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Hey folks, Thinking about giving Arch a go on my day to day box (laptop) but had a few questions for the experienced. How "up-to-date" do they keep they packages ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! kveldulf980's Avatar
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    Advice on Arch?


    Hey folks,

    Thinking about giving Arch a go on my day to day box (laptop) but had a few questions for the experienced. How "up-to-date" do they keep they packages in their core? How unstable are testing and unstable? Do you ever find that pacman breaks or overwrites your own configurations? Any help is appreciated. I've had good things, figure it's about time I give it a go. It looks like a distro I would really enjoy.

  2. #2
    oz
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    The packages in core and extra are "usually" the latest stable packages that have been released. Sometimes, a dev will not update a package if it has been shown to cause certain issues for general Linux users, or for Arch users in particular. Sometimes, a dev will get too busy and not update a package soon enough to suit some Arch users, but again most packages are the official stable release.

    I don't generally run packages from unstable or testing, but will sometimes fetch a package from there if I really need it. Some users do run those packages routinely and report few issues, while others report all kinds of problems. It's a gamble, but a fun ride for many none the less.

    Pacman can be easily configured so that it does not upgrade any package that you don't want upgraded. New configuration files are generally saved as xxxxx.pacnew, so after the upgrade of the package you can go in and make any changes to the configuration file before renaming it to the correct name.

    It's pretty much a fully manual configuration distro, so you have lots of control and know (or should know) what's happening with your various files and packages at all times. Lots of new users think it's not "newbie friendly" enough, but it's really not intended to be a starter distro.

    Hope you have lots of fun with it.
    oz

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer Thrillhouse's Avatar
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    I've only had one significant problem with pacman. Once, after an update, it broke my X server and took me a good hour to figure out how to get it back. I wasn't using anything from testing and it was very difficult to pinpoint exactly which package broke it. I wasn't very happy with Arch that day as I had work that needed to be done on the computer but that's the only real problem I've had with it since I've been using it (about a year and a half now).

    Packages seem very up-to-date to me as a lot of the members of the forum will bug the developers if a new version of something comes out and they haven't uploaded the new pkg to the repos yet.

    If I were you, I would get the system set up with all core or extra packages and then once you've been using it for a while and are comfortable with how everything works, you can start being a little more adventurous. At that point, if something goes wrong, you'll have a good idea of how to troubleshoot and fix it.

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    Just Joined! kveldulf980's Avatar
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    Wow, so far very very nice. This seems like the desktop distro I've been wanting for the last decade. It's almost exactly like slack with a dependency resolving packager, brilliant! Everything is nice and straight-forward as well, BSD style init/rc scripts are just perfect! I think I will take the aforementioned advice and put off trying the other repos for a while, just stick with core/extra/community, although I have already built an unsupported package

  6. #5
    oz
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    Arch tends to be either a "totally love it", or "totally hate it" distro.

    Yeah, the ABS part of Arch is a very powerful tool and well worth spending some time to learn.

    Hope it continues to work out for you.
    oz

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    Just Joined! geniuz's Avatar
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    I haven't had any problems with Arch since I'm using it, if you are a little experienced and take your time reading the manual, everything will turn out just fine.

    I might also recommend using "yaourt", it gives you full access to the ABS but has exactly the same syntax as pacman and completely automates the process of installing software. For more information you can just see the beginners guide on the arch site, they give a very good explanation.

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    Just Joined! kveldulf980's Avatar
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    Yea I've been playing with that stuff, very fun. I saw somewhere a script that automatically rebuilds all your packages on your system, I am very tempted to give it a go. ABS is wicked sweet.

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    Linux Enthusiast Manchunian's Avatar
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    I don't generally run packages from unstable or testing
    In the official Wiki, they say that there is no problem with enabling unstable , but they warn again enabling testing. Do you agree that unstable is safe?
    Distribution: Archlinux
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  10. #9
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manchunian View Post
    In the official Wiki, they say that there is no problem with enabling unstable , but they warn again enabling testing. Do you agree that unstable is safe?
    I always keep images on hand of all my partitions, so any repo is safe for me because I can restore to my previous state in about 3 minutes. I don't ever bother with unstable, though, so can't really say how safe it would be for those that don't make backups.
    oz

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    There is no reason to use the testing or unstable repositories, apart from if you want to test something on your computer. Packages as soon as become stable will enter the core repository and this happens in daily base.

    And always if something goes wrong with the update of a package you can very easily downgrade it.

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