed: use sources only when no package with last version are available. It’s a little complicated. Not that simple. You have to get used to it. For example installation of new xorg from sources took about an hour and a half. Think about time to install kde or gnome. This includes many dependencies and in some cases it makes me wonder why do I need to install firefox for gnome? Because it’s in the list of dependencies(actually it’s needed by gnome’s default brouser).
- It’s stable!(STABLE branch and right soft). But it is true if you have “right” hardware. What do I mean by that? Arch works perfectly fine on my current machine but with FreeBSD i get kernel panics and even trap 12 while in kernel mode. By the way I didn’t figure out why yet.
- It’s for servers. Well some people may argue with that and say that it’s not only for servers but for desktop too. You will have to agree with them because last time I looked in ports there were everything that is needed by desktop machine.
- You can install 90% of soft linux users use. Although OS’s are different they a lot alike. You can install kde, gnome etc.
- There is no ati driver! That’s not entirely true. There is ati driver for old cards(before 9800). But there is good nvidia driver though!
- Mailing lists. What are they? They are email distribution of questions and answers to them. There are a lot of lists(for example freebsd-questions, freebsd-net, freebsd-stable) and you can subscribe to them.
- Handbook. Yes you heard me right. If you will read it from the begining to end you will be able to do almost anything on that system.
- Hard to learn but when you learn something it will be much deeper than according linux knowledge.
Ok, that’s about it. I won’t make conclusions which distribution is better. I use them both and think they are the best among free operating systems.