Arch Linux Reviews

Unleash your inner geek!

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Using this Linux distribution exclusively on my PC.
Yes, It has a learning spike when it comes to installation and configuration (requiring you to check the very well documented wiki pages) but after you are all set up it's a breeze. The system is fairly stable, very modular and Pacman is the absolute best package manager. Most popular software are available from the official repositories and the missing ones can be found on the AUR or unofficial repositories.
The OS is rolling release, so you are always getting the newest software on your PC in it's original state, as intended by the developer, a few days after it's release. This also means it will also support newer hardware and perform better on it because of newest kernels and drivers.
Overall, if you don't mind dropping into a terminal once in a while this one is a great choice.

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I have been using this distro on my personal laptop for 5 years. It's lightweight and comes with the newest software.

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I, like many, heard Arch was really hard to install. Also like many, I installed it and found it to be a breeze. The real pain started after.

Installing Arch is easy because the processes is documented very well. You can just follow it step by step and everything will work. Generally, the documentation at Arch wiki and elsewhere is pretty good for learning the nitty gritty of a topic. For just figuring out quickly what command to type, it's hit and miss. Some pages get to the point, some are like a murder mystery novel. If you have an urgent problem, and you end up at the latter, it is a very frustrating experience. Unfortunately, once you are done installing Arch, and get into customizing it to your needs, you will have that experience a lot:

  • Getting a DE and login screen to work right
  • Graphics drivers
  • Fonts
  • Coherent visual style and hotkey scheme

And many other things will be a pain a to do, and hard to find solutions for on Google. Another unfortunate thing is Arch's rolling release model. Because of this, even if you get everything set up just right once, that is no guarantee. You never know when an update will break something. And you have to update a lot.

Part of why Arch is technically complicated is that it tries to be a minimal distro that gives choice back to the user by allowing him to set everything up their own way. However, there are many things that can only really be set up in one or a few sane ways, but Arch insists on making you go through the motions, because "you will learn how your computer works". Moreover, for a supposedly minimal distro that respects user freedom, it strangely forces you to use systemd even though there are alternatives.

Arch users will often tell you that using Arch will make you learn about how your computer works. That may be true. But in my experience, a big part of how my computer works is really not that interesting. It's tedious information with little value beyond fixing one tiny quirk of the software. It would be better if the software was just not broken in the first place and you didn't have to learn all that. So in that way I was not happy using Arch.

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cool, it is the best OS I've ever used

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No where near as daunting as some make out especially with the amazing docs. Latest builds of software and the incredible arch user repo (AUR) has an incredible number of packages which pacman handles like a dream.

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despite the distro being "difficult as hell" to install, at the end you'll see what they have to offer... It's extremily fast and it's lightweight...
this distro with base, base-devel, xfce4 and xfce4 stuff (xfce4-goodies package)
it's like 700 megas ONLY just to download

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You can't beat Arch for a serious community. Maybe not the most fun-loving bunch. - In the middle of writing this my wife brought up Arch randomly, singing its praises. My beard literally exists because of it, I grew it out when I began my Arch journey.

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