Is Arch Linux more trouble than it's worth?
Arch Linux has much to offer savvy Linux users, but it's not for the faint of heart or those who want a distro that simply works with no input from the user. A Linux redditor recently shared his frustrations with Arch Linux and got some helpful feedback from his fellow redditors.
Oraclexzf asked his question:
Used Arch exclusively for 10 months now on two computers. I've extensively setup i3, tons of configs, a samba/music server and security stuff like iptables/smartmontools+mailserver. Would I have learned a fraction as much on ubuntu? probably not. But now what?
Instead of doing what I want I am learning how to setup to do what I want. Wanna play some games? -- debug several audio/video related issues. Wanna use Wordpress? -- spend hours configuring apache/php/mysql.
When does the grind end the productivity begin, I feel like I am only sticking around cause it's cool to use, at the expense of all my free time.
His fellow Linux redditors responded with their thoughts:
Themadnun: ”Sounds like you want a minimal distro with sane default configs instead of roll-your-own configs. Try Debian netinstall, you can still install only things you want however most things will work out of the box and for anything that you need to tweak then the Arch wiki is still relevant.”
Kickassturing: ”I went to Fedora after a year of Arch. I really like Fedora.”
Stejoo: ”Same deal here basically. Ran Arch for 3 years, ran Debian 2.5 years after that (Wheezy testing to it becoming stable). Already more things just worked, and I was still able to customize what I wanted. After that I decided I wanted more Red Hat experience, because I have to support Red Hat machines at work but lacked real experience with it. So I decided I would try Fedora 20 and also give GNOME3 a chance again, to see if it worked better now.
Haven't looked back yet. I now run Fedora 22 and I learned to work well with the GNOME3 flow. It's been great the past year. Things just work most of the time, everything I need is in RPMForge. And if it isn't somebody has made a COPR if I really need something.
Friend of mine still runs Arch. Recently he's been complaining the Pulseaudio 7.0 update has been breaking his audio... ;)”
Acrid: ”Same here. Used Arch, loved it, then moved to Fedora for better FreeIPA support and the installer does LUKS for me. I really like it too. I use the server media's minimal install and build from there. Even on my laptop since I use i3.”
Disintegore: ”Been on Arch for about two years and I'd say the opposite has happened. Fewer bugs and headaches as time advances.
Which is not to say I haven't spent considerable time messing around with pointless stuff. However, the platform genuinely seems to be improving with time regardless of my proficiency with it. Games now run without dependency troubleshooting. My GPU drivers properly correctly detect my monitor's EDID. Stuff that used to be a pain in the ass is just gone.
Also, having run http/mail/game/etc servers on both Arch and Ubuntu, the process is not easier on Ubuntu at all. It's more or less the same. And if it takes you "hours" to get Wordpress running on any system, then you're probably doing it for the first time.”
0x6c6f6c: ”My computer has never run as well as Arch has out of the box. I've run Debian Jessie, Ubuntu 14.04, 14.10, and 15.04 (and tried XFCE, LXDE, Gnome, KDE, and Unity across them), Mint, Fedora, and CentOS. The next OS I'd give a try would be openSUSE Tumbleweed since I've really come to enjoy rolling release systems. All in all though, Arch has been the most painless experience once you install the base and DE. Plus I don't know what I would do without pacman and the AUR, it's infinitely better than my experience was with apt and ppa. Repos, repos everywhere.. ”
Roverth1990: ”Sounds like you have unrealistic expectations to things, since you don't seem to be happy with what you got. By choosing to use window managers like i3 for example you give your self a lot of work instead of using a desktop enviroment in my experience.”
Ouyawei: ”That's pretty much the reason I went back to Ubuntu after a year of Arch. Things suddenly just worked, sure you don't always have that latest and fanciest software but with limited time (and motivation) I'm more than willing to make that trade-off.”
MengerianMango: ”I've ran Gentoo for 6 months and Arch for another 6, but I just keep going back to Debian. I know what you mean. Arch is an order of magnitude less of a PITA than Gentoo, but it's not Debian. I find a pinned testing + some unstable Debian is a good balance of super easy and close enough to bleeding edge.”
Jmtd: ”Arch may be a coincidence, here. What you describe is, to some extent, a common experience with using Linux on the desktop for many people. What might have changed is not the environment (from Ubuntu to Arch) so much as your attitude, which is going to be constantly evolving. You are transitioning from learning the environment to using it to achieve something else, and realising that customising the environment is not what you want to use the computer to achieve anymore. It's a tool, your end-goal is something, and now tweaking your config is a distraction from that goal.”