This is my Arch Linux desktop. If it weren’t for the Arch KDE Menu logo (which can be faked anyway), people wouldn’t know that it’s Arch running. It’s simple, just the way I like it. And nothing has crashed since I installed it, which is the reason why I still haven’t replaced it.
Arch Linux is well-known for being an advanced Linux distribution. I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it is not that difficult either.
Many Linux users have gotten used to doing everything using GUI apps that using the terminal is considered unnecessary or primitive. They obviously have a point, but is doesn’t apply to everything.
In the case of Arch Linux, if you take some time to learn pacman, the command-line package manager, you’ll do fine. Installation, on the other hand, is a real pain. Be prepared to make mistakes, and just enjoy the process.
That’s basically it. Installing it is the only real hurdle you’ll have to face. Yes, there are other possible issues, and I’ll write them down below. But Arch with a specific desktop; KDE, for example; should and will behave the same way as any KDE distribution you can download and install.
With that in mind, let me highlight some positives and a few negatives (experiences or possibilities) that you should keep in mind before downloading the latest Arch iso. Also, forget about dipping your toes in it, like Ubuntu or other user-friendly distributions. Commit to it or don’t do it at all.
Fantastic things about it:
- You will learn how certain files can basically determine how your system runs. It’s a good learning experience.
- Constant updates will keep you on the bleeding (red) edge.
- It is simple and will not install packages or drivers that you don’t need (unless you do it yourself).
Stupid things about it:
- It couldn’t be much harder to install. Then again, it could still be…
- Constant updates will keep you on the profusely bleeding edge.
- You might encounter some issues with “optional dependencies” when you install certain packages.
- It will keep you unnecessarily alert for possible regressions or breakages, although in my case, nothing hasn’t happened yet.
A question you should ask yourself if you are interested in Arch Linux is: why would I burden myself with an archaic install routine and do-it-yourself maintenance if I can just install Ubuntu or LinuxMint instead. The answer is simple: because you can. I haven’t talked to anyone who uses Arch, but it’s probably safe to assume, that for most of them, it’s the reason why they prefer to work with this elegant distribution. It’s the reason why I use it.