electronic brain surgery since 2001

Moved from Debian to Arch Linux

I spent yesterday evening and most of today with installing a new operating system on my desktop PC. After years of using Debian on all my systems, I recently became a fan of Arch Linux and made it my new distribution of choice.

Arch Linux

After reading much good about it in Michael Klier's blog, I first tried it on my EeePC a month ago. I was immediatly sold. Arch's approach of not hiding system internals behind fancy installers and configuration scripts isn't the best for newbies for sure, but experienced Linux users like me feel right at home.

Like Debian, Arch has a powerful package management system. But unlike Debian there are no “releases” in the common sense, instead they use a “rolling release system” where new packages are phased in regularly. This is what makes Arch IMHO very attractive as a desktop system.

If you are considering switching from Debian to Arch, here are a few pointers that might help you get started:

  • The apt-get equivalent in Arch is called pacman
  • Packages are built from simple package descriptions much like with dpkg-buildpackage
  • Community provided packages can be easily installed with yaourt
  • There's no /etc/init.d – it's all in /etc/rc.d
  • daemons, network settings and similar stuff is configured in /etc/rc.conf (a bit like /etc/default/*)
  • There's lots of useful info in the wiki

If you're using Arch already, what's your experience? What would you point out to a convert like me? If not, what distribution are you using? Why?

arch, linux, debian
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