Upon reading The Arch Way, I found myself bewitched.. by a Linux distro.
Over the prior 10 years or so, I tried a number of distros dual-booted with Windows:
- Red Hat
- Elementary OS
In the end, none of them ever stuck.
Arch is fantastic, and blows all those out of the water.
Arch Has the Beauty
- Minimal - It starts you with a CLI-only bedrock OS, a foundation which to build ones dreams on top of. There’s no extra fluff, not even beloved locate!
- Sculptable - I choose the desktop environment, everything is compatible. I choose how to administer it. I choose what software goes on it. I choose everything.
- Bleeding Edge - This whole rolling release thing is dreamy. As a former Debian/Ubuntu/Mint user, I was occasionally running into problems just to find out my packages were out of date, even freshly installed ones. It wasn’t until Arch that I experienced the famed rolling release model, as popularized by Fedora.
- Education - Arch is an educator. Since it doesn’t hold your hand and magically obscure everything from you, you actually get a clue of what’s going on under the hood. Using Arch is like living in a spoken language’s native country. I thought this quality would be tedious, but it has turned out to be enjoyable and informative.
And the Brains
- Systemd - I don’t even know what to call this.. thing. It’s like a.. command center where I can pull all the strings from. I have never seen anything like it before.
- Pacman - I used to be an apt-get user like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee. Pacman feels like apt-get, done right.
- The AUR - The gaping array of packages available in the Arch user repo blows my mind. There is nothing I have not found there, and it’s unbelievably up to date. I never once thought any distro could rival Ubuntu’s repository.
- Documentation - The Arch wiki is the best distro wiki I’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s the best general Linux wiki I’ve ever read.
A Side Note About Gnome Shell
Linux distros typically ship with certain desktop environments:
- Ubuntu: had Gnome 2 (like, way back in the day), and then later: Unity
- Mint: had Cinnamon
- SUSE: had KDE
- Elementary OS: had Pantheon
And of course you can try Xubuntu with Xfce, Lubuntu with LXDE, and so on.
However, at the time of this writing, I have never really tried out a distro using Gnome Shell (read: Fedora).
The beauty of Arch is that part of installing it involves picking a desktop environment, and setting that up yourself. No roadblocks.
So of course that is what I installed. I am sure my experience with Arch is heightened by this being my first trip with Gnome Shell.
Gnome Shell completely blows them all out of the water. It feels like an extension of my thoughts. It’s lovely.
Try Arch Out
Try installing it in VirtualBox first, before taking the plunge.
The installation isn’t as bad as they say it is.