Arch Linux Review


Of lately, I’ve grown tired of re-installing my beloved Fedora again and again after 6 months. Although, I loved each and every feature of Fedora, but reinstalling it again after 6 months was a pain. I know it can be upgraded directly to the new version, but this time I wanted something which I could upgrade even if I booted my GNU/Linux after 1 year. I wanted to get the Fedora’s cutting edge new packages in the next distro that I was going to install on my system. Ubuntu is awesome, but it has dated packages when compared to Fedora.

Initially, I was even thinking about getting FreeBSD on my system. But re-learning the whole OS from the scratch is cumbersome. Maybe some day I’ll install FreeBSD some day on my system. So, time to decide the new distro. I went over to my trusty Distrowatch site and found that Arch Linux was on #8. A quick search over few forums confirmed that Arch Linux also offers latest packages. So, time to install Arch Linux on my system. First, here’s the configuration :-

  • AMD Athlon II X4 640 @ 3.0 GHz
  • Biostar TA 790 GX BE
  • 4 GB DDR2 @ 800 MHz
  • 1 TB SATA II HDD
  • Onboard Realtek sound card
  • Palit GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 graphics card with 896 MB of GDDR3 memory
  • AOC F22 21.5” full HD LCD with 1080p resolution

The first thing that I had to make sure was that the sound card and the graphic card of my system work with Arch Linux. A quick search over the Arch wiki and the Arch forum confirmed that both of these devices work.Now, as I had 4 GB RAM, I had to switch to 64-bit version. 64-version also gives me faster performance in audio and video encoding. I went to the download section and downloaded the x86-64 version of the Core Image which is essential for offline installation. This is only 350 MB download which contains the Linux kernel and other GNU utilities.Warning :- If you’re new to GNU/Linux and have a fear of command line, please don’t attempt to install Arch Linux on your system.

Installation

The installation of Arch Linux requires pretty good control over the command line. For anyone who is willing to install Arch Linux on his/her system, I would recommend that one should take the print-outs of the Arch Linux Beginner’s guide.  Another computer or a laptop would also help. Trust me, YOU NEED TO TAKE THOSE PRINT OUTS. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later.

So, I transferred the ISO image to my USB pen drive using the following command :-

dd if=image.iso of=/dev/sd[x]

Replace image.iso with the image name and x with the drive letter of the USB drive.This step makes the USB drive bootable. You can also burn the ISO image to a CD and proceed with installation from there.Now, for the rest of the installation you should refer to the print outs that you’ve taken.

The Desktop

My desktop environment of choice is GNOME. I absolutely love it. Moreover, I also installed Compiz Fusion with Emerald themes to make it look more nice. Few recommended application for the GNOME user are :-

  • Listen – Audio Player. Better than Banshee, eats less resources and doesn’t requires Mono.
  • Mplayer – Video Player. Awesome if you’ve installed NVIDIA’s proprietary drivers. It will accelerate the HD content with the VDPAU library. Just make sure you check it in the player’s option.
  • LibreOffice – Free Office Suite. Oracle sucks!!
  • Chromium – Webkit based browser used by Google.
  • Firefox – Awesome Open Source browser.
  • Opera – It rules!! Best damn browser.
  • Thunderbird – Awesome email client.
  • XBMC – For your media enter needs.
  • Deluge – BitTorrent Client. Better than Transmission because it supports queuing.

Final Verdict

Trust me, if you’ll install Arch Linux, you’ll learn a lot. You’ll learn almost everything about the operating systems. There are no unnecessary modules that are loaded on the boot time thus slowing down your system. Everything that your system requires can be configured in the /etc/rc.conf file. It used only 1.1 GB RAM with VirtualBox running Windows 7, Firefox, Chromium, GNOME, Compiz-Fusion, Listen, Pidgin & OpenOffice running.

Rating – 9.5/10

Advertisements

2 Comments Add yours

  1. i am a fedora guy for the last 1 year,and installed arch last week and i learnt more than i learnt duringthe last 1 year about the linux operating system.

    i had an itch to get back to fedora ,fearing less no of packages compared to fedora and instability considering the bleeding edge nature of arch,but arch system has been rock solid until now.

    i didnt have to search any forums for installation,arch wiki is more than enough,never seen a complete manual like that.

    1. Tarun Brari says:

      Yeah.. it does teach you a lot.. You’ll start loving the /etc/rc.conf file even more when you’ll see how simple it is.. You’ll just hate the complicated System V based Linux distros.. moreover, have you tried to setup Arch User Repo (AUR) on your system? By setting this up, you can install even more packages.. search on the wiki.. it will help.. Cheers..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s