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What Is With All These Arch Derivatives Lately?


raymac46
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Maybe I've been living under a rock but it seems to me there are more and more Arch derivatives coming out every month.

I was on Reddit today and someone was inquiring about Garuda LInux - another derivative of Arch with the Calamares installer.

Call me old fashioned, but I think Arch is different enough from other families of distros that it is worthwhile waiting until you are comfortable enough to do a traditional CLI install. The whole point is to learn something. Or is it?

You can get some nice looking desktops and an easy path to using Arch - but is that the object of your installation? It wouldn't be for me.

Also how good are the communities of these fancy new respin distros? Are they large and friendly, or smaller and cliquy?

Just being grumpy on Monday morning, I guess.

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Well most of those are not derivatives but simply respins of an archlinux setup or a manjaro setup. I am sure that most do not have a community at all and are just hitchhiking off of the arch forum or manjaro (if they used that as their base) forums.

 

There are a couple of problems when you use a DIY rolling distro that you did not install or configure yourself. First off, since you didn't configure it yourself, you do not know what to do when something goes wrong. There is no default installation as you choose what you want installed and what services you want started by default. 

 

So when they run into an issue, they go to the various arch support places and as soon as they mention it was prebuilt or used a 3rd party installer, they are cut off from support. You are expected to know how to do basic troubleshooting and know how your system was built (or at least an idea of it) as there is no default installations to try to compare and troubleshoot against.

 

Remember, Arch is intended for proficient Linux users who try to solve their one problems. I enjoy helping people but I understand that most people should not use Archlinux:

 

Quote

The distribution is intended to fill the needs of those contributing to it, rather than trying to appeal to as many users as possible. It is targeted at the proficient GNU/Linux user, or anyone with a do-it-yourself attitude who is willing to read the documentation, and solve their own problems.

 

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_Linux#Simplicity

 

Just because you think its cool to say that you run Arch doesnt mean you should be doing so. I usually suggest LinuxMint to new linux users and if they want to use Arch, tell them to run it in a VM first.

 

Distros like Arch, Slackware, LFS, Gentoo, etc. are not made for beginners and most people should not start out with them.

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These kinds of distros can be a good intro to the ArchLinux world. I started out by looking at derivatives like Chakra, Bridge Linux, and Antergos. Those gave me a taste of pacman, the repos, and how things work. After that, I knew I wanted to do a real Arch installation; those distros basically led to my becoming an Arch user.

 

I don't think I've spent even a solid year with any Arch derivative, but I don't recall any of them giving me too many problems. Put it like this, they impressed me enough to make me want to dig further.

 

Anyway, makes sense that folks would be interested in and attracted to "Arch made easy" distros, doesn't it? Seems that it works out fine (over the long term, even) for a lot of users, so maybe it isn't such a bad way to go.

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There are some really nice reasons to run Arch - you get the latest packages, and pacman is about as good as it gets as a package manager. But I still think you should know why you do stuff in Linux before running it.

I did use a script for my last install, but that was after I had done about 4-5 installs of Arch in the traditional manner. The install went word for word with the script and just saved me from a bunch of typing errors. That is different from a point and click installer like Calamares.

I just don't think that someone who is completely new to Linux should try an genuinely intermediate distro just because an installer makes it easier. That is like putting training wheels on a Harley.

 

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3 hours ago, raymac46 said:

 I just don't think that someone who is completely new to Linux should try an genuinely intermediate distro just because an installer makes it easier. That is like putting training wheels on a Harley.

 

 

Exactly :thumbsup:

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Most of you know I am not a big Manjaro fan, but if you want to use pacman and learn about the differences between it and apt - I could maybe see a case for trying it. They have a pretty nice Xfce desktop. But I was slagged by some arrogant nimrods in the forum when I tried to get help for another member. Not cool.

However you can learn about a package manager like apt while using Linux Mint or Ubuntu. Just don't be under any illusions that you are using Debian.

Same for Manjaro. It isn't Arch the easy way.

Edited by raymac46
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6 hours ago, raymac46 said:

I just don't think that someone who is completely new to Linux should try an genuinely intermediate distro just because an installer makes it easier. That is like putting training wheels on a Harley.

 

Well, very few (if anyone) would recommend Arch or an Arch derivative to someone who is completely new to Linux. But, what's the worst that could happen? Not even close to the worst that could happen with that Harley scenario! Lol.

 

I don't think any of this is a big deal. And nobody has to give up their main system if they wanna take a look at one of these distros, obviously. I don't know, maybe seeing things from a different angle here. There are good reasons why these Arch derivatives are out there and (apparently) gaining in popularity. If folks wanna try 'em, I'm cool with that. They're gonna do it (and they are doing it) anyway, regardless of what the purists say. Ha-ha, feelin' a bit stuffy in here, folks! :)

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It wouldn't be that much of an issue if they kept to the distro's support areas instead of flooding another distro's support avenues claiming they are using something that they are not actually using. I see these types of posts daily getting removed from various places for that reason.

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@saturnian I hear what you are saying and I agree it's not the end of the world if a new user starts off with Arch. However in my view the goal should be to get and keep a new user and the odds of that are better if they start off with Mint or Ubuntu. Even Debian can give you fits if your wifi doesn't work.

If you check out the new users forum on reddit you'll find many new users who are ready to try a Calamares based Arch, but very few want to go through the "hassle" of installing Arch from the command line. But they'll still have to use the CLI and know what they are doing once the installer finishes. Will that person have as good an initial Linux experience as a Kubuntu or Mint user? Maybe, but the odds are against it.

Edited by raymac46
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raymac46, are there really very many folks who are completely new to Linux who try to use Arch or an Arch-based distro? Maybe it happens more often than I'd imagine, not sure. I don't recall anyone recommending something like that to any "newbie" but I think maybe I do tend to tune out that sort of thing. I was thinking that if a user had gotten to a point to be interested in anything Arch-related they've probably read up on Arch a bit.

 

Some of these I see at DistroWatch -- Manjaro, Endeavour, Garuda, ArcoLinux --  I wouldn't be installing any of them here, but I'd take a look at a live session. I see Anarchy Installer at DistroWatch now also, but in the FAQ at their site we find:


 

Quote

 

Is Anarchy a GNU/Linux distribution?

Nope, Anarchy is exclusively an installer of the Arch Linux distribution, but not a distribution itself.

 

 

From what I saw while using it, I don't think there's any way a person brand new to Linux could use Anarchy Installer.

 

If you're using Manjaro or Endeavour it's a no-no to go to the Arch forums for help acting like you're running Arch. Probably the same if you installed with Anarchy, but I think there ought to be some gray area for that case. Just my opinion. But really, even if it's something like Manjaro... well, with the Arch-based distros I've run, between the Arch Wiki, man pages and Help pages, and maybe a quick web search, there wasn't really any need to go asking for help at forums.  It's interesting that users of Arch-based distros would go to the Arch forums asking for help when it's kinda in your face that they don't want you doing that. I don't really know what to think of that.

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@saturnian to be fair I haven't seen many experienced Linux users recommending Arch or its installer-based variants to new users - but I have seen a number of new users coming to the reddit forum asking for distro recommendations and mentioning these variants as possibilities. Garuda seems to be the one getting most of the airplay these days.

I don't visit the official Arch forum because well Josh is here and he can help with most problems. The ArchWiki is good for just about any Linux distro.

As you said there's not much harm in starting out with an intermediate distro as long as you know what you are getting into.

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Personally, I'm finding myself more and more turned off by a lot of these distros based on Debian or Arch that ship with tons of stuff and no way for me to choose what goes in.

 

Here's something that might interest me, though:

 

Quote

Garuda Linux Barebones
Garuda Linux Barebones is made for users who do not want extra software and functionalities and complain about bloat. It contains only the bare minimum of packages needed to get started. (You are on your own, we dont provide any support for Barebones editions!)

 

https://garudalinux.org/downloads.html

 

If I had time and nothing better to do, I'd test that out.

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Well you could try one and let us know I guess. You are experienced enough that problems wouldn't turn you off Linux totally. :w00tx100:

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I've always found it easier to add what you want instead of removing and cleaning up what some person thought was a good set of defaults. Some prefer a full setup by default and since Linux is all about choice, they can do so if they like.

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