dcsimg

Arch Linux: The Simple, Flexible (and Fast!) Distro

Arch Linux is a unique distribution, offering the latest free software via a super fast package manager coupled with a "keep it simple" philosophy. It is fast becoming a very popular distribution and now thanks to their split packages, you can install a lightweight KDE 4.3 desktop for even more flexibility and speed.

Many people don’t look outside of the top few distros that everyone knows, but there are so many great Linux distributions out there it’s always worth keeping your options open.

While distributions usually stay true to their core philosophies (barring major internal restructure) they can drift and sway over time. A particular release just might not work right, or perhaps it simply no longer suits the user’s changing needs. There are many reasons for switching distros, especially as users become more familiar with Linux in general.

Most distributions fill some kind of niche and appeal to only a small group, while others are actually very similar but make use of different core technologies. Some have a set of central core philosophies which define it uniquely, of which Arch Linux is one such distro. Pronounced like “archer” (and not “architecture”), the popular operating system was founded by Judd Vinet in 2002 with a focus on being lightweight and simple.

It is an independently developed, community based project which is now lead by Aaron Griffin with a loyal team working tirelessly behind the scenes. It is designed to be fast and, as the wiki states, “focuses on a balance of minimalism, elegance, code correctness and modernity.”

Unlike many other distros, Arch is aimed at what it calls “competent” users, that is to say those who are not afraid of the command line or making choices about their system.

It’s a matter of principle

There are five core principles of Arch Linux, embedded in what is known as the “The Arch Way.” These include:

Simplicity
“Arch Linux defines simplicity as a lightweight UNIX-like base structure without unnecessary additions, modifications, or complications, that allows an individual user to shape the system according to their own needs. In short; an elegant, minimalist approach.”

Code-correctness over convenience
“Simplicity, code-elegance, and minimalism shall always remain the reigning priorities of Arch development.”

Openness
“Arch Linux uses simple tools, that are selected or built with openness of the sources and their output in mind.”

User-centric
“Arch Linux targets and accommodates competent GNU/Linux users by giving them complete control and responsibility over the system.”

Freedom
“By keeping the system simple, Arch Linux provides the freedom to make any choice about the system.”

All of these philosophies come together to make a truly unique and fantastic operating system.

Unique features aplenty

Arch Linux implements a super fast binary package management system called Pacman, written from scratch in C. It allows users to quickly and easily install a wide range of applications from on-line repositories and of course includes all the standard tools one would expect from a package manager. It doesn’t stop there however. Arch also implements a ports like package system which allows users to easily build their own packages from source, tweaking and modifying them if they so desire.

Arch Linux doesn’t dictate what a system should be. Instead, it provides a base system which users can then expand and adapt to meet their own desires. Packages have minimal dependencies which in turn helps to provide a smaller, neater, and faster system. There is no loss of functionality however, as optional packages are available (and even suggested to the user) to provide additional features.

This operating system also follows a rolling release method. This means there are no specific version, unlike most other distributions. Instead, the package tree is constantly updated with new versions and the system rolls along with bug fixes, security improvements and new major versions. The one installation of Arch can be forever upgraded and users can have the latest versions of all the packages, every day. As with everything, there are some downsides to this method, but for users who like to have the latest without waiting for a new major release, Arch fits the bill.

What the project does provide however, are updated installation media sets which contain snapshots in time of the package tree. Recently, an updated version 2009.08 of the installation media in the form of CD and USB disk images was released. This media boots a live environment with a text based installer to provide an easy way of installing the system onto a machine.

The initial result is a simple, basic system without a graphical user interface and without a myriad of services started. Where the system goes from here is up to the user. Install Xorg, services and a graphical environment. Or don’t. The wiki and forums are both extremely helpful in getting an Arch system exactly the way you want.

A better KDE, the Arch way

Recently, one of the most popular desktop environments reached version 4.3. Yes, the latest release of KDE is better than ever, with this version having fixed over 10,000 bugs! The team of over 700 also implemented almost 2,000 feature requests to make this the best ever. If the previous release was really good, this release is exceptional.

Naturally Arch was soon to incorporate the new release into their current package tree, but it also came with extra flexibility. In an announcement, the project explained that the whole of KDE would also be available as individual packages, rather than as larger binaries containing multiple applications.

Taking an example, the “kdebase” meta package includes several KDE applications including dolphin (the file manager), konqueror (the web browser), konsole (the terminal) and kwrite (the text editor). It also includes several utilities. Making use of this new package configuration means that users can install a single specific KDE application like konsole, without installing the full suite of programs included in the kdebase group. The breakdown of all group and meta packages is available on the wiki.

The ability to install specific applications (and have only their direct dependencies pulled in by the package manager) opens the door to a more customizable and lightweight KDE desktop. With a specific plasma shell optimized for netbooks in the pipeline, it makes KDE a far more attractive environment for these low powered devices. So with Arch, users can have a fast, lean, minimal distro with an even more exciting KDE 4 experience.

Using this new method, a base KDE installation on Arch used just over 100MB or memory when booted fully into the loaded desktop. That’s not a whole lot of resources! Of course, this number will vary greatly with the number of services set to start on boot-up, as well as the specific applications users want to load. What it does show however, is that when broken down into smaller components KDE can still be quite flexible and even provide a perfectly acceptable light weight option.

Minimal KDE 4.3 Desktop

Other distributions may offer similar functionality, however they are often working in the reverse. The resulting system consists of a fully blown desktop environment which users can then cut down. With Arch, it takes the other approach – start small and build up what you want. Add to that a blistering fast package manager, a fantastic ports system to roll your own binaries, a BSD style init system, rolling releases and more, all topped off with a great community and you’ve got a killer operating system.

Interested in what Arch might have to offer over your everyday distro of choice? There’s a wiki page set up to help answer this very question!

KDE 4.3 is here and it’s absolutely brilliant. If you want the most exciting, modern and beautiful desktop available in the free software world on a fast, stable and flexible platform, then you simply can’t go past Arch Linux. Install it today and see for yourself!

Comments on "Arch Linux: The Simple, Flexible (and Fast!) Distro"

Check below, are some totally unrelated web sites to ours, however, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use.

The time to study or check out the material or sites we’ve linked to beneath.

Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine some unrelated information, nevertheless genuinely worth taking a look, whoa did one particular understand about Mid East has got extra problerms also.

very nice publish, i actually love this web site, keep on it

Always a significant fan of linking to bloggers that I adore but really don’t get lots of link really like from.

That will be the finish of this report. Right here you will obtain some web pages that we think you?ll enjoy, just click the links.

Hello! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Thanks!

The time to read or check out the content or websites we’ve linked to below.

Below you?ll locate the link to some web-sites that we feel you need to visit.

Every as soon as in a when we select blogs that we read. Listed below would be the most up-to-date web-sites that we pick out.

Check below, are some absolutely unrelated internet sites to ours, having said that, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use.

Always a huge fan of linking to bloggers that I appreciate but really don’t get lots of link really like from.

We came across a cool website that you simply could appreciate. Take a appear when you want.

Although sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are essentially really worth a go as a result of, so have a look.

I like this website because so much utile material on here : D.

Here are a number of the websites we advise for our visitors.

Although internet websites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we feel they’re basically really worth a go as a result of, so have a look.

Just beneath, are many totally not connected web pages to ours, having said that, they’re surely really worth going over.

Every when inside a though we pick blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the most up-to-date web pages that we select.

Very few internet websites that take place to be comprehensive beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly properly worth checking out.

The info mentioned in the article are several of the top out there.

That is the finish of this article. Here you will obtain some websites that we assume you?ll appreciate, just click the links.

Here is an excellent Blog You may Uncover Interesting that we encourage you to visit.

Check beneath, are some totally unrelated sites to ours, nevertheless, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use.

Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article.Thanks Again. Cool.

Here are some links to web sites that we link to mainly because we assume they’re worth visiting.

Every once inside a whilst we decide on blogs that we read. Listed beneath would be the newest web sites that we choose.

Although internet websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they’re essentially really worth a go as a result of, so have a look.

Just beneath, are several completely not related internet sites to ours, even so, they may be surely worth going over.

We came across a cool site that you could get pleasure from. Take a look in the event you want.

Usually posts some really fascinating stuff like this. If you?re new to this site.

That will be the end of this post. Here you?ll discover some web pages that we believe you?ll enjoy, just click the hyperlinks.

That may be the finish of this article. Here you will obtain some internet sites that we think you will appreciate, just click the links.

The time to study or take a look at the material or internet sites we have linked to below.

Below you will uncover the link to some websites that we consider you’ll want to visit.

Say, you got a nice article.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

We like to honor quite a few other world-wide-web sites around the net, even though they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out.

The data talked about inside the report are some of the ideal available.

Great paintings! This is the type of info that are supposed to be shared across the net. Disgrace on the search engines for no longer positioning this submit upper! Come on over and visit my site . Thank you =)

Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get
listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to
get there! Many thanks

We prefer to honor several other world-wide-web internet sites around the web, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages worth checking out.

Here are a few of the internet sites we advise for our visitors.

The time to read or visit the content material or web-sites we’ve linked to beneath.

Just beneath, are many totally not related sites to ours, nonetheless, they’re certainly really worth going over.

We like to honor lots of other net web-sites on the internet, even though they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out.

The time to read or pay a visit to the subject material or sites we have linked to beneath.

Here are a number of the web-sites we recommend for our visitors.

The data talked about inside the article are some of the top out there.

The info mentioned in the write-up are some of the very best readily available.

Every when in a though we pick out blogs that we read. Listed below are the most recent web pages that we pick.

Leave a Reply